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Cooking Classes

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Franky moved quickly between the cooking stations making sure everything was prepped and ready for her next class. Today was the first day for her new group of students. She had started teaching classes at the local community centre and saving up the money she needed to make her dream of owning her own restaurant come true. She usually taught adults, mostly the basics, with some specialty classes like cake decorating thrown in sometimes. Today however, was the first time that she’d be teaching a class of children, and fairly young children at that, so she’d called in extra help in the form of her friends Liz, Boomer, Allie and Bea to make sure that none of the kids had to handle anything too sharp or too hot.

Franky was just finishing up when she heard the excited voices of the kids coming in through the doors and making their way to the various classes that would be happening that afternoon. Being that her students were so young, most only 4 or 5 years old, she had just eight in her class, so that each of her friends only had two that they had to keep an eye on.

“Okay everyone,” Franky whistled to get their attention and saw eight small faces turn toward her. “Coats and bags over there,” she said pointing to the hooks along the back wall, “then find a station and put on an apron.”

They all did just as she asked, and Franky was about to start her lesson when she noticed that one small girl was still standing at the back of the room looking around nervously. The brunette knew that feeling as she was a shy child herself at that age before life made her toughen up, so she walked over to the girl and crouched down so she could be at her eye level.

“Hey, what’s your name?” Franky asked in a calm, soft voice so as not to make the child even more nervous.

“Emily but most people call me Em or Emmy.” The girl took a deep breath then pointed to Franky’s arm where the bottom part of her colourful Phoenix tattoo was just visible below the rolled up sleeve of her chef’s jacket. “I like that, it’s pretty.”

“Aw thanks bub,” Franky smiled at the girl. Looking up she saw that Liz had an open spot at her workstation, and she thought she would be the perfect one to help bring the small blonde out of her shyness. “What do you say we go over and meet my friend Liz and she’ll help you with stuff today, okay?” The girl nodded slowly after a second and followed Franky over to where Liz was standing.

The tall brunette leaned over and spoke to her friend quickly and softly so that Emily wouldn’t hear her and feel embarrassed, “Hey Liz, this one seems really shy so just do what you do best, yeah?” Liz smiled and gave a nod as the child approached.

“Hey love, my name is Liz.”

“I’m Emily.”

“Oh such a beautiful name! Here’s your apron love, let me just tie it in the back here for you.”

Franky moved to the front of the class and began teaching. They were making chocolate chip cookies today which basically meant that the kids were just learning how to measure and mix ingredients together while Franky and her friends helped them with the ovens. Everything was going well, and soon the room was filled with the delicious smell of baked goods.

********

Bridget was looking forward to the end of this day from Hell. The prison seemed to be hurtling itself toward a state of chaos, and she had been running around all day trying to talk everyone into a state of calm and avoid a major incident. Today was also just the second day that she was looking after her niece. Her brother was away on business for the next month and she was the only one who was able to look after the young girl. All of the grandparents lived too far away and Emily’s mother had passed away just a year ago. She loved her niece dearly but she was used to only having herself to look after, so it was going to take a few days to establish a routine with the girl. She had let Vera know that she wouldn’t be able to put in any overtime for the next while and the governor had been more than understanding.

There were only a few minutes left to her work day and she was looking forward to picking up Emily at her cooking class and hearing all about what she had learned. Bridget had made the decision to sign her up when she saw the flyer posted at the centre on her way to one of her yoga classes. She thought it would be good for the young girl to have something to do while she was staying with her to keep her mind off missing her father and maybe she’d make some new friends too. Emily was a sweet child but she was still very shy and Bridget knew that this might be just what was needed to help bring her out of her shell even just a little bit.

As she was packing up the last of her things, the alarm sounded.

“Attention compound: This is a lockdown. All prisoners return to your cells immediately. I repeat, this is a lockdown. All prisoners return to your cells immediately.”

“You have got to be kidding me.” Bridget didn’t have time for this. A lockdown meant that no one was allowed in or out of the prison but she needed to leave on time today.

She lifted her bag onto her shoulder and made sure she had her keys and swipe card with her. Maybe if she could find Vera and remind her of what they had talked about then she would make an exception and let her leave on time. She spotted her just at the end of the hall and jogged the few steps to catch up with her.

“Vera, do you have a second?”

“Not really but go ahead.”

The governor seemed stressed, and Bridget figured it had been a bad day for everyone so she decided to be quick and to the point. “I know it’s a lockdown, but I really need to leave today. Normally I would stay, but today I just can’t.”

“Sorry, Bridget but protocol states that no one enters or leaves the building.”

“But I have to pick up my niece and we agreed that I’d do no overtime while she was here.” Bridget looked at her, pleading with her eyes for the other woman to understand.

“This isn’t overtime, it’s a lockdown. I have no control over it.”

“I understand but please Vera, I’d really appreciate it.”

“I’m sorry but no. There are still prisoners unaccounted for. If I let you go and something were to happen to you on your way out, I wouldn’t be able to live with that. Please, go back to your office and wait.” Bridget stood her ground but she knew she wasn’t going to win. “Please?” Vera asked one last time.

Bridget turned and walked back toward her office muttering a “fuck” under her breath as she went.

She entered her office and quickly looked up the number for the centre and dialled it on her phone. A sweet older lady picked up and she quickly explained the situation. She waited while the woman went to confirm that one of the instructors was able to stay and look after Emily. When she was told one of the chefs, by the name of Franky, was able to stay as long as needed, she breathed a sigh of relief.

“Oh tell her thank you so much and I’m so sorry to do this. I’ll owe her.” The woman on the other end told her not to worry and hung up the phone. Bridget knew her brother would probably be upset for her leaving his daughter with someone who was essentially a stranger, but what other choice did she have at this moment? She sat at her desk and settled in for a long afternoon of watching the clock tick.

********

Near the end of the class, as the kids were helping to clean up, Franky began handing out colourful boxes so each of the kids could take home the treats they had made.

She saw Liz approach her out of the corner of her eye, “Franky love, we’ve got a bit of a situation.”

Liz didn’t look too panicked so Franky assumed that it couldn’t be anything too bad. “What’s going on?” She asked as she continued handing out the boxes with Liz following her.

“Emily’s aunt just called. I guess she’s looking after her while her Dad is away on business, and she’s gotten held up at work. She works at Wentworth and apparently something happened and the prison is on lockdown. She’s okay but no one’s allowed to leave.”

“So there’s no one who can pick her up?” Franky asked glancing over at the small child.

“I’m afraid not. It’s just her here, no other family nearby.” Franky took another look over at the girl and watched her packing up her cookies. Liz continued, “I’ve still got her aunt on the phone, I told her I’d let her know what we could do.” Liz was nervously playing with the edge of her apron.

“Tell her not to worry. I’ll stay with her until she can get here.”

“You sure?” Liz asked and Franky nodded. “She’ll be so grateful. I’ll go tell her now.”

As Liz made her way back to the phone in the office, Franky approached Emily and bent down to talk to her.

“Hey.” She smiled and Emily returned it although maybe a bit cautiously. “Your Auntie called and she has to stay and look after something at work, so she asked if you could stay here for a little while longer. Does that sound okay? You can hang out with me. I have something I could use some help with.” Franky thought that by keeping the child occupied with helping her it would take her mind off the fact that her Aunt wasn’t coming to pick her up on time and all the other kids were leaving.

The small blonde nodded and ran over to put her coat back on the hook by the door. Franky didn’t really have much experience looking after kids, and her own mother hadn’t been a role model to follow, but she had a soft spot for them and she was confident that she could handle this for a few hours.

Franky took her phone out of her pocket and made a quick call.

“Hey Kim, listen, I’m really sorry but I need to cancel tonight.”

Kim didn’t even give her a chance to explain. “What the fuck Franky! We’re supposed to be meeting in an hour!”

Franky tried her best to keep things calm, “Look, I only have a minute, okay? One of the kids in my new class has to stay behind for awhile because her Aunt got tied up at work so I’m going to wait with her. We’ll re-schedule though, yeah?” She hated to cancel plans, and judging by Kim’s reaction, she hated it even more, but Franky managed to smooth it over by saying she’d make it up to her.

Chapter Text

Franky had a recipe that she had been trying to perfect for weeks now. It was nothing special, just a classic lasagna, but she was determined to get the seasoning and tomato sauce absolutely perfect. She decided that tonight would be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the state of the art kitchen at the centre, and give it a trial run. Plus, it would give her something to keep the little one busy with.

She pulled a stool up to the counter so that Emily could help her prepare the meal. Franky showed her how to chop fresh herbs and dice onions. She made sure to give her a knife that wasn’t too sharp and never let her out of her sight.

“Aye, slow down a bit there bub, it’s not a race.” Franky was pleased with how well the little girl was taking to cooking, but she didn’t want her to get over-confident and cut herself because she was rushing or being careless, “Nice, slow, even cuts like I showed you, yeah?”

The small blonde nodded and went back to doing it exactly how Franky had shown her a few minutes earlier. The tall brunette stirred the sauce on the stove. It was almost ready for the seasonings and then they could start making the noodles. Franky was surprised at how quickly the child was picking up everything she was teaching her as she watched her carefully measure the seasonings into the sauce that was now simmering on the stove.

After everything was ready and the lasagna was in the oven, there was nothing left to do but wait. Franky went about cleaning up their workspace.

“Your Auntie must cook with you, hey?” She asked the child, thinking there was no way that this kid didn’t have some previous experience in the kitchen.

“No, Auntie Bridge can’t cook. Everything she tries to make tastes funny. She even made my sandwich wrong this morning.”

Franky was puzzled. “How did she make a sandwich wrong?”

“She put the cheese between the turkey and lettuce instead of on top of them.”

Franky just managed to hold in a small chuckle when she realized that Emily was being dead serious. “Well, that’s a serious offence, that is. Maybe we’ll have to sign her up for some classes too.”

The little girl giggled and Franky couldn’t help but smile. They hadn’t heard Bridget rush in after finally being allowed to leave the prison. She quietly stood and observed the pair for a moment, amazed at the easy conversation that her niece was having with the tall chef after only just meeting her that afternoon.

“What am I being signed up for?” Bridget spoke up as she approached the pair.

“Emily here reckons that you need some cooking classes too. Apparently there was a sandwich catastrophe this morning.” The brunette gave a playful smirk.

Bridget couldn’t help a small blush that crept into her cheeks. “Ah, yes, well, luckily that crisis was averted in the nick of time.”

“Luckily. I’m Franky.” Franky held out her hand and the blonde shook it.

“Bridget.”

“Bridget, I like it.” Blue eyes met green and Bridget swore that she could feel a shift happen somewhere inside of her.

“Are we going home now? I’m hungry.” Bridget was pulled out of her thoughts by Emily tugging on her sleeve, and only then did she realize that she was still holding onto Franky’s hand.

“Uh sure love, yeah. We can pick up something on the way home.”

Franky could sense that the blonde had had a long day. If it wasn’t obvious by the fact that she had put in at least a few extra hours at work, then the tiredness in her face gave it away.

“Why don’t you guys stay and have supper here? Em helped me try out a new lasagna recipe and it’s almost ready.” Franky didn’t really know why the invitation came out so easily, but she knew that she wasn’t ready for Bridget to leave just yet.

“I don’t know. I don’t want to impose. You’ve already done me a huge favor today.” In all honesty, Bridget would have loved nothing more than to sit down and try the meal that she could smell cooking in the oven, but she felt that she really shouldn’t ask any more from the brunette.

“Come on, you’ve had a long day, yeah?” Franky asked. Bridget nodded. “Probably skipped lunch?” Bridget nodded again. “Then stay and eat. It’s really no trouble.”

“Please Auntie?” Emily was looking up at her Aunt with the huge blue eyes that all the Westfalls had. “We can have the cookies I made for dessert.” Bridget looked from her niece back up to Franky.

“Hard to say no to that offer, isn’t it?” The brunette winked at Bridget then smiled down at her unknowing accomplice.

“Okay, fine, we’ll stay. Thank you again, so much.” The blonde didn’t know how to express the gratitude she felt at that moment.

“It’s nothing, really. Come on in and get settled.”

Bridget let Emily lead her into the room while Franky went about setting the table for the three of them. She could barely keep up with everything the girl was wanting to tell her about her day, especially the cooking class, and Franky could barely keep her eyes from wandering over to steal glances at the older woman.

“I was really nervous when I first got here but then Franky came over and talked to me and she let me meet her nice friend Liz and Liz helped me make the cookies and did you know that Franky let someone draw on her arm? It’s really pretty.” As Emily continued on, Bridget looked over to see the tattoo on the brunette’s left arm, just visible below her jacket. She wondered what the rest of it looked like and if there were any more hidden. “Auntie…..Auntie, are you listening?”

Bridget was pulled from her wandering mind by the small voice. “Huh? Yeah, yeah of course! Sounds like you had a big day!” The small girl continued to tell her Aunt, in detail, everything that she got to do in class and how Franky had let her help make supper.

“All ready over here!” Franky called them to the table where she had served up the lasagna along with a salad she had quickly put together.

The three of them ate in relative quiet except for when Bridget declared that this meal was possibly the best thing she’d ever tasted.

“Did you know Auntie Bridge is in prison?” The young Westfall blurted out, breaking the silence.

Franky’s eyebrows shot up at the little girl’s comment. “Is that so?”

Bridget gave a small nervous laugh. “I wasn’t…I’m not in prison. I mean…..I guess technically, yes, I was…..I work at the prison.” She talked to people for a living but all her skills seemed to have left her at the moment.

“Well that’s a relief. I thought for a minute there that I was going to have to report an escaped convict sitting at my dinner table.” The blonde laughed and Franky knew at that moment that she was in trouble, because she wanted nothing more than to hear that sound as much as possible, and to be the cause for it.

After they had finished eating, Franky was cleaning up while Bridget helped Emily gather her things and put on her jacket.

“I think we’re ready to go here but I just wanted to thank you again for everything today.”

“No worries! I needed a helper anyway.” Franky smiled and handed Bridget a bag with two containers filled with leftovers from their meal. “Here, don’t skip lunch tomorrow, yeah?”

Bridget nodded and gratefully accepted the food. “Thanks again.”

“Anytime, Gidget.” Franky gave her her signature smile and wrinkled her nose.

“It’s Bridget.” The blonde corrected her.

“I prefer Gidget.”

Bridget gave a small smile and a shake of her head, turning to leave, and taking Emily by the hand to walk her out to the car.

********

It had been a long day and Bridget wanted nothing more than for it to be over. The only highlight had been hearing about her niece’s day, and having dinner with the young girl and Franky. On the drive home, Emily had talked non-stop about everything she had learned and how much she liked cooking with the tall brunette. Bridget was glad that her instincts had been correct when she had decided to sign her up for the class.

They had arrived home and she was putting the leftovers into the fridge when she noticed a small piece of paper fall out of the bag. She bent over and picked it up, unfolding it. On it, Franky had written her number along with a short note: “In case of another sandwich-related emergency.” Bridget couldn’t help but smile.

The house was quiet now, Bridget having put Emily to bed after her bath. She poured herself a glass of wine and sat down with her phone and the note. She typed in Franky’s number and saved it to her contact list. She stared at the phone, contemplating sending the brunette a quick message. But no, Bridget Westfall had never and would never appear too eager or show too much of her hand too soon. She would get to see Franky again in a couple of days, after Em’s next class. She told herself she could wait until then, but in reality, she knew she probably wouldn’t.

Chapter Text

The next day, Bridget sat down in the lunchroom with the leftovers that Franky had given her the night before, and was joined by Vera.

“Bridget, I’m really sorry about yesterday. I know I probably put you in a bad position, but I couldn’t risk anything happening to you, to any of my staff, and it had just been such a crazy, unpredictable day.” Vera had seen how tired Bridget had been, and knew that on top of everything at work, she was also trying to juggle looking after her niece. Even though she knew she made the right decision by making her stay, she still felt bad for adding to her friend’s stress.

“No, no it’s fine, really. I know you were just trying to look out for everyone, and I was just thinking about trying to pick Emily up on time.” Bridget smiled at Vera and patted her hand that was resting on the table in an effort to reassure her that she understood the governor’s actions from the day before. In reality, the blonde thought she should probably be thanking Vera. If not for her having to stay late, she would have never gotten to meet the tall brunette, who had been on her mind since she’d woken up that morning.

Vera gave a small smile in return, and decided to move on from the topic. “That looks amazing. Where did you order it from?” She asked, nodding towards the other woman’s lunch.

Bridget gave a mock gasp and pretended to act offended. “You just assume that since it looks so good that I couldn’t possibly have made it myself?”

“We both know you didn’t.” the governor stated trying to remain serious, but failing.

The blonde gave a small laugh. “Well, yesterday, when I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pick up Em on time, I called the centre to let them know. The woman who teaches the class said she could stay and look after her.” Bridget knew she was smiling when she talked about Franky. “When I got there, they had made this together, and we ended up staying and having supper there with her.” The blonde finally glanced up and caught the large smile on Vera’s face. “What? What’s that look for?”

“What look? Nothing! It’s just…” The small brunette said quickly then trailed off.

Bridget narrowed her eyes slightly. “It’s just what?”

“You sound happy when you talk about her. It’s nice. I haven’t seen that from you in a long time.”

“Yeah, she seems nice.” Bridget tried to act casual but she and Vera had been friends for too long for her to be fooled.

“Nice? Bridget, come on. I can tell it’s more than you just thinking she’s nice.” The governor tilted her head to the side and raised her eyebrows holding Bridget’s gaze with her own, waiting for her to agree.

“Yeah, I guess. Maybe you’re right.” Bridget admitted.

“So when are you going to see her again?”

“Vera! Let’s just eat lunch, okay?” Bridget laughed. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to talk about Franky, or think about Franky, but she just wasn’t ready to discuss everything with her friend right now. She wanted to keep the details to herself.

The two friends spent the rest of their break eating and having easy, casual conversation then parted to go about the rest of their day.

********

The next couple of days passed without Franky hearing from the blonde, and she thought that maybe she had misread her cues that night. Currently, she was at the centre prepping for that night’s class. It wasn’t the one she wished it was though. She wished it was the one where she would get to see Bridget when she picked up her niece. She was lost in her thoughts when she heard the door at the side of the room open. Looking over, she saw Kim walking towards her.

“Hey, Kim,” Franky said casually, returning to her work.

“Hey? Really? You cancel on me then I hear nothing from you, and all I get is a ‘hey’?” Franky let out a sigh and prepared herself for what she knew was coming. She had been avoiding Kim ever since that evening. She had left numerous texts and missed calls on Franky’s phone, but the brunette couldn’t bring herself to let the girl down.

“You’re right, I’m sorry I had to cancel on you, but I told you what happened with the kid.”

“Yeah, you did, but I still shouldn’t have had to come looking for you.” Kim softened a little, but was still obviously upset. “So, are we still doing this or what?”

Franky could give Kim credit for one thing, she got right to the point. “Uh, actually, I don’t think it’s a good idea anymore.”

“What?” Any points Franky had earned with her earlier apology suddenly evaporated, and she could feel the other woman’s anger returning fast and furious.

“Kim, listen. I had fun with you that night, I did. But that was all it was. I don’t see us going any further than that.” Franky tried to be as honest and sincere as she could. She knew that the woman standing in front of her wasn’t the one she wanted, and she also didn’t feel like she owed her a huge explanation. They had seen each other around at different bars a few times and eventually ended up hooking up in the restroom one night. Franky wasn’t looking for anything serious, and she didn’t think Kim was either, so when the woman suggested they hang out again, Franky thought ‘why not?’, expecting it to maybe turn into a casual once in awhile hook up thing. But that was before Bridget. She knew that maybe she was stupid to be giving up a sure thing, no matter how small, in favor of something that she had no idea if she was even on the right track with, but she’d deal with the consequences later if she was wrong.

“So that’s all it was then? A fuck ‘em and forget ‘em thing?” Kim’s voice was raised, and Franky could see the first few people start to make their way into the centre.

“Kim, please, you know it wasn’t like that. We can talk about it later if you want, but right now I need you to leave. We can’t be doing this,” she waved her hand between the two of them, “when my students start to show up, alright?”

Kim scoffed and turned to leave. “We’re not done yet though.” She said as she left.

Franky blew out a breath in a big sigh and looked up at the ceiling. She should have known better. Her friends had all tried to warn her not to get involved with Kim in any way, and Franky knew what the woman’s reputation was like, but she was in the habit of making bad decisions, and clearly this had become one of them.

 

********

That night, as Bridget was getting ready for bed, her thoughts once again drifted to the green-eyed woman that had been occupying most of her headspace recently. Laying down in bed, she reached for her phone and opened up her contact list. She scrolled down to find the number she had added the other day and hesitated, her finger hovering over the name. “Fuck it.” She mumbled and made the call. It rang 4 times, and she was just about to hang up when she heard a sleepy “Hello?” on the other end of the line.

“Franky? It’s Bridget.”

“Oh, hey, Gidge.”

“Did I wake you? I know it’s a bit late to be calling.” She heard the brunette chuckle on the other end of the line.

“Well, yes, but I think I’d fallen asleep on the couch, so you probably just saved me from a sore back in the morning. So, to what do I owe this pleasure?”

Bridget hadn’t realized until this moment that she didn’t really have a reason to be calling Franky, especially at this hour. Her brain raced to try to come up with something believable. “Well, I uh, think I need some expert advice.”

“Is that so?” Bridget could hear a flirty tone creep into the other woman’s voice.

“Yeah, see, tomorrow, I’m thinking that I might mix it up and make a ham sandwich to send with Em instead of turkey, and I was just wondering, what are the rules for cheese placement in that case?”

Franky knew this had nothing to do with a goddamn sandwich, but she was willing to play along. “On top Gidge, always on top.”

“Always on top? Is that a thing that everyone knows or….?”

“Well I don’t know if everyone knows, but in my personal opinion, it’s better on top.” There was silence on the other end, and Franky thought for a second that maybe the blonde really was just asking for advice on sandwiches.

“Well, I think that’s a matter of opinion, but maybe we can debate it another time.” There was a playful tone in the older woman’s voice. A short pause and then “It’s late, I should let you go.”

“Yeah……I’ll see you tomorrow though? After Emily’s class?” Franky asked.

“Definitely. I promise I won’t make you play babysitter again.”

“It was nothing Gidge, she’s a great kid. Now get some sleep, okay?”

After they both said their goodbyes, Bridget put her phone back on the table beside her bed. Maybe Vera was right, she deserved something good, and even if her attraction to Franky had taken her by surprise, there was no reason why she shouldn’t see it through.

********

On the other side of the city, Franky settled herself into bed and laid there thinking about the phone call she’d just had, and the fact that she’d get to see the blonde again tomorrow. She was both excited and scared. Her fear and excitement were both caused by the same thing: this beautiful, sophisticated woman had at least some type of feelings for her.

Franky pictured the blonde in a beautiful, large house in a nice part of the city. She was a professional and obviously had some family, who she was close with. Franky was struggling for everything she had, having grown up poor with just her abusive mother to look after her. If one could call what she did “looking after”. She mostly got high or drunk and brought home strange men at all hours of the night, leaving a young Franky to look after herself. If Franky dared to ask her mother for anything, she was met with a slap or a cigarette burn on her stomach. The brunette tried to push those thoughts away and focus on her life as it is now. She hadn’t always made the best or smartest choices, but she’d worked hard to get where she was, and she knew that she had at least that to be proud of. She also knew that she was going to have to make sure that she didn’t somehow fuck up this thing with Bridget.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

“I know what that smile means.” Vera took a seat at the lunch table across from Bridget.

“Hmm?” Bridget had been lost in her own world, thinking about how the day seemed to be crawling by at a snail’s pace. “I wasn’t smiling.”

“You were. You were thinking about the woman from dinner the other night?” Vera gave a soft smile, trying to coax her friend to open up.

The blonde sighed and sat her fork down on her plate. “Okay, maybe I was. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just keep thinking about her, and replaying everything in my mind. I know it was just one dinner and a phone call, but still ...she probably only asked us to stay because Em said she was hungry.”

“Bridget, there’s nothing wrong with you. You like her and you’re curious ...wait a minute…you two talked on the phone? When?” It took a second for the governor to process what her friend had said, but now that she understood, she wanted to know the whole story.

“Last night. She had slipped her number into the bag of food she gave me the other night.” Bridget looked up at Vera who was waiting for her to continue. “I put it in my phone and looked at it for the past two nights and then last night I just said ‘fuck it’, literally, and called her.”

“And….” Vera wasn’t about to let her stop there.

“And we talked for a minute, and then I said I’d see her today after Em’s class. It was late and I woke her up.” Bridget winced thinking about how she regretted the fact that she had called Franky so late that night. The brunette didn’t seem to care, but it was just so unlike Bridget to do something impulsive like that.

“So, what’s the plan here going forward?” Vera continued eating her lunch, trying to get more details out of her friend. The blonde shrugged and the governor continued. “Bridget. Just ask her out before I have to do it for you.”

The blonde gave a small chuckle knowing that in no universe would Vera ever have the guts to do that, but she appreciated that her friend wanted what was best for her.

********

“Alright, hey, everyone’s eyes up here,” Franky was just beginning the afternoon children’s class, and she was pleased to see that Emily was in attendance as it meant she’d get to see Bridget later. “Can anyone guess what we’re making today?”

“Pizza!” Every child in the class yelled out excitedly.

“Right on! Not just any kind of pizza though, we’re making Margherita Pizza!” She had chosen this particular recipe because it was easy to make and had ingredients she figured all of the kids would like. She went on to demonstrate how to make the dough, and stretch it into the perfect shape and how to prepare the toppings.

After she was done teaching, the brunette walked between the cooking stations, giving advice and help to the kids. She could overhear Liz talking with Emily. She had made sure that she was paired with the older woman again.

“Emily love, slow down there a bit. You don’t want to be rushing when you’re chopping the basil. You don’t want to hurt yourself.” Liz gently reminded the young girl. Although the knives they let the children use weren’t as sharp as most kitchen knives, they were still sharp enough to be dangerous if used carelessly.

“Don’t worry, Franky showed me how to do this the other night.” The little blonde replied.

Just then Franky heard a small yelp, and Emily started to cry. She turned and rushed over to see the child holding onto her left hand. She could see some blood running down her finger. She quickly grabbed a clean towel and knelt down in front of her, “Hey, hey Em, look at me.” The young girl was starting to hyperventilate from crying so hard, and Franky knew she had to get her to calm down so she could look at her hand. “Look at me!” She put her hand on the girl’s cheek and gently made her turn to look her in the eye. “I need you to breathe like me, okay?” Franky took a slow deep breath in, and then let it out slowly, repeating it a couple of times until Emily was in sync with her. “Good. Good. Okay, I need to look at your hand now so I need you to let go of it, alright?”

“No! It hurts!” The girl was threatening to break into a panic once again.

“I know, I know it does but I’ll be quick, okay? And I’ll get it bandaged up and it’ll feel better.” Franky silently prayed to herself that a bandage would be enough, and there wouldn’t be a need for a trip to the hospital.

Emily eventually nodded, and removed her hand. Franky could see a cut about two centimetres long on the side of the girl’s index finger. It didn’t look deep and it seemed like the bleeding had almost stopped. Franky placed the towel over it and stood up.

“Let’s go clean that up and get it covered.” She placed her hand on the girl’s back, and guided her toward the office just off the kitchen.

The office was fairly large. There was a medium sized desk and chair along one side, and on the other side was a couch and coffee table.

“Sit on the couch okay? I need to get the first aid kit.” Emily sat down and waited for Franky to retrieve the kit out of one of the cupboards along the back wall. Kit in hand, she sat down on the coffee table facing the young girl, opened it, and set it beside her on the table. She got out some gauze and a small bottle of sterile water. “First I’m going to wash the cut off. I won’t lie, it might sting a bit but I can tell you’re brave, yeah?” The girl nodded. “Then I’m going to put some of this cream on it,” She held up a small tube of antibiotic cream. “And then cover it with a bandage.” She laid everything out on the table beside her so the smaller blonde could see the items.

It only took Franky a few minutes to clean and bandage the finger and she was impressed with how well the young girl handled it. There were a few more tears, but nothing like her initial reaction out in the kitchen. “I need to call your Aunt and let her know what happened. Do you want to go back out and finish the class?” The girl kept her eyes on the floor and shook her head. “Are you sure? Liz and everyone is out there and I’ll be back as soon as I make a quick call.” Another shake of her head. Franky sighed, “Okay, just give me a minute.”

She got her phone from her bag that was hanging by the door and found Bridget’s number. She hoped that she was allowed to have her phone with her in the prison. She answered on the second ring.

“Hello.”

“Hey Gidge.” Franky was trying to sound casual. She knew the older woman was aware that she should still be teaching Emily’s class and she didn’t want her to think something bad had happened. “Uh, I just wanted to let you know that everything is okay now, but there was a little accident, and Emily cut herself with one of the knives. It’s just on her finger and I’ve got it all cleaned and bandaged.”

“Is she okay? I can come pick her up.” Franky could hear the blonde starting to move around and it sounded like she was gathering up papers quickly.

“Yeah, yeah, she’s fine. Why don’t you talk to her? She’s right here. I asked if she wanted to go back out to class but she says no.” The brunette hoped that by hearing her aunt’s comforting voice, she might feel well enough to finish up the rest of the day with her class.

“Yeah, okay, yeah, put her on.”

She handed her mobile to the little girl.

“Auntie Bridge, my finger really hurts…….No, Franky made it feel a lot better but it still hurts and I don’t want to go back out there…..okay.” She held the phone out for the tall brunette to take back.

Franky put her phone back to her ear. She had only heard Emily’s side of the conversation, but she knew that whatever Bridget said hadn’t convinced her niece to leave the office.

“I’m really sorry about this.” Franky told the older woman. She genuinely felt bad that the little girl’s day had been ruined.

“It’s not your fault, Franky.” Bridget sounded tired again. “I’m going to come pick her up though. I think she’s done for today.”

“Okay, yeah sure. I’ll see you in a bit.”

Just as Franky hung up the phone, Boomer appeared in the office doorway carrying a plate with fresh, hot pizza on it.

“Heya, I brought ya this. I thought maybe it might help cheer ya up since I knows pizza always makes me happy.” Boomer sat the plate down on the coffee table in front of the girl.

“Thanks.” The girl’s voice was small, but she was always taught to be polite.

“Right, well, I better get back out there.” Boomer turned to leave and Franky caught her arm on her way by.

“Thanks, Booms.”

“Eh, no problem. She’s a sweet little bub, hate to see her upset.” Boomer said looking back at the girl.

Franky nodded as Boomer left. It was once again just her and Emily in the office. She sat down beside the small girl.

“That pizza looks good, huh?”

The small blonde just shook her head and moved to sit beside Franky so that she could lean against her and rest her head on her arm. It was clear that she didn’t want to talk so Franky sat there with her in silence and waited for Bridget to show up.

By the time Bridget arrived, the last of the students were on their way out. She had left as soon as she ended the phone call but had gotten held up on the highway in traffic. As she approached the office door, she saw that Emily was fast asleep against Franky and the brunette was staring down at her own hands, fixated with the silver ring she was spinning on her finger. She looked up when she noticed Bridget standing in the doorway and gently moved away from the girl, guiding her down carefully to lay on the couch while she went to talk with the older woman.

They were now in the main kitchen of the classroom, which was empty. The tall brunette leaned against the wall and let out a sigh.

“Gidge, this is my fault….” Franky remembered what she had heard the girl say right before it happened.

“Franky,” Bridget stepped in front of her so that she was forced to meet her eye. Her voice was soft, caring, “How could this be your fault?”

“Right before she cut herself, I heard Liz telling her to slow down and be more careful and Emily didn’t listen because she said I had already showed her how to do it the other night when she was helping me, and it’s true, I did. If I hadn’t done that, maybe she would have been more careful.” She looked into the blonde’s blue eyes and waited for her to say something, waited for her to agree and say this was all Franky’s fault; waited for her to be mad.

“Did you never cut yourself when you were learning to cook? Or get a burn?” There was no anger, no blame in the other woman’s questions.

Franky felt a bit of relief come over her, “Gidge, I still do that now.” She laughed and heard the blonde do the same.

“See,” Bridget continued, “it’s all a part of learning, of life.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“You’re good with her, you know? I watched you two the other night when I first got here. You were cute.” The blonde smiled, looking into Franky’s eyes and noticing for the first time just how green they were.

“I’m cute, am I?” The confident, bold Franky was slowly returning, and she wasn’t about to let a comment like that pass by unnoticed.

“Well, I meant in that situation but maybe, yeah.”

Franky had pushed herself away from the wall as the blonde spoke so they now stood only a couple of inches apart. “Just maybe?” The brunette wore her signature smirk and Bridget felt her pulse quicken as green eyes locked with hers.

Franky reached up and cupped the blonde’s cheek with her right hand, running her thumb along the older woman’s bottom lip. She heard a small, shaky exhale of breath as Bridget leaned into her touch. The brunette dipped her head down slightly and moved forward, pausing just a hair from the other woman’s lips to give her the chance to protest. Sensing no hesitation, she closed the gap between them. Bridget’s arms immediately wrapped around Franky’s neck and she deepened the kiss. With one of the brunette’s strong arms around her back holding her close, and the hand that had been cupping her face moving to play gently with the hair on the back of her neck, Bridget felt a fire ignite inside her. She wanted it to stay forever and she didn’t care how much it burned her. She was seconds away from being totally lost in all that was Franky when she remembered that they weren’t alone.

“Mmmm, Franky, wait ...wait,” she pulled away leaving a slightly confused and panting woman looking at her. “We need to stop.”

“Shit, I’m sorry Gidge.” Franky started to pull away from her but Bridget held on tight, not letting her move back.

“No, no sorries, it’s just Em.” The blonde trailed off and Franky suddenly remembered the small child who was asleep in her office. “I should take her home.”

“Yeah, yeah of course. I’ll carry her out for you.” Franky offered. Bridget gave her another quick kiss and started to gather the girl’s things while Franky made her way to the office and returned with the still sleeping girl in her arms.

After Emily was settled in the car, Franky pulled Bridget towards her for one last kiss. “Have dinner with me tomorrow night?”

Bridget glanced to the child sleeping in the back seat of the car. “I don’t know. I really want to, but it’s just not a good time for me right now.”

The brunette remembered back to earlier in the week when Bridget had no one to send in her place to pick up her niece. “Oh, yeah no worries.” She gave a small smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes. She was disappointed, but she understood that the child came first in Bridget’s life.

“You know what, let me see if I can figure something out and I’ll let you know tomorrow afternoon okay?” Bridget had only one option, and she hoped it would pan out for her.

Franky nodded and smiled and they said their goodbyes. Bridget got into her car and headed home with Emily while Franky headed back into the building to gather her things.

********

When Bridget got home she made a quick phone call to her friend to ask if she could look after Emily for the evening the next day. Vera was more than happy to help out, and was even more pleased when she learned that the reason the blonde was asking for this favour was so she could have dinner with Franky.

Bridget hung up and sent Franky a text:

To: Franky
I’m in for tomorrow night. My friend, Vera is going to watch Emily for me.

Just mere seconds later she felt her phone vibrate as she received a reply.

To: Gidget
Can’t wait! Meet me at 6 and also bring something comfortable to change into after dinner ;)

Along with Franky’s text, Bridget also got a link through her map app to an address that she assumed, judging by the location, was Franky’s apartment, as she was aware that area was completely residential. The “bring something comfortable” had her a bit thrown off, but she was willing to go along with whatever the brunette had planned.

Chapter Text

Franky had briefly thought of taking Bridget out for a night in town at a fancy restaurant, but then decided that she wanted nothing more than to cook for her again. It was what the brunette loved to do; what she was good at, and she remembered the look on the older woman’s face when she first tasted the lasagna she and Emily had made a few nights ago.

Tonight, she had gone for a classic, but simple, meal that she hoped the blonde would love just as much as the previous one. She had prepared an assortment of cheeses and fruits for them to have as an appetizer. The main course would be parmesan chicken with a Caesar salad, and then for dessert, creme brûlée. All of the courses were paired with complementary wines. She was just putting the finishing touches to the table when there was a knock on the door.

When she opened it, the sight of the woman standing there took her breath away. Bridget was dressed in a classic “little black dress” that hugged her curves in all the right places and dipped low in the front and back to show off just a hint of cleavage and the toned muscles of her back. Her hair was up with just a few strands falling to either side of her face.

“You look beautiful Gidge.” Franky would have normally made some kind of a flirty comment about how the dress looked good, but would look even better on the floor later, but all that would come out was the simple, honest compliment. The brunette realized at this point that maybe she was getting herself into more than she had bargained for. There had always been plenty of women in her life, some she had dated, and some she just fucked, but she had a feeling this one would be different. Maybe the flirty comment wouldn’t come out because her heart knew that wasn’t what she wanted. This woman in front of her deserved more than she was usually willing to give, but for some reason, this time, she thought she might be okay with that.

“So do you.” The blonde said, moving past Franky into the apartment. The brunette had opted for simple, tight black pants with a white blouse and black blazer. “Your place is lovely too.”

Franky’s apartment was small, but open; an industrial style loft. It had a clean and modern design with an open living area, and a bedroom and bathroom off toward one end. It looked especially neat and tidy today as she had spent most of the time, when she wasn’t cooking, making sure that everything was perfect for when Bridget arrived.

“Thanks,” Franky closed the door and walked to the kitchen to get the appetizers and poured them each a glass of wine. “I hope it’s okay, but I thought we could eat here instead of going out. I wanted to cook for you again.”

“That’s definitely more than okay,” The blonde took the glass Franky held out to her and followed her over to sit on the couch. “I’ve been thinking about your food ever since the last time.”

“Just my food?” The brunette gave a playful smile and raised one eyebrow.

Bridget took a sip of her wine and pretended to think for a moment. Franky leaned over and brushed her lips ever so gently against the blonde’s then pulled away. For a second the older woman started to move forward to continue the kiss, but quickly realized that Franky had never intended for it to be more than a tease, and she had played right into her hand. Two could play this game.

“Yeah, pretty sure I only thought about the food.”

Bridget had a playful grin on her face, and Franky knew that the blonde’s actions had spoken volumes louder than her words. “You’re a shit liar Gidge, but I’ll let you have that one, for now,” she chuckled.

Their dinner passed with easy conversation, and Bridget declaring that everything she tasted was “the best she’d ever had”.

As they were clearing off the table, Franky asked, “So, did you bring something to change into?”

“Yes,” Bridget eyed her carefully, sipping the last of her wine. “I have to say though, I’ve never had a date ask me to bring extra clothes before.”

“You’ve never been on a date with me before.” The brunette winked at her. “I’ll finish up here.” Franky tipped her head toward the bathroom. “Why don’t you go to the bathroom and change?”

The blonde grabbed the bag she had brought with her and headed off to the other end of the apartment. Franky put the last of the dishes into the dishwasher and went to her bedroom to change. She opted for a v-neck tee shirt and loose-fitting trackies. When she was done, she went back out into the living room and looked through her selection of board games. Her original plan had been for them to watch a movie, but after that moment of realization when she greeted Bridget at the door, she decided that may not be the best idea. She wanted something easy and fun but that maybe would lead to a good conversation. She eventually decided on “The Game of LIFE”. It may be more of a kid’s game but she didn’t want anything that was going to turn too competitive and ruin the mood.

Bridget exited the bathroom, wearing a fitted tee and what looked to be yoga pants while Franky was in the middle of setting up the game on the coffee table. When she caught sight of the blonde, she wondered if it was possible for the woman to look bad in anything. While “little black dress Bridget” had been stunning, there was something about “casual Bridget” that was oh so sexy on a different level. The older woman noticed the brunette’s eyes lingering on her and a small blush crept into her cheeks. She took a seat on the floor beside Franky on the plush rug that covered most of what would be considered the living room, and leaned back against the couch.

“A board game?” Bridget’s mind had ran through a lot of possibilities since she had received Franky’s text message last night, but this wasn’t one of them.

“Is that okay?” While Franky was normally confident, she knew that she was going out on a bit of a limb here.

“Yeah, just unexpected.” Sensing Franky’s apprehension, the blonde smiled in an attempt to put her at ease and leaned in, giving her a quick kiss on the lips.

Bridget chose the yellow car while Franky chose green and they began the game. The blonde opted to go to university, while the younger woman decided to start her career and drew the “Entertainer” card.

“I think that would suit you.”

“How do you reckon?” Franky was genuinely curious as to what had led the blonde to that conclusion.

“Because you like entertaining people. You chose to have me here tonight instead of taking me out and letting someone else do the work of preparing our meal. You make people notice you. Em talks non-stop about your classes. Franky said this today, Franky said that today; you’ve definitely captured her attention.”

The brunette wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of any type of praise or compliments. Her mother had constantly told her how bad she was, how she was worthless and wouldn’t amount to anything, that she was unlovable, and that’s why her father had left her.

“Being a chef isn’t like being an entertainer. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything like that.” Franky pointed to the man and woman drawn on the card. They were both dressed in fancy clothes and had the biggest, cheesiest smiles plastered on their faces.

Bridget let out a laugh that vibrated through the apartment. “You could always be one of those celebrity chefs like on TV?” Franky winced at the comment, and the blonde realized that she had unintentionally struck a nerve in the younger woman. “Franky? You okay?”

Franky looked up to see that the blonde had turned serious, and was waiting for her to answer. “Yeah, yeah Gidge, all good. It’s just that I’ve kind of had my experience in that area, and let’s just say, I didn’t like what I saw.”

“Oh?” The older woman left the question open so that it was up to the brunette whether she wanted to continue or not.

“After culinary school, I signed up for this TV show. It was like the Australian version of those shows with the angry British chef. The one here was run by Mike Pennisi. Don’t know if you’ve heard of him but he’s a big deal in the culinary world. Anyway, the guy was such a dickhead that it fell apart before it ever got to air, and I said I’d never be a part of something like that again.” She kept her eyes down, focusing on the ring she was playing with on her finger.

The part that Franky had left out was that she was the reason it had fallen apart. Pennisi had pushed and belittled and berated her in front of everyone day after day. Not because her cooking wasn’t up to par, but because he knew he could push her buttons, and he thought it would make for good ratings. Every time he started at her, all she could see was her mother saying the exact same things to her as a child. One day, he went too far. She knew her dish was good, but as soon as he had put the first bite into his mouth, he turned and spit it onto the floor. She could still hear his words as clearly as if he was standing there saying them all over again; “I wouldn’t feed this to my dog Francesca! Even if I did, he’d probably have enough sense not to eat it!” At that point she had stopped thinking and drew back her right fist. She hit him with as much force as she possibly could, and when she realized he was still standing, she hit him again, and again and then a fourth and final time, even though by that point he was lying on the floor.

She was lucky, even though it had gone on her record. She had gotten off with a fine and some community service since there were so many witnesses who gave statements saying that Mike had been emotionally abusive and manipulative toward many of the contestants and crew members. In the end, the network decided to just scrap the whole show and give each contestant (except Franky) a payout rather than risk getting dragged into something messy.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, but maybe it was for the best in the end.” Franky turned to the blonde with a questioning look. “I think you found your calling when you chose to teach. You’re inspiring a lot of young minds.”

“Thanks Gidge,” Franky gave a small smile. “Pick your card.”

“Police officer,” The blonde said, reading her card.

Franky laughed, “Well that definitely fits since you work at the prison.”

“I’m not a cop or an officer, baby.” The brunette couldn’t help but notice the ease with which the nickname came out of the older woman’s mouth. “Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have a sexy uniform or handcuffs.”

Franky’s jaw dropped slightly for a second before she righted herself and mumbled, “Handcuffs can be bought.” She cleared her throat. “So what do you do there then?”

“I’m a psychologist.”

“Aw, shit. And here I am just spilling all my stories to you without even making you work for them. I bet you’re working on analyzing me right now.” The brunette tried to make her comments sound light, but she had to admit she was now feeling overexposed, and was wishing that she hadn’t been so open a few minutes ago.

“I’m not here as a therapist.” The blonde gave a warm smile.

“What, so you mean your counselling sessions don’t normally involve your clients cooking you dinner in their homes, and then asking you to play a game?”

“Not normally, no. I only do that with the tall, hot ones.”

Franky reached over and playfully shoved Bridget’s shoulder, and Bridget returned the gesture and giggled. “Your turn there, tall, hot one.”

They played through the game, both getting married and collecting kids, houses, pets and money along the way. When it came time to end the game or “retire” as it was referred to, Bridget chose ‘Countryside Acres’ effectively letting Franky win the game since she judged that the brunette had accumulated a much larger pile of cash than she had. When it came time for Franky to choose her retirement spot, she also chose ‘Countryside Acres’.

“Baby, what are you doing?” The blonde questioned.

“Moving into the old folks home with you, what does it look like?” Franky grinned.

“But you could go to ‘Millionaire Estates’ and win. You have way more money than me.”

“Yeah but I’d be there alone. What would we do, sit and look at each other from our opposite porches but never actually be together? I’d rather have you beside me in our rocking chairs than be a millionaire.” With that she cleared her money, LIFE tiles and stock papers off the table and into the box with a swipe of her arm, and quickly did the same with Bridget’s. “See? All good.” She said smiling and pointing to their two tokens together at the end point of the game.

Bridget had a look of shock on her face for a moment, but then let out a laugh. She turned serious however, when she turned and caught the look in the brunette’s eyes. Slowly, Franky reached over and placed her hand against Bridget’s cheek. It was the same touch she had used in the kitchen a few nights ago. It was so light and gentle, and yet it sent shockwaves through the older woman’s body. The brunette leaned in and kissed her, slowly at first, and then with more intensity. The older woman moved to straddle Franky’s lap, and wrapped her arms around her neck.

The brunette wanted to touch every inch of her; wanted to memorize it. She ran her hands from the older woman’s hips down her thighs and then back up again feeling how the muscles quivered and flexed under her touch thanks to the thin fabric of the blonde’s pants. She grabbed Bridget’s hips and pulled her down into her lap further causing the blonde to moan at the increased friction, and gently nip at Franky’s bottom lip. Her fingers danced at the hem of Bridget’s shirt, dipping underneath once in awhile to touch bare skin.

“Take it off.” Bridget murmured against Franky’s lips when she felt her once again move her hand ever so slightly under her fitted tee.

Franky slowed down the kiss. She knew where this would go if she didn’t, and she didn’t want to do this here right now, not like this. She knew Bridget couldn’t stay the night, and she didn’t want their first time to be a quick fuck on the floor before the blonde had to leave. What she wanted, what the older woman deserved, was to be worshipped, again and again, with no time limits in place. She pulled back and looked at the blonde, and saw her blue eyes had darkened and her chest was rising and falling quickly. Franky reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind the other woman’s ear that had fallen, and Bridget leaned her head into the touch of the younger woman’s fingers, their eyes never leaving each other.

“You okay, baby?” The blonde asked after a few seconds.

“Yeah, I am.” Franky ran her hand down the side of Bridget’s neck and continued down her arm until she finally laced their fingers together.

“Tell me what you’re thinking.” The blonde urged when Franky remained quiet. The younger woman looked up at her again. She had seen her share of therapists in her lifetime that had pushed and prodded her, trying to make her open up and talk to them. She had almost always refused to say much, and her first instinct was to shake her head and move on to a different topic, but something made her stop. Bridget wasn’t one of those therapists, she reminded herself. She was just someone trying to connect with her.

“I’m thinking that I don’t want our first time to happen here, on the floor, in the few minutes before you have to go home.” She was never one to be overly open with her feelings, but something made her trust Bridget.

“Oh, baby.” The blonde leaned in and gave Franky a soft kiss. “We don’t have to do anything that we’re not both on board with.”

The brunette let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding, “It’s not that I don’t want to, because I really fucking want to,” both her and Bridget laughed, “it’s just that I want more than what can happen right now.”

“I know, baby. I know.”

They sat together sharing small kisses and touches. Once, Franky let her lips venture across Bridget’s jaw and they found the soft spot below her ear. The blonde took in a sharp breath, and Franky felt a slight shiver go through the smaller woman.

“I found your spot.” The blonde felt her grin against her neck.

“One of many.” Bridget pulled back and winked at the younger woman with a playful smile on her face. She glanced over to the clock. “I really should be going now, even though I hate to.”

“I know.” Franky was a bit sad, but she knew this was what had to happen.

“Vera will want to get home, and Emily will be upset if she wakes up during the night and I’m not the one there with her.”

“Gidge, you don’t have to explain. It’s all good.” With that, they got up off the floor, and Bridget began gathering her things so that she could leave.

Standing at the door, she leaned in and gave Franky a long, slow goodbye kiss. “I’ll call you later.”

“You’d better.” Franky gave her a cheeky grin, and with that Bridget headed down the hallway and out of the building. She paid almost no attention to the woman she passed on her way out.

A few seconds later, Franky heard a knock on the door of her apartment.

“Ay Gidge, did you forget something?” She asked swinging the door open with a big smile on her face. The woman standing at the door wasn’t Bridget, but Kim. “What do you want?”

“Is that why you called everything off with me?” Kim yelled, pointing down the hall in the direction that Bridget had left.

Normally, Franky would have tried to spare the girl’s feelings. While she was never one to get attached, until now, she certainly understood that that wasn’t the case with everyone, and tried to cause as little pain as possible. With Kim however, she’d tried that already, and it clearly didn’t get through to her, so she decided to be blunt.

“Actually, yeah it is.”

“You fucking bitch! Were you screwing her when we fucked?” Kim’s voice was getting louder and Franky was worried that she’d start attracting the attention of her neighbours. Just then, she saw Mrs, Watson stick her head out into the hallway to see what was going on.

“Kim, stop. You need to leave now. We’re done and nothing will change that.” Franky tried to close the door, but Kim pushed it hard enough that she stumbled back a few steps, and the angry woman took that as her opportunity to enter the apartment.

She looked around, surveying the kitchen, seeing the empty wine glasses still sitting on the counter, and the board game box on the coffee table. “Oh how fucking romantic.” She grabbed one of the wine glasses and threw it at Franky who ducked just in time for it to fly past her head and shatter against the wall. It was quickly followed by the second glass. It hit the wall with enough force that one of the larger, broken pieces slid back across the floor stopping about a foot in front of Kim. She bent down to pick it up intending to launch it at Franky again, when the brunette rushed forward and grabbed her wrist.

“Drop it.” She was boiling mad inside, but she was trying to remain calm and just get Kim out of her apartment as quickly as possible.

“Fuck you.” Kim spat back at her and struggled against her grip.

“Fucking drop it now and get the fuck out or I’m calling the cops.” She knew Kim had been in a bit of trouble recently, and having the cops called would be the last thing she’d want. She let the piece of glass drop to the floor and Franky noticed that it had cut into her hand while she was holding it. “Fucking hell Kim.”

She walked over to the kitchen, bringing Kim with her. She wasn’t letting go of her until she was on her way out of the apartment.

“Here.” The brunette handed her a towel from the kitchen to wrap her hand in, and then walked her to the door. She guided her out into the hall. “I don’t want to see or hear from you anymore.”

“Fuck you.” Kim threw the bloody towel back at Franky, and the brunette caught it and slammed the door, not giving the other woman the chance to say anything more.

********

Bridget arrived home to find that Vera had had a lovely evening with Emily. They had watched one of the new Disney movies that had just come out, and then Emily had gone to bed and fallen asleep easily.

“So how was your date?” Vera asked her friend.

“It was good.” Bridget smiled, thinking back to not that long ago. “It was really good.”

“Well, you did come home in different clothes.” The small brunette raised her eyebrows and grinned at Bridget.

“Oh! No, no, nothing like that. We just had dinner and talked. It was the best date I’ve been on in a long time.”

“Well, I can look after Emily whenever you want.”

Bridget knew that her friend didn’t have any children of her own or young nieces or nephews, and she had met Emily enough times that the child loved spending time with her.

“I’ll definitely be taking you up on that. I got an email from Tim earlier today. It looks like he may be extending his business trip for another month.”

“Is she going to be okay with that?” Vera nodded her head toward the room down the hall where Emily was sleeping.

“Oh, yeah, she’ll be fine as long as she’s staying with me, which of course she will be. And she adores Franky.”

“I’m glad it’s all working out. I need to head out now though. I have to put in some overtime tomorrow before Channing’s visit next week.” Vera walked towards the door and put on her coat.

“Thanks again, I really do appreciate it.”

“Anytime.” Vera gave Bridget a quick hug and left the house.

The blonde locked the door behind her friend and went through the house, turning off the lights on her way to her bedroom.

Once inside, she changed into a singlet and a clean pair of underwear. She crawled under the covers, and remembered her promise to call Franky later. She picked up her phone off the bedside table and quickly found the number she was looking for. She tapped her finger on Franky’s name and put the phone to her ear, waiting for the other woman to answer.

 

********

 

Franky went about cleaning up the mess that Kim had made. She swept up the glass and placed it in the garbage can, and was in the process of putting away the board game that she and Bridget had played and starting the dishwasher. She picked up the towel Kim had thrown at her just as her phone rang. Her face lit up when she saw the name on the display.

“Hey Gidge.”

“Hey, baby.” Bridget thought that she could hear something off in Franky’s voice but then decided that maybe the other woman was just tired.

“What are you up to?”

“Not a lot. Vera just left and now I’m in bed.”

Franky smiled to herself. “Is that so?”

“Mmhmm. I had a really good time tonight.”

Franky could hear the smile in the other woman’s voice. “It’s always a good time with me, babe.”

“Mmm” Bridget hummed, thinking of some other good times she wanted to have with the brunette. She had been more than willing to stop when she realized that was what Franky wanted, but her body was still on fire from earlier, and talking to Franky again was stoking the embers inside her. Thinking of everything she wanted to do and have done to her, she began drawing small circles on her stomach over the thin fabric of her shirt. After a few moments of being lost in her thoughts, Franky’s voice pulled her back to the present.

“Gidge?”

“Yeah, baby?” The blonde replied lazily.

“Not that I don’t love filling in the silence here with my imagination, but you gotta talk, babe.” Bridget could hear the amusement in the brunette’s voice.

“I just wish you were here with me.” Ah, so there it was, exactly what Franky had thought the blonde was getting at. The other woman was still turned on, and fuck if it wasn’t sexy as hell.

Franky considered her next line. She had told the blonde not that much earlier in the night that she wanted to wait. The reason wasn't because they both didn’t want it to happen, it was solely because she knew Bridget had to leave soon, and they both understood that. A solution was being offered to her, she just had to decide to take it.

“Well that could be arranged.” Franky no sooner had the words out of her mouth when she heard the text message tone in her ear. Bridget had sent her address. “I’ll be there. Give me 15.” The brunette hung up the phone and threw the towel she was holding under the sink. She’d deal with that later when she did the laundry. She grabbed her wallet and keys and practically jogged out to her car.

Chapter Text

Exactly thirteen minutes later, Bridget received a text from Franky saying that she was standing outside on the porch. She smiled to herself thinking there had definitely been some speed limits broken on the way. She walked out to the door in just her underwear and singlet. Why bother to put on pants if they’d just be coming off in a few minutes anyway?

She opened the door to find Franky standing there in the same outfit that she had been wearing when Bridget left her apartment.

Franky scanned the blonde’s body with her eyes, taking note that she was in just her underwear. “You don’t mess around, do ya Gidge?”

“Nope.” The older woman reached out and pulled Franky into the house, closing and locking the door behind her, and led her down the hall to the bedroom. “That’s Em’s room,” she said as they passed a door on the left, “but she’s a heavy sleeper.”

Franky didn’t miss the implications of the blonde’s comment.

When they reached the end of the hallway, Bridget entered a door on the right and the brunette followed, quietly closing it behind her so as not to risk waking the sleeping child a couple of rooms away.

The blonde’s lips were on Franky’s immediately. She had to stand on the tips of her toes, so the tall brunette reached around and bent over slightly, putting her hands on the back of the older woman’s thighs and lifting her up. Bridget responded by immediately wrapping her legs around the other woman’s hips, and her arms around her neck as Franky began to walk them towards the bed.

When the brunette felt her knees hit the bed, she broke their kiss and gently laid Bridget down, lowering herself so she was hovering just a few inches above the blonde’s face. A couple of times, the older woman tried to reconnect her lips with Franky’s, but each time Franky would move back, just out of reach and smile.

“Baby,” Bridget whined, “please.”

“Relax Gidge, we’ve got all night and I intend to use it.” She ghosted her lips across the blonde’s jawline and began placing small kisses down her neck. She let her hand trail down to where Bridget’s singlet met her underwear and dipped under it, feeling the muscle twitch as the woman squirmed underneath her, silently begging her to hurry up and get to where she desperately needed her.

Bridget tugged at the bottom of Franky’s v-neck and the brunette sat up allowing her to pull it off over her head. After discarding the shirt somewhere over the side of the bed, the blonde removed her own top and tossed it aside, making the woman above her chuckle.

“Getting impatient, hmm?” Franky teased, “Had to take matters into your own hands there?” She let her hand fall to the blonde’s breast, which was now fully exposed and ran her fingertips across a hardened nipple.

“Ahh,” Bridget gasped, “If you don’t hurry up and fuck me, I might have to do more than just take my own shirt off.”

Any intention that Franky had of taking it slow was quickly evaporating. She wanted to take the time to show the blonde just how much she cared about her, but if Bridget wanted something fast and intense right now, then Franky would gladly put her own plans aside for the moment.

She quickly unhooked and discarded her own bra as well as the rest of her clothes and laid back on the blonde, crashing their lips together. Bridget’s hands felt like they were everywhere at once. They were in Franky’s hair, pulling gently; trailing up and down her back, nails lightly scratching and slipping down to cup her ass and pull her closer to the woman underneath her.

The brunette trailed hot kisses down to the blonde’s breasts, stopping to pay particular attention to each nipple, sucking and biting gently.

“Jesus, fuck.” Franky looked up to see Bridget with her head thrown back, showing off the tension in her neck muscles.

The brunette continued her way down the blonde’s stomach. Bridget could feel the cool metal of Franky’s silver necklaces trailing down ahead of the kisses from her hot mouth. When she got to the blonde’s underwear, she took the elastic in her teeth, pulling on it and letting it snap back into place, earning a moan from the woman beneath her. She hooked her fingers in each side and the older woman raised her hips slightly to allow Franky to slide her underwear down and off over her feet.

She trailed kisses from Bridget’s inner thigh to her already slick folds and wasted no time running her tongue up to the blonde’s clit and flicking it gently with the tip. As she settled in, Franky placed Bridget’s left leg over her shoulder to allow herself more access and immediately felt a hand back in her hair, holding her in place right where the older woman wanted her, and tugging gently when she hit a particularly good spot.

“Yes, baby,” Franky latched onto the blonde’s clit and lightly sucked while flicking it with her tongue. She could start to feel small tremors in the leg draped over her shoulder. “I need you inside, baby.”

Franky moved two fingers to Bridget’s opening and, as soon as the blonde felt her there, she pushed her hips forward causing Franky’s fingers to sink deep inside her. Franky moved her fingers, curling them upwards each time as she dragged them out causing the blonde to now utter a string of curse words. The brunette could tell the other woman was close. Bridget’s heel was digging into her back and she was sure she’d have a bruise there tomorrow but she didn’t care. She sped up her fingers and gave one final flick with her tongue on the blonde’s clit and Bridget fell over the edge, chanting Franky’s name like a prayer, and reaching out for anything she could grab onto.

After the initial waves of pleasure had subsided, Franky moved up Bridget’s body and planted a deep kiss on her lips. Bridget moaned, tasting herself on Franky’s tongue.

The blonde reached down between them and ran her finger over Franky’s clit and down her slippery folds. Franky grunted as Bridget slipped two fingers inside of her and started a deep steady rhythm. Instead of easing her fingers out of the blonde, Franky began to pick up the pace to match Bridget’s.

“Fuck, Franky, I can’t.” Bridget protested, thinking that she couldn’t possibly go again after the orgasm she’d just had but, after a few strokes of Franky’s fingers inside her, she felt the tension in her stomach start to build again, and her words died on her lips, replaced by moans.

“Yeah, you can, babe.” Franky smiled against the blonde’s neck, feeling Bridget’s muscles start to tighten around her fingers again. She could feel her own release building in the pit of her stomach faster than she had anticipated. Between Bridget’s fingers, and the moans coming out of the older woman’s mouth, Franky quickly found herself at the edge and a swipe of Bridget’s thumb across her clit was the final thing she needed to release the coil in her stomach and let herself fall. Feeling Franky clamp down on her fingers and hearing her moans as she rode out her orgasm was enough to send Bridget over right after her.

After a few moments, when their breathing had returned to almost normal, Franky picked her head up from the crook of Bridget’s neck, and kissed her gently.

“Fuck.” Was all Bridget managed to say, and Franky gave a small laugh. “That was….” Bridget trailed off, not even able to find the word she wanted.

Franky moved to lay on her side and pulled the blonde close to her, wrapping her in her arms. “You okay, Gidge?” She asked, kissing her temple.

“Yeah, that was just, I don’t know…not like anything I’ve ever had before.”

Franky smiled, pleased that she had that effect on the blonde. “And to think, I haven’t even brought out the kinky stuff yet.”

Bridget turned to look at her, eyes wide. “Like what??”

“You’ll see babe. It’s always better to show than to tell.”

They both laughed, and it wasn’t long before they were asleep in each other’s arms.

 

********

Franky woke to Bridget still curled into her, sleeping soundly. She could just see the first rays of sunlight starting to brighten the sky outside. As much as she didn’t want to leave, she didn’t think it would be good to have Emily find her here in the morning. She knew Bridget would tell the girl about them eventually, but she thought bringing it up for the first time in this type of situation might lead to too many questions.

She placed a light kiss on the end of the blonde’s nose, “Gidge?” She whispered.

All she got in return was an incoherent mumble. She tried again, “Gidge, wake up. I need to go, and I want to say goodbye.” She moved her hand up and down Bridget’s back, trying to gently bring her awake.

“Not yet.” The blonde mumbled, snuggling in closer to Franky.

“Gidge, I need to go before Em comes in here looking for you.” With the mention of her niece’s name, Bridget’s eyes came open and she quickly glanced towards the door. Franky gave a small laugh. “Forgot about her, ay?”

“I’m just not used to ...yeah, I guess.” The blonde sat up in the bed and ran her hands through her hair to get it out of her face and laughed. “I will tell her about us.”

“I know, but just not like this.” Bridget nodded, and Franky pulled her down for one last kiss before she got out of bed and started gathering her clothes.

“How did this end up way over here?” She picked up Bridget’s singlet from one of the tall house plants on the other side of the room and tossed it back onto the bed for her. Bridget just shrugged and put it back on.

They were saying goodbye at the front door after Bridget had carefully listened to make sure she heard no sounds from Emily’s room before letting Franky out of the bedroom. They heard a key turn in the lock, and before either of them had time to move, the door opened hitting Franky in the shoulder.

“Ow, what the..?” Franky stepped back and opened the door wide to see who was outside.

She was met with Vera standing on the front porch, her hand still raised as if holding the doorknob and looking rather confused at the tall brunette standing inside.

“I, uh…” Vera began.

Bridget stepped out from behind Franky, and as her friend looked back and forth between the two of them a small, knowing smile crept onto her face.

“Vera, this is Franky. Franky, this is my friend, Vera, who I told you about.”

Franky held her hand out “Ah yeah, nice to meet you, Gov. Gidge talks about you a lot.” Vera shook the brunette’s hand.

“Come inside. What brings you by so early, Vera?” Bridget asked her friend.

“I was just on my way into work and I realized I had left one of my files here last night. I thought I could just sneak in quietly and pick it up on the way.” Vera smiled awkwardly, “Sorry about hitting you with the door by the way.” She said to Franky.

“Ah, it’s no worries. I should be going though before….” She nodded her head in the direction of Emily’s room.

“Yeah.” Bridget was realizing just how much she didn’t want her to leave, but she gave her a quick kiss anyway and Franky headed out the door.

Just then Emily appeared around the corner, looked at Bridget and Vera then proceeded to look into the bathroom, Bridget’s bedroom, and finally, the kitchen and living area. Not finding what she was looking for, she returned to the entryway.

“What are you looking for, sweetheart?” Bridget asked her niece.

“Where’s Franky?” The little girl asked sleepily.

Bridget glanced up at Vera, and Vera assumed the look she was giving her meant that she hadn’t mentioned anything about her and Franky to the girl.

“I don’t know love. It’s very early. She’s probably asleep at her house.” Bridget tried to sound as cool and calm as possible.

“No, she’s here. I heard her just now.” Emily went to check all the rooms again.

“She’s too smart.” Vera gave a small laugh.

“I know,” Bridget sighed, “Is Franky still out there?”

Vera opened the door a crack and peered out. “Yep, she’s standing by her car talking on her phone.”

“Okay, give me a sec.” Bridget moved past her friend and walked out to the street where Franky had parked her car last night. Seeing her approach, Franky hung up her phone and put it in her pocket.

“Something wrong Gidge?”

“No, well…no. It’s just…Emily heard you in the house and now she’s looking all over for you, asking where you are.”

“Aw shit, I’m sorry,” Franky’s eyes went wide, “Wait…she heard me last night? Or this morning?”

Bridget let out a loud laugh, “She heard us all talking in the hall this morning, baby. You’re so cute.” She took Franky’s face in both hands and gave her a kiss. “Anyway, you might as well come back in, she won’t give it up easily, and we have a whole ten second walk to make up an excuse as to why you’re here.”

Bridget took Franky by the hand and led her back to the house. When they entered, they could hear Emily talking excitedly in the kitchen with Vera about the movie they had watched the night before. When Franky rounded the corner the girl’s eyes lit up and she ran to greet her, throwing her arms around the tall brunette’s legs and squeezing tightly.

“Hey bub.” Franky reached down and ruffled the girl’s hair.

“Why are you at Auntie Bridge’s house?” the young girl asked looking up at Franky.

Wow, she didn’t waste any time getting to the point either, Franky thought; it must be a Westfall thing. She crouched down, “Well, your Auntie tells me that you really like my class.” The girl nodded, “And that you want to cook at home but she doesn’t really know how to help you do that.” The child giggled and nodded again. “So, since your Auntie and I are friends, she asked me to come and teach you how to cook some breakfast stuff. How does that sound?” A huge grin broke out on the girl’s face and she ran down the hall to change out of her pyjamas and wash up.

Franky stood to find the two women staring at her. “What?” She asked, thinking she’d missed something.

“You’re really good with her.” Vera said.

“Ah, well, it helps that kids normally like me.” Franky gave a small grin.

“It would, yeah. Anyway, I should be going. I really just came to pick this up.” She held up the file in her hand and started toward the door.

“Hey, Vera, why don’t you stay too? Me and Em will cook for everyone.” Franky washed her hands and started looking through the kitchen, grabbing ingredients while she waited for Emily to return.

“Oh, I couldn’t. I should leave you guys to…”

“Nonsense,” Bridget interrupted her friend. “We’d love to have you. And Franky makes the best, well, everything.” Vera smiled and reluctantly agreed after Franky insisted that it was no problem if she stayed.

The two friends sat out on the patio at the table with their coffees that Franky had made for them while she and the young girl were busy inside making breakfast for everyone.

“So…” Vera began.

“So…?” Bridget waited for her friend to continue her thought.

“So, that’s Franky.”

“That is definitely Franky.” Bridget couldn’t even say her name without smiling.

Her friend laughed, “And I’m guessing she didn’t just show up at your door like I did this morning?”

“No, she showed up at my door last night after you left.” Bridget laughed when she saw Vera’s mouth hanging open, “Not unannounced ...I asked her over.”

Vera raised her eyebrows, “So I guess you weren’t lying when you said it was a really good date.” Vera sipped her coffee and Bridget just smiled and winked. “She’s not what I had pictured in my mind though.”

“What did you have pictured?” Bridget asked.

“I don’t know, she’s just so…” Vera was staring off towards the kitchen and Bridget followed her gaze to see Franky showing Emily how to make the perfect omelette. “So ...hot.”

Bridget nearly choked on her coffee at the comment she wasn’t at all expecting from her friend.

Vera continued, “I mean, I’m not, you know, gay….at all…but I can appreciate when someone is attractive and yeah….good choice there!”

Bridget gave a laugh at the awkwardness of her friend trying to explain her thoughts. “Um, thanks?”

Just then Franky and Emily came out carrying plates of fresh, hot food.

“Okay, we’ve got omelettes, we’ve got bacon, we’ve got toast.” Franky announced as they sat the plates down one by one on the table.

Vera took a bite of her omelette and moaned in appreciation. “Oh my god…”

“See? I told you she was good.” Bridget said, pointing her fork at her friend.

They all laughed and enjoyed their food in the early morning sun.

Chapter Text

Bridget and Franky once again found themselves at the front door in an embrace, saying goodbye. Vera had left right after breakfast, and the three of them had spent a lazy morning in the backyard. Franky had offered to stay and be there when Bridget talked to Emily, but the blonde had insisted that she could handle it.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?” Franky asked, pulling Bridget in for another quick kiss.

“Mmmm,” Bridget hummed. “I’ll always want you to stay, but I think I should take on this one on my own.”

“Okay, tomorrow though, I was thinking, we should all go to Luna Park.”

“Oh, I don’t think Emily has been there, she’ll love it!” Bridget smiled and thought of how much she enjoyed going to the park as a child, and she knew that her niece would love it. She was touched that Franky wanted to include Emily as well. The last woman she had dated couldn’t stand it when Emily was there for a visit, let alone had wanted to include her in anything that she didn’t absolutely have to.

“I’ll meet you here at 9am then.” Franky smiled, gave Bridget one last kiss and headed out the door.

Bridget found Emily in the living room, sitting at the coffee table with her drawing paper and markers. She sat down beside the girl. Bridget quickly scanned over the papers that were lying on the table and saw what she assumed were drawings of Franky teaching her class, a picture of the princess from the movie she had watched last night with Vera, and a third picture that Emily was still working on that looked to be herself, with Bridget and Franky, standing in front of a house.

“Those look lovely.” Emily glanced up briefly, and smiled then went back to working on her drawing. Bridget continued, silently thanking the child for giving her a way to start this conversation. She pointed to the drawing of the three of them, “Why don’t you tell me about this one?”

“It’s you and me and Franky and that’s your house and there’s going to be a big garden with lots of flowers over here.” She pointed to a blank area of the page beside the house she had drawn.

“Well that sounds lovely, darling. You must think Franky is a pretty nice person if you’re including her in this drawing with us?”

“Yeah. You think she’s nice too. She said she was your friend this morning.” Bridget smiled thinking of the way that Franky had so easily come up with the story that she was here to teach the girl how to cook breakfast.

“Yes, she’s my friend but, she’s more than that too. Like a special kind of friend.” The blonde wasn’t sure how much her niece knew about this kind of stuff, and she didn’t want to overstep her role by having conversations with her that maybe should have been had with her father.

“She’s your girlfriend.” It was a statement, not a question, and Bridget was thrown off momentarily.

“Why do you say that, love? Do you know what a girlfriend is?” Bridget thought that maybe the girl was using the word in the wrong way.

“I saw you kiss her outside this morning when she got here.” The blonde remembered how they had returned to find Emily with Vera in the kitchen, and a quick glance out the window confirmed that the girl would have been able to see them talking by Franky’s car from where she had been sitting on the stool.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah and in school, Dylan said that Lily was his girlfriend, and he tried to kiss her but she didn’t like him and she punched him in the stomach so, since you kissed Franky that means you want her to be your girlfriend and since she didn’t punch you in the stomach that means she wants to be your girlfriend too.” The young girl continued on drawing, like what she had said was the most logical and obvious thing in the world, and Bridget couldn’t help but let out a big laugh that filled the room.

“Well, I guess my job here is done. Good talk, love.” She gave the girl a kiss on the head as she got up and left her to continue her drawings while she prepared their lunch.

********

As soon as Franky got back to her apartment she sat down with her laptop and opened up the page for Luna Park. She scrolled through the page that listed all the rides and made a mental note of the ones she thought looked like fun. She had only intended to go online to buy their passes but then she started looking around. She knew that this level of planning was probably ridiculous for something as simple as a day trip to a park, but she wanted it to be perfect.

She heard her phone chime and glanced down to where it was lying on the couch beside her.

Text Message from: Kim Chang

She ignored it and went back to looking through the list of rides. A few seconds later, her phone went off again:

Incoming Call: Kim Chang

She reached down and pressed “Ignore”. Not even 30 seconds later the screen lit up again:

Incoming Call: Kim Chang

“Oh for fuck sake, Kim.” Franky mumbled to herself. She pressed ignore again, and then opened her contacts, scrolling until she found Kim’s name. She opened her profile, went straight to the bottom and clicked “Block this Caller”.

She tossed her phone back onto the couch and went to the tickets section of the Luna Park site. She purchased a family pass for the three of them and sent it to the printer on her desk. She smiled to herself. “Family”. That was a word that Franky rarely, if ever, had used in her life. She knew that what she had with Bridget was very new, but she had a good feeling about something for once in her life. She also knew that Emily wouldn’t be there with Bridget forever, but even when her Dad was back, she’d still get to see her once in awhile. It occurred to Franky that maybe for once in her life, she could also use the word “happy’.

 

********

 

It seemed that bedtime phone calls with Franky were quickly going to become the norm. Bridget once again found herself in bed with the phone pressed to her ear, eyes shut and listening to Franky’s voice; pretending that she was lying next to her instead of in her own bed across the city.

“I had a talk with Em after you left.” Bridget began.

“How did that go? Hopefully not too bad.”

“She’d already figured it out for herself.” Bridget gave a small laugh.

“How is that even possible, babe? Is she psychic?” Franky joked but she thought briefly that it could be a possibility.

“No, baby. Apparently she saw me kiss you outside by your car, and since you didn’t punch me, that meant you were my girlfriend.”

“What the fuck, Gidge?” Franky and Bridget were both in full on laughter by this point and after they were able to catch their breath, the blonde relayed the story behind her niece’s reasoning.

“So, the real moral of the story is that neither of us would survive a day as secret agent spies?” Franky asked.

“Oh definitely not.”

“All ready for tomorrow? Em excited?” Franky asked. She’d never been to an amusement park as a child. Her mother never bothered to take her and none of her foster families ever spent any extra money on her so she could be included in their fun activities. She’d gone a time or two as an adult but it wasn’t the same and she was excited to go with Bridget and be able to take Emily with them.

“I actually haven’t mentioned it to her yet. I want it to be a surprise when you get here tomorrow. I also wanted her to sleep tonight.” Bridget knew that if she had told her niece about the plans for tomorrow that the girl would either end up lying awake most of the night, too excited to sleep, or, she’d make her way into Bridget’s room and crawl in bed with her, keeping both of them awake by asking how much longer until morning. Either way, one or both of them would end up being tired and cranky and wouldn’t fully enjoy their day out.

“Ah, good call. Speaking of sleeping tonight, I should let you go. It’s getting late. I’ll be there by 9 tomorrow though, yeah?” This was always the worst part of every phone call with Bridget; saying goodbye.

“Okay baby, goodnight.”

“Goodnight.” Franky waited until she heard the phone disconnect, never wanting to be the first one to hang up. She turned over and closed her eyes. After a few minutes, she realized that she might be the one not sleeping that night.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Bridget woke up early to pack the things she needed for their day at the park. About an hour before Franky was due to arrive, she quietly entered Emily’s room to wake the sleeping girl, and get her ready for the big day they had planned.

“Em.” Bridget knelt down beside her niece’s bed and spoke softly. Getting no response, she reached out and brushed her thumb over the girl’s cheek. “Em, darling, wake up.”

The girl began to stir and slowly opened her eyes, “Auntie Bridge?” She said sleepily.

“Yeah, baby, it’s me. You need to get up now okay? And get dressed.”

“Is it almost time for school?”

The blonde smiled. She had clearly woken her from a deep sleep, and Emily didn’t even know what day it was.

“No, dear, it’s Sunday but we’ve got something special to do today so we need to get ready, alright?” Bridget spoke softly, as the girl was still in the process of waking up. She slowly nodded her head and began to sit up, rubbing her eyes.

 

********

Franky’s thoughts last night had been correct; she was the one who wasn’t going to be sleeping. She figured she had gotten in maybe a good couple of hours, but the rest of the time she’d spent watching the clock. She had briefly wondered if she had anything in her medicine cabinet that said it may cause drowsiness, but then decided against that, as she didn’t want to feel the after-effects today. She threw a few things into a small tote bag, and headed out the door, deciding that she’d definitely need to stop at the coffee shop on the way there for something strong.

The shop wasn’t too busy when she got there, being that it was still fairly early on a Sunday morning. She walked up to the counter and ordered coffees for herself and Bridget, and a hot chocolate for Emily. As she waited for her drinks, she heard a familiar voice call out.

“Franky.”

She turned to see Kim walking up behind her. “I don’t have time for this right now, Kim.” She wasn’t going to make a scene, but she wasn’t going to be overly polite.

“Did you block my number?” Getting no response from the brunette, Kim continued, “Because I called and called yesterday afternoon, and it kept going to voicemail right away. Then I drove by your apartment building, and your car was there, so I know you weren’t at work. So why didn’t you answer?”

“You drove by my apartment? What the fuck? Are you stalking me?” Franky really wished those drinks would hurry up and arrive so she could leave.

“No, no, I just wanted to know where you were; why you wouldn’t pick up your phone.” She wrung her hands nervously.

After what seemed like an eternity, the barista sat a tray of drinks down on the counter. Kim’s eyes shifted to them and saw that they weren’t just for Franky.

“Ah. Okay. I see. Going to see that bitch I saw leaving your apartment the other night?” Kim spat out.

The brunette picked up the tray and turned to leave. Whatever else Kim said after that, Franky didn’t hear, and didn’t care.

 

********

Franky arrived at Bridget’s house a few minutes later and parked her car on the street. She grabbed the drinks and her bag and made her way to the front door. It was unlocked, so she let herself inside. She was just setting the drinks on the kitchen counter when she felt two arms wrap around her from behind and heard a “Hey baby” mumbled into the back of her neck.

She turned around in the embrace and was met with Bridget’s blue eyes. “Hey yourself,” she said, dipping her head down to capture Bridget’s lips. Franky had meant for it to be a simple good morning kiss but the blonde moved her hand around to the back of her head, holding her there and deepening the kiss, eventually ending it with a soft bite to the taller woman’s bottom lip.

Franky couldn’t help the smile that came across her face.

“Uh, Gidge…” She looked around the room, then down the hall, trying to see where the young girl was.

“Don’t worry, she’s in her bedroom, and the door is closed. We’ll hear her when she comes out.” Bridget giggled against Franky’s lips.

“You’re a dirty bird but in that case…” Franky picked the blonde up and sat her down on the counter.

She leaned in capturing Bridget’s lips again and swiping her tongue across the older woman’s bottom lip. She was granted access immediately and Bridget moaned into her mouth. Just then, they heard a door open at the end of the hall.

Franky backed away, “To be continued.” She said winking at the blonde who was still sitting on the counter.

Emily came around the corner into the kitchen, and as soon as she saw Franky, she ran to her, giving her a big hug.

“Hey there, I got you something.” She reached over and picked up the hot chocolate from the counter, handing it to the girl.

“Thanks Franky.” She took a drink and then spotted her aunt. “You said people aren’t allowed to sit on the counter. That’s what you told me when I climbed up there once.”

“Yes, well, uh, hey Franky, why don’t you tell her what we’re doing today?” Bridget wasn’t about to try to come up with an excuse for being where she was, so she opted for deflection instead.

“Auntie Bridge hasn’t told you yet?” The girl shook her head. “Ah. Welllll, we are going to Luna Park!”

The young girl jumped up and down with excitement. “All of us?”

“Yep, all of us!” Bridget had made her way down from the counter and went to gather the things they’d need for the day. She looked back towards Franky, “We’ll take my car, yeah? Since it’s got her seat already in it.”

Franky nodded, “Yep, sounds good. Lead the way.”

As Bridget got Emily buckled into her car seat in the back, Franky doubled checked that she had the tickets with her and then used Bridget’s key to lock the door. As they pulled out of the driveway and headed down the road, neither of them noticed the car parked a short distance down from where Franky had left hers.

Kim had followed Franky from the shop and watched her go into the house, then come out a short time later with the blonde she had seen at the apartment that night. What she hadn’t expected was that there would be a kid involved. Franky Doyle did not play house with anyone.

 

********

When they arrived at the park gate, Bridget took out her wallet and Franky put out her hand to cover it.

“Already taken care of Gidge.” She held out the piece of paper she had printed to be scanned so they could get their bracelets.

“Franky, you didn’t have to do that.” The brunette shrugged. “At least let me give you some money.”

“Nah, I’ve got it, no worries.”

Bridget reluctantly put her wallet away saying that lunch and treats were on her and they stepped forward to the booth where they each had a brightly coloured bracelet placed around their wrist.

“Where to first?” Franky asked excitedly.

Emily spotted the Twin Dragon, a large ship, suspended in the air that swung back and forth like a pendulum and pointed at it excitedly. Just watching it already had the brunette’s stomach churning but she decided that she could tough it out. The three of them took their spot in the line. It wasn’t as bad as Franky thought it would be, and Emily squealed with delight every time the ride paused at the extreme end of its arc, then swung back in the opposite direction.

They made their way through the park, trying out almost every ride they came to. Emily had especially loved the carousel, and by the time they were ready to go eat lunch, Franky and Bridget had lost count as to how many times they had ridden on it.

They made their way to Cafe Luna for lunch. It was a bright, open restaurant; painted white inside with long, dark wooden tables. Franky and Emily gave Bridget their orders and went to find a table.

“So you having a fun day so far, bub?” Franky asked the child, sitting down at a table they had found off in a quiet corner.

Emily nodded enthusiastically, “Can we get fairy floss later? And I want to go on the scary train.”

Franky had seen the Ghost Train ride on the way through the park and remembered that it had been one of her favourites the last time she’d visited.

“Ohhh, yeah, that one’s a classic! There’s ghosts and skeletons and zombies!” The brunette lifted both of her hands and reached out for Emily, doing her best zombie impression from the classic horror movies. The girl gave a small scream then started to laugh.

Just then, Bridget arrived with their food. Cheeseburgers and fries for Franky and Emily, and a slice of pizza for herself.

“What’s going on here now?” She asked, smiling down at her niece as she sat the plates of food out in front of them.

“We’re going on the scary train!” Emily excitedly told her aunt, grabbing one of the fries from her plate.

“Oh, we are?” Bridget shot a questioning look at the brunette sitting across from her. She turned back to her niece. “Don’t you think that’s a bit scary? You might have a bad dream tonight.”

“I’m brave. And Franky says it’s a clas-, a cla-“ The girl struggled to find the word that Franky had used a few moments earlier.

“Classic” The brunette said between bites of her burger.

“Yeah, a classic. Thanks Franky.”

“Yes, thanks, Franky.” The blonde shot another look at her girlfriend and Franky felt like this was going to be a conversation they’d have later on. “Let’s just have lunch and then we can check out the rest of the park, yeah?”

The young girl dropped the subject of the scary ride and happily ate her lunch.

They continued on their way through the park, and after going on a few more rides and sharing some fairy floss as Franky had promised, they arrived at the carnival games. They all tried their hand at various games, but Franky was the only one to have any success. She played a dart toss game and won a teddy bear for Emily. The next game she tried was a target shooting game that used an electronic gun.

She gripped the gun, raised her arms, straightened them out in front of her, and began picking off the targets one by one. Bridget and Emily stood watching and Bridget wondered how she had never noticed before how toned her girlfriend’s arms were. She watched as the muscles in her forearm flexed each time she pulled the trigger and saw the total look of concentration on her face. The blonde was so rapt that she almost didn’t even realize when the game ended. She was brought back to reality when she realized that Franky was talking to her.

“Gidge, you alright?” Franky was holding out a stuffed penguin that she had just won.

“Yeah, yeah I’m fine.” Bridget reached out and took the toy from the brunette. “I was just distracted.” She looked around and realized that Emily wasn’t standing with them anymore.

Franky noticed the sudden look of panic on the blonde’s face, “She’s just over there playing another game.” She looked to where the younger woman was pointing to see Emily at the booth next to them. “So what got you all distracted, huh?” Franky asked, taking a step closer and seeing a slight blush creep into Bridget’s cheeks.

“I was just admiring the view.” The blonde was trying to play it casual.

“Is that so?” Franky took another step closer and reached out, putting her arm around the older woman’s waist. “And what part of “the view” got to you?”

The blonde playfully slapped the brunette’s arm, “Franky! Not here! Later.”

“I’ll hold you to that.” Franky gave her a quick peck on the lips and they turned their attention to watch the young girl trying to knock over a pyramid of bottles in the next booth.

It was late afternoon and they had seen and done pretty much everything in the park. As they were making their way to the gate, Emily spotted the Ghost Train ride again.

“Auntie Bridge?” Bridget felt the young girl tug on her hand but kept walking, hoping that she could avoid the topic of the scary ride again. “Auntie Bridge.” The girl tugged a little harder this time. “Can I please go on the train?”

Bridget stopped and looked down at the girl who looked to Franky for help.

“It might be a bit scary for you, yeah? We can come back another time when you’re a bit older and you can go on it then.” Franky had realized her mistake of getting the child excited about the ride at lunch and was trying to make it up to Bridget.

“Please.” The child looked back and forth between the two adults.

Bridget considered it for another moment. “Okay fine, but you know it might be scary, yeah?” The girl nodded and the three of them made their way over to the ride.

Emily loved the ride except for a couple of scary moments when some sort of monster jumped out at them. The train came to a stop and they exited the ride and continued on the way to the gate. Overall, it had been a good day and the two adults were confident that they had given the young girl some good memories to look back on.

They pulled into the driveway at Bridget’s house and Franky noticed a note under her car’s wiper. “I’ll be back in a sec.” She told Bridget and jogged over to grab the note. She opened it and felt a shiver run down her spine:

Never figured you were someone who’d play house. Your girlfriend’s kid is cute though. It’d be a shame if something happened to her. I told you this wasn’t over.

Franky ripped up the note and let the pieces drop from her hand, where they were carried away by the breeze. Fucking Kim, she thought. She must have followed her from the coffee shop that morning. Franky didn’t care what Kim said or did to her, but threatening Bridget or Emily was a different story. She never thought Kim would ever do anything to a kid but now she was starting to question that, and clearly she now knew where they lived.

Bridget and Emily were already in the house when Franky returned from her car.

“Em, you need to eat something for supper before you fall asleep. You look exhausted darling.” Bridget was trying to get some food into her niece before the child was out for the night but Emily kept refusing, just shaking her head. After a few more attempts, the blonde gave up and decided she would just put her to bed and if she woke up hungry later on, she’d deal with it then.

Franky was thankful for the few moments she had alone while Bridget was putting Emily to bed. She refused to let Kim get into her head but, at the same time she was worried about how far Kim was willing to go. She was putting away the dishes that had been left in the drying rack from breakfast when Bridget returned and hopped up to sit on the counter.

“You’re not allowed to sit on the counter.” Franky teased her. “House rules and all apparently.”

“I make them which means I can break them.” Her girlfriend laughed.

“Gidge, I’m sorry that I assumed she could go on that ride at lunch.”

“Don’t worry about it, baby. She was already asleep before I got out the door.” Bridget reached out, grabbing Franky’s shirt and pulling her close, parting her legs so the brunette could stand between them. “Besides, if she wakes up tonight, you’ll be the one who has to get up with her.”

Franky gave a mock gasp, “Is that so?”

Bridget nodded and wrapped her arms around the younger woman’s neck. “You know, I believe I was also promised something this morning. Maybe something that you’d continue?” The blonde drew out the last words as she let her lips hover close enough to Franky’s that she could feel her breath on them.

The brunette chuckled and began trailing kisses along Bridget’s jawline and down her neck, licking, sucking and biting as her hand moved to open the button on the blonde’s jeans. She found the spot under the older woman’s ear, that she remembered had been so sensitive the other night, and teased her there while she slowly slipped her hand into her underwear.

Franky’s fingers brushed over Bridget’s clit and the blonde tightened her grip around Franky’s neck, pulling her in closer. The brunette let her fingers slide over Bridget’s folds a couple of times, gathering the wetness that had pooled there, then returned to her clit, drawing slow tight circles around it. She could feel the blonde’s hand trying to slip under her pants. Franky had other plans though for tonight so she gently took Bridget’s hand with her free one and laced their fingers together.

She was about to protest when the younger woman whispered in her ear, “This is just about you right now, babe.” The blonde whimpered at hearing Franky’s words. “I do want you to tell me something though.”

“Mmmmm, what?” Bridget’s voice was barely more than a whisper and the brunette knew that the older woman was quickly losing control.

“Tell me what got you so distracted when you were watching me at the park today.” Franky pulled back slightly, making eye contact with the blonde.

“Franky…” The blonde trailed off.

“Tell me.” Franky slowed down her circles on the older woman’s clit slightly, hoping to drag it out a little longer.

“Mmmm. I was thinking that you looked hot, your arms and …..ah….they looked strong….” Bridget was getting lost in the sensation of Franky’s fingers again.

“And?” Franky prompted.

“And you looked so intense. And I pictured you.....fuck Franky.”

The brunette could feel the first twitches starting in the blonde’s body.

Franky moved back to the blonde’s neck and bit gently. “Pictured me what?” The only response from the blonde was a soft moan. “Tell me.”

“You taking me….” Bridget clearly was too far gone to form a coherent sentence, so Franky decided to help her out.

“Taking you and taking control? Franky moved back to the area below the blonde’s ear and ran the tip of her tongue along it. “Is that what you want?”

“Yes. Fuck….I’m..”

She sped up her fingers, and the blonde grabbed on to the back of Franky’s t-shirt, bunching it up in her fists as her body shook. She buried her face in Franky’s neck to keep as quiet as possible but she couldn’t help a couple of louder moans that escaped her mouth.

The brunette held her until she stopped shaking and slowly removed her hand from the blonde’s pants.

“Well, that might be something we’ll have to try out some time.” Franky said with a huge grin on her face.

Bridget blushed and put her head back down on the brunette’s shoulder. “It’d probably go pretty well, yeah.” They both laughed.

They stood there for a moment and Franky noticed that the blonde’s breathing was starting to slow and even out which meant she was falling asleep. “Gidge?”

“Yeah, baby?” Bridget mumbled.

“I don’t think Em was the only one who’s exhausted. Let’s go to bed.” She felt Bridget nod and placed a kiss on her temple before stepping back to allow her to get off the counter and follow her to the bedroom.

 

********

Franky woke with a start, breathing rapidly and covered in sweat. She dreamt that she was on the Ghost Train but instead of monsters jumping out to scare the three of them, it was Kim. She’d jump out and grab at Emily and Bridget, trying to pull them out of the ride and right before she woke up one of the Kims had almost succeeded in tearing the small girl out of her arms.

She checked that the blonde beside her was still sleeping, and then carefully slid out from under the covers. She walked quietly down the hallway and into the kitchen, turning on only the small light above the stove. She got herself a glass of water from the sink and stood looking out the window as she sipped the cool liquid.

It wasn’t long before she heard movement behind her. Turning, she saw Emily standing at the other end of the kitchen rubbing her eyes.

“Hey love, what are you doing up? Are you hungry?” Franky asked, remembering that the girl had been too tired to eat her supper earlier.

Emily shook her head.

“Thirsty?”

Another shake of her head.

The brunette finished her water and set the glass on the counter. She walked over to the small blonde and held out her hand. “Let’s go back to bed then, yeah? It’s still the middle of the night.” The girl took hold of Franky’s hand, but refused to walk down the hallway with her.

She crouched down and could now see that the child looked afraid.

“Did you have a bad dream, bub?” The girl nodded her head.

“The monsters came and…” The girl started to cry, tears running down her cheeks.

Franky reached out and wiped them away with her thumbs. “There’s no monsters here, I promise you. Do you want me to stay with you until you fall back to sleep?”

The girl nodded, “And Auntie Bridge too.”

“Okay, come on.” Instead of taking the girl back to her own room, Franky took her to the main bedroom. She climbed into the bed and immediately cuddled into her aunt. Bridget didn’t wake, but she must have sensed that the girl was there because she reached out and put an arm over her. The brunette crawled in behind her, putting the child in between them. “You feeling better now?”

The girl nodded and closed her eyes.

Bridget awoke in the morning to find that, at some point in the night, her niece had made her way into her bedroom, and between her and Franky. She reached over the small child and stroked the brunette’s cheek gently to wake her.

“Mmm, morning, babe.”

“Good morning, baby.” She looked down at the still sleeping child. “What happened?”

“You were right,” Franky’s voice was sleepy, “she had a bad dream and wanted to be near both of us. I offered to stay with her until she fell asleep in her own bed, but she didn’t want that. I should have listened to you yesterday and not let her on the ride.”

“Shhh, baby, it’s alright, She’ll be fine. We need to get up now though. She’s got school and we’ve both got work.” The blonde gently woke her niece and they all got up and ready for their days.

Chapter Text

The past two weeks had flown by, and Franky and Bridget had spent as much time together as they possibly could. Franky had probably only spent one night at her own place, and that was only because she thought she was coming down with something and didn't want to pass it along to Bridget or Emily.

Franky was currently preparing for her cooking class. She enjoyed all of her classes, but the children's class had a special place in her heart. She loved sharing her passion with students who were so eager to learn, and who soaked up everything she had to teach them.

"Okay, I want everyone to look at the ingredients in front of them." Franky directed the class after everyone had settled in. "Who can guess what we're making today?"

"Cake!" The kids all yelled.

"Close," the brunette said, "we're making cupcakes!"

She demonstrated how to measure and mix everything together then walked between the stations, talking with the kids and offering extra help to those who needed it. When she got to Emily's station, the girl tugged on her sleeve and motioned for her to come closer.

Franky leaned forward, resting her arms against the counter. "What's up, bub?"

"Are we going to learn how to make regular cake?" Emily whispered to the tall brunette.

"Regular cake? You mean like a big round one instead of cupcakes?" Franky had never heard a cake being referred to as 'regular' before.

Emily nodded her head.

"No, we're just doing cupcakes in this class."

"Oh." the girl lowered her head looking disappointed.

"Why do you want to make a regular cake?" Franky's curiosity was piqued.

"For Auntie Bridge's birthday next week." Emily said quietly.

Franky wondered if Bridget was going to let on that her birthday was coming up, or if she would have let it pass without saying anything. What did she normally do for birthdays? Franky guessed that she probably celebrated with her friends, maybe Vera usually planned something for her. The brunette made a mental note to call Vera later.
"Well, why don't you and I make one for her at your house?" Franky was already planning the party in her head as Emily's face lit up.

********
That evening while Bridget was in the shower, Franky looked through her phone for Vera's number. Thankfully the blonde was trusting enough that she didn't have a passcode programmed in, and Franky easily found what she was looking for. She dialed the number on her own mobile and hoped that Vera would answer an unknown number.

"Hello?" The voice on the other end of the line sounded small and unsure.

"Hey, Vera? It's Franky."

"Franky?" there was a short pause, "Oh, yes, Franky. Uh, what can I...How can I...help, you?" Vera stumbled over her words.

"I've just found out from a fairly reliable source that Bridget's birthday is this Saturday." Franky continued, "So I need your help with two things."

"Okay...."

The brunette could practically feel the other woman's apprehension through the phone.

"Don't worry, it's nothing illegal." Franky chuckled and heard Vera do the same on the other end of the line.

"What do you need?"

"I want to have a party here for her and Emily wants to make her a cake. Can you keep her out of the house for the day?"

"Um, sure. I could take her out. We could have lunch and do some shopping." Vera suggested.

"Yeah, excellent. And thanks, I owe ya." Franky hung up. Step one of her plan was complete.

********

"Hey, Vera." Bridget sat down opposite her friend during their morning coffee break.

"Oh, hello. Um, Bridget," Vera was never very good at deceiving people, even if it was for a good cause, but she really wanted to help make her friend's birthday special. "I was thinking that maybe on Saturday we could have a bit of a girl's day for your birthday. We could grab lunch; do some shopping maybe?" When Bridget hesitated for a few seconds, she thought maybe the blonde had already made plans with someone else.

"That sounds lovely actually." Bridget was genuinely touched by the offer, and was excited to spend the day with her friend.

She normally kept her birthdays quiet. It wasn't that she didn't like to celebrate them, and on birthdays when she was with a partner, they usually had a small party or dinner, but left on her own, she preferred just to spend the day relaxing. She hadn't mentioned anything to Franky, thinking that she'd just get a sitter for Em that night, and they could go out for dinner or to a movie. She didn't want her girlfriend to feel like she had to make a big deal out of it, so she had decided she wouldn't give her enough time to plan anything.

"I'll take Emily to my place for the night as well, so you and Franky can have a quiet evening." Vera offered.

"Aw, that's sweet of you. Are you sure though? The whole night?" Bridget thought it was like Vera could read her mind. While her and Franky both loved having Emily around, they hadn't had a full night with just the two of them in the house since they'd started dating.

"Yeah, of course. Apparently that movie we watched the last time I looked after her has a 'must see' sequel." Vera said, using air quotes to indicate that the sequel would most likely be forgettable.

They both chuckled and Bridget thanked her again.

********

It was the morning of Bridget's birthday, and Vera had just arrived to pick up her friend for their day out. Bridget had told Franky the night before that her and her friend were spending the day out, and that Vera had offered to take her niece for the night. She still hadn't mentioned however that all of this was happening because it was her birthday.

"Don't have too much fun without me, yeah?" Franky called from the kitchen as the two women were leaving.

"Wouldn't dream of it, baby." Bridget called over her shoulder.

They walked out to the street where Vera had parked her car and got in, fastening their seat belts.

"So, anywhere in particular you'd like to go?" Vera asked, starting the car.

"How about one of the dress shops downtown? I want to get something to wear tonight when I'm out with Franky." Bridget smiled thinking about the evening she had planned for them in her mind.

Vera nodded and pulled out onto the street, heading for the downtown shopping area.

"So, how are things going with you two?" She asked after they had been driving for a couple of minutes.

"They're good," Bridget paused for a moment, looking off into the distance, remembering all of the good times her and Franky had together over the past month. A smile broke out across her face, "They're really good."

Vera looked over quickly at her friend, "You're in love with her." It wasn't a question.

"What?" Bridget would be lying if she said those words hadn't floated through her mind at least a couple of times lately. She didn't think she was being so transparent though. "Love is a big word."

"Are you saying you're not?"

"No..." The blonde trailed off, "I haven't told her yet."

"Why not?" While Vera wasn't one who easily admitted her feelings, she knew that Bridget was much more open. She'd seen how her friend and Franky looked at each other, and Franky had been the cause of many smiles and giggles at the lunch table these past few weeks, so she was a bit surprised to hear that Bridget hadn't told Franky how she really felt yet.

"I don't know. I should. Maybe I'm afraid it's too soon and saying it will ruin this happy bubble that we're in right now." the blonde sighed.

"For what it's worth, I think it's obvious that she loves you as well and you don't have anything to worry about." Even though Vera had only met Franky a couple of times, and they'd only had a few phone calls planning out the party details, she could tell that the brunette cared a lot for her friend.

"Thanks, I appreciate that." Bridget smiled at her friend. She knew these types of conversations weren't easy for her, so that made it all the more meaningful when they did happen.

They spent the morning looking at dresses in various shops and Bridget finally settled on a dark purple, one shoulder dress that hugged her curves in all the right places. It stopped just above her knees and she decided she'd pair it with some silver heels that she already had at home.

********
As soon as Bridget and Vera had left for the day, Franky and Emily got to work on the cake. Franky had bought, and hidden, a bunch of different types of sprinkles and decorating supplies a couple of days earlier, and she started setting them out on the counter so they could get to work.

"What kind of cake is Auntie's favorite?" Franky asked the girl.

"Chocolate!" Emily said without hesitation.

"Okay, you have the cupcake recipe from class the other day?" Emily nodded that she did, "So we're going to make that recipe again but this time we're going to add some cocoa to make it taste chocolatey. So I'm going to let you do this and I'm just here if you have questions, and I'll help with the oven, okay?"

The girl nodded and set to work following Franky's recipe, carefully measuring out every ingredient into a big bowl. The brunette turned on the oven to preheat and prepared the baking pan. Once the batter was ready and poured into the pan, they placed it in the oven to bake.

While it was baking, Franky helped Emily pack a bag to take with her to Vera's for the night. That was the only part of the birthday plans that both her and Bridget knew about. She was impressed that Emily had managed to keep the party a secret.

"Is that everything?" Franky asked as Emily put the last items of clothing into her backpack.

"Yeah, I guess." she answered quietly.

The brunette sat down on the bed beside her. "What's wrong? Aren't you excited to have a sleepover at Vera's?"

The girl was quiet for a minute. "Yeah, but I'll miss you and Auntie Bridge."

Franky thought for a moment and realized this would be the first night that one or both of them wasn't with her, and she wasn't sure if she'd ever stayed the night with Vera before.

"I have an idea. I'll be back."

She walked over to the main bedroom and grabbed the toy penguin that she had won for Bridget at the park and headed back to Emily's room.
"Why don't you borrow this from Auntie Bridge and take the bear I gave you with you too? Then you'll have something from each of us to keep you company tonight." Franky placed both toys into the backpack. The small blonde seemed to cheer up a bit.

Just then, the timer on the oven beeped, signalling that the cake was ready. Franky showed her how to test it to make sure it was fully cooked, and they placed it on a rack to cool.

"What color do you want the frosting to be?" Franky sat all of the food coloring options out so Emily could choose what she wanted.

"Pink!" She pointed to a bottle of neon pink coloring.

Franky showed her how to mix the frosting and add just the right amount of food coloring. Once it was spread over the cake, she brought out the containers of decorations. Emily chose multi-color sprinkles in the shape of tiny stars and Franky thought that it was fitting considering the gift she had bought for Bridget.

When Emily declared that the cake was perfect, Franky sent her to wash up and get changed into the outfit she had picked out to wear for the surprise party. She set about cleaning up the kitchen, placing the cake to the side on the counter and putting the extra frosting in a container. She'd told Emily they could use it on some cookies they'd make when she got back.

********

Bridget and Vera were winding down their day of lunch and shopping when they came to one last store that Bridget wanted to visit.

"Let's go in here, yeah?" she said, pointing to the shop they were approaching.

Vera looked up at the sign, "Uh, maybe I'll just meet you back out here in a bit. I'll check out something next door."

"Vera, come on, it'll be fine." Bridget had stopped in front of the store and was waiting for her fleeing friend to come back.

"Fine, but let's be quick, okay?" she let out a sigh and reluctantly followed Bridget inside.

Bridget knew exactly what she was looking for so she had no problem fulfilling Vera's request to make it a quick stop. Once they were back out in the street, she checked in with her friend.

"That wasn't so bad, right?"

Vera just shot her a look and Bridget laughed, putting her arm around her shoulders as they walked back to their car.

********

The guests had started to arrive at Bridget's house. It was going to be a small group, just a few of her colleagues from work and a couple of close friends. Vera had made sure that everyone knew what they were supposed to bring and that they were to park far enough away that Bridget wouldn't notice their cars when they returned home. The food was set out on the table, along with an assortment of wines, and the cake was placed on the kitchen island and now topped with the candles that Franky had picked out. She'd also bought a bottle of tequila for doing a round of birthday shots.

When she heard the car pull up in front of the house, she told everyone to be quiet and turned off most of the lights.

"Franky?" Bridget walked in through the door, turning on the light in the entryway. "Franky, baby, you home?" She turned on the light in the kitchen.

"Surprise!"

Bridget stood there not knowing what to say. No one had ever thrown her a surprise party before. Franky walked up to her and pulled her into her arms with a quick kiss.

"Happy birthday, babe."

"Franky, how did you....?" She turned back to Vera, "Did you tell her?"

Vera shook her head.

When she turned back, Emily was there holding out a card she had made for her.

"She was my partner in crime." Franky whispered into Bridget’s ear.

Bridget crouched down and pulled her niece in for a hug, taking the card from her. "Thank you, love. You helped Franky with this?"

"Yeah."

"You guys did good! I had no idea." She gave the girl a kiss on the head and stood up.

"Bridget," Vera said, walking up beside her, "Why don't you go put your dress on?"

"Right, yes, okay I'll be right back!"

Bridget turned and headed towards the bedroom, carrying all of her purchases from the day.

Chapter Text

When Franky heard the bedroom door open again a few minutes later, she lit the candles on the cake and everyone got ready to sing ‘Happy Birthday’.

Bridget entered the main part of the house again, wearing the dress she had bought earlier that day, paired with the heels she had thought of when she tried it on. Franky stopped singing in the middle of the song. She’d seen Bridget dressed up before, but she thought she’d never looked as beautiful as she did tonight. The blonde caught her eye and then quickly looked down as a blush started to form on her cheeks. She’d never get used to that look from her girlfriend.

At the end of the song she blew out the candles and, with help from Emily, cut and served everyone a slice of the cake.

As she was taking her first bite, she felt two arms wrap around her from behind and a soft kiss placed on the side of her neck.

“You look really beautiful.” Franky murmured into her ear and she felt the older woman shiver in her arms. “Come outside with me for a minute, I’ve got something for you.”

Bridget placed her slice of cake down on the counter and followed the brunette out onto the patio. Franky sat down on the porch swing and gently pulled the blonde down next to her.

“I got you something. It’s not much, but when I saw it, I thought it suited you.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a small, black jewelry box. She noticed Bridget’s slight look of apprehension. “It’s not a ring, promise.” She gave a small laugh, handing over the box.

Bridget opened it to reveal a small, silver star on a matching chain. “Oh, Franky…”

“Here, let me put it on you. It will go well with your dress.” Franky took the necklace out of the box and motioned for Bridget to turn around so that she could place it around her neck and fasten it.

When Bridget turned back around, she reached up and placed her hand on Franky’s cheek, moving her thumb back and forth. “I love it, thank you, baby.” She leaned in and gave her a slow, gentle kiss. When she pulled back, she looked into green eyes and considered her next line carefully for a second. “And I love you.”

Franky leaned in and kissed her deeply, and Bridget wondered if she had made a mistake and this was her girlfriend’s way of avoiding saying it in return. The brunette pulled back, cradling Bridget’s face in her hands.

“I love you too, Gidge.”

Bridget let out the breath she was holding. She gave Franky another quick kiss, “We should get back inside with our guests.”

The blonde grabbed her slice of cake and headed over to the kitchen table to sit with her niece. “Hey, love, Franky says you made the cake, how did you know chocolate was my favourite?” She smiled and the young girl giggled, shrugging her shoulders. “Are you enjoying the party so far?”

“Yeah, Vera said we could watch a movie later. That will be fun. I’ve never stayed at her house” Emily paused. “I told Franky I was going to miss you and her. She packed my teddy bear and your penguin to keep me company there.” Bridget couldn’t help but smile. Franky had known exactly how to make Emily feel better about being away for the night because of course she did. She’d done it effortlessly ever since the first time she’d met the small blonde.

“That was very thoughtful of her and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time with Vera.” Emily nodded and they continued to eat their cake.

As the evening went on, Franky made small talk with a few of the guests. She hadn’t invited any of her friends as they hadn’t had the chance to meet Bridget yet, and she wanted this party to be all people with whom Bridget was comfortable. She could meet Franky’s friends another time. When she went to the kitchen to get a glass of wine, she noticed that Vera was sitting out on the patio at the table, alone. She filled her glass and headed outside to talk to her.

“Hey,” she said, sitting down in the chair across from her. “Why are you out here all by your lonesome?”

“I just needed some air.” There was something about the way she said it that made Franky think there was more to it than that, but didn’t want to push.

“Thanks again for taking Bridget out today and for looking after Emily tonight.” The brunette said, taking a sip of her wine.

“Oh, it’s nothing. Bridget and I don’t get to spend much time together outside of work so it was nice. And I love spending time with Emily. I don’t have any young kids in my family anymore.” She paused, resting her head in her hand and looking up to meet Franky’s eyes. “You know, I’ve never heard Bridget talk about someone the way she talks about you.”

“In a good way, I hope?” Franky chuckled.

“In a very good way. She’s been on her own for awhile now and it’s nice to see her happy.” Vera hoped she hadn’t said too much.

“Is this where you tell me not to fuck it up and that you know how to hide a body if I do?”

“Yeah. Don’t, uh, fuck it up, okay?” They both burst out laughing.

“Come on back inside, I got some tequila for shots.” Franky stood up from the table.

“Oh, none for me, thanks. I think I’ll take Em and head to my place if that’s okay with you guys. It’s getting a bit late, and I promised her a movie.”

“Oh, shit, sorry, yeah, yeah I’ll grab her bag for you.” Franky headed into the house to let Bridget and Emily know that Vera was ready to leave, and then headed down to the girl’s room to grab her bag.

“Be good for Vera, yeah?” Bridget reminded her niece every time she left her with someone even though there was never any trouble. “She’ll bring you back tomorrow after lunch, okay?” Emily nodded and Bridget gave her a kiss on the cheek goodbye.

“Thanks so much for today Vera. If there’s any problem tonight, just give me a call.” She gave her friend a hug and a kiss on the cheek just as Franky returned with Emily’s things.

“Oh it’s no problem. I’m sure we’ll be fine.” She took the bag from Franky. “See you tomorrow. You two have fun!” She winked and then was out the door.

Back in the kitchen, Franky set out a row of shot glasses, a couple of salt shakers and a bowl of lime wedges. She moved down the line of glasses with the bottle of tequila, filling each one.

Once everyone had collected their glass, Franky raised hers in the air, “Okay, happy birthday on three! One….two…..three…”

“Happy Birthday!” Everyone shouted and took their shot. Bridget shook her head back and forth feeling the burn of the tequila going down her throat.

A few moments later, after the guests had cleared out, Bridget poured two more shots and handed one to Franky. Just as the brunette was about to drink hers, Bridget stopped her.

“Wait a second, baby.” She grabbed Franky’s shirt and pulled her in for a smouldering kiss, then began a trail down the brunette’s neck. She reached for the salt, sprinkling some where she had just kissed. She reached over to the bowl on the counter and picked up a lime wedge, holding it up to Franky’s mouth. The younger woman raised one eyebrow at her girlfriend as she took the wedge between her teeth.

Bridget picked up her shot glass. She leaned in and ran her tongue along the line of salt on the brunette’s neck then tipped her head back, downing her tequila. She moved her left hand to the nape of Franky’s neck, pulling her down slightly to meet her so she could take the lime with her mouth.

Franky eyes locked with the blonde’s briefly before she began kissing down her neck, sucking gently in spots along the way. When she reached the base of Bridget’s neck, she moved along her collarbone, nipping slightly then soothing it with her tongue. She grabbed the salt shaker off the counter and tipped it upside down, letting some of the salt stick to where her lips had just been and Bridget picked up a lime wedge from the bowl.

“Ready?” Franky asked. The older woman nodded and Franky bent down and licked the salt from her collarbone, continuing with her lips, back up the blonde’s neck, causing her to tip her head back then ended by scraping her teeth lightly against Bridget’s jaw below her ear.

“Mmmm, god, I could let you do that all night.” Bridget gasped. Franky smirked and the blonde placed the lime wedge between her teeth. She tipped back her shot of tequila, then took the lime from her girlfriend’s mouth. She reached over, placing the lime peel and empty glass on the kitchen island, then snaked an arm around the blonde’s waist, pulling her close.

“Want me to do it again?” The brunette asked cheekily, reaching for the bottle of tequila to refill their glasses.

“Mmmm yes,” Bridget sighed “but I think we’ve had enough of that.” She tilted her head towards the bottle. “I don’t want either of us passing out early tonight. I have plans.”

“Oh, do you?” Franky’s eyes went wide in mock surprise. The blonde smiled and nodded. “Well, in that case, maybe….” She reached over to her right, opening the fridge door and grabbing the container of extra frosting from earlier.

“Franky…” Bridget narrowed her eyes at her girlfriend.

“Relax, Gidge.” Franky opened the container and dipped in two fingers, taking a generous amount of frosting and spread it along the blonde’s collarbone where she had placed the salt earlier. The cool feeling of the frosting mixed with the warm caress of Franky’s lips and tongue was making goosebumps rise on her skin.

When the brunette pulled back, Bridget reached into the container, taking some frosting then leaving a trail of it down Franky’s neck with her fingers. She began working her way up with her lips and at the halfway point gave a small bite; not enough to hurt or leave a mark, but sharp enough that it made the younger woman gasp and let out a small moan.

Bridget moved her head back to look at Franky. The brunette was distracted enough by her blue eyes that she didn’t notice that the blonde had gotten more frosting and before she realized what was happening, Bridget brought her hand to Franky’s face and smeared it all across her cheek and the side of her nose, giggling at the look of surprise on her girlfriend’s face.

Stunned for a moment, the brunette quickly recovered, “Oh it’s on now.” She grabbed a handful of the frosting and Bridget took off, running to the other side of the kitchen island. Franky chased her for a second then quickly changed directions so she’s meet her head on. She caught the blonde, putting an arm around her waist and holding the smaller woman against her. She looked at Bridget for a moment with a cheeky grin, letting the older woman squirm for a moment and wonder what her fate would be.

“Franky….” Bridget giggled, “Franky, you wouldn’t…” Just then, the brunette brought her hand that was holding the frosting to Bridget’s left cheek and spread the sugary mixture all the way across her chin and opposite cheek.

They both laughed until they had tears in their eyes, and when the laughter died down, it was Bridget who eventually broke the comfortable silence. “I want to take you to bed. Let’s get cleaned up.”

Franky placed a kiss on the blonde’s lips and they headed to the bathroom to wash up.

As soon as they entered the bedroom, Bridget pushed Franky up against the wall and kissed her hard. She ran her hands down the brunette’s neck and across her shoulders, letting her jacket fall to the floor. The blonde pulled away, tugging on Franky’s bottom lip with her teeth, and reached down to rid her of her t-shirt.

The younger woman immediately moved her lips to Bridget’s neck as she moved her hands around to the blonde’s back to unzip her dress. Pushing it down Bridget’s body, she followed with her lips, capturing a nipple in her mouth on the way. Franky moved her lips down the blonde’s ribcage eliciting a sharp gasp from the other woman. Bridget felt her grin against her skin.

“I found another one of your spots.” The brunette murmured.

“Mmmm, you did, baby.” Bridget sighed.

Franky continued down the blonde’s stomach and finally pushed the dress down over her hips so that it pooled on the floor around her feet. “Shit, Gidge.” Bridget gave a low laugh because she knew that Franky had just discovered that she hadn’t been wearing any underwear. She looked down to be met with darkened green eyes. She had intended to be in total control tonight, but as she felt the brunette’s hand running up the inside of her thigh and then along the length of her slit, she thought that maybe that part could wait for just a couple minutes longer.

Bridget felt herself being turned and gently pushed back against the wall. Franky ran her hand down the outside of the blonde’s right thigh, down to the back of her knee and lifted, placing it over her shoulder. She turned her head, kissing the inside of Bridget’s thigh, moving towards her centre. She ran her tongue along the blonde’s slit, tasting her for the first time that night. Franky moaned as she wrapped her lips around the other’s woman clit, sucking and licking gently.

“Franky…”The blonde closed her eyes and let her head fall back against the wall behind her. Between the foreplay of the body shots and frosting and Franky’s amazing tongue, she was already feeling her orgasm starting to build in the pit of her stomach. It would have been easy for her to stay there and get lost in what the brunette was doing to her. She forced herself to open her eyes and look down at the woman between her legs. She reached down and tangled her hand in the younger woman’s hair, signalling for her to stand up.

“Everything okay, Gidge?”

The blonde nodded and pulled Franky in for a kiss, tasting herself. She reached down unbuttoning the brunette’s pants and lowering the zipper before slipping her hand inside Franky’s underwear. She could feel the wetness that had already coated the brunette’s folds and soaked through the thin material. She drew slow circles around the younger woman’s clit and moved her mouth beside her ear.

“Take these off and get on the bed.” Franky whimpered at the command and nodded her head.

Bridget withdrew her hand and retrieved the bag containing her purchase from earlier that day. Seeing that Franky was already laying on the bed, she removed her heels and got on top of her, straddling the brunette’s hips. She placed the bag beside them on the bed and leaned forward, grasping both of Franky’s hands and moving them above her head, pinning them against the bed.

She placed a teasing kiss on the brunette’s lips, pulling back when Franky tried to recapture her mouth, wanting more. “Patience, baby.” Bridget murmured, smiling against her girlfriend’s lips. “I bought us something today.”

“Oh? What did you buy?” The brunette asked, raising her hips against Bridget, trying to get any bit of friction or relief that she could.

“Close your eyes.” Franky did as the blonde instructed her to, and she heard Bridget take something out of the bag beside them, letting it fall to the floor empty, and felt the older woman’s weight lift off her.

Bridget had gotten everything ready when she was in the bedroom putting on her dress earlier in the evening. She stepped into the harness and placed it around her hips, securing the straps tightly. She climbed back onto the bed, laying on top of the brunette.

Franky’s eyes flew open feeling the toy, that the blonde was wearing, against her body. “Gidge….”

“You good, baby?” Bridget checked in with the brunette, having felt her breathing and heart rate pick up.

“Mmhmm.” Franky hummed, smiling. “Just a bit surprised.”

“You haven’t seen anything yet, baby.” Bridget kissed the brunette, swiping her tongue along Franky’s bottom lip, asking for entry which was granted immediately.

The blonde reached down between their two bodies and once again found the wetness that was waiting there. She moved her fingers up and down over the brunette’s folds, dipping in teasingly every once in awhile, causing the younger woman to moan and try to push herself down onto them. When she was satisfied that the brunette was wet enough, she guided the strap-on to Franky’s entrance and pushed forward slightly. The brunette let out a shuddering breath and reached down to cup Bridget’s ass, trying to pull her into her further, but the blonde wouldn’t give in.

“Gidge, please.” Franky’s voice was full of a need that the blonde had never heard before.

“Please, what, baby?” Bridget lowered her head to suck on the brunette’s left nipple. Franky groaned beneath her as she pulled back slightly, then pushed in a little more than before.

“Oh god.”

Bridget had moved on to the opposite nipple now, continuing to take her time. She was still waiting for Franky to say what she wanted to hear. “Tell me what you want me to do.”

Franky Doyle rarely ever gave up control, let alone begged, but with Bridget, it was different. “Gidge, just fuck me.”

With that, Bridget raised herself up on her elbows and pushed the strap-on the rest of the way in, watching Franky’s face as she went. She began to move slowly in and out, peppering kisses all over the brunette’s neck, face and shoulders and eliciting small moans and gasps from the woman underneath her. They soon found their rhythm and the blonde could feel Franky’s pulse beating rapidly under her lips as they pressed against her neck. She could feel the other woman’s nails dig into her back slightly each time she pulled out and began her next thrust back inside.

“You like that, baby?” Bridget asked huskily in the brunette’s ear.

“Fuck, it feels so good, just…..ah, fuck…just…faster, babe.”

Bridget sped up, raising herself up on her arms slightly to get more leverage. Franky was impossibly wet at this point, and the only sounds that could be heard in the room were their rapid breathing and the sound of the toy moving in and out of her.

The blonde dipped her head down to kiss Franky fully on the lips, and moved her tongue against the brunette’s. She moved her lips to the younger woman’s jaw and kissed along the length of it until she got to her earlobe. She took it between her lips then let her teeth graze over it as she pulled away.

Franky grunted. “Gidge, fuck….I’m gonna come.”

She shifted her weight, reaching down between them to move her finger back and forth over Franky’s clit. Bridget sucked hard on the brunette’s neck and gave a sharp bite. That was all it took for Franky to dig her fingers in the blonde’s back as she cried out, her body shaking, releasing all the tension that had been building up.

Bridget slowed her pace as the waves of pleasure washing over Franky subsided. When she was still again, she planted a gentle kiss on her lips, feeling the brunette’s breath tickle her face as she tried to regulate her breathing.

“Fuck….” It was the only word that Franky could utter at the moment.

“Was that good, baby?” Bridget asked, giggling and slowly pulling the strap-on out of her girlfriend, moving to lay by her side.

“Mmmm.” Franky gave a contented hum as she laid on her back with her eyes still closed.

“Have I fucked you speechless?” She laughed.

“I think you might have, Gidge. It’s a first.” Franky smiled, turning to capture the blonde’s lips for a slow, lingering kiss. “Time for me to repay the favour.” The brunette reached down, tugging on the strap of the harness.

Bridget got up and unbuckled the harness, stepping out of it. She motioned for the brunette to get up and stand in front of her. She held the harness while Franky stepped into it and waited for her to adjust it on her hips. When the younger woman was done, Bridget placed her hand on the middle of the other woman’s chest and pushed her back onto the bed.

“Lay down.”

Franky did as she was told and before she knew what was happening, Bridget was straddling her waist, with the toy behind her. She raised herself up and positioned the toy at her entrance. Holding eye contact with the brunette, she lowered herself onto the dildo and began riding it at a slow, steady pace. She immediately felt Franky’s hands on her body, sliding up her sides over her ribcage and finally coming to rest on her breasts. The brunette squeezed the older woman’s breasts and pinched each nipple causing the blonde to let her head fall back, mouth open.

She watched, mesmerized, as Bridget continued to move herself on the strap-on. Franky ran her fingertips down the blonde’s stomach and over her hips, letting her left hand come to rest there while her right continued until it found Bridget’s clit. She drew small circles, causing her name to spill from the blonde’s lips.

Bridget was clearly well on her way to her orgasm after the events of the night and Franky, craving more contact, sat up so that the blonde was sitting in her lap. She continued her movements on Bridget’s clit and moved her hand to the nape of her neck, pulling the older woman in for a kiss.

Bridget felt like her body was on overload. She could feel the strap-on moving inside her, Franky’s fingers on her clit, her hand on her neck holding her close and her tongue in her mouth gently massaging. It all became too much, too fast and the blonde’s orgasm hit her like a train. Franky’s hand moved from her neck down to her back, pulling her close and the blonde wrapped both arms around the younger woman’s shoulders, hanging on for dear life.

As she came down, she felt Franky’s lips on her cheek, then beside her ear, and her fingers trailing slowly up and down her back. She heard a quiet “I love you, Gidge” whispered in her ear and pulled back, looking into green eyes.

“I love you too.”

They shared another long, lazy kiss then Bridget pushed herself up and off Franky’s lap. She helped the brunette out of the harness and dropped it over the side of the bed to deal with in the morning. As she lay on her side, near sleep, she felt Franky pull her towards her and wrap her in her arms. The last thing she heard as she drifted off to sleep was “Happy birthday, Gidge.”

********

The next morning, Franky woke to find the bed beside her was empty. She picked her head up looking at the clock, and realized she had slept well past the hour when she normally wakes up. She could hear Bridget in the kitchen and the smell of fresh coffee had made it to the bedroom.

She laid there for a moment, thinking back to her conversation with Vera, “Don’t fuck it up.”. Those words had been echoing in her mind ever since. She knew she was shit at being in a relationship in the past, but she’d worked hard to get past what had happened to her as a child and knew now how to control her anger after the incident on the TV show. There was one thing though that she felt she’d not been honest about with Bridget. She hadn’t told her about the note that Kim left mentioning Emily. She hadn’t told her that she knew where the blonde and her niece lived. She hadn’t heard anything from Kim in a few weeks, but she had heard through a friend of a friend, that Kim was away on holiday and she was worried that things would pick up again when she came back. She knew Bridget might still be mad at her for waiting this long to say anything, but she knew that by waiting even longer it would only make it worse if Kim did in fact show up again.

She decided that she needed to talk with Bridget and get it all out in the open. They didn’t have a lot of time together without Emily being in the house so she wanted to take advantage of the time they had left before Vera brought her back. She grabbed some clothes from the dresser and headed out into the kitchen.

She was greeted by Bridget pouring a mug of coffee for her. “Good morning, baby.”

“Morning,” she put an arm around the blonde’s waist and gave her a kiss on the cheek, taking the mug that was handed to her, “Thanks, babe.”

She sat down on one of the orange stools at the kitchen island across from Bridget, who was leaning back against the opposite counter beside the oven. She took a mouthful of coffee, looking out into the backyard and watching the morning sun hitting the leaves on the plants. There was no good way to start this conversation.

“Gidge,” she began, “there’s something I need to tell you.”

Bridget’s posture immediately became tense, as she stood up taller and gripped her mug of coffee tighter.

“There’s this woman..” Before she got any further, Bridget’s eyes snapped up and locked with hers. “No, no, not like that. I promise, nothing like that.” She knew right away where the blonde’s mind had gone, and reminded herself to choose her words more carefully. “Hear me out?”

Bridget nodded and moved around the island to sit on the stool beside Franky, and turned to face her.

“Before I met you, there was this woman. She’s kind of in my circle of acquaintances that I hung out with. A few of them were friends, but mostly they were just people I’d end up partying or hanging out with. There was this one, Kim. I knew she liked me and I kept seeing her around. One night I ended up fucking her in the bathroom of the bar we were at.” Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Bridget wince slightly and shift on the stool. She continued, “Anyway, after that, she said she wanted to hang out, get to know each other. She seemed alright so we set up a date. I wasn’t really expecting it to go anywhere, but I thought, ‘hey why not?’. It was supposed to happen the night of Em’s first class. I ended up calling and canceling on her to stay at the Centre and she was pretty pissed off. Then I ended up having supper with you and that was when I knew that I didn’t want anything with her anymore. Instead of calling her and being upfront, I avoided her and ignored her calls and messages. That was probably a bit of an asshole move on my part. A couple days later she shows up before one of my classes, upset, and I tell her that we’re done and I’ve met someone else and not to call me anymore. As you can imagine, again, she wasn’t happy.” Franky paused, looking over at Bridget who’d been silent all this time. She couldn’t read the expression on her face but the blonde nodded for her to continue, so she did. “The night after our first date at my place, she showed up. You had barely left, and I thought it was you coming back for something you’d forgotten, but when I opened the door, it was her. She said she’d seen you leave, passed you in the hallway and asked if you were the reason I’d called things off with her. I told her yes and she started making a scene in the hallway and pushed her way into my apartment. She threw some shit around then stormed out. I was cleaning up when you called and well, you know the rest of that night. I wasn’t really worried though until the day we went to the park. I had blocked her number by that point and I ran into her at the coffee shop on my way here that morning. She must have followed me because there was a note on my car when we got back saying that my girlfriend had a cute kid and it would be a shame if something happened to her.”

“She thinks Emily is my daughter.” It was the first thing Bridget had said since Franky started talking. “And she knows where we live.”

They were more statements than questions but Franky nodded yes to both anyway.

“I’m so sorry, Gidge. I knew she was crazy, but not like stalker crazy. I thought she’d just mess with me a bit and then get bored. Maybe that’s still all she’s doing. She hasn’t come near either of you, and I haven’t seen or heard from her since that day she left the note.” Franky looked up nervously at the blonde.

“So why tell me now? Why not earlier or why not at all?” Bridget asked and Franky sensed that it was very important how she answered. Don’t fuck it up.

“I didn’t tell you before because I felt like I needed to deal with things on my own. I’m not used to having anyone on my side. Then after last night, that changed.”

“What made it change?” The blonde asked, setting her mug down on top of the island.

“When we said we love each other. I’ve never said that to someone before, never felt it.” Franky felt like there was so much more she wanted to say but didn’t have the words for it.

Bridget was quiet for a moment and the tears started down Franky’s face. The brunette was waiting for her to yell and scream and throw her out. Instead, the blonde reached up, cupping Franky’s cheek in her hand, “Don’t keep stuff from me anymore, okay?” She leaned in and gave the brunette a quick but reassuring kiss.

Franky let out a huge breath she was holding and nodded. “Holy fuck, I thought you were going to break up with me.” She gave a small laugh.

“Keep something like that from me again, and I will. And from now on, if you even so much as think that she’s anywhere near you, me, or Em, you need to tell me immediately, got it?” The blonde was holding Franky’s stare.

“I promise.”

“Okay. Let’s finish breakfast and get this place cleaned up. Em will be back soon.” Bridget got up and started putting the glasses from last night in the dishwasher.

“Also, Vera told me she knew where to hide a body if I fuck things up with you.”

The blonde burst out laughing, “Yeah, she probably does.”

They worked to finish clearing the mess from the party, ate some brunch and took a shower together before Vera was due back with Emily.

********

Just after lunch, Vera and Emily arrived back. Bridget greeted them at the door, taking her niece’s bag from Vera after a quick hug from the child before she was down the hall to find Franky.

“How was everything?” Bridget asked her friend.

“Oh it was good. We had a snack and watched the movie. She fell asleep pretty soon after that. Then we watched it again while we had breakfast.” Vera’s eye caught the necklace that Bridget was still wearing. “That’s lovely.” She said, reaching out to touch it.

“A birthday gift from Franky.” Bridget smiled, remembering when the brunette gave it to her last night. “Come in for a minute? Have a cuppa?”

“Uh, sure, yes, I’d love to.” Vera followed the blonde into the kitchen where Franky poured them each a cup of tea and they headed over to sit in the living room.

“Thanks for looking after Em.” Franky said, sitting down beside Bridget and putting her arm around her shoulders.

“Oh, anytime. I hope you two enjoyed the rest of the evening.” Vera took a sip of her tea.

“Oh we did.” Franky winked at her and noticed a blush creep into the governor’s cheeks. She knew very well that Vera was talking about the rest of the party but she couldn’t resist messing with her just a little bit.

Just then Emily entered the kitchen. “Franky, can we make those cookies today?”

“Which ones, bub?” She asked from the living room.

“The ones we have the extra frosting for.” She opened the fridge door and looked inside for a second. “Where is it?”

Franky and Bridget looked at each other wide eyed while Vera looked between the two of them with a knowing smile on her face.

“Did you and Auntie Bridge eat it last night?” She came around the corner with a very serious look on her face. Meanwhile, Bridget and Vera were trying to contain their laughter by hiding behind their mugs, leaving Franky to field this on her own.

“Uh, yeah bub, sorry, we got hungry after the party.” It wasn’t a total lie, Franky reasoned. “We can make some more though, and you can even pick a different colour if you want.”

“Did it make your tummy hurt?” She asked innocently.

“No, nah, we were okay.” Franky sat down her mug and got up, leading Em back to the kitchen, hoping to distract her from the missing frosting by starting the cookies. She wasn’t about to explain that more of it ended up on them rather than in them.

“But there was a lot left.” The kid wasn’t giving up.

Franky slapped a recipe down on the counter. “Read this to me and tell me what we need.”

Emily started to list the ingredients and Franky reached the ones that were in the high cabinets for her.

Vera moved to sit beside Bridget.

“You staying for cookies then?’ Bridget laughed.

“Wouldn’t miss it.”

They both laughed and drank their tea, watching Franky and Emily bake their treats in the kitchen.

Chapter Text

It was Sunday evening, and Franky, Bridget and Emily had spent the afternoon with Vera, enjoying the treats that Emily and Franky had made for everyone. Now, the three of them were relaxing, sitting on the floor around the coffee table, playing a board game that Emily had brought with her, Monopoly Junior. Emily was clearly in the lead, owning most of the businesses on two sides of the board. Franky rolled a three and landed on the Movie Theatre.

“That’ll be three dollars.” She held out her hand to Franky to collect her money.

“It doesn’t even say what movie is playing. Don’t I have a choice whether or not I want to see it?” The brunette was down to her last few dollars, and her competitive side was coming out.

“No, Franky. If you land on it, then you have to pay.” Bridget held up the pamphlet with the rules printed on it.

“I just think the game should be realistic, that’s all. You don’t automatically get sucked into a movie theatre when you walk by and are forced to watch whatever movie happens to be playing.” She gave a small laugh, picturing in her mind the scene she’d just painted.

“You’re a ship, with eyes, sailing through the streets, eating pizza, and watching movies. Nothing about this is realistic. Pay the girl, baby.” The blonde said, smiling.

“Yeah!” Emily pointed to her outstretched hand, and Franky paid her the money she owed.

After a couple more trips around the board, the two women had lost all of their money, and Emily happily declared herself the winner. They packed up the game and Emily carried it back to her room to put away.

Bridget moved over to sit beside Franky and pulled her in for a kiss. A smile came across Franky’s face as their lips parted and the blonde kept her hand on the nape of the younger woman’s neck, playing with the short hair that had fallen out of her ponytail. Bridget rested her forehead against Franky’s.

“I should get going.” The brunette sighed. While it was a holiday for Bridget and Emily with them both having the next day off, Franky had agreed to help out a friend at her restaurant after her chef injured his arm and would be out for a few days.The restaurant was closer to her apartment, and she didn’t want to wake the other two when she left in the morning since they would be able to sleep in, so she had decided that she’d spend the night at her place.

The blonde nodded, and Franky knew that she didn’t want her to go. They hadn’t spent many nights apart since they’d started dating, and surprisingly, that didn’t bother the brunette at all.

Emily returned to the living room. “Can we have a sleepover tonight?” She asked Franky.

“A sleepover? You live here right now, bub. You can’t have a sleepover in your own house.” The brunette explained to her.

“But you don’t.” The small blonde said, matter of fact.

“No…”

“So you can have a sleepover here. And we can watch a movie.” Emily looked at her like it was a done deal and there was no way Franky could reason her way out of this.

“I’m really sorry, but I can’t tonight. I promised a friend that I’d help her, and I have to be there really early in the morning. And the place I have to be is really close to where I live.” As she was explaining this, she saw the girl’s face drop as she looked down at the rug they were sitting on.

“Okay.” Emily got up and walked down the hall towards her room.

“Fuck.” Franky muttered. She looked over at Bridget, who placed her hand on the brunette’s knee to try to comfort her.

Franky did want to spend the night. She always slept better when Bridget was next to her, and she hated seeing the disappointment on the little girl’s face. She got up and walked to Emily’s room. She was sitting on the floor, drawing.

Franky leaned against the door frame. “I’ll stay and have a sleepover with you tonight, okay? But I really do have to leave early in the morning.” The girl ran to Franky and threw her arms around her waist. The brunette smiled, “Okay. Why don’t you change into your pjs, and I’ll go put mine on then we’ll watch the movie?”

She heard Emily run down the hall while she was in the bedroom changing.

“Auntie Bridge! Franky said she’d stay tonight!” The child ran up to Bridget, who was still sitting on the living room floor. “And she said we could have a sleepover. Can you help me get the sleeping bags for us?”

“Sleeping bags? Love, you both have beds here to sleep in.” Bridget was trying, but failing to follow the young girl’s train of thought.

“But for a sleepover, you sleep in sleeping bags.”

Bridget thought for a moment, then headed to the closet in the spare bedroom to get the requested sleeping bags. She brought them back to the living room, then spread them out on the floor after dragging the coffee table to the edge of the room to make some open space. She placed some pillows from the couch on the floor with them and went to the kitchen to prepare a snack for the two to have while they watched the movie.

Franky made her way to the kitchen after changing her clothes and looked over to the living room, seeing the two sleeping bags laid out.

“Uh, Gidge?”

“Uh, Franky?” She answered, knowing exactly what the brunette was going to say.

The younger woman walked up beside her and spoke low enough so Emily wouldn’t hear her. “What’s going on here?”

“A sleepover.” She held out a strawberry that she was putting onto a plate with some other fruits for their snack and the brunette took it between her teeth, letting it fall into her mouth.

She chewed for a moment. “Yeah I can see that but….”

“But what, baby?”

“I thought after the movie, I’d be sleeping with you.” Franky did her best puppy dog eyes.

“Oh no, don’t even start with that look.” Bridget laughed. “She invited you to sleep over, not me. You know the saying ‘Dance with the one who brought you’?” Franky nodded. “Then you’re sleeping out here with her tonight, baby.” She gave her girlfriend a peck on the cheek and carried the food over to the living room, placing it down between the two makeshift sleeping areas. “I’m going to take my laptop into the office and catch up on some work. You guys enjoy the movie!”

“What are we watching tonight, bub?” Franky asked settling into her sleeping bag.

“Despicable Me!” Emily said excitedly.

“Right on, start it up.” Franky told her and the girl pressed play on the remote.

They made it through the first movie and the suggestion for the second movie popped up on the screen so Franky clicked ‘ok’. It looked to her like Emily was almost asleep so she figured she’d give it a few more minutes before it was safe to sneak into Bridget’s bedroom.

Just before midnight, Bridget quietly exited the office and saw that Emily and Franky were both fast asleep with the movie still playing on the TV. She didn’t want to risk waking them so she decided to leave it on and headed to her bedroom. She changed into her pjs, slipped under the covers and was fast asleep in no time.

Franky woke up to a completely dark room. She figured she must have fallen asleep sometime during the second movie. She fumbled for her phone and when she found it, she pushed the button to illuminate the screen so that she could check the time. It was one in the morning. Her back was already sore and she knew if she stayed there any longer, she wouldn’t be able to move in the morning. She turned on the flashlight on her phone, and carefully made her way down the hall to where Bridget was sleeping.

She turned off the light on her phone, now able to see with the moonlight coming in through the partially open curtains. She lifted the blankets and crawled in gently behind Bridget. The blonde immediately pressed her back against Franky, letting herself become the little spoon.

“Thought you were supposed to be sleeping out there tonight,” She said in a sleepy voice.

“Gidge, I can’t. My back is already killing me. I’ll go back out in the morning before she wakes up, she’ll never know,” the brunette explained.

“Okay, baby.”

“Besides, don’t you miss me?” Franky kissed the back of the blonde’s neck.

“Mmm, always.” Bridget reached back, finding Franky’s hand and bringing it to her mouth. She kissed each of her fingertips and heard Franky’s breath hitch.

The brunette moved her hand down until she found where Bridget’s t-shirt met her shorts and pushed her fingers underneath the fabric. She started to trace patterns on the older woman’s stomach, placing kisses along the back of her neck. Franky’s hand moved down and her fingertips started to slip beneath the elastic band on the blonde’s shorts.

Bridget gently placed her hand on top of Franky’s. “Wait.”

Franky stopped her movement. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m just a little sore from last night,” the blonde said, turning onto her other side, so they were now face to face.

“I’m sorry, Gidge.” Franky remembered how they had both probably gotten more carried away than normal, but she never intended to hurt the blonde.

Bridget smiled, “I’m not. I loved every second of it. But maybe just tonight can we keep it, you know?” She motioned to the area of her body above her waist.

“So you just want to make out like a couple of high school kids?” Franky raised her eyebrows with a smirk.

“Mmhmm.” Bridget hesitated. “If that’s okay?”

“Of course, Gidge.” Franky smiled, giving her a small kiss.

Bridget reached out and traced the lines of the tattoo on Franky’s right arm, making goosebumps appear on her skin. “I like these.”

“Why do you like them?” Franky asked her quietly.

“That first night I met you,” Bridget began, “Em was so excited about you, and she told me that you had let someone draw on your arm. I remember looking over and wanting to know if there were any other ones hiding under that chef’s jacket…or anywhere else.”

“Having impure thoughts right from the moment you met me, were you?” Franky teased her, making the blonde’s cheeks turn a light pink.

“Mmmm, maybe.” Bridget hummed. “You mean to tell me that you weren’t?”

“Of course not!” The brunette pretended to act offended by Bridget’s assumption, then gave a small laugh. “The second time I saw you, the first time we kissed, I just wanted to fuck you right there in the kitchen.” Franky saw the blonde’s eyes darken.

“I probably would have let you if we’d been alone,” the older woman confessed, causing a cocky smirk to appear on the brunette’s face.

“You deserved better than that though, so I’m glad we didn’t.” Franky didn’t normally share her feelings. Usually, she didn’t have any feelings like this to share anyway, but something about this woman made her feel like she’d drank a truth serum.

“Me too, baby.”

Franky pulled the blonde close and replaced her hand under her shirt, this time moving up to cup Bridget’s right breast. She felt the nipple harden against her palm as the older woman let out a low moan. The brunette removed her hand and took the nipple between her thumb and index finger, pinching it gently as she nipped at Bridget’s bottom lip.

“Fuck, Franky,” the blonde said breathlessly.

“Did you know that some people believe that stimulation of the nipples alone can lead to orgasm? Do you think that’s true, Gidge?” Franky asked, pinching Bridget’s nipple again.

“Ah….Well, uh….a large part of the female orgasm is the um, mental component so I’d say it’s definitely possible.”

“I reckon it’s something worth looking into,” the brunette said with a cheeky grin.

Bridget lazily kissed Franky, letting her hands wander over the brunette’s body. Tonight wasn’t about sex or orgasms, it was about just being there together.

The blonde let her hand slip under Franky’s shirt, dragging her fingers over the younger woman’s hips and around to the centre of her back. She let her fingers move back and forth over the small dip in the middle. Franky shivered and arched her back, pushing herself into Bridget’s front.

“That feels really good,” Franky mumbled against Bridget’s lips. The blonde had guessed as much by the reaction she had gotten, but there was something about hearing the other woman say it that made it so sexy.

Bridget traced the brunette’s spine with her middle finger all the way up to a spot between her shoulder blades, and drew patterns there lightly with her fingernail, eliciting a breathy ‘fuck’ from Franky. The movement of her arm had made the younger woman’s shirt ride up, exposing her right breast. Bridget dipped her head and captured her already erect nipple between her lips and sucked gently, alternating between small bites with her teeth and then soothing the sting with her tongue.

When the blonde repositioned herself slightly to move her mouth to Franky’s left breast, her thigh fell in between the brunette’s legs causing friction there.

“Oh fuck,” Franky whispered as Bridget felt a tremor run through the brunette’s body.

She moved her hand back down to the sensitive spot on Franky’s lower back that she’d found earlier and applied a gentle pressure, trying to silently communicate to the other woman to move against her thigh again, all the while continuing her movements with her mouth.

Franky was close after everything the blonde had been doing to her and when she made contact with Bridget’s leg, she knew it had been unintentional, but fuck it felt good. She felt the older woman’s hand move to her lower back again, and a jolt went through her body right to her fingertips. It took her a moment to realize that Bridget was trying to get her to move against her thigh again. As Franky began to rock her hips, she knew she wouldn’t last long. She looked down at Bridget, locking eyes with her. She rocked her hips one final time and her eyes snapped shut as she turned her head into the pillow, trying to be quiet, so as that Emily wouldn’t hear them, as her orgasm rushed over her.

Bridget pulled Franky’s shirt back down as she left kisses along the brunette’s neck. “I’d say that theory is at least partially true.”

“Fuck, Gidge.” Franky gave a small laugh, still catching her breath. “I thought we were just messing around tonight.”

“We were, but sometimes stuff just happens. Besides, I always play to win, baby.” Bridget gave the brunette a wink.

“How did I ever find you?” Franky laughed, but there was a seriousness behind her words.

Bridget smiled and shrugged. “Maybe it was a random series of events. My brother going away, looking after Em, signing her up for your class, the lockdown at Wentworth that first night. Or maybe it was fate and it would have happened in some way no matter what.”

“Of all the kitchens, in all the towns, in all the world, you had to walk into mine.” Franky joked, reciting the classic movie line.

“Mmhmm.” The blonde laughed.

Franky knew that Bridget wasn’t feeling up to doing certain things tonight, but she also knew that she still wanted to make her feel good. She kissed her as her hand reached down to pull up the blonde’s shirt, exposing her stomach and chest. She worked her way down, paying attention to each nipple and finally letting her lips settle on the sensitive area on the side of the older woman’s ribcage.

The brunette reached down and ran the back of her index finger up and down over the soft skin between the blonde’s naval and the top of her shorts. She felt the muscles twitch under her touch and she began the journey with her lips down to where her hand was working. She felt Bridget’s hand tangle in her hair, stilling her movements, and guessed she must be doing something there that the blonde liked.

A few seconds later, they heard the door knob turn. Bridget quickly pulled her shirt back down even though she was under the covers and her back was to the door. Franky lifted her head and looked over Bridget.

She could see Emily standing there. “Hey, Em.” The girl walked up beside the bed. “What do you need, bub?”

“Why did you leave?” Emily asked, her voice still heavy with sleep.

“My back hurt from sleeping on the floor so I came in here where it’s more comfortable.” Franky went with the mostly honest answer.

“Mine hurts too,” the young girl said.

Bridget turned over so that she was now facing Emily as well. “Do you want to go sleep in your bed instead then? I’ll clean up the living room in the morning.”

“What about the sleepover?” the girl asked her aunt.

“Maybe we can do it another time and make it more comfortable for you guys out there?” Bridget was trying to gently offer a solution so the girl would leave and go back to sleep, but Emily just shook her head. “What do you want to do then, love?”

“I want to sleep here.”

Bridget turned her head and looked behind her at Franky. “It’s okay,” the brunette said, kissing her temple.

The blonde moved back into Franky more and patted the space in front of her but Emily shook her head. The girl climbed up onto the bed, motioning for Bridget to move away from Franky. They now understood that the girl wanted to sleep in between them again like she had the night after the park when she had nightmares.

“Did you have a bad dream again, bub?” Franky asked.

“No,” Emily said settling in between them. After a few minutes, they were all about to drift off to sleep again when the girl whispered, “The minions are creepy.”

Franky looked across the young girl and met Bridget’s eyes. “I knew it,” the brunette mouthed. They both smiled.

Chapter Text

The week had truly been the week from hell. There had been a riot at Wentworth where two prisoners had died, and there had been a handful of overdoses, which had resulted in one death. When Vera and Bridget sat down for lunch on Thursday, it was hard to believe that it was only the third working day of the week.

“It’s times like these that I regret my career choice.” Vera slumped down in her chair at the staffroom table.

Bridget joined her. “It’ll pass, Vera. You can’t let it affect your life outside of here. You’ll go crazy if you do.”

“I know. I just go home, and every day, there’s some incident that just keeps replaying in my mind,” the governor sighed. “Maybe I just need some kind of distraction.”

“That’s not a bad idea actually,” the blonde said, taking a bite of her sandwich. After only three days of Franky helping at her friend’s restaurant, she already missed her meals. “Why don’t we plan a night out?”

“A night out?” Vera couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had a night out except for Bridget’s birthday the week before.

“Yeah, we can go out and have some drinks, dance a bit, blow off some steam. You can ask some of the officers and I’ll get Franky to bring some of her friends. It’ll be fun.” Bridget looked at her expectantly.

“I don’t know…” Vera looked around the room as if the answer would appear written on the wall somewhere. “I suppose it could be fun for a change.”

“Yeah!” Bridget playfully shoved Vera’s shoulder. “I’ll leave the officer invites to you and I’ll let Franky know. And I’ll have to find someone to stay with Em, but that’s my problem, I’ll get it sorted.”

“Righto.” Vera nodded as Bridget packed up her empty lunch containers and headed back to her office.

********

The rest of the day had passed relatively quickly, and Bridget soon found herself on her way to pick up Emily from her cooking class. She arrived a few minutes early, and was waiting at the back of the room for the class to finish when Emily motioned for her to come over to her station.

“Hey, love. What did you make today?” She asked, approaching her niece. “It smells lovely in here.”

“Cimonim buns.” The young girl struggled with the word.

“Cinnamon?” Bridget corrected her.

“Yeah, that’s what I meant. Here, try one.” She held out a sticky, frosting-covered bun to her aunt.

Bridget took a bite. “Mmmm, this is delicious, Em.”

“She’s a natural.” Franky came up beside Bridget and put her arm around her waist, pulling her into her side.

“She definitely is. Try it.” Bridget held up the bun in front of Franky, who took a bite.

“Oi, good job Em!” Franky exclaimed and the girl’s face lit up.

“You’ve got frosting on your face, baby,” Bridget said, pointing to the corner of her own mouth so that the brunette would know where it was.

Franky swiped at the wrong side of her mouth. “Good?”

Bridget laughed, “No, come here.”

Franky leaned down and the blonde reached up, wiping the frosting away with her thumb. She let her thumb linger on the brunette’s lip, pulling at it gently. “Now, it’s good.” Bridget winked.

“And you must be Bridget,” Liz said, greeting the woman and extending her hand towards her. “Franky’s told us so much about you, love. Good to finally meet you.”

“Aw, likewise Liz. Franky speaks very highly of you.” The blonde reached out with her non-sticky hand and shook Liz’s.

As the children all left, one by one, Franky’s friends made their way over to say hello to Bridget. They were all eager to meet the woman who had captured her heart. Franky was usually never one to go on a second date with someone, let alone get into a relationship. Bridget greeted them all warmly. They all chatted for a minute, then began cleaning up the various stations.

The blonde wrapped her arms around Franky. She wasn’t normally clingy, but she hadn’t seen the brunette much the past few days. “Baby, Vera and I were thinking we should have a night out tomorrow. It’s been crazy at work this week and we just need to decompress. Why don’t you ask your friends to join us? I just need to find someone to watch Em.”

“I can do that.” Liz was cleaning the station next to them and had overheard.

Bridget looked over towards Franky’s friend. “Are you sure? You wouldn’t rather come out with us?”

“No, love. I gave up the bars and clubs long ago. Me and Em will be just fine for the night.” She smiled at Bridget then went back to cleaning.

“Oh that’s so nice of you, thank you, Liz.” The blonde went over and gave the older woman a quick hug. “Franky can give you directions to the house? We won’t be too late getting back.”

“Don’t be silly, take the night for yourselves, you deserve it. Franky’s been working her ass off this week and I can’t even begin to imagine the things you see in your job. I don’t want to see either of you until the next morning, got it?” Liz gave Bridget a serious look that quickly changed to a warm smile.

“Ah, Gidge, don’t even bother trying to argue with Liz. I learned that lesson years ago.” Franky laughed. “We’ll go back to my place after.” The brunette winked at the two woman.

Liz moved on to the next station and Em tagged along to help her. Seeing this, Franky took Bridget by the hand and led her into the office, closing the door behind them.

She pulled the blonde into a tight hug, holding her close. “I’ve missed you this week, Gidge.” She heard Bridget sigh into her neck.

“I’ve missed you too, baby. Are you coming over tonight?” The blonde asked hopefully.

“I’ve got another early shift at the restaurant. This should be the last one though, babe. She’s got someone else to help out for the weekend and the regular guy should be back on Monday.” Bridget lifted her head and Franky could see the disappointment in her eyes. “Just one more night, then I’m yours all weekend, okay?” The blonde nodded and Franky pulled her in for a long, slow kiss.

They were interrupted by a knock on the door and Franky broke away from their embrace to answer it. She opened it to find Allie there with Emily who had all of her stuff packed up and was ready to go home with Bridget.

“Oh thanks so much, Allie.” Bridget said warmly, putting a hand on the younger woman’s arm. “You ready to go, darling?” She asked looking down at Emily, who nodded. She turned to give Franky one last quick kiss before she left.

“Call me tonight before you go to sleep, okay?” The brunette asked as Bridget was heading out. The blonde turned and smiled, giving her girlfriend a small nod.

Once Bridget and Emily were out of sight, Allie turned to Franky. “Wow! Franky, she’s a good one!” The brunette laughed and playfully shoved Allie’s arm as she turned and went back into the classroom.

“No, Franks, I mean it.” The young blonde said, laughing. “And she’s hot!”

Franky chuckled then took a deep breath, letting it out in a big sigh. “I know.” She was quiet for a few seconds. “So does that mean you’ll come out with us tomorrow night?”

“Hell yeah!” Allie replied enthusiastically.

Franky asked Boomer and Bea and they both agreed to go as well. She didn’t know who Bridget was planning to bring, but she assumed Vera would be there and probably a couple of other people who worked with them. It didn’t really matter to her who else was there. She was looking forward to spending the evening with her girlfriend.

********

Friday had come and gone and Bridget and Franky were finally out with their friends. Franky had invited Boomer, Allie and Bea while Bridget had brought Vera, Linda, Will and Fletch. They’d all had a couple of drinks and Franky and Bridget were currently out on the dance floor.

There was a mid-tempo R&B song playing and Bridget was dancing as close to Franky as possible. She had her back against the brunette and was grinding back into the younger woman’s hips. Franky wrapped one arm around Bridget’s waist and held her, while her other moved a strand of hair aside so that she had access to the blonde’s neck. Bridget tilted her head, making it easier for Franky to leave small kisses down the side of it and then on the back of her exposed shoulder. She had chosen a slightly more risqué version of the dress she’d worn for their first date, knowing how much Franky had liked that one, while Franky had chosen tight black jeans and a v-neck t-shirt with a dark grey and black plaid shirt over it.

Franky lifted her eyes and looked towards the booth where some of their friends were sitting. Bea, Linda and Will were having a conversation while Vera sat quietly with her drink. Every few seconds, she’d quickly glance up and look at the two women on the dance floor. Franky caught her eye one of the times she looked over at them and the shy woman quickly looked away, realizing that she had been caught.

Franky turned Bridget around so that they were facing each other and gave her a long, deep kiss. They continued dancing and Franky again noticed Vera discreetly watching them.

“What’s the deal with Vera, Gidge?” Franky asked, moving her lips to the blonde’s ear.

“Mmmm, “ Bridget hummed, “What do you mean, baby?”

“She keeps looking at us and watching us dance.” Franky lowered her head to leave a kiss on the older woman’s shoulder.

“Maybe she’s just thinking that she wants to be out here.” Bridget mumbled.

“Why doesn’t she bring one of the guys out and dance then?”

“I don’t think that’s her thing.” The blonde looked up and kissed Franky.

“Okay then, why doesn’t she bring one of the girls out?” The brunette thought maybe that would be Vera’s thing.

“Vera is just, Vera. I’ve never heard her talk about dating anyone or even liking someone and I’ve known her for years. I think she’s just really shy about it.” The blonde had never realized it until now but it was true that she had never known Vera to have an interest in anyone before.

The brunette was quiet for a minute before she spoke. “She should at least come out and enjoy herself. She’s just been sitting there all night. There must be someone here she’d dance with.”

Hearing Franky’s words, Bridget remembered the morning that she and Vera had sat outside talking while Franky and Emily made breakfast. It was the first time that Vera had met the brunette:

“she’s just so…So hot!”
“I can appreciate when someone is attractive and yeah….good choice there!”

“She’d dance with you,” Bridget said suddenly.

Franky laughed. “What? Why would she dance with me?”

“She thinks you’re hot.” The blonde’s eyes twinkled with mischief and she thought that maybe she shouldn’t have spilled her friend’s secret.

“Gidge, how much have you drank tonight?” The brunette raised her eyebrows.

“I’m not drunk, baby. She told me the first morning that she met you. She’s not into women as far as I know. It’s just…you.” Bridget said the last sentence with a smile on her face, because of course Franky would have that effect on people. The blonde had been drawn to her from the first moment she saw her.

“Yeah I have that effect on women.” Franky joked and the blonde slapped her playfully on her arm.

As the song ended, Bridget gave Franky one last kiss before she turned to go back to their booth. “Why don’t you ask her to dance? I need a break anyway.”

Franky followed the blonde back to their booth and sat down beside Vera while Bridget grabbed some money and headed to the bar for another drink. Vera looked over at the brunette, knowing that she had been caught watching her earlier, and waited nervously for her to say something.

“Come dance with me.” Franky decided that she wouldn’t phrase it as a question so as to not give the governor a chance to decline.

Vera looked down nervously, playing with her glass that was almost empty. “Uh, thank you, but I’m good here,” She said with a small smile.

“Wasn’t a question, come on. Two songs then you can sit here the rest of the night if you want.” Franky stood, reaching down and taking Vera’s hand to lead her out into the crowd. When she didn’t move, the brunette gave a gentle tug once more. “Come on!” She gave a small laugh. Vera smiled nervously, but got up and followed the younger woman.

The first song was up-tempo and, while it took Vera a few seconds, she managed to loosen up a bit and dance with the tall brunette. Franky reached out and put her arm around the smaller woman so that they wouldn’t lose each other in the sea of people. She figured that if they got separated, the other woman would just go back to her seat, and there would be no chance of getting her out there again.

After a couple of minutes, Franky leaned in beside Vera’s ear so that she could be heard and asked, “You good?” She pulled back, waiting for Vera’s response. She gave a quick nod and smiled.

The next song that came on was a slow one and people started either pairing up with their dates or leaving the dance floor until the next song. Vera started to turn away from Franky, but the brunette didn’t release the arm that was around the smaller woman’s waist. “Where are you going?” Franky asked her.

“Um, I just thought, you know, since….” Vera was having trouble finding her words.

“Ah naw, the deal was two songs.” Franky smiled, shaking her head.

“Yes, but maybe I could have a rain check……Bridget…” She pointed towards the booth where Bridget was sat with their friends, sipping her drink.

“Gidge won’t mind.” Franky looked over to her girlfriend and pointed to Vera and then gave a thumbs up, asking if the blonde was okay if she danced this song with her friend. Bridget quickly returned the thumbs up with a smile. “See, all good.”

Vera sighed, “Okay.”

Franky could see that Vera was having trouble deciding where to put her hands, so she helped her out. The brunette took the other woman’s left hand and placed it on her right shoulder, then took Vera’s right hand in her left. Franky replaced her right arm around the smaller woman’s waist, keeping her hand in the middle of her back. After a moment she felt Vera relax a little more.

“You’re good at this.” Vera smiled and glanced up at Franky. “It’s been a long time since I danced with anyone.”

“You need to find yourself a boyfriend to take you out then. I could see if Bridget knows someone who’d be good for you,” The brunette said, leading the pair on the dance floor.

“Uh, no, no boyfriend.” Vera had gotten quiet.

“A girlfriend to take you out?” Franky knew that Bridget said her friend wasn’t into women, but she thought it was worth a shot.

Vera looked at her, hesitating for a moment. She opened her mouth, then closed it without saying anything and looked back toward the floor.

“I could set you up with Allie if you’d like. She’s a sweet girl.” Franky wasn’t usually in the business of setting her friends up with each other, but she was willing to make an exception for Vera.

“No, thank you. That’s very nice of you, but no. I don’t think I’m the type of person anyone is looking for.” Vera took a shaky breath.

Franky sensed that she had hit a sensitive subject and felt bad. She had genuinely just wanted to make Bridget’s friend have some fun and now she was worried that she’d pried too far into her personal life.

“I don’t think that’s true,” Franky said honestly.

“What?” Vera picked her head up again and the brunette could see there were tears starting in her eyes.

“I don’t think what you said is true. Why do you think you’re not anyone’s type?” Franky asked and Vera just shrugged. “You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re nice, you’re good, you’re cute.” She said, raising her eyebrow, waiting for Vera to agree with her. When she didn’t, Franky continued, “I think those are the main things everyone looks for in a partner. So stop being so hard on yourself. You’ll find someone.”

A tear ran down Vera’s cheek and she let go of Franky’s hand for a second to wipe it away. “No one’s said anything like that to me before.”

“Well, they should have.” Franky took Vera’s hand again and Vera rested her head against Franky’s shoulder easily since she was a few inches shorter than the brunette.

The song ended and when the next one began, it was a slower ballad as well. Vera made no move to leave this time and Franky decided that one more dance with her wouldn’t hurt.

When they returned to the booth, Franky took her seat beside Bridget, putting an arm around her, and the blonde melted into her side.

Bridget looked over at her friend and noticed that she looked like she had been crying. “Vera, are you alright?” she asked, concerned.

“Yeah, yes, very much.” Vera smiled at the blonde, then at Franky, and Bridget made a mental note to ask Franky what had happened later when they were home.

********

A couple of hours later, their night at the club came to an end. The friends all said goodbye to each other and Franky and Bridget got in a cab and headed for Franky’s apartment. Franky learned that night, that after a couple of drinks, Bridget got handsy, but she wasn’t complaining. She had to divert the blonde’s hands a couple of times during the cab ride over, and she was currently trying to unlock her apartment door as Bridget reached around from behind her, trying to undo her belt.

“Well, well, well…”

Franky and Bridget both turned, just as Franky got the door open, to see Kim standing behind them. She walked up to Bridget, stopping just inches in front of her, and looked her up and down.

“So this is the new flavour of the month, eh Franky?” Kim asked, looking over Bridget’s shoulder to where Franky was standing behind her.

“Get the fuck out of here, Kim.” Franky growled. She could feel the anger rising inside of her. It was one thing for Kim to come at her, but it was another thing for her to have a go at Bridget in front of her.

“You think you won this?” She spat at the blonde.

“I wasn’t aware there was a competition, but if there was, then yes, it appears that I won.” Bridget looked at her cooly.

Kim scoffed, looking back to Franky. “She’s a downgrade from your usual type. Just some skinny-ass scrag in fancy fucking clothes.”

The brunette stepped forward, putting a hand on Bridget’s shoulder, moving her aside so she could stand between her and Kim.

“You need to shut the fuck up and get out!” Franky screamed the last two words in Kim’s face. A few seconds later, a door down the hall opened and Mrs. Watson once again stuck her head out to be nosy and see what the commotion was all about. Franky turned her head. “Don’t you ever fucking sleep? Go the fuck back inside!” The old woman scowled at her and closed her door.

Kim started again. “You know, now that I finally see her up close, she’s a lot older than I thought.” Franky set her jaw, her eyes burning into Kim’s. “I’d always heard you had mommy issues, but I didn’t realize you worked them out by fucking women old enough to be yours, Francesca.” She let the name drip out of her mouth like venom, knowing that Franky hated when people used her full name.

Franky let out a growl and raised her arm, she pulled it back and swung as hard as she could, landing her fist squarely on the doorframe beside Kim’s head. Bridget winced, hearing the sound of bone against wood.

“Alright, alright, I’ll go now.” Kim backed away and started down the hallway. “You two enjoy your night and I’ll see you later.” She laughed as Franky flipped her off.

“Franky.” Bridget reached out to take the brunette’s injured hand. She had split open the skin on two of her knuckles and there was already bruising and swelling.

“Don’t,” Franky said, pulling her hand away and flexing her fingers, making sure that nothing was broken.

“Franky, baby, at least put some ice on it.” She passed the brunette some ice cubes wrapped in a clean towel and Franky placed the bundle on the back of her hand.

Bridget sat on the couch while Franky paced back and forth between the kitchen and living room. Neither had spoken for a good fifteen minutes when Franky broke the silence.

“You’re not going to ask what that was about?” Franky was used to people prodding into her life, trying to figure her out, but Bridget hadn’t said a word yet.

“She pushed your buttons and got under your skin. Sounds like she knows about some things you went through. You haven’t told me about those things yet, but you will, if and when you decide that you’re ready.” The blonde was calm and even more unbelievably, she was still here and that was something Franky didn’t know how to deal with. She didn’t understand why this woman wasn’t long gone out of her life after what had just happened.

Franky paced back and forth, trying to shake off the tension that was still in her muscles. She was trying to remember everything they’d taught her in therapy, but she was having a hard time making any of the strategies work at the moment.

Bridget sensed that the brunette was having a hard time calming herself down. “Baby.” She stood up, walking over to stand in front of Franky. “What do you normally do to settle yourself?” She was willing to try anything to help her girlfriend out.

“I don’t know, nothing’s fucking working.” Franky was getting more agitated. “All the stuff those fucking therapists told me, it all seems like bullshit right now.”

“What about before that?” Bridget asked calmly.

“What?” Franky stopped pacing and looked up at her.

“What did you do before all the therapists?” the blonde asked.

“Fight or fuck.” Frank chuckled. “You know, for most people it’s fight or flight, but for me, it was fight or fuck.”

Bridget considered this for a moment before she spoke. “Well you can’t punch any more walls because that’s a fight you won’t win.” She opened her arms and Franky just stared at her.

“No….no, Gidge. No way.” She shook her head and turned to walk back into the kitchen.

“Why not?” The blonde hadn’t moved.

“Because that’s not…..I don’t…You’re….” Franky couldn’t get her brain to form the words she wanted to use, but Bridget knew what she was trying to say.

“You’re not going to hurt me.” Bridget truly believed this.

Franky turned and looked at her. “How do you know that?”

“Because I know.” Bridget was still calmly standing her ground. She knew Franky wouldn’t take her up on her offer to fuck her as a way of dealing with her anger, but she needed the brunette to be the one to make that choice; to realize that she really had changed.

“I’m not a good person, Gidge.” Franky said, looking off to a point on the back wall of the apartment.

“Yes, you are.” Franky shook her head, tears streaming down her face, but Bridget wasn’t backing down. “You could have hurt Kim, but you didn’t.” She took a step forward. “You could be fucking me right now if you wanted to, but you’re not.” Another step forward. “If this had been back before you decided that you needed to change, one of those things, or maybe even both, would have happened, yeah?” Franky nodded her head. “And now, they didn’t. So, that’s how I know.”

Franky’s shoulders slumped and a sob escaped her mouth. Bridget rushed forward and wrapped the brunette in her arms. She held her tightly while her body shook, and when Franky’s knees started to give out, the blonde stayed with her and held her as they sat on the kitchen floor.

When Franky’s tears had finally stopped, Bridget reached out and brushed the hair out of the brunette’s face and wiped her tears away. “Let’s go to bed, baby,” she said, kissing the younger woman’s forehead.

Franky nodded, standing up and helping Bridget to her feet. They fell into the brunette’s bed exhausted and hoped that sleep would come quickly and end this day.

********

Franky woke with the first rays of sun that spilled in through the large windows. They hadn’t bothered to close the curtains last night. She opened her eyes to see Bridget laying beside her, staring up at the ceiling, clearly very wide awake.

“Gidge? How long have you been awake?” the brunette asked, trying to clear the sleepiness from her voice.

“I think I slept for about an hour. So, almost 3 hours.” She turned her head to look at the younger woman.

“Babe, I’m sorry about last night. I shouldn’t ha-“

“It wasn’t anything you did,” Bridget interrupted. Her inability to sleep had nothing to do with Franky and everything to do with what Kim had said. In that moment, she’d played it cool, but the other woman had gotten to her.

“Then what’s wrong? Talk to me.” The brunette ran her thumb back and forth over Bridget’s cheek.

“Are you happy with me?”

“Gidge! Of course I am! I love ya!” At first, Franky didn’t understand why the blonde would even question her feelings toward her. Then, she remembered what Kim had said. “Kim’s a bitch and she was just trying to hurt me, and she knew that going through you to do it would be more effective than just coming at me directly.”

“She’s a lot younger than me.” Bridget had never felt insecure about her age until now.

“So?” Franky paused. “Are you forgetting everything I told you last week?”

Bridget wrinkled her brow.

“I chose you. I was supposed to be with her and I chose you.” Franky looked at the blonde with wide eyes.

“You chose Em, not me. You chose to stay with her, because she needed someone to look after her and that’s why you cancelled your date with Kim. You didn’t even know me when you made that choice.” Franky could see the tears that were threatening to spill from Bridget’s eyes.

“Fair enough.” Bridget was technically right but she wasn’t looking at the whole picture. “But then I asked you to stay for supper; that was something I chose. Then, I packed lunches for you to take home and slipped my number in the bag; also something that I chose. Remember I gave you expert sandwich-making advice at almost midnight? I chose that too.” Bridget gave a small laugh, remembering her awkward excuse for calling Franky that night. “And maybe most importantly, I never rescheduled that date with Kim. It never even crossed my mind. So yeah, I’d say I chose you. And I’d choose you again, and again, and every time after that if I had the chance. So fuck her and everything she said last night. She’s not worth the headspace, okay?”

Bridget nodded and Franky reached over and wiped the tears from the blonde’s face. She leaned in and gave her a slow, soft kiss and felt her sigh against her lips.

“Do you think you can sleep for a bit now, babe? It’s still really early.” Franky asked, pulling the blonde closer to her and wrapping her in her arms.

“I think maybe, yeah. And thank you.” Bridget closed her eyes as Franky kissed the side of her head. After just a few minutes, her breathing evened out and she was catching up on some much needed sleep.

They woke again two hours later and decided it was time to get ready and head back to Bridget’s house so that Liz could go home. They showered and dressed, and just as they were getting ready to leave, Franky lingered in the kitchen, hesitating.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” Bridget asked, turning around when she realized that Franky was no longer following her to the door.

“Are you sure you want me to come back with you?” The brunette asked quietly.

“Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I?” Bridget shrugged her shoulders, confused by why the younger woman was even asking her.

“Because you saw what happened last night. What I did and how angry I got.”

“Baby, everyone has their breaking points and it’s clear to me that you recognize your limits and how to work with them. No one is ever prepared for everything and last night was like a perfect storm for you. You said you’d never told anyone before that you love them, but you’ve told me.” Franky nodded and Bridget continued. “That’s something new and you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. The good parts and the bad. I think you’re handling the good parts very well and last night was the first time you had to face the downside of loving someone. You were fine until Kim had a go at me. You knew how to deal with her saying shit to you but it’s different when it’s directed at someone you love; someone you want to protect. So yes, there’s more work to do now for you to learn how to deal with that, but I never was, and still aren’t, afraid to be around you or for Emily to be around you. If I had thought you were going to hurt me last night, I would have left right then. And I knew even before I offered, that you weren’t going to fuck me out of anger; if I had, I wouldn’t have opened up that possibility. So yes, I’m sure I want you to come back with me.” The blonde held out her hand to Franky. While last night had been messy and difficult, it had only gone to show her that she had made the right choice by believing in Franky and she intended to make the brunette see for herself just how far she had come.

Franky wiped her tears on the sleeve of her jacket, took Bridget’s hand and followed her out the door to the cab waiting to take them back to the house.

Chapter Text

Things had been going well for Franky and Bridget since the incident with Kim. Bridget could tell that Franky felt as though a weight had been lifted off her and she was starting to trust the blonde with some of the details of her past. The brunette had told her one night, when Bridget was lazily tracing the outline of her cherry blossom tattoo with her fingers, that she had gotten it to cover up the scars left on her by her mother when she was a child. She hadn’t gone into much detail about it, but Bridget knew that even sharing bits and pieces was a start.

The chef that Franky was filling in for at her friend’s restaurant had been able to return to work as planned and the brunette was back to being able to spend more time with her girlfriend and Emily. She had missed being there and hearing about their days and cooking meals with Emily.

The only thing not going well was the amount of stress that Bridget’s job was putting on her at the moment. Things had clearly gotten out of hand at the prison and the board was trying desperately to bring it back to something that resembled normal, or at least as normal as a prison could get. Derrick Channing had demanded that all the prisoners who’d been involved in the recent incidents have another psych evaluation done to see if their course of treatment needed to be altered to avoid future problems. This, along with the normal evaluations and reports on the new arrivals, had Bridget staying late most evenings and putting in a couple extra hours of her own time at home to type up her reports.

Franky did what she could to make things easier for the blonde. She looked after most of what needed doing around the house and spent time with Emily while Bridget worked in her home office. Bridget was trying to put up a strong front and say that she was doing okay but the brunette knew the difference. One night, the blonde had asked her to take her to bed, which Franky happily obliged, but by the time Franky had gotten undressed and under the covers, Bridget was already fast asleep.

********

The following week, the workload had eased up for the psychologist, but she was still feeling the effects of the previous few days. She’d worked through most of the weekend in order to get ahead, and that was probably the only reason why her desk wasn’t still piled high with case files. Franky had tried to get her to take some time for herself. The brunette was always good at sensing what Bridget needed, but the blonde had ignored her and pushed ahead through her work.

Bridget leaned back in her chair and stretched her arms over her head, trying to loosen the tension in her back and shoulder muscles. Her thoughts drifted to when she’d be working at home, and Franky would periodically come into the office to see if she needed anything. Even though most of the time her answer was ‘no’, the brunette would always stay for a couple of minutes to rub the knots out of her shoulders and give her a small kiss on the back of her neck before quietly leaving again. She knew that right now, Franky was probably busy going about her day, but she also knew that she didn’t teach any classes until late afternoon today, so she decided to pick up her phone and call her. Even hearing the brunette’s voice was comforting to the older woman.

“Hey, Gidge.”

“Mmm, hey, baby.” The blonde sighed. She could feel herself already relaxing.

“How’s your day going? Everything alright?” Franky knew that phone calls from Bridget while she was at work were rare, so she was slightly concerned to be hearing from her now, especially so early in the day.

“Yeah, yeah, everything’s good. Well, as good as it can be.” She gave a small, half-hearted laugh. “I just missed you and wanted to talk to you for a minute. I can’t wait to be home with you tonight. I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”

“Nah, not at all, babe. I’m just doing a bit of paperwork in the office; putting in the orders for next week.”

“Okay.” The blonde had been working so much the past few days that her brain was struggling to even make small talk at the moment.

“Gidge? You sure you’re alright?”

“Yeah, I’m alright. Just a little stressed out I guess.” Bridget sighed. “I should get back to work though. I’ll see you tonight, okay? I love you.”

“Yeah, tonight. I love you too.”

Franky had barely finished speaking when she heard the line go silent. She took the phone away from her ear and saw ‘Call Ended’ on the screen. She let out a big sigh and sat her phone back on the desk in front of her. She picked up her pen and tried to get back to work, but her mind kept thinking about how stressed out Bridget had sounded. Franky knew what it usually took to make the blonde relax when she was feeling like this, and her mind went back to that evening in the kitchen after they’d gone to the park. The brunette grinned.

Franky picked up her phone and dialled Vera’s number, hoping that she was at work.

“Hello?” The governor picked up on the second ring.

“Hey, Vera, you at work today?”

“Yes, I am.” Franky noted that Vera also sounded busy today and decided to make this quick and to the point so as to not take up too much of her time.

“I just got a call from Bridget. She seems like she’s having a rough day. Can you check her schedule and see if she has any free slots today?”

“Just one moment.” Franky could hear the click of computer keys in the background. “She’s free from ten thirty until noon and then has a lunch break until one this afternoon.”

Franky said a silent thank you in her head. “Is there any way that I can come visit her today? I want it to be a surprise.”

“That’s not really something we do, Franky.” When the governor heard Franky begin to protest, she continued. “We can’t have the public in the inner parts of the building. It’s a security and safety concern.”

“I know, but Vera, you can escort me there and then back out again. I won’t leave her office alone.”

Vera knew the stress her friend had been under lately and knew how much seeing Franky would mean to her. She would be taking a huge risk letting someone just walk in off the street and into the prison, but then she thought back to the night at the bar not that long ago when her and the brunette had shared a couple of dances. Franky had been incredibly nice to her, and had gone out of her way to make sure she was having fun.

“Okay, have them call me from the desk when you get here.”

“Thanks so much Vera. I really appreciate it.” Franky hung up the phone and grabbed her bag. She had to make a quick stop at her apartment on the way, and pick up some lunch for them, but it would only take a minute.

********

Franky pulled into the visitor’s parking and headed towards the entrance of the prison. She looked up at the building thinking how she’d never thought she’d walk in there on her own free will. There was more than once that she had narrowly avoided being put inside.

There was an officer she didn’t know working at the desk. “Hi, I’m here to see Vera Bennett.” She gave him a friendly smile, hoping to move this process along as quickly as possible.

“I need to see your ID, please.”

“Okay, yeah, sure,” she said, fumbling for her wallet in her bag.

She handed him her ID and he started scanning through a list of names on the paper in front of him. “You’re not on the approved visitor’s list for today, sorry.”

“Oh, no, probably not. It was a last minute thing. She just asked me to get you to call her when I got here.” The officer looked at her blankly. “I’m a personal friend.” Franky hoped that maybe that information would get him to budge. “Can you just call her?”

The officer rolled his eyes and picked up the phone. “Hello, Governor. I have someone here to see you, says she’s a uh, personal friend of yours. Name’s Francesca Doyle…Yes, Governor.” He hung up the phone. “She’s on her way, get in line over there.” He motioned towards the line to go through the metal detectors.

Franky hesitated but did as he said. She wasn’t expecting this and it could ruin her plans for her visit with Bridget. She was next in line when she heard Vera behind her.

“Franky?” The brunette turned around. “Yes, Franky, over here.” Franky let out the breath she was holding and walked back towards the main desk. Vera handed her a pass, which she clipped to her jacket.

“She hasn’t cleared security yet, Governor,” the officer said.

“It’s fine. She’s with me.” The officer started to protest and Vera turned to look him square in the eye. “I said, she’s with me.”

“Yes, Governor.” The officer held open the door for them and they headed towards Bridget’s office.

“Vera, you should let the Governor in you out to play more often, that was hot.” Franky clicked her tongue as they entered the administrative area of the building.

“You haven’t told her I was coming, right?” Franky asked the smaller brunette as they approached Bridget’s office. Vera shook her head.

“Here we are,” she said, motioning toward the door they had stopped at. The blinds were closed but Franky could see Bridget’s name written on the door. “I’ll be back just before one to escort you out.”

The brunette nodded, “Thanks again.”

Vera turned and headed back towards her office.

Franky turned the doorknob and stepped into Bridget’s office. The blonde’s head snapped up from what she was working on to see who had come in unannounced.

“Franky!” She said surprised. “What are-…How did you get in here?” She got up and crossed the office, putting her arms around her girlfriend and giving her a long kiss on the lips.

“I have my ways, Gidge.” Franky smirked. “You sounded so stressed when you called me this morning.”

“Mmhmm, I was. I still am.” Bridget sighed, moving her head from side to side in an effort to loosen the muscles in her neck.

Franky walked around so that she was behind the blonde and placed her hands on her shoulders, massaging the muscles there.

Bridget moaned, “That feels good, baby.”

Franky smiled. “I know how much you like this,” she whispered, placing a small kiss on the side of the older woman’s neck. “I also remember something else you said you’d like.”

“Mmm what’s that?” Bridget asked, her breathing picking up slightly.

“Remember the night after the park? In the kitchen? How you said you wanted me to take control and take you?” Franky still had her lips next to the blonde’s ear and she heard a small whimper come from the woman in front of her. “Is that still what you want, babe?”

“Yes.” It was breathy and barely audible, but it was definitely there and it was all the brunette needed to hear.

She removed Bridget’s jacket and placed it on one of the chairs. She took the blonde’s left hand and moved it around behind her back, then did the same with her right, holding them both together. The brunette then reached into the pocket of her jacket and took out a pair of handcuffs that she’d stopped off at her apartment to pick up. Thank god she hadn’t had to go through the metal detector when she got here.

Bridget felt the cold steel snap around one wrist and then the other. “Wish granted, babe,” Franky murmured into her ear.

The brunette heard Bridget gasp, and she walked her forward until she was face first against her office door. Franky pressed her body into the blonde’s back, forcing her to turn her head to the side. The brunette leaned in close so that her lips brushed the older woman’s ear as she spoke. “You know you’re going to have to be really quiet, right?”

“Yes.”

“And I’m not going to make that easy for you.” Franky reached around the blonde and started to slowly unsnap her silky blouse. “You doing okay, babe? They’re not too tight?” She wanted to be in control, but this was also their first time trying something like this, so she wanted to check in with the blonde to make sure she was comfortable.

“I’m good. They’re good.” She had her eyes closed and her cheek was pressed against the door.

Franky could feel the other woman’s breathing pick up as she opened the last snap on her shirt. The brunette ran her fingers over Bridget’s stomach. She felt the muscles there tighten as the blonde let out a shaky breath. Her hand moved up to cup a breast and she felt a hardened nipple through the thin, lacy material of the blonde’s bra. Bridget whimpered at the contact.

“Franky…” Bridget knew she needed to be quiet but she was also desperate for the brunette’s touch.

Franky kissed the side of Bridget’s neck as she moved her hand down to unbutton the blonde’s pants and pull down the zipper. As she slid her hand inside, Franky could feel that Bridget had chosen to wear a lacy pair of underwear that probably matched the bra she was wearing. It wasn’t something she’d normally wear to work and Franky grinned, thinking it was probably made necessary by the fact that she was behind on doing their laundry but, either way, it was a welcome surprise. “Good choice with these, babe,” she said as she moved her hand inside them.

Bridget grinned. “Your fault.”

Franky’s fingers brushed over the blonde’s clit and Bridget let out a loud moan. Franky tugged slightly on the chain linking the handcuffs together. “I said you had to be quiet.” Bridget nodded.

The brunette moved her fingers lower, finding the wetness that had pooled in the blonde’s underwear. “Fuck, Gidge.”

“Again, your fault.” The blonde panted.

Franky ran her finger over Bridget’s folds, gathering wetness, and then came back to her clit. She traced different patterns there until she got the reaction she wanted. She ran two of her fingers down across the blonde’s clit, and barely dipped in between her folds, then moved back up to repeat the action. She felt Bridget’s hands, which were trapped between them, tighten into fists, gripping onto the front of her shirt. The brunette continued the motion and watched as Bridget shut her eyes tighter and bit her bottom lip.

“You like that?” Franky whispered in her ear. Bridget, still biting her lip, simply nodded her head.

As Franky continued to work her body into a frenzy, Bridget could hear people walking up and down the hallway in front of her door. She could hear their keys jingle as they walked and hear them greet each other as they passed. This only served to turn her on even more, thinking about where they were and how easily they could be caught.

Franky could feel that the blonde was getting close. She knew by now how to read the other woman’s body. She wanted more though. She removed her hand from Bridget’s underwear, causing her eyes to snap open.

“Fra-”

“Shhh.” Franky turned her around so that they were now facing each other and replaced her hand in the blonde’s pants. “I like seeing your face when you come.”

The blonde closed her eyes again and Franky continued. The brunette took in the sight before her. Bridget’s chest was flushed and her navy blue lace bra was in stark contrast to her creamy skin. Her eyes traveled down the older woman’s body, coming to rest on the matching lace underwear and she watched her hand move inside of them, touching Bridget in all the right places. When she pushed two fingers inside the older woman, Bridget forgot about the handcuffs and tried to reach out to touch Franky, causing the metal to scrape loudly against the door.

A few seconds later there was a knock. “Ms. Westfall? Are you alright?” Someone passing by had obviously heard the noise and was concerned.

Franky and Bridget’s eyes met and Franky continued her movements, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” Bridget tried her best to sound normal while her girlfriend was inside her and she was seconds away from an orgasm.

“Are you su-“

“I said I’m fine!” The blonde said it a little more loudly than she intended, but it had the desired effect as whoever it was didn’t say anything else.

Franky sped up the pace of her fingers and felt the first tremors start in Bridget’s body. As she pushed her towards her orgasm, she realized that the blonde was struggling against the handcuffs, trying to find something to hold onto as her legs started to shake.

Franky reached her free arm around Bridget’s back and held her up. “Stop, babe, you’re going to hurt your wrists. It’s okay, I’ve got you.” She whispered against her ear.

Bridget relaxed and Franky kissed her hard. A few finals thrusts of her fingers was all it took to send her over the edge, burying her face in Franky’s neck to muffle her moans.

The brunette held her until she had stopped shaking and lifted her head off her shoulder. Bridget looked at her with a grin on her face.

“I love you, babe. You feeling a bit better now?” Franky asked giving the blonde a slow, sweet kiss on the lips.

The older woman nodded. “I love you too.” Bridget tried to put her arms around her girlfriend but was stopped by the handcuffs. “Can we get these off now though?” She laughed.

“Yeah, sure.” Franky put her hand into the pocket of her jeans, then quickly checked the other pocket. “Uh, babe, I think I forgot to bring the key.” She started looking through the pockets of her jacket.

“Franky! Are you serious?” Bridget exclaimed.

“Babe, I’m sorry, I thought I put them in my pocket before I left. There must be someth-. Do they all use the same key? We can ask one of the officers to-”

“Franky! No! I’m no-“ Bridget stopped when Franky held up a small silver key that she had retrieved from the pocket of her jeans.

“Just kidding, Gidge,” she said with a huge grin on her face. Bridget gave her a sharp look as she unlocked the handcuffs and put them back in the pocket of her jacket. “If you’re hungry, I did actually pick us up some lunch from the Chinese place you like as well.” Franky nodded towards the bag she had brought with her that was still sitting on the floor beside the filing cabinet.

“Sounds perfect, baby.” Bridget gave her a quick kiss and cleared the pamphlets off the small coffee table so they could eat their meal.

********

At five minutes to one, there was a knock on the door of Bridget’s office.

“Come in!” the blonde called out.

Vera opened the door and stepped inside. “It’s time to go Franky. I’ll walk you out.”

The brunette nodded and both she and Bridget stood up. She kissed the blonde one last time. “I love you, babe. See you tonight.”

“I love you too.” Bridget replied as she watched Franky walk out the door with Vera.

They met Linda escorting a prisoner to her appointment with Bridget.

“What do we have here, Ms. Bennett? Some fresh meat?” The inmate flicked her tongue out at Franky as they approached.

“She’s not a prisoner, Gambaro. Back off.” Vera warned.

Juice’s eyes glanced down at the visitor’s pass clipped to Franky’s jacket then to the bag of empty take-out containers that the brunette was carrying. “Ah, too bad.”

The two pairs passed each other in the hall and Juice was quiet again until she got to Bridget’s office.

“G’day, Lucy,” the blonde greeted her warmly as she did every client.

“Ay, Ms. Westfall, never pegged you for a dyke,” Juice said, dropping into one of the lime green chairs.

“Pardon?” Bridget was used to inmates trying to get a reaction out of her and she never gave them the satisfaction of seeing her be shaken.

“That tall one is your girlfriend, yeah? You two just had a nice little lunch date in here.” Juice once again flicked her tongue out, making Bridget’s stomach churn.

“What makes you say that?”

“Because she just left here carrying a bag from a restaurant. Had a visitor’s pass and personal escort from the Governor too. Must be a really good root to get all that special attention.” Juice winked at Bridget.

“Lucy, what did you want to discuss today? How about the incident in the yard the other day?” Bridget took the seat across from the inmate and sat back, ready to listen.

“You know, I don’t blame you. She’s a nice piece of ass.”

“If you continue, I’ll call Ms. Miles to come take you back.” Bridget was done listening to her insult her girlfriend and mock their relationship.

“Aw, I’m just having a bit of fun. Okay, we’ll talk about the other day.” Juice sat back and started telling Bridget her side of the story. She talked about the fight that happened two days ago between her boys and another crew.

********

“Thanks again, for letting me visit. I know you bent some rules for me,” Franky said as they approached the visitor’s entrance.

“More than one.” Vera smiled. “The other night at the bar, you were just really nice to me when you didn’t have to be.” Vera looked down toward the floor. “I never did say thank you. So, thank you.”

Franky tipped her head to the side and smiled. “It was nothing. I’m making you dance with me again the next time we go out!”

Vera smiled and gave a small nod. Her and Franky said their goodbyes and she headed back to her office while Franky left for the centre to teach her afternoon classes.

Chapter Text

The day had come when Bridget’s brother would be returning from his business trip, and Emily would be going back home. Both women knew that they were going to miss the girl immensely, but Bridget had promised her that she was welcome to come visit any time she wanted. Sydney was only a short plane ride away.

Franky and Bridget were helping Emily pack up her things before her Dad arrived. He had scheduled their flight so that he would be able to spend the day with his sister before they had to continue home to Sydney. All three of them were sad that the young girl’s visit was coming to an end, but they were all trying to put on brave faces.

Emily was the first one who broke the silence. “Can’t I stay here with you?” she asked her Aunt.

“Love, you know you’re welcome here anytime you want, and for as long as you want, but aren’t you ready to go back home with your Dad? You’ll get to see all of your friends again, and go back to your regular school.” Bridget wanted nothing more than to tell her niece that yes, she could stay, but she knew that wasn’t possible.

“It’s not the same anymore,” the young blonde said softly, placing items on the bed for Bridget or Franky to put into her suitcase.

“What’s not the same?” Bridget asked gently.

“Home.” A tear rolled down Emily’s cheek and Bridget knelt down in front of her and wiped it away.

“I know it’s not,” the blonde spoke softly, looking into Emily’s eyes, “but your Dad is still there, and he still loves you very much. You two have to be strong for each other now.”

“Dad is different now.” Emily reached out and played with the edge of the extra blanket that was folded on the bed.

“He probably misses your Mom just like you do.” Bridget knew that Emily’s mother had passed away just a few months before she had come to stay with her. While she’d been happy during her stay, Bridget knew this was probably due to the fact that there were no reminders of her mother in this house.

“Maybe.”

Out of the corner of her eye, the blonde saw Franky exit the bedroom, wiping her face.

“Just a minute, love. I’ll be right back, okay?” Bridget asked, and the small girl nodded.

Bridget walked out into the hallway and found Franky silently crying, tears running down her face. She pulled her into a tight embrace.

“I know you’re going to miss her, baby,” the blonde whispered beside Franky’s ear.

“It would just make it easier if she was actually happy to be going back.” Franky tried to keep as quiet as possible so that Emily wouldn’t hear her, and get more upset.

“I know, baby, I know. Come back in though, yeah? She’s got the rest of the day here, and she wants to spend it with both of us.” Franky nodded and wiped the tears off her face. Bridget decided to give her a moment alone to pull herself together, and stepped back into Emily’s room.

“Franky’s sad,” Emily stated, simply.

“Yeah, love, she is. She’s going to miss you.” Bridget never believed in lying to cover up feelings, even to children.

Franky entered the room, seemingly more composed than she was a few moments before, and sat on the bed beside Emily’s suitcase. She picked up the teddy bear she’d won for her at the park that day.

“I’m going to miss you too,” the young girl said, looking over at the brunette.

She smiled a half smile that didn’t fool any of them. “Do you want to put this in your suitcase now?” Franky asked, holding out the bear. Emily shook her head. “You don’t want to take him with you?” The brunette felt slightly hurt at the thought that Emily would want to leave behind a gift.

“Not in the suitcase. I want to hold him on the plane.”

Franky grinned and placed the toy into Emily’s backpack instead so that she’d have it with her for the trip home.

********

Bridget’s brother, Tim, arrived late that morning from the airport. When he got to the house, he greeted Bridget and Emily with big hugs.

“I’ve missed you, darling,” he said to Emily, taking her into his arms. He stood to hug Bridget. “Hey, Bridge. Thanks for taking care of my girl while I was away.”

“Oh anytime, it was wonderful,” Bridget said, returning his hug.

Franky had been working all morning, preparing the food for their lunch. She had decided on barbecuing and had made ribs, along with an assortment of salads. The brunette entered the house from the backyard just as Tim had finished saying hello to Bridget.

“You must be Franky,” Tim said, walking to meet her in the kitchen and extending his hand. “Emily talked about you non-stop every time I called her. Bridget might have mentioned you a time or two as well.” He laughed and nudged Bridget’s arm with his elbow.

“Hey, Tim. Nice to finally meet you.” Franky returned his firm handshake.

“I brought some gifts for everyone,” he said, placing a bag on the kitchen island. “For you Em.” He handed her a Daruma Otoshi game and some wasanbon candy. “For you Bridge.” He passed his sister a wooden box, which she opened to find five Japanese tea cups. “I wasn’t sure what to get you,” he said, turning last to Franky, “so I decided on this.” He handed her a bottle of sake.

Franky was touched that he had brought her something, considering that she hadn’t even been in Bridget’s life before he left. “Thank you, that’s really nice of you.”

“Franky, can you play with me?” Emily held out the game that her father had just given her.

The brunette thought that maybe Tim would like to be the first one to play it with the young girl, as a way to spend time with her after being away for so long, “Why don’t you play a couple of rounds with your Dad first? I have to watch the food on the barbecue right now.”

Emily shook her head, “I’ll wait until after lunch when you can play.”

Franky looked up to see Tim give her a weak smile, and then quickly look down at the floor.

 

********

The group ate their lunch, and Tim and Bridget volunteered to clean up the dishes while Franky and Emily sat outside at the patio table, playing Emily’s new game. Tim watched them as he was packing up the leftovers to go into the fridge.

“You look really happy, Bridge,” he said as he put food into various containers.

“I am.” Bridget smiled as she stopped what she was doing and watched Franky and Emily outside.

“So tell me about how you two met. I mean, you told me the basics about the lockdown and her looking after Emily, but how did she manage to win over my big sister? I know it’s not an easy task.” He gave a small laugh and winked at Bridget. He had seen many women try to win over the blonde through the years and very few of them even came close. There had been a couple who had turned into something more serious, but he could tell that none of them matched Franky.

Bridget sighed and began, “That first day, it was awful. I was already starting to think that maybe I was in over my head looking after Em, and then work was crazy. The lockdown at the end of the day just topped it all off. When I finally got there to pick her up, I saw this gorgeous woman with her, and they were having the best time. She made it look easy.” The blonde smiled, remembering that day. “They had made supper together, and she asked us to stay. The whole time Em was trying to tell me about her day, and I was just so distracted. When we sat down to eat, it was just like it was something we’d done a thousand times before. I was so drawn to her, and I can’t even give you a specific reason why. It wasn’t something I had to think about, I just knew.”

Her brother smiled, “Well, it seems like she certainly adores you, and Em as well.” He put everything into the fridge and turned back around. “The past few months, she’s been talking about her Mom a lot. While she’s been here though, she’s seemed a lot happier, and when I talked to her on the phone, she always had a happy story; something she’d done with one or both of you, or learned in Franky’s class. She mentioned her Mom a couple of times, but nothing like it was before.” He took a deep breath. “The company has offered to move my job here, to Melbourne. I think it would be best for Em to have you around. She needs a mother-figure in her life, now, and especially as she gets older. I think it’ll be good for both of us. Everything there reminds me of Sarah, and I’m having a hard time, Bridge.” He met Bridget’s gaze and she placed a comforting hand on his back.

Bridget was shocked. It wasn’t like her brother to make a quick decision about something this big, and it concerned her. She knew that he had a history of drinking problems. He had gotten into some trouble over it when he was younger, but he’d cleaned up his act and had been sober since before he and Sarah had gotten married. The blonde dealt with addiction often in her job, and she knew that no one was ever completely cured. There would always be times when they were tempted, and if they gave in, it could undo all the progress they had made in their recovery. Her brother had confided in her before that there had been times when he’d been close to having a drink, but he had always resisted in the end.

“Oh, Tim, I know it’s been hard for you lately, but are you sure you don’t need some time to think before you make a big decision like this?” She was glad that he was admitting that he needed some help, and she was proud that he was thinking of what would be best for Emily, but she wanted to be sure that he had thought this through.

“Yeah, Bridge, it’s already done. The company found a house here for me already.”

“So when’s the move?” Bridget asked.

“In a week, maybe two at the most. I just need to go back and pack our things and hire the moving company. I haven’t told Em yet, and I’m not planning to until we get home.” The way he stated this with such certainty told Bridget that his mind was made up.

“Well, you know I support you, and if there’s anything you need, just let me know.” She looked out to the patio, watching Emily and Franky. “I know two other people, who will be very excited later on.” They both laughed and finished up their work in the house.

********

It was late afternoon and Emily and Tim had just left for the airport. It was a teary goodbye for Franky and the young girl. Bridget felt bad for not telling the brunette that she’d be able to spend a lot more time with Emily soon, but she knew that Franky might have a hard time keeping it a secret, and she didn’t want her niece to find out.

Bridget was sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, watching Franky empty the dishwasher and stack the dishes noisily in the cupboards. The brunette had barely said anything since Emily had left. She picked up the step stool that Emily had used so she was able to work on the counter, and placed it back into the utility closet, with a louder than necessary thud. When she re-entered the kitchen, Bridget decided that she couldn’t watch Franky be upset any longer.

“Baby, come here.” The blonde patted the spot beside her on the couch.

Franky replied without even looking at her. “Nah, Gidge, I’m just going to finish up over here.”

“Franky, I-” the blonde was cut off.

“Gidge! Please, just…not right now.” Franky was trying her best to keep it together, and so far she was doing okay, but she knew if she sat down with Bridget, the tears would start.

Bridget sat her mug on the coffee table and walked over to the brunette, wrapping her arms around her. “Baby, I have to tell you something.”

“Okay, what?” Franky really wasn’t in the mood to talk right now, but she wasn’t about to push the blonde away if she needed her.

“Em is coming back.”

“Yeah, I know. You told her she could come visit.” Franky knew Bridget was trying to comfort her, but she didn’t see how the promise of a visit on an unknown date in the future would make things better right now.

“No, baby, Em and my brother are moving here. They’ll be back in a week or two.” The blonde watched Franky’s face, seeing at first, a few seconds on incomprehension, then the wide smile that spread across her face.

“Are you serious?” Franky was beyond excited, and Bridget nodded. “You’re fucking serious?” The blonde nodded again. “But how? Why?”

“Tim decided that it was best for the two of them to be here and have some family support, and he was able to get his company to transfer his job here. They were having a hard time after everything that’s happened, and he heard how happy Em was when he called while he was away. They just needed to go back to Sydney to tie up a few loose ends and pack up the house.”

“Gidge, that’s fucking awesome!” Franky grabbed Bridget’s face and kissed her hard.

When they separated, the blonde let out a loud laugh, “Now will you stop throwing the dishes around before you break something?” Franky nodded and went back to work.

********

That night, Bridget and Franky were laying in bed, talking about everything that had happened that day.

“I can’t believe you waited a whole hour after they left to tell me, Gidge.” Franky tickled the blonde’s side, and she squealed with laughter.

“Franky!” She caught her breath. “ Do you honestly think you could have acted normal, so that Em wouldn’t know, if I had told you before they left?” She pulled the brunette in for a slow kiss.

“Mmm, probably not.” Franky smiled against Bridget’s lips. “It was kind of mean though. Maybe there should be a consequence for that.”

“Oh yeah? Like what?” The blonde went in for another kiss and Franky pulled her head back.

“Like no more kisses tonight?” the brunette asked, laughing as Bridget moved to straddle her hips. The blonde took both of Franky’s hands in her own and pinned them above her head, laying her body flat onto the other woman.

“Is that so?” Bridget asked, with a smirk on her face.

“Mmhmm.” Franky was trying to be serious, but was failing.

The blonde dipped her head down and captured Franky’s lips once again, rolling her hips against the younger woman.

Franky was getting lost in the feeling of Bridget’s body on hers when she heard a noise outside. “Gidge, wait. Did you hear that?”

“Hmm? Hear what?” The older woman continued slowly down the side of the brunette’s neck.

There was another, more distinct sound. “Stop, Gidge…stop. Get off.” She motioned for Bridget to move off her. “Someone just came in the front door.” She jumped out of bed, and quickly pulled on a pair of jeans that had been discarded on the floor.

She quickly scanned the room, looking for something to use as a weapon, and found nothing. “Stay here,” she told the blonde.

She opened the bedroom door, and could see a shadow moving on the wall opposite the main door, in the hallway. Franky crept down the hallway until she got to the corner. She carefully peeked out around the corner and could see the intruder’s face in the light coming in from the street lamps outside. It was Kim.

Before Kim had a chance to notice her, she launched herself at the other woman, pinning her against the wall and twisting one of her arms behind her.

“What…the fuck…are you doing here?!” Franky emphasized her words by shoving Kim harder against the wall. The smaller woman was squirming in her grip and managed to slide her body out from in between Franky and the wall. The brunette still had a grip on her wrist, and pulled Kim back towards her, slamming her back into the wall so that they were now facing each other, and pinning her there with a forearm over her throat. “Answer the fucking question, Kim.” By this time, Bridget had come out of the bedroom and was standing at the end of the hallway.

“I see you still like it rough,” Kim sneered and looked over at Bridget. “Where’s your kid?”

“Not here,” Bridget said coolly.

“What was the plan, huh, Kim?” Franky spat out. Kim just smiled back at her. “Did you fucking come here for the kid?”

“I just wanted you to know what it felt like to lose someone you care about.”

Kim’s words echoed in Franky’s ears and she put more pressure on the other woman’s throat. “I will fucking kill you!”

“Franky! Enough! I’m calling the police.” Bridget held up her phone.

Kim started to cry and Franky eased her arm off her throat. “Please, don’t. I’ll just go.” Kim had stopped struggling and slumped to the floor.

“That’s what you said last time, and yet here we are.” Franky threw her arms out to the side then let them drop. “What’s going on? You been drinking tonight?” The brunette had thought she smelled alcohol when she had Kim pinned against the wall.

“I had a few, yeah. Just, please don’t call the police, I’ll go to jail this time. I’ll leave, I won’t come back. I swear!” Kim looked up at Franky. The brunette looked over to Bridget who still had her phone in her hand, and sighed.

“Here’s the deal Kim, you’re going to get the fuck up, and I’m going to drive you home. If you ever come near this house, or Bridget, or the kid again, I promise you, I will fucking kill you. Understood?” Franky stood over her, waiting for a response.

“Okay, yeah sure, whatever.”

Kim stood up and Franky gave her a shove towards the door. “Start walking.”

Bridget walked up behind Franky and put a hand on her shoulder. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”

“Yeah, I’ll look after it, okay? I’ll be back.” Franky grabbed her keys out of the bowl on the table in the hallway, and followed Kim outside.

********

Franky and Kim were a few blocks away from Kim’s apartment when Franky finally spoke.

“So, seriously, why won’t you leave me alone? Look, I get I was an ass when I avoided you at first. I shouldn’t have done that.” The brunette glanced over at the woman in the passenger’s seat.

“I just thought you loved me.” Kim’s voice was small.

“Kim, we fucked once. We didn’t even make it to a first date.” Franky sighed.

“But you agreed to go on a date with me, so it must have meant something more to you too. Maybe if you just gave me a chance, you’d see that I’m the one you should be with.” She had turned in her seat and was facing Franky now.

“I’m not going on a date with you. I’m with someone else.” Franky knew she was being blunt, but she had to make it clear to Kim that whatever she thought they had was all in her head. The brunette stopped at a red light.

“But I love you!” Kim reached over and grabbed Franky’s arm, which she yanked out of Kim’s grip.

“Don’t fucking touch me! I don’t love you! I never loved you! Just leave me, and my girlfriend, the fuck alone or next time, I won’t be so nice about it!” Franky was yelling now.

“Fine! You want me gone? I’m gone!” Kim reached for the door handle and opened the door, taking off across the street.

Franky put the car in park and ran after her. This was a not so great part of town, and Kim was in no condition to be running around in the dark, alone. The brunette followed her down an alleyway. “Get the fuck back here!” she yelled out.

She ran to the end of the alley where it split to the left and right. She looked both ways but couldn’t see Kim anywhere. “Fuck,” she muttered. She started to the left, going a few feet and not seeing her anywhere then turned and jogged down the alley to the right a few feet and saw nothing there either. She had no idea where Kim could have gone. She knew the other woman was a fast runner, but she didn’t think she’d been that far behind her. She turned to go back to her car and accidentally ran into some pallets that were leaning against the building. She felt a burning sensation on her cheek and reached up. There was no blood yet but she felt a rough area of skin where the wood must have scraped her. Out of frustration, she punched the pallets, knocking them over with a crash in the quiet night. She walked back out to the street.

“Girlfriend troubles?” Franky heard a voice to her right and looked to see a homeless man sitting against the building.

“Something like that,” the brunette mumbled, and got back in her car to head to Bridget’s house.

********

Bridget was pacing back and forth through the kitchen when she heard the front door open. She rushed to the entryway to see Franky throwing her keys back into the bowl.

“Baby.” She grabbed her face and kissed her. “What took you so long? I was worried.” As she pulled back, she noticed the scrape on the brunette cheek. She ran her thumb over it and Franky winced. “What happened?” Bridget searched the younger woman’s face for an answer, unable to make her meet her gaze.

“Nothing, I don’t want to talk about it.” Franky pulled her head away from the blonde’s hands and stepped around her, continuing into the house.

“Franky, we need to talk about this,” Bridget said, catching up to the brunette and stepping in front of her again.

“Just drop it, Gidge. I took care of it.” Franky headed towards the bedroom.

Bridget reached out and grabbed her arm to stop her. “Fra-“

The brunette whipped around, pulling her arm out of Bridget’s grasp. “I said drop it! I’m going to bed.” She continued into the bedroom and closed the door.

********

Bridget had sat in the backyard for about an hour before she got cold, and moved inside to the couch. She wasn’t avoiding Franky, she wasn’t mad at her, she was just trying to process everything and give Franky some space so she could do the same.

When Franky awoke that morning, she reached out to the other side of the bed as she always did if she couldn’t feel Bridget pressed up against her. Her hand found the other side of the bed empty, and cold. Either the blonde had gotten up very early, or she hadn’t come back to bed at all.

Bridget was drinking her third cup of tea when she heard the bedroom door open and footsteps coming down the hall. When Franky reached the kitchen and saw the blonde sitting on the sofa, she stopped.

“Did you sleep out here?” the brunette asked.

“I didn’t sleep.” Bridget got up and went over to the kitchen. “You want a cuppa?” Franky nodded her head and the blonde took a mug down out of the cupboard.

“Gidge, I-”

Bridget cut her off, holding up a hand to stop her. “Let’s just make breakfast first, then we can talk, okay?”

Franky set to work, preparing some food for them both while Bridget made her tea and set the table.

They sat down to eat and the brunette began, “I’m sorry Gidge. This is such a fucking mess.”

“It was lucky that Em was gone.” She sipped her tea. “What happened after you left? To your face…..and hand?” For the first time she was noticing the scrapes on the brunette’s knuckles as well.

“It’s a long sto-” She was cut off by a loud knock on the door.

“Ms. Westfall, it’s the police,” came a loud voice from outside. Franky and Bridget looked at each other and the officer knocked again. “Ms. Westfall, it’s the police, please open the door.”

Bridget rose and walked to the front door. She had a feeling this was about what had happened the night before, so she opened it just to the width of her body, so they knew they weren’t welcome to just come inside. “Can I help you?” she asked.

There were two officers, a man and a woman, who both showed their badges. It was the man who spoke. “We’re looking for Francesca Doyle. Is she here?”

“What’s this about?” Bridget knew what it was about but she wasn’t going to give away any more information than she had to.

“She’s wanted for questioning about an incident that took place last night.” When Bridget didn’t answer, he continued, “We have a witness who placed her at the scene, with the victim, around the time in question. He was able to give the license plate number on the car. Officer on patrol this morning spotted it here. That is her car parked on the street, yes?” He motioned towards Franky’s small, green car parked in front of Bridget’s house. “So I’ll ask again, is she here?”

“I’m here.” Franky had walked up behind Bridget and the blonde stepped aside to let Franky talk to the officers.

“We need you to come with us. We’ll question you at the station.” He took out a pair of handcuffs and reached out to place them on the brunette’s wrists.

Bridget immediately stepped forward again. “Hey! I thought you just wanted to question her.” She’d never seen anyone put in handcuffs before if they weren’t being arrested.

“Yes, Ma’am. This is just a precaution. For our safety and hers.” The officer finished putting the handcuffs around her wrists.

“It’s okay, Gidge.” Franky made sure she held eye contact with the blonde in an effort to show her that she was okay. That everything would be alright.

A tear slid down Bridget’s cheek. “I want to come with her,” she said to the female officer.

“I’m sorry, that’s not how it works. She’ll be able to make contact with you later. In the meantime, here’s my card. It has the number for the station, in case you have any questions.” The officer handed Bridget her card, and they walked Franky to the police car, putting her into the back seat.

Bridget watched as the car pulled away, and drove down the street, out of sight. She turned and walked back into the house, and spent the next ten minutes pacing between the kitchen and living room. She knew there would be nothing to do, at least for a few hours, except wait, and she’d drive herself crazy with worry if she stayed alone, so she picked up her phone and called Vera.

“Hello?” Vera answered on the first ring.

“Vera, hey, I uh…are you busy?” Bridget didn’t want to impose on her friend if she had plans for the day.

“No, not at all. What’s going on? Everything okay?” Vera had known Bridget long enough to know that something was wrong.

“Yeah, I mean, no, not really. Do you think you could come by the house? I just really need someone to talk to.” The blonde took a deep breath, trying to calm herself.

“Yes, of course. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Thanks, Vera.” Bridget hung up and sat down on the end of the couch and waited for her friend to arrive.

Twenty minutes later, Vera walked into the house. “Bridget?” She called coming through the entryway into the kitchen. She spotted the blonde sitting on the couch. “There you are. What’s wro-“ Vera stopped mid-sentence when she saw the uneaten breakfast for two still sat out on the table. “Oh…Bridget…” She sat her bag down on the floor and took a seat beside the blonde, putting an arm around her shoulders.

“Something’s happened.” Bridget stared at a spot on the floor in front of her. “Franky...” She trailed off.

“Did she, uh…” Vera didn’t want to ask if Franky had broken up with her friend, “Did you guys have a fight?”

Bridget shook her head, “No, the police came and got her.”

“What!?” That was the last thing Vera had expected. “Why?!”

“They said there was an incident. I know she was having trouble with an ex.” Bridget decided to leave out the details for now, considering that she herself didn’t even know part of what happened last night. “They said they wanted to question her.”

“Okay, well, that can take a few hours, but then she should be home. They can’t hold people that are only brought in for questioning. I’ll stay with you until you hear something, okay?” Vera made herself more comfortable beside the blonde.

Bridget nodded. “They left a card so I could contact the station.”

“Yes, that’s the procedure. If we don’t hear anything in a few hours, we’ll give them a call. They might not tell you much, but I have some pull there, if needed.” Bridget nodded again, thankful that her friend was there with her.

They waited four hours then Bridget decided she needed to know what was going on. She called the station but all they would tell her was that Franky was still there and the questioning process was ongoing.

Vera offered to make Bridget something for supper, but she declined. Earlier that evening, Vera got a message on her phone from Will telling her to check her email and have a look at the new inmates scheduled to arrive in the morning. She had a bad feeling about his message because they both knew it usually didn’t matter who was arriving, unless it was a high-profile inmate, and she wasn’t aware of any of those at the moment.

“Can I use your laptop for a minute?” She motioned to the computer that was sitting on the coffee table and the blonde nodded.

Vera logged into her work email account and scrolled until she found the new arrivals email for the next day. She scanned through the list, with nothing catching her attention, until she saw “Francesca Doyle” among the names.

“Bridget?”

“Mm?” The blonde turned to her.

“I need to tell you something but I need you to be calm, okay?” Bridget nodded and Vera continued. “I just got the list of arrivals at Wentworth for tomorrow and Franky is on the list.”

“What?!” Bridget was up off the couch and pacing again. “You said they didn’t hold anyone just for questioning.” She was frantic.

“They don’t usually. Listen, I’ll find out what’s going on first thing in the morning, okay? In the meantime, I’ll stay here tonight. You shouldn’t be alone.” Bridget nodded, grateful that she had such a good friend.

********

Laying in bed that night, Bridget knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep. She also knew that she probably wouldn’t be fit for work in the morning, and should call in sick, but she wanted to be there when Franky arrived. She made up her mind that she’d get through tomorrow, no matter what, for Franky.

Chapter Text

Franky had spent the rest of the morning and first half of the afternoon waiting to be questioned. They had put her in a small room with just a table and three chairs. They had removed her handcuffs before leaving her in the room, but she didn’t feel like any less of a prisoner. She knew the door was locked, and that she was stuck in there until they were ready to let her out. At last, she heard the sound of keys in the door and the 2 detectives, that had taken her from Bridget’s house this morning, walked into the room.

The male detective spoke first. “Ms. Doyle, as you may remember, I’m Detective Lewis, and this is Detective Anders.” He motioned towards the female detective. “Before we start, we are required to inform you that this interview is being recorded, and you may stop answering questions at any time and request a lawyer. Now, as we said when we picked you up this morning, we are here to question you about an incident involving Kim Chang early this morning at approximately 1am. Do you know Chang?”

“Yeah, I know her,” Franky answered, arms crossed.

“What’s the nature of your relationship with her?” Detective Lewis asked.

“She’s an acquaintance, I guess.” The two detectives were silent, waiting to see if Franky would continue. She decided that since she’d done nothing wrong, she might as well lay everything out. “She was in a big group I used to hang out with and we partied a bit. I fucked her once and then agreed to go on a date, which I ended up cancelling.”

“How long ago was the sexual encounter and cancelled date?” Detective Anders inquired.

“A little over two months ago.” The brunette remembered their encounter in the bathroom of a bar was about a week and a half before she met Bridget.

“Has there been any contact with her since then?”

“Yeah, loads. She wouldn’t leave me alone.” Franky was getting irritated. “What’s this all about anyway?”

“Ms. Doyle, Kim Chang was found beaten and unconscious in an alleyway, just a couple of blocks from her house. We have a witness that was able to give a description of you and your car and says he saw Chang run from your car, into the alley and that you chased after her. He says you were gone for approximately five minutes, during which time he heard numerous loud noises coming from said alley. When you emerged from the alley, alone, he asked if you were having girlfriend troubles and you replied, and I quote, ’something like that’, after which you got into your car and left. He says he waited for approximately fifteen minutes for her to return and when she didn’t, he then walked down the alley and turned left, going maybe twenty feet, where he found her unconscious.” Detective Lewis placed the sheet of paper he was reading from back on the table and looked blankly at Franky. “So that is what this is all about. Do you have anything to say?”

“I didn’t beat her up!” Franky knew she was showing more irritation than she should, but Kim had been fucking with her life for months now and she couldn’t catch a break.

“But you did follow her into an alleyway and then come out alone?” Detective Anders asked, leaning back in her chair.

“Yes.” Franky gritted out. “But it wasn’t like that!”

“Then tell us what it was like. Start from the beginning.” Detective Lewis took out a notebook and pen and waited for Franky to speak.

She went through how she had cancelled the date with Kim and had started dating Bridget and how Bridget had been caring for Emily. She told them about the time that Kim came to the centre and made a scene before one of her classes and how she’d showed up at her apartment after her first date with Bridget, how she’d had to block her number after that. She told them about the morning before their day at the park and how she’d confronted her in the coffee shop then followed her to Bridget’s house and left a note on her car threatening Emily. She told them about the night after the bar when Kim had shown up and insulted Bridget and then she came to what had happened just hours earlier.

“Why didn’t you report any of this to the police?” Detective Anders asked.

“No offence, but in my experience, the police don’t really do shit.” Franky was getting more defensive by the minute.

“Tell us about last evening when she arrived at your house.”

“I was in bed with Bridget and I heard a sound, like someone coming in through the front door. So I got up and went out to see who it was. Turned out it was her. So I pinned her to the wall and asked her what the fuck she was doing there. She got out of my grip but I still had a hold of her wrist so I pulled her back and put her against the wall again. She asked Bridget where Em was, said she wanted me to know what it felt like to lose someone I cared about.” Franky felt the tears in her eyes. “She was going to take a fucking kid because she couldn’t accept that I didn’t want to be with her.” She wiped the tears from her face. “Bridget wanted to call the cops but as soon as she threatened to do it, Kim broke down and I just let her slump to the ground. She was a mess and I, stupidly, felt bad for her. I know she’s been in trouble before so I just offered to drive her home instead. I told her this was the last time I was doing her any favours. So we get almost to her place and I asked her why she kept coming around. I said I knew I was an ass for not returning her calls way back when this all started and then she started in on how she thought I loved her. I told her that to me, it was just a one time fuck, and I didn’t have any feelings for her. I was always clear about that with her. She wanted another chance with me, and I said I was in a relationship and it wasn’t going to happen. She got mad and got out of the car and ran into the alley. It’s a bad neighbourhood, obviously, so I went after her. I wanted her to get home. When I got to where the alley split, she was gone. I went a few feet in each direction, and nothing. So I gave up and went home.”

“What about the noises the witness heard before you reemerged and the scrapes on your face and hand?” Detective Lewis pointed to the witness statement that he had placed on the table earlier.

“My face? I ran into some pallets that were leaning against the building. My hand? Got pissed off and punched said pallets and a couple of them fell over.” Franky shrugged.

“So you have anger problems?” Detective Lewis asked.

“I did when I was younger. I got help for them and now, it’s all good. But last night, yeah, I was angry.” She saw the detectives glance at each other. “I didn’t beat her up though. The only time I touched her was when she was in the house. She was fine the last time I saw her.”

There was a knock on the door and Detective Anders got up to answer it. She spoke with whoever was outside for a moment then closed it and turned to Franky. “We need to step out for a minute, but don’t go anywhere.”

“No chance of that, hey?” Franky motioned to the lock on the door and she once again found herself sitting in the small room, alone.

The detective returned a few moments later with another officer.

“After considering your past record, it has been determined that you will be placed on remand at Wentworth until we finish our investigation. You’ll stay here for the night and then be moved over in the morning with the regular prisoner transport.” Detective Lewis stated. “Any questions?”

“Yeah! What the fuck do you mean by ‘finish your investigation’? I told you what happened last night!” Franky had stood up and the officer stepped towards her, cautioning her to calm down.

“Ms. Doyle, we went to your apartment first this morning to see if you were home. We spoke with a Mrs. Watson who lives down the hall from you. Do you know her?” Detective Lewis was once again reading from his notes.

“Yeah, she’s the nosey old cow who never sleeps. Always poking her nose into everyone’s business.” Franky huffed.

“She said she’s witnessed fights, on more than one occasion, between you and the victim.”

“Yeah, and I told you about those.” Franky threw her arms out to the side then let them drop.

“We will be getting a search warrant for you apartment. Is there anything you want to tell us about before we find it?” Detective Anders asked the brunette.

“Nah, just be prepared for the drawer in the bedside table.” Franky winked at her.

“Okay, well, we’ll start some paperwork, and we’ll need to take photographs of the wounds on your face and hand. After that, you’ll be taken to a cell for the night.”

The officer led her out of the room and down the hall to the processing area. She knew she should probably ask to call Bridget, but she didn’t know what she could say to make anything better at this point, so she pushed that thought aside.

********

Bridget was awake early the next morning, and she could hear that Vera was already in the shower. She reached out her hand and placed it on the empty spot beside her where Franky usually slept. They’d only been apart a few nights since they’d started dating. She knew some people would say maybe that wasn’t healthy, and they were moving too fast, but Bridget had never felt more sure of anything than she was about her and Franky.

She was both dreading and looking forward to work that day. Dreading it because she knew Franky would be trapped behind those bars, and looking forward to it because she needed to see the brunette, and right now, that could only happen within the walls of Wentworth. She knew everything that Franky had told her about what had been going on with Kim, and she believed her. She knew the incident the officers had been talking about must have been something to do with Kim, but she knew in her heart that Franky would never hurt her. There was however, a very small part of her that had to admit that she had been worried for a moment when Kim had admitted that she had come for Emily. She remembered how upset Franky was when the woman had come at her at the brunette’s apartment that night, and she would be even more protective of the child. Bridget played the only card she had at that moment, threatening to call the police. She knew Franky didn’t want them involved, but she refused to stand there and watch the woman she loves kill someone and go to prison. Relief had flooded over her when the brunette had released her hold on Kim and let her fall to the floor.

The blonde got up and laid out some clothes for Franky on the bed. She knew that she was probably still wearing the outfit she had on when they had picked her up the day before. There was a small knock on the door.

“Come in,” the blonde called.

“Hey, good morning” Vera said, poking her head just inside the door. “I was just making sure you were awake, and you are so, uh, I’ll go and start on breakfast.” She was about to close the door and leave when Bridget called her back in.

“Vera? Come in for a minute.” The small brunette stepped into Bridget’s bedroom. “Is it okay if I take her some clothes?”

Vera thought for a moment, “Yes, but I think I should take them in with me.” The blonde opened her mouth to protest when her friend continued. “I know you want to see her, and I’ll do everything in my power to make that happen as soon as possible. As soon as she walks through those gates though, she is an inmate and you are a member of staff. I know that a couple of the officers know about you two, and I trust them, but the rest of the staff, and the inmates especially, absolutely cannot know that she is linked with you. It puts a target on her back and it puts your job at risk.”

“Lucy Gambaro knows, or at least thinks she knows,” Bridget said, remembering the day that Franky had visited her in her office. “She said she saw her leaving with the bag from the restaurant and figured that we had a lunch date.”

Vera closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose, sighing. “But you didn’t confirm anything?”

“Of course not!” The blonde would never give away such personal details to an inmate.

“Okay, then she can’t prove it, and I’m sure Franky will deny it as well if she confronts her about it. I’ll keep an eye on the situation though.” Vera looked down at the clothes laid out on the bed. “Put these in a bag, okay? I’ll get them to her as soon as she arrives.” Bridget nodded. “I’m going to go start on the food while you get showered and dressed.”

“Thanks again, Vera. For everything, for staying last night.” The tears were threatening in Bridget’s eyes again.

“Hey, hey, we’re friends, that’s what we do. I’ll see you out there in a bit, yeah?” The blonde nodded and Vera exited the bedroom, closing the door behind her.

As Bridget packed the clothes into a bag, she suddenly wondered if she was packing too much or too little. If she packed too much, she thought that Franky might think that Bridget thought she might be in there for awhile. That it would mean that her girlfriend didn’t believe in her innocence. If she packed too little though, then Franky may not have what she needed and Bridget wanted her time there to be as comfortable as possible. If it was possible for a prison to be comfortable at all. She opted for an amount somewhere in the middle. Not so much that it looked like Bridget expected her to be there for a long time, but enough that she would be okay for a few days until her girlfriend was able to bring her more things if she had to.

Bridget brought the bag out and set it by the door for Vera to take with her when she left. They sat and ate breakfast together. Bridget was grateful that her friend had cooked for her, but right now, she would have done anything for one of Franky’s omelettes.

“Are you okay to drive yourself in today or do you want to come with me?” Vera asked as they were clearing the table.

“I’m okay to go in by myself. You’ve done so much already and I don’t want you to have to drive all the way back here at the end of the day.” The real reason Bridget wanted to take her own car was that she wasn’t entirely sure she’d make it through the whole day without leaving early, but she didn’t want to tell Vera that.

Her friend gave her a hug and picked up her bag and the bag for Franky and headed towards the door. “I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything.”

********

Franky woke up that morning when a guard came to get her from her holding cell.

“The Brawler is here to take you to the prison, let’s go.” He waited for her to get out of bed, then walked her down the hall and out to the waiting van.

There was only one other prisoner in it; a small, redhead who didn’t look to be any more than eighteen or nineteen years old. Neither of them spoke, and the only sounds during the entire drive were those of the redhead sobbing.

The van pulled up to the prison and stopped. When the doors opened, Franky was met by Vera and Will. The redhead stepped out of the van first and Vera pointed her towards the entrance of the prison.

Franky stepped down onto the pavement. “Hey, Gov. Will.”

“Franky, in here, he’s Mr. Jackson.” Vera didn’t like having to correct Franky but she didn’t want her to stick out to the other inmates.

“Yeah, sure.” The brunette had had a long, mostly sleepless night and she wasn’t in the mood to argue with anyone.

“Mr. Jackson is going to take you through the admissions procedure then I’ll come down and see you, okay?” Vera wanted to make sure Franky got her clothes from Bridget before she was put into general. It would look less suspicious for her to walk in with them rather than to receive a delivery from the governor on her first day there.

 

********

Bridget had cleared her schedule for the morning, and sat waiting for Vera to call her. At around 10am, there was a knock on her door. “Come in,” she called out.

Vera opened the door and stepped into her office. “She’s just arrived.”

“Is she okay? How does she look?” Bridget was immediately on her feet and around the desk.

“She looks okay, but tired. Will is taking her through admissions now and then I’m going to go back to see her. I’ll give her the clothes you sent, and she can take them in with her in her basket.” The governor hesitated on telling Bridget her next decision. “Bridget, I’ve decided to allow you to do her intake psych evaluation, you don’t actually have to do it but that’s the only way I could allow you to spend time with her right now without it looking suspicious. I’ll have the external psych do a proper evaluation when he comes in on Thursday. I know you two need to talk. You have to make it look like it’s just a routine thing though. Will will be the officer with her and he’ll leave once you get there. He’ll be in the office across the hall so just let him know when you’re done talking, okay?”

“Oh, Vera, thank you! I know this is going against a lot of rules.” Bridget gave her friend a hug.

Vera put her hands on Bridget’s shoulders and gently pushed her back. “I’m your friend, but I’m also the governor. I will try to help you as much and for as long as I can, but you have to promise that you will keep things quiet. Don’t put me in a position where I have to be the bad guy.”

“I promise, Vera. I promise.”

“Okay, I’ll have the paperwork for her sent up and then just wait for my call.” Vera turned and walked out the door, leaving Bridget alone again.

********

Franky sat with Will, going through the admissions paperwork.

“What happened, Franky? I never thought I’d see you in here.” He was typing her information into the computer while he talked.

“The fucking system. That’s what happened.” Franky leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms.

“Okay, we’re almost done here. I’m going to take you across the hall and Vera wants to come talk to you, alright?”

Franky let Will lead her into the intake room across from the admissions office and once they were inside, Will radioed Vera, saying she was needed in admissions. When Vera arrived, he left and went back to his desk.

“Bridget sent some clothes for you.” Vera placed the bag of clothes on the table beside Franky. “You’ll be given a basket and a few things to take in with you, I suggest you put these in there.”

“Why didn’t she bring them to me herself?” All night Franky had thought only of seeing her girlfriend when she arrived in the morning and now Bridget had sent a messenger instead.

“She wanted to. Here’s what you have to understand now though, and I’ve said the same to her; if you are linked to her in any more than a normal inmate/staff way, then you will be targeted by other inmates. They will exploit that relationship every chance they get, and both you and her will be in danger. On the professional side of it, for her, it could mean the end of her career. I will help you however I can, but I won’t jeopardize anyone’s safety in doing so, okay?”

Franky nodded and she knew that Vera meant what she said. She was serious about her job, and even though Franky was someone relatively new in her life, the brunette knew that Vera was serious about protecting Bridget.

“I just want to see her.” Franky sniffed and wiped away a tear that was threatening to fall.

“I know.” The governor placed a comforting hand on Franky’s arm. “I’ve arranged for it to look like she’s coming to do your intake psych evaluation. You’ll be able to spend some time together, here. I’ll have the external psych do a proper evaluation in a couple of days. It’s the best I can do for now.”

“Thanks.” What the brunette really wanted right now was to be told that she could leave with Bridget, and go home to their bed where she could hold her for days. A few minutes in a cold room was no comparison, but it would have to do for now.

********

Bridget’s phone rang and she picked it up almost immediately. “Hello?”

“Bridget, you can go see her now. She’s in intake room one. Thirty minutes max, okay?” Vera told her friend.

“Okay, okay thanks,” Bridget said hurriedly, hanging up the phone as she rushed out the door.

She arrived at the intake room and rushed inside. The blinds were already drawn and, even though she knew it was against policy, she reached behind her and flipped the lock on the door. She didn’t think anyone would be trying to get in anyway, but she didn’t want to take the chance.

“Baby.” She reached out to put her arms around Franky, who had stood the moment she entered the room.

“I’m so sorry, Gidge,” the brunette said in between kisses. “I’m so sorry.”

“Baby, what happened? What are they saying you did?” Bridget held her girlfriend’s face, wiping away tears with her thumbs.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you before the police came. Last night, when I was driving Kim home, she bolted from the car when we were stopped at a red light. We were arguing and she just up and ran. I went after her, down an alley but I lost her, so I just came home. Someone found her beaten and unconscious not long after I left and they have a witness who’s saying it was me.” Franky shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.

“But it wasn’t?” The blonde didn’t want to ask but she had to. She had to hear Franky say that it wasn’t her.

“What? Of course not!” The brunette held Bridget’s stare and the psychologist wasn’t able to see any indication that she was lying.

“What happened to your face?” The older woman ran her thumb over the scrape on Franky’s cheek again. It no longer looked raw but it was definitely red and sore.

“The alley was mostly dark. I ran into some fucking pallets. Then I got pissed off and punched one of them.” She held up her hand, showing her scraped knuckles. “You believe me, right?”

Bridget took the younger woman’s hand and kissed each battered knuckle. “Yes, baby, I believe you, but that’s not what’s important. We have to make them believe you too.”

“You believing me is what’s important to me.” Franky pulled her in for another kiss then held her close while Bridget rested her head in the crook of her neck. “I should have told you everything right when I got home.”

“It’s okay, baby. We just need to figure this out.” She wrapped her arms tighter around the brunette. “I’m going to schedule you in for some counselling sessions with me. It’s not much, but it will give us some time alone.”

“I’m not good at therapy, Gidge.” Franky tried weakly to make a joke.

Bridget gave a small laugh and glanced up at the clock on the wall. “Why don’t you change into something I brought you and I’ll take what you’re wearing home to be washed?”

“Are you saying I stink?” Franky laughed, pushing her away playfully.

“No, I-” Bridget began.

“I’m kidding, Gidge.” Franky laughed, taking off her t-shirt and throwing it at the blonde. She selected a clean outfit from the clothes Bridget had packed, and was just finished changing when Will came back to get her.

He knocked lightly and Bridget opened the door for him. “Sorry, Vera said a half hour then I had to come get you if you weren’t out.”

“No problem, Will.” Bridget gathered her papers, which were left untouched on the table, along with Franky’s dirty clothes, and headed to the door. She turned just before leaving. “Don’t forget your sessions, okay?” Franky nodded and the blonde was gone.

“Here’s your basket with some essentials.” He handed her a frosted plastic laundry basket with shampoo, soap, towels, washcloths, toothpaste and a toothbrush. “If you want anything else, there’s a special spend once a month and you can request it then. You can keep your own clothes for now or let one of the officers know, and they can have some teals brought over.”

“Thanks, Mr. Jackson.” Franky started putting her extra clothes into the basket when she felt Will come over and stood beside her.

“I know Vera said you had to call me that, but I’m still Will, and you’re still the Franky I met at Bridget’s birthday party, and who actually got Vera out on the dance floor at the club that night. Who we are doesn’t change just because we walk through those gates. Just keep your head down and we’ll get you through this, okay?” Franky nodded. “I’ll take you to your cell now.”

She followed him out of admissions and through the hallways. They finally arrived at a room, sectioned off from the main hallway by a black iron gate, that contained a common area with a table and chairs, couches, and a TV. There were several smaller rooms off on each side.

“H2, home sweet home. You’re second on the left. Lunch is in an hour.” Will turned and left as Franky entered her new home for who knew how long.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Vera sat in her office going through Franky’s file. Bridget had told her some of what had happened with Franky and Kim Chang, and the events that had landed her in Wentworth, but the governor had to admit that the file was thicker than she had been expecting, and dated back to when Franky was still a teenager. There were a handful of cautions for possession of illegal drugs and one charge for trafficking of illegal drugs, which had been dropped. She continued down the list and saw a handful of minor assault and petty theft charges that had resulted either in probation or community service.

At the very bottom was a note about a serious assault charge that had been filed by a man named Michael Pennisi that had resulted in only a fine and community service. That was the type of charge that Vera knew should have amounted to more than it had. The name of the man listed also made something click in the governor’s mind, but she couldn’t quite place it.

She sat the file aside and turned to her computer, opened up her web browser and typed in “Michael Pennisi”. The search immediately returned thousands of results. He was a celebrity chef who dealt mostly in reality-type tv shows, which would explain why the name had seemed vaguely familiar. Vera scrolled until she came to an article titled “Network Cancels Reality Cooking Show After Contestant Brutally Assaults Host”.

She clicked on the article and began to read. It appeared that about halfway through filming the show, Franky had had enough of Pennisi insulting her and her cooking skills, and had beaten the man after he made some particularly harsh comments towards her. There was a video on the page as well, and Vera clicked play. It showed Pennisi tasting the dish Franky had prepared and then promptly spitting it out on the floor. “I wouldn’t feed this to my dog Francesca! Even if I did, he’d probably have enough sense not to eat it!”. She watched as Franky punched the man once, then again, before he fell to the floor. She then dropped to her knees and punched him twice more before she was hauled away by two security guards. It appeared he had lost consciousness somewhere between the third and fourth punches.

Vera continued reading. The network had decided, that since so many people on the show, both contestants and crew members, were coming forward with stories about verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Pennisi, to cancel the show and offer a payout to everyone to keep them quiet. The exception to this was Franky. She hadn’t been given a payout, of course, instead they had decided to file a lesser charge that would allow her to avoid a prison sentence.

The governor watched the video once more then sat back in her desk chair with her arms folded. This was not the Franky she knew. She could clearly see from the video that it was indeed the brunette who had assaulted that man, but it was at odds with the woman her best friend had fallen in love with. This version of Franky, on the monitor in front of her, was not the same one who she had watched patiently teach a five year old how to make omelettes and cookies, or who had excitedly planned a surprise party with her for her girlfriend, or who had danced with her just a couple of weeks earlier.

That was Vera’s emotional side talking, but she knew she was supposed to put that aside if she was going to do her job properly. If she only had the file and this video to go on, she would have said that Franky was a dangerous person who shouldn’t be trusted. She had worked in corrections long enough to know that people, especially criminals, could put up a good front and show you only what they wanted you to see. As the governor, she would be expected to treat her as she would with any other prisoner. The problem was, she wasn’t just any other prisoner. She was her best friend’s girlfriend, and someone that she would probably call a friend herself. Vera had never before experienced a conflict between her professional and personal lives, and she found it unnerving. For now, she decided it was best to keep Bridget and Franky apart, for their own safety, to give her time to talk to her friend, and make sure she knew what she had gotten herself into.

********

Bridget had a couple of appointments first thing that morning, so she wasn’t able to get to her computer until an hour or so after work had started. She opened up her scheduling program and clicked on a slot she had open for 11am that day. She looked at Franky’s file sitting on her desk. She hadn’t read it, and she wouldn’t. The brunette had shared a lot of things with her about her past, but she knew there was more that she was yet to open up and talk about. Bridget felt that reading her file would be a form of betrayal. She wanted to experience getting to know Franky with Franky, and not from some sterile, clinical file. People were so much deeper than what was written in those types of reports. She typed in Franky’s name and assigned her to the empty slot.

Whenever Bridget, or any other staff member, scheduled an appointment with an inmate, a notification was sent to Vera’s computer. Today, when Franky’s name popped up saying she had been scheduled for a psych session, Vera quickly cancelled it. She felt bad; she knew Bridget would be worried about how her girlfriend was settling in.

Bridget saw Franky’s name appear in the empty box on her screen, and then disappear seconds later. She thought maybe there had been a glitch with the system so she tried again. The result was the same. She made a note to mention it to Vera later, and decided that she’d leave that slot open and head to H-block to see if she could find Franky herself.

********

Franky had woken up early that morning and decided to head out to the exercise yard. When she was younger, she found that working out was an effective way to burn off some of the anger she had inside her. Now, she rarely went to the gym unless something big was bothering her. Today, it wasn’t so much that she was angry, but that she had too much energy to just sit around in her cell and wait for something to happen. She wouldn’t be given a work assignment since she was on remand, so she’d have to find something to fill her days.

She started out doing some curls with the free weights and it wasn’t long before one of the other inmates came up to her. She thought she recognized the girl from H2, but she wasn’t sure. She’d decided that the best way to get through her time there was to keep to herself and not make enemies, or friends.

The girl was young, Franky guessed maybe twenty, and was a bit shorter than her. She had long dark brown hair and brown eyes and was, in Franky’s opinion, attractive. She was someone she would have hooked up with had she met her before Bridget.

“Hey, you must work out a lot. It really looks like you know what you’re doing there,” the young woman said, looking Franky up and down.

Franky internally rolled her eyes. This so wasn’t what she needed right now. “Well, it’s not exactly complicated. You pick them up then put them down.” The brunette wasn’t usually so rude to people, but in here, she knew she needed to establish her boundaries right away.

The young woman didn’t seem to pick up on the fact that Franky was trying to blow her off. “I’m Hannah, by the way.”

“Franky.”

“Franky.” Hannah liked the way the name sounded in her mouth. “You know, if you ever need a spotter, I’m more than happy to help.”

“Yeah thanks, but I work out solo.” Her exercise time was supposed to clear her head, and she couldn’t do that with someone else around.

“Or, you know, if you need someone to hold the bag while you practice your punches, I’m up for that too.”

“Solo means alone.” Franky walked over to the rack and put the weights back, and Hannah followed. She clearly wasn’t going to get any more time to herself out here this morning.

“Yeah, sorry, I just thought-” She was cut off mid-sentence as the tall brunette turned and walked away from her.

“See ya around.” Franky raised her arm for the guard to unlock the gate and headed back to her cell. She needed to shower then find a way to kill the rest of the day. She hoped that Hannah would have work duty, so she wouldn’t have to deal with her again until much later.

********

Bridget was on her way to H-block when she met Will in the hallway.

“Hey, Bridget. Where are you headed?” Will always offered to escort her to wherever she was going, especially if things were tense in the prison. Bridget suspected now, however, that Vera had also told him to keep an eye on her and Franky to make sure that nothing happened to either of them.

“Oh, I’m just headed to see some of the new inmates,” She patted the stack of files she’d brought with her. “See how they’re all settling in. There’s a few I haven’t been able to schedule in yet for a one on one session.”

“Ah, I see.” Will looked at her for a moment. “So, you want me to walk you to H-block?”

Bridget smiled. “I think I’ll be okay, but thank you.” Will nodded and continued on.

She arrived at the unit just as Franky was returning from her shower, wrapped in a towel.

The brunette quickly scanned the unit when she saw Bridget approaching. “Gidge, what are you doing here?”

“I just wanted to see how you were doing. I tried to schedule a session with you this morning but it wouldn’t go through the system for some reason.” Bridget talked as she followed Franky to the door of her cell, and was about to walk in with her when the brunette stopped and turned around suddenly.

“Gidge, you can’t come in with me.”

The blonde just looked at her girlfriend for a minute. “What? Why?” She couldn’t figure out why the other woman would be shy all of a sudden.

“Because there’s cameras everywhere. If we both walk in here with me in a towel and then I walk out completely dressed, how do you think that’ll look?” Franky raised her eyebrows, waiting for the older woman to process what she’d said. “Just give me a minute, then you can come in, okay?” Bridget nodded.

When Franky opened the door, the blonde carefully checked to make sure there was no one around who would see her enter the cell. Seeing no one, she slipped inside the door, and quickly closed it behind her. Franky’s arms were around her within seconds.

“I miss you so much, Gidge,” she whispered.

“I miss you too, baby.” Bridget held the brunette’s face and gave her a slow, deep kiss. “I can’t stay long.”

“I just want to hold you,” Franky tightened her grip around Bridget as the older woman nuzzled into her neck. She felt the blonde’s hands move under the back of her sweater to rest on the bare skin of her back. “No funny business, babe.”

She felt Bridget chuckle and place soft kisses at the base of her neck. “I just miss touching you. I miss having you next to me at night,” she murmured.

“I know. I’ll be home soon, I promise.” Franky kissed the side of Bridget’s head.

There was a knock on the door of Franky’s cell and the two women quickly separated. The brunette put her finger to her lips, signalling Bridget to be quiet, and pointed for her to stand in a corner of the room behind the door, where she wouldn’t be seen.

Franky opened the door just enough to put her head out and talk to whoever was outside.

“Hey, Franky,” Hannah said sweetly.

“What’s up?” She didn’t want to seem rude but she also didn’t want to invite anything from the young girl.

“I just thought I’d drop by and see how you’re doing. You were working out pretty hard earlier, I thought you might be sore.” She reached out and put a hand on the brunette’s shoulder.

Franky took a step back. “Nah, I’m fine. I’m just kind of busy, so I’ll catch you later, alright?” She didn’t give the girl a chance to answer, just closed the door and turned back to Bridget.

“Who was that?” Franky could tell that the blonde was trying to play it cool but there was an underlying tone to her question.

“Just some girl who was trying to talk to me while I was out in the exercise yard earlier.” The brunette shrugged. She knew that it was obvious that the girl was hitting on her, but she wasn’t interested and she needed Bridget to know that.

“I didn’t know you worked out and I’ve never seen you go to a gym.” The blonde had never once seen her girlfriend do any kind of exercise.

“I’ve been getting my exercise in a different way lately.” She winked at the blonde and saw her expression soften a little bit as she took her into her arms. “I love you, Gidge,” she said, placing a soft kiss on her lips.

“I love you too, baby. Just remember, I’m the only one who gets to help you with your workouts.” She moved her hand up into Franky’s hair and pulled her down for a smoldering kiss, only breaking away when she needed air. She lightly bit the brunette’s bottom lip. “I should go.” She broke away from the younger woman.

“Oof, Gidge, you can’t just start something you don’t plan to finish.” Franky held her arms out to either side.

Bridget gave her a wink and a coy smile. “I’m sure you can figure it out for yourself. Now, check and make sure there’s no one out there who’s going to see me leave.”

Franky stuck her head out the door and looked around the unit then, seeing no one, opened the door so Bridget could exit.

********

Later that night, Franky laid in her cell thinking back over the day. It was too warm in there, and she was already wearing as few clothes as she dared. She couldn’t get comfortable; the mattress was too hard and the pillow was too lumpy. She missed Bridget’s bed that she could just sink into. She closed her eyes and thought of Bridget. She thought of the feeling of the blonde’s hands and mouth on her body. She thought of the kiss that she had left her with earlier in the day, and a shiver ran through her body. Had they been home, they would have ended up on the nearest surface making love. As it was though, she was alone in a small cell, on a single bed, and Bridget was at her house, in her bed, their bed, also alone.

She had on only a pair of shorts and a singlet. She let her hand trail down over her right breast, feeling her nipple harden as her fingers brushed over it. When she reached the spot where her top met her shorts, she let her hand slip underneath. She traced slow patterns on her skin, remembering the night when Bridget had taken the time to map all her tattoos with her lips. Her breath hitched as she passed over a particularly sensitive spot.

The brunette moved her left hand to the waistband of her shorts and flattened it against her stomach, letting it slide inside them. She let her fingers brush over her clit, a small whimper coming from her mouth, and moved farther down until they met the wetness that had begun to gather between her folds. As she pushed two fingers inside herself, she thought back to the night of Bridget’s birthday when the blonde had commanded her to lie down, and then proceeded to fuck her into speechlessness. She moved her hips, meeting her own thrusting fingers, and letting the base of her palm come into contact with her clit, causing friction there.

Franky could feel her orgasm quickly building and she moved her free hand back up to her breast, massaging it, and then pinching her nipple. Every pinch sent a jolt of electricity straight to her clit and she threw her head back, mouth open, and eyes shut tightly. She knew it would only take a few more thrusts of her fingers for her to finish and she took her bottom lip between her teeth, biting down, in an effort to keep quiet. It took one, two, three more thrusts until she felt her muscles clamp down on her fingers and the waves of pleasure washed over her.

As she brought herself down, she realized just how much she was missing her girlfriend. It had felt good, but it wasn’t the same. There was no one to hold after, or talk to, or fall asleep with. She turned on her side, determined to sleep for at least a few hours, and in the morning she’d ask about scheduling a session with Bridget.

********

Hannah let the corner of the curtain fall back over the window of the cell door. She had only intended to watch the brunette sleep for a few minutes, but when she arrived, she’d been witness to much more. She wondered who Franky was thinking about while she touched herself. The young woman thought that maybe the brunette was thinking of her, and the offer of the massage she had suggested earlier. Having seen the other woman settle in for the night, Hannah made her way back to her cell. With this new love blossoming, she’d definitely have something to talk about in her counseling session tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Bridget had only just arrived at work when there was a knock on her office door. “Come in,” she called.

“Bridget.” It was Vera. “The police are here to interview you about Franky.” Normally, the governor would have made small talk with her friend, but she was feeling awkward about the whole situation with Franky, and she hadn’t had a chance to tell Bridget what she’d learned yet. She had cancelled the session that Bridget had tried to schedule yesterday with the brunette, but she knew she wouldn’t get away with that for long, nor did she want to. She and the blonde had always had a very open friendship, and this went against that.

“Why? I didn’t do her psych assessment. I can’t even seem to schedule a session with her.”

“I don’t think they want to talk to you in a professional capacity.” Vera couldn’t meet her friend’s eyes.

“Oh, right. Okay then.” Bridget grabbed her swipe card and keys and followed Vera to one of the meeting rooms.

Vera opened the door for Bridget and the blonde stepped inside.

“Ms. Westfall, I’m Detective Lewis and this is Detective Anders,” the man introduced himself and his partner. “If you’d please take a seat. We just have a few questions we’d like to ask you.” He motioned to the chair on the opposite side of the table as both detectives sat down.

Bridget sat down. “I assume this is nothing I’ll need a lawyer for?”

“No, ma’am,” Detective Anders replied. “You’re not a suspect. We just need some information about the events leading up to the night of the incident and we have a few questions about what happened at the house that night.”

Bridget nodded and Detective Lewis began the interview. “Can you state for the record the nature of your relationship with Francesca Doyle?”

“She’s my girlfriend.” Bridget would give short, to the point answers, and nothing more. She knew they might be looking for anything they could find to poke holes in Franky’s statement.

“And how long has this relationship been going on?” Detective Lewis was making notes as he went along.

“About two months.”

“And in that time, have you ever seen her become violent or aggressive?” He had his pen poised over the notebook paper, waiting for Bridget’s response.

The blonde thought about her answer. If she said yes, she’d be helping them build their case against her girlfriend. If she said no, she’d be lying, and if they found out, her entire statement could be thrown out and she could be charged with obstructing an investigation.

“She restrained an intruder in our home.” Bridget reasoned that this wasn’t the whole truth, but it wasn’t a lie either.

“Are you referring to the night when Kim Chang entered your house?” Detective Anders asked.

“Yes.”

“And at no other time have you seen her become violent or aggressive?” Bridget remembered the night at Franky’s apartment where the brunette ended up punching the door frame. Detective Lewis continued, “We have a statement from a neighbour in Franky’s apartment building. It states that she witnessed an argument between Franky and a woman who fits the victim’s description. She says there was also a woman there matching your description. Was that you, Ms. Westfall?”

“I was at Franky’s apartment the night that Kim showed up there, yes.” She crossed her arms and sat up straighter in the chair.

“The witness said Franky yelled at her to go back into her apartment and that she heard sounds of a physical altercation. Was there a physical altercation that night?”

“No.”

“Are you sure, Ms. Westfall?” It was Detective Anders’ turn to try for an answer from the blonde.

“I’m sure.” Franky punched a wall, not a person, and in Bridget’s mind that was far from a physical altercation.

Both Detectives regarded her and she met both of their stares with unwavering confidence.

“Very well, let’s move on to the night in question, shall we?” Detective Lewis shuffled some papers until he came to the report he was looking for. “Ms. Doyle stated that you were both in bed when she heard someone enter the house. When she went into the hallway, she saw the victim and restrained her. There was an exchange that took place, which ended with Ms. Doyle leaving with the victim. Is that correct so far?” Bridget nodded. “Do you know approximately how long it was before she returned back to your house?”

“She was back a little over an hour later.” Bridget knew she had been gone exactly sixty-seven minutes because she had watched every one of them tick by.

“How was she when she got back?”

“She was agitated and upset which is to be expected, given the situation.”

“And what was the situation?” Detective Lewis asked.

“Someone had just broken into our home, and admitted they were looking to kidnap my five year old niece as a way to punish Franky for cancelling a date. So yeah, I think it’s expected that she’d be upset. She loves Em very much.” The blonde knew she was getting emotional and she took a deep breath to calm herself.

“Did she tell you what happened in the time that she was gone?” It was Detective Anders’ turn to take over.

Bridget thought about this for a moment. Franky had not told her that night, or gotten the chance to tell her in the morning. She had only heard that part of the story when she was doing her fake intake psych evaluation. Does she admit that she talked with Franky after she got in here and risk putting Vera in an awkward position or does she lie and say she doesn’t know what happened?

She opted for a partial truth again. “She told me after she was arrested, yes.” She left out the details of when and where.

“Ms. Westfall, are you aware that the drive from your house to Kim’s apartment and back should have only taken about forty minutes?” Bridget didn’t know where Kim lived, but she knew that this fact alone made things look very bad for her girlfriend.”She never mentioned what she did with those extra twenty or so minutes?” The blonde sat with a level stare, not saying anything. “Those extra minutes would have been enough for her to stop by her apartment on the way back to your place. Did she mention if that’s what she did?”

“No,” Bridget didn’t have an answer for the missing time and she wanted this to be over. “Look, I’ve told you everything I know so I’d like to get back to work, yeah? I’ve got appointments scheduled for the rest of the morning.”

The detectives looked at each other and Detective Anders shrugged. “Sure, just don’t go too far. We may have more questions for you later on.”

Bridget gave a quick, single nod of her head, got up and exited the room.

********

“Doyle!” Franky was startled from her thoughts by Vera calling her name when she suddenly appeared in the brunette’s doorway. “The police are here to see you.”

“What’s this about?” The brunette had already done her interview with the detectives at the station. She figured this had something to do with their investigation, but she was confident that they wouldn’t turn up anything she hadn’t already told them about. She briefly thought that maybe they were letting her go, because they realized they had the wrong person, but for some reason she had a bad feeling about it. “Am I going to be able to schedule a session with Bridget today?”

“Probably not. She doesn’t have any free slots today.” Vera escorted her to one of the private interview rooms in the visitor’s area where Detectives Lewis and Anders were waiting for her. They had a couple of files laid out on the table as well as a stack of photographs.

“Have a seat, Ms. Doyle,” Detective Lewis said, taking a seat on the opposite side of the table with his partner.

Franky sat down and crossed her arms.

Detective Anders took the lead in the questioning this time. “As you may remember, the last time we talked, we informed you that we were going to be conducting a search of your apartment. It was based off of statements made by your neighbours, and we have a witness, who was on the street that night. Both suggested that you had violent encounters with the victim, Kim Chang. Do you remember when we asked you if there was anything you wanted to tell us about before we went in there?”

“Yeah, I remember. Find anything fun?” Franky knew she was probably provoking them more than she should, but was tired of being accused of something she didn’t do.

“I’m not sure what your definition of fun is, but we did find this.” Anders slid a photograph in front of Franky. “Look familiar?”

It was a picture of a kitchen towel with blood on it. When Franky saw it, she knew exactly where it came from. The night that Kim had shown up after her date with Bridget, she’d given it to her to wrap her hand, and Kim had thrown it back in her face before she left. When Bridget called, she had tossed it aside and left her apartment. She must have forgotten to gather it up for the laundry; not surprising considering how little time she had spent there since that night. The brunette knew that this looked really bad, and she was torn as to what her answer should be.

“Remember the night I told you she came to my place after Bridget left, and she threw shit around?” She decided she had nothing to lose at this point. “She broke wine glasses. When she picked up a broken piece to throw at me again, she cut her hand. I gave her the towel to wrap it and she threw it back at me on her way out.”

“In your statement you said that incident occurred almost two months ago. Why is the towel still there after all this time?” Detective Anders was referring back to the report of Franky’s statement from the night she was brought in. Franky shrugged. “Here’s what we think happened. We think you stopped by your apartment on your way back to your girlfriend’s house, and cleaned the victim’s blood off you. That’s where that towel came from, not from the incident two months ago.”

“That’s bullshit!” Franky spat back at them.

“We interviewed Ms. Westfall. She stated that you were gone a little over an hour and that when you returned, you were agitated and upset. That leaves over twenty minutes that are unaccounted for. Care to explain?”

“I took the long way back. I needed time to cool down.” It was the truth. Franky had taken every backstreet she knew on the way back to Bridget’s to give herself time to clear her mind a bit.

“Any way you can prove that?” Detective Lewis asked.

Franky threw up her hands and let them drop on the table. “Why don’t you just ask Kim what happened? Or is she saying that I did it?”

“Ms. Chang isn’t saying anything. She’s in a coma.” Detective Anders put another photo in front of Franky. It was a picture of Kim that had been taken at the hospital. Her face was badly beaten, bruised and swollen, and she was hooked up to various machines.

Franky looked away and closed her eyes. She took a deep breath and looked across the table. “You think I did this?” She gestured towards the picture and the officers remained silent. “I can barely fucking look at this picture, and you think I did it?”

“We have to go by the evidence we have, Ms. Doyle,” Detective Anders said. “The reason for our visit today was to inform you of the additional evidence we found during the search of your apartment and to inform you that, based on said evidence, we are formally charging you with the assault on Kim Chang. If her injuries result in death, we will be adding a murder charge as well.”

“What the fuck?! I didn’t do this!” Franky slammed her fist on the table.

“Then you had better pray that she wakes up and tells us that,” Detective Anders said, gathering their papers and photographs.

Detective Lewis motioned to the officer on duty to let them know they were done, and Franky could go back to her cell. “We’ll keep the governor informed of the victim’s condition,” he said on his way out of the room.

********

Bridget was just finishing going through the file on her next client of the day, Hannah Jones, when there was a knock at the door. “Yes?”

The door opened and an officer led Hannah into the office. “Jones is here for her one o’clock appointment.”

“Uh, yes, thank you.” The officer shut the door and Bridget got up to greet the inmate. “G’day Hannah, I’m Bridget. Have a seat.” The blonde always tried to greet the inmates warmly. She wanted them to feel like her office was a safe space where they could talk about anything that was on their mind. “You’ve been here a couple of weeks. How are you settling in?”

“Alright, I guess.” Bridget was quiet, hoping to encourage the young woman to continue with her thoughts. “The people here are okay. Some are nicer than others though.”

“I think that could be a true statement anytime you have a large group of people. Is there anything in particular that’s happened that you’d like to talk about?” Bridget sat back in her chair, ready to listen.

“There’s someone….special. She’s new, but I feel like we have a connection. Is that odd?” Hannah was thinking, of course, of her interactions with Franky, and what she had witnessed that night in Franky’s cell.

“I think that sometimes people come into your life, and there’s an instant attraction or connection that’s not easily explained. Have you discussed how you’re feeling with her?” The blonde knew it wasn’t always possible to be open about feelings and emotions in a prison setting, but she always advocated for it when it was an option.

“We’re definitely on the same page.” Hannah’s face lit up.

“Well, that’s great then!” Bridget said, glancing down at the file sitting on her lap. Normally, she didn’t like to be distracted with paperwork or taking notes during sessions, but with new inmates, she sometimes found it useful to make sure she didn’t miss anything important.

While she was scanning her list of questions, Hannah continued. “I just feel like we’ve got this connection that’s different from anyone else.” Bridget sat back, letting the young woman lead the session. “She’s so beautiful, and she has this tattoo on her ribs and stomach. I think it’s really sensitive because she likes to have it touched. I can tell it turns her on; running fingers up and down the branches and around the flowers.” The blonde shifted in her chair, she did not like this at all. “And how she bites her lip right at the end. I think she’s trying to stay quiet.”

“Okay, I’m going to stop you there. I’m not sure how these details are relevant to our session. Things like this are usually private between the two people involved.” Bridget knew that sometimes inmates were trying to get a reaction out of her; to see how far they could push her. Usually, this wouldn’t have bothered her in the least, however, she knew the details that Hannah was listing all too well. She was talking about Franky. The blonde was confident that Franky wouldn’t cheat on her, but how could this other woman know these details? Had she slept with Franky on the outside before Bridget had met her? She felt the jealousy bubbling up inside of her.

“Oh, she won’t mind. These sessions are confidential anyway, right?”

“They are.” Bridget was ready for this to be over. “I think you should discuss with her how open she wants you to be though. Communication is key to a healthy relationship. So let’s leave this topic for today, we can come back to it in the next session if you’d like. Are you having any other issues or difficulties? Any trouble sleeping?”

Bridget managed to get through the rest of the hour, then sent Hannah back to her work unit with the officer. She needed to talk to Franky, and somehow find out how Hannah knew the things she did. She glanced at the clock. She had one more appointment before she had her free slot where she could go and see the brunette.

********

Franky had just returned from talking to the detectives, and was pacing back and forth in her cell. She heard a small knock on the open door, and turned to see who was there.

“Hey, Franky.” Hannah stood in the doorway, waiting to be asked inside.

“I thought you had work unit now.” There was no way Franky wanted to deal with her right at this moment.

“I do, but, I just came from my psych session, and I need to talk to you.” She looked at the floor, and then up at Franky, hopefully. “She’s uh, encouraged me to talk to you about something.”

The brunette was confused as to why Bridget would suggest that Hannah come talk to her when she clearly wasn’t too pleased with it the other day. She decided though that if her girlfriend had sent this woman to talk to her then she must have had a good reason.

“Okay, what is it?” Franky would hear her out, but she didn’t want it to take any longer than necessary.

“I told her about these feelings.” Hannah looked to the floor again. “Our feelings. She said I should talk to you about them.”

“Wait. What? What are you talking about?” Franky couldn’t make sense of what the other woman was saying.

“I told her how we’ve got this connection, and I really think it could be something special.” Hannah took a step into Franky’s cell.

“Hannah, I’m just going to stop you there.” The brunette could tell that while the young woman may be delusional about what was going on, she wasn’t the same kind of crazy as Kim. She needed to be firm without hurting her feelings. “I think you’re a nice girl, but there’s no connection between us like you’re thinking. I’m sure you’ll find someone great, but it’s not me. Okay?”

“But what about last night?” Franky could see the tears forming in Hannah’s eyes.

“What about last night?” Nothing out of the ordinary had happened that the brunette could recall.

“I saw you. You were thinking about me.” Hannah’s voice was small now. Franky gave her a confused look, so she continued. “In your cell, when you went to bed. I saw you...you know, and I could just tell you were thinking about how I had offered you that massage after your workout.”

The brunette’s eyes were wide. “You spied on me?!” It came out louder than she had intended.

“No! Not ‘spied’. Just...looked through the window.” Hannah shifted her feet nervously.

“Okay, look, I don’t know what made you think there were any feelings between us, but there’s not, and there won’t ever be. And looking through my window, watching me sleep..or whatever, is not okay. Got it?” The younger woman nodded slowly. “You should go back to your work unit now before they realize you should have been back earlier.”

Hannah turned without another word and left H2. Franky dropped onto her bed, looking up at the ceiling. She wondered what she’d done to keep attracting problems like this in her life. And what had Bridget been thinking? She couldn’t have known exactly who Hannah was talking about. She really needed to see Bridget soon.

********

As soon as her session had finished, Bridget grabbed her keys and swipe card and headed for H2 to find Franky. When she arrived, she found that the common area was deserted. She walked through quickly, checking to see if there were inmates in any of the cells. There was one door that was closed, but she wasn’t worried about someone who wouldn’t be able to see her go into the brunette’s cell. She came to Franky’s door, which was also closed, and knocked lightly. She heard a soft “Yeah?” from inside. She took one last glance around the common area, and seeing no one, opened the door quickly and stepped inside, closing it behind her.

Franky was laying on her bed, reading a book she had borrowed from the prison library. She looked up when the door opened, and seeing that it was Bridget who’d come to visit her, quickly stood up and put out her arms to embrace her.

Bridget melted into her. “How was your interview this morning, baby?”

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve told them all I know, and now they’re just asking the same bullshit all over again.” Franky definitely didn’t want to talk about anything that had happened in that interview this morning. She had Bridget in her arms and that was all she cared about.

The blonde pulled back. “I need to ask you something, and I want full honesty.” Bridget looked into Franky’s eyes and made sure that she had the brunette’s full attention before she continued. “Did anything happen with that girl who came to see you the other day when I was here?”

Franky dropped her arms and took a step back. “No, but I know why you’re asking.” The blonde waited for her to continue. “She told you we had feelings for each other, didn’t she? In her session.”

“You know I can’t tell you that.”

“She came here right after her session and told me what she said to you, and that you encouraged her to talk to whoever it was. I’m assuming you didn’t know until after that, that it was me. She also said she watched me through my window the other night.” When Bridget didn’t react, Franky sighed, realizing she was going to have to explain it. “When you told me to ‘look after it’ when you left the other day, well, that night I did, and she saw it. So if she told you anything else, that’s where it came from. Fucking creep. I would never cheat on you, Gidge.”

“You’d better not. You know why?” Franky stood her ground when the blonde stepped forward. “Because you’re mine.”

The words sent a shot of arousal through the brunette, and Franky nodded, “I know, babe.” She could feel her heart racing.

“Do you?” Bridget moved so her face was just inches from Franky’s. “Show me.”

Franky quickly unbuttoned her pants and shoved Bridget’s hand inside so she could feel how wet she was.

Bridget moved her fingers slightly to tease Franky a bit. “Mine.” Franky gasped, meeting the blonde’s blue eyes. She nodded once, and Bridget pushed two fingers inside her, crashing their lips together.

Bridget walked forward, forcing the brunette back against the far wall of the cell. Franky reached out and grabbed onto her hips, pulling the older woman harder against her.

The blonde was working Franky up quickly, thrusting in hard with her fingers. She curled them each time as she dragged them out, making Franky tighten her grip on her hips. Bridget knew she’d probably have bruises there later, but she didn’t care. The brunette was breathing hard, and struggling to keep quiet. Bridget hit a particularly sensitive spot, and Franky let out a moan.

“Quiet, baby,” Bridget whispered in her girlfriend’s ear.

“Fuck, I can’t.” Franky buried her face in Bridget’s shoulder to muffle the sounds coming from her mouth. She moved her hips to meet the older woman’s fingers.

“You’re close, hmm baby?” The blonde could feel the muscles around her fingers start to flutter. She flicked her thumb back and forth over the brunette’s clit.

“Ahhh,” Franky dug her fingers into Bridget’s hips, making the blonde take in a sharp breath. “Yeah, I a-“

“Tell me what you need.” Bridget pulled back slightly, forcing Franky to lift her head.

“Kiss me.” The brunette no more than had the words out of her mouth and Bridget’s lips were on hers, her tongue massaging.

It only took a few more thrusts and flicks of Bridget’s thumb for Franky to come. The blonde pulled the brunette’s head back down to her shoulder so that they wouldn’t be heard. She gradually slowed her fingers, letting Franky come down. Bridget felt a kiss on the side of her neck and another on her jaw when the younger woman finally picked up her head to look at her. She gently removed her fingers from Franky’s pants and wrapped her arms around her.

“I’m yours.” Franky looked into those blue eyes and realized for the first time that she didn’t mind saying she belonged to someone, but it had to work both ways. “And you’re mine.”

Bridget held her stare. “Fucking right, I am.”

Franky broke out in a smile and kissed her girlfriend long and slow.

When they finally broke apart, Bridget was the first to speak. “I should go, baby. I have a session soon.”

“Yeah, you’re in high demand. I couldn’t even book with you today. What did you do, cancel something to come here and see me?” Franky smiled and winked at the blonde.

“What?” Bridget looked confused.

“Yeah, I asked Vera on the way to my interview this morning if I could book a session with you today and she said you didn’t have any free slots.”

“I had two this afternoon. Why would she tell you that?” Bridget thought for a moment. “She’s been acting a bit strange lately.” She thought back to how her friend wouldn’t look her in the eye when she came to get her for her interview. “I tried to schedule something with you the day after you got here too and the system wouldn’t let me. Something’s going on. I’ll talk to her, okay?” Franky nodded and gave Bridget one last kiss.

She opened the door and checked that no one was in the common room, and seeing that it was empty, she motioned for Bridget to leave. On her way out, the blonde noticed the singlet and shorts that Franky slept in were folded, and placed on top of her shelving unit. She stopped for a second and looked at them. “Can I take this?” she asked, picking up the singlet. The brunette looked at her, confused for a moment, and Bridget started to explain. “I just-“

Franky then realized then why she wanted it. “Yeah, Gidge. Go ahead.” She smiled as Bridget partially unfolded it then unzipped her jacket and placed it inside before pulling up the zipper again. The brunette gave her a warm smile as she left.

Bridget ran her hands down the front of her jacket to smooth it out, and almost ran into Lucy Gambaro who had just come around the corner. “Oh, g’day, Lucy.”

“Ms Westfall.” Juice looked her up and down. “Having a good afternoon?” She gave a laugh, and walked past her into H2 while Bridget continued back to her office.

She walked up and down the common room looking into each cell, and stopping when she came to the only one that was currently occupied; Franky’s. Luckily, the brunette had heard her speak to Bridget and she had quickly grabbed her book and sat back on the bed.

“Well, look at what we have here.” Juice leaned against the doorframe.

“What do you want?” Franky asked, not looking up from her book.

“Oh, nothing. Say, aren’t you the one who was having the lunch date with the psych lady awhile back?” Franky glanced up and shrugged. “Yeah, I think you were. That explains the house call then.” She let out a laugh. “You’re a hot one, she’s got good taste. And speaking of taste, how’s yours?”

“Fuck off.” Franky went back to reading.

“Be careful, you might need something from me someday.” Juice sneered and turned to leave.

Franky made a mental note to ask Vera what the deal was with this disgusting woman.

Chapter Text

Bridget knew this weekend was going to be the longest one of her life. It was the first one without Franky since they’d met. It was only Friday evening, and she was already counting down the minutes until she was back at work on Monday. Normally, she loved the weekends, as Franky rarely had to work, and they were free to spend it all together. Tonight however, she sat at home with a bottle of wine, and tried to forget the fact that she was alone. She went from having her home filled with two people she loved very much, to being the only person there, all in less than a twenty-four hour period. Emily would be back this weekend, but of course she would be living with her father, and not with Bridget anymore. As for Franky, after her interview that morning, she sensed that she may not be home for quite some time.

She knew it had been reckless for her to go visit the brunette in her cell that afternoon. She knew it was even more reckless to have fucked her where anyone could have heard them, or walked in. Deep down, she knew that Franky would never cheat on her, but after what Hannah had said in her session, the blonde felt like she had a point to make. She poured another glass of wine.

She needed to talk to Vera. She kept thinking about what Franky had said; that Vera had told her Bridget wasn’t available that day, when in fact she had two hours free in the afternoon. Vera had let the blonde see Franky during the intake process, but from that point on, the governor had not agreed to let them have any more time together. She’d seen the look on Vera’s face when she had mentioned that she hadn’t been able to put Franky on her schedule. She didn’t want to believe that her friend would be actively keeping them from seeing each other but it looked like that was the case.

She glanced at her phone, which was on the coffee table, and briefly thought of calling Vera, before deciding against it. There was a kind of unwritten rule they had about dealing with work issues on personal time, a rule that Bridget thought was necessary because it was important to leave the daily stresses behind them when they left the prison gates. Now, however, Bridget didn’t know where her work life stopped, and her personal life began. The two had collided in about as messy a way as possible.

Everywhere she looked in the house, she saw reminders of the brunette. In the kitchen was her set of chef’s knives, rolled up in their bag on the counter. When Franky had brought them over, the blonde had made the comment that she had a perfectly good set of knives already, which prompted the younger woman to explain the specific use of each knife in her set, and why she had chosen that particular brand. In the end, Bridget had just smiled and made space for them beside her own set.

She looked to her left and saw Franky’s sweater thrown over the back of the other half of the L-shaped couch. After Emily had left and she had told Franky the good news, that the little girl was coming back, they had laid on the couch together and watched a movie. About halfway through, the brunette had gotten too warm and took off the sweater, leaving her in just her t-shirt. Bridget hadn’t bothered to put it away yet.

She picked up the bottle to pour herself another glass of wine and realized that it was empty, so she took that as her cue to head to bed. She looked toward the entryway on her way towards the bathroom and saw Franky’s shoes. They were scattered as usual, and most of the time, she would have straightened them up out of habit, but now, she wanted them left just as Franky had left them. She continued into the bathroom where she saw Franky’s toothbrush on the sink and toiletries in the shower. She turned around and went right back out into the hallway; she didn’t want to look at anything else tonight.

She got undressed and found a clean pair of shorts to sleep in. She looked toward the chair in the corner of the room. The singlet she’d taken from Franky’s cell was laying there, still folded. She picked it up and put it on, crawling into bed. It smelled like Franky, a mixture of her and her body wash. She must have showered right before she put it on last night. Bridget closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. If she concentrated hard enough, she could almost feel Franky pressed against her back, her arms wrapped around her. The brunette always wanted to be holding one of Bridget’s hands, too. The blonde had never had a partner who did that when they held her, so she didn’t know, until Franky did it, how comforting she found it. This was the time when she missed her the most. She missed being held while she was falling asleep, and feeling the small kisses that Franky would leave on the back of her neck and shoulders that would make all her stress and tension melt away. What she missed the most though were the talks they had some nights while they were laying in each other’s arms. That was when the brunette usually told her things about her past, and when they had some of their deeper conversations. Something about being relaxed, sleepy, and close to Bridget, made Franky drop her walls and open up.

She’d give anything to be having one of those talks with her girlfriend right now, but it wasn’t possible. Her mind drifted back to the nights before Franky was staying there almost full-time. She remembered her hesitation to call her that first night, and the excuse she’d had to make about needing advice on how to make Emily’s sandwich in the morning. She thought of when she called her almost immediately after she’d gotten home from their first date. That was probably the closest to a booty call that the blonde had ever made. She smiled at the memory, but it quickly faded. She’d even settle for just a phone call now; just being able to hear Franky’s voice as she fell asleep. She glanced up at her phone sitting on the bedside table, then turned over to see that Franky’s was still laying on the table on her side of the bed. She reached over and picked it up. It was dead, of course, after almost a week. She had an idea. Maybe it was crazy, and maybe it wouldn’t work, but she had to at least try it.

********

The next morning Bridget awoke, feeling the effects of the bottle of wine she had drank the previous evening. She forced herself out of bed anyway; she had things to do before Emily and Tim arrived. She quickly showered, dressed and headed out the door.

On the top of her list that day was picking up a burner phone. She had briefly thought of bringing Franky her own phone, but then realized that was too risky. If she were to get caught, it was better for it to be a burner phone, rather than her own. At least she would have a chance of being able to deny that it belonged to her. After she had picked that up, she stopped by the grocery store and picked up some of Em’s favourite snacks in case she was hungry when they stopped by. Also, she needed a way to distract her while she talked to Tim about everything that was going on with Franky. Normally, her and her brother talked at least twice a week, but with him being busy with the move, they had only been able to send a few texts since he left. She had told him that Franky had been arrested and it was a mistake but he didn’t know any of the details.

********

It was late afternoon when Tim and Emily arrived at Bridget’s house. She had offered to pick them up, but Tim said the company was sending a car for them so there was no need. He promised as soon as they were settled, they would come over to see her. Apparently, Em was already asking for a sleepover with her Auntie Bridge.

“Auntie Bridge!” The young girl ran to her aunt.

Bridget picked her up in a big hug. “Hello, darling. I’ve missed you,” she said, giving the girl a kiss on the cheek.

“I missed you too.” Bridget put her niece back down on the floor and the small blonde looked past her, scanning the main rooms of the house. “Where’s Franky?” Emily looked at her Aunt and then at her father.

Bridget caught Tim’s eye, and gave him a questioning look.

“I did tell her. Well, I told her that Franky wouldn't be here when we arrived. I didn't know ho-"

Bridget held up her hand to cut him off and shook her head. She didn't want to get into a discussion in front of Emily. Tim wasn't great at having the hard conversations sometimes, so Bridget knew he'd done the best he could. She would talk to Emily later. For now though, she needed to get her settled so she could talk with Tim.

"Love, Franky isn't here right now." Bridget crouched down in front of the girl. "Can you do me a favour?" Emily nodded. "If I make you a snack and find a movie for you to watch, can you give your Dad and me some time to talk about some grown-up stuff out on the patio?" Emily nodded and Bridget gave her a hug then set to work making a snack for her.

Bridget and Tim sat out on the patio with their mugs full of tea, while Emily ate and watched her movie inside.

"So, Bridge, what happened?" Tim was genuinely concerned. He had met Franky, and had nothing but good things to say about her to Bridget. He could see how happy she made his sister, and he had never seen Emily take to anyone who wasn't a family member, so easily or quickly. He had a hard time believing this woman could have done anything to land herself in prison, let alone something as violent as what she was charged with.

"It's such a mess, Tim." Bridget wrapped her hands around her mug and stared at the contents while she spoke. "We had that lovely afternoon with you and Em, and then she was so excited when I told her that you guys were moving here." She smiled at the memory of how Franky's face had lit up when she told her the news. "And then, we're in bed and she hears something and it was this woman, this ex of hers that had been hanging around. She calmed her down and drove her home but they're saying that she beat her until she was unconscious. Tim, I know there's no way that's true. That's not her." Bridget shook her head as the tears came to her eyes.

"Hey, hey." he reached out and rubbed her back. "you know her. You know in your heart who she is. If you don't believe she could have done this then she didn't and they'll see that soon too."

"I just miss her, so much." Bridget looked into the sky and took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry I didn't explain things better to Em." Tim played with his mug. "I've never been good with having any kind of serious talks with her. Sarah was the one who handled all that stuff, and I just got to do the fun parts with her."

"It's okay, I don't mind talking to her. I just didn't want her to be too disappointed when she got here." She knew that Emily had been through a lot lately.

"She's going to ask you if she can stay over. If you want to say no, I completely understand."

"She can stay. It'll be nice to have some company again." Bridget smiled weakly at her brother.

Tim and Bridget finished their tea and went inside to sit with Emily.

They both sat on the couch and Emily got up from the floor to sit between them.

"Auntie Bridge, can I stay tonight? I want to be here when Franky gets home." Bridget knew that Emily had no idea, in that moment, how much her words made Bridget's heart hurt.

"Yes, darling, you can stay, but Franky won't be home tonight or even tomorrow." Emily looked at Bridget, not quite understanding.

"Is she away on a trip like Dad was?"

"She had to go somewhere, but can we wait, and talk about that a bit later? We should have some supper with your Dad before he goes back to your house, yeah?" Emily nodded.

"Are you going to cook?" Emily looked expectantly at her Aunt.

"I was thinking we could just order something this time. We both know I'm not the cook around here." She nudged Emily's arm and they both giggled a bit. Bridget sighed, it was good to have at least part of her life going right.

********

They had finished up their meal and Tim had left saying he'd be back to pick up Emily in the morning but for Bridget to call if she needed him before that. The young girl was cuddled into her Aunt on the couch, and they were finishing the movie she had started watching earlier.

"Where did Franky go?" The girl looked up at Bridget.

"She had to go away for awhile. She didn't want to, but she had to." Bridget had no idea how she was going to explain how someone who was innocent could end up in prison.

"When will she be back?"

"I don't know. Soon, I hope." She could see that Emily was thinking.

"Did you punch her in the stomach?" The young girl asked after a moment.

"No, why would you ask that?" Bridget wasn't following her niece's reasoning.

"Because when Lilly wanted Dylan to leave her alone, she punched him in the stomach." Bridget remembered back to the talk she'd had with Emily when she told her Franky was her girlfriend, and how the girl had already figured it out on her own. Emily continued, "Did you tell her to go away?"

"I definitely didn't tell her to go away." Bridget thought it was time to just tell her what had happened. She took a deep breath. "Love, Franky had to go away because the police think she did something bad, but she didn't do it."

"Did she have to go to where you work?" Emily was quick to put the pieces together.

"Yes, she had to go where I work."

"You said you help people get out of there, so why don't you get Franky out? You can tell them she didn't do it." Emily was excited, as if she had just found the solution to all their problems.

"I can't, love. It's not that simple." Oh, if only it was, thought Bridget.

Emily got quiet again. "Don't you love her anymore?"

The question caught the blonde off guard. "Of course I do."

"You're supposed to help people you love."

"I know. I'm going to do my best, I promise." Bridget was doing her best not to let any tears fall, but when Emily hugged her, burying her face in her sweater, she couldn't help the couple that escaped her eyes. She quickly wiped them away. "What do you say we get you into bed? It's been a long day for you."

Emily hopped down off the couch and Bridget walked with her to the spare bedroom that she had called her own for the past two months up until last week. The blonde read her a story from one of the books she had brought with her and soon the girl was fast asleep.

Bridget decided that she would go to bed early as well. It had been a long, draining day in more ways than one and she would be happy to see it end. She changed out of her clothes and into her shorts and the singlet she'd taken from Franky the day before, and crawled into her bed.

She tried to sleep but she kept thinking of Franky, alone in Wentworth. She would have been so happy to see Emily today. They probably would have made supper together for everyone. She pictured the many times she had come home from work and the two of them were waiting to share one of their new kitchen creations with her.

Eventually the tears came as they had almost every night since Franky had been gone. After a few moments, she heard the knob on her bedroom door turn quietly, and small footsteps approach the bed. She opened her eyes and Emily was standing in front of her.

The young girl reached up and wiped the tears from Bridget's face. "Are you sad because you miss Franky?"

"Yeah, I am. Did you need something, love?" Bridget thought maybe the girl had woken from a nightmare again.

"No, I came because you were sad," she said, lifting the covers and crawling into the bed with her Aunt.

Bridget put her arms around the girl. "Thank you," she said, kissing her on the side of her head. "Let's go to sleep now."

********

"Franky, you've got a visitor." Will had appeared at the door of Franky's cell just after lunch on Sunday.

"I'm not expecting anyone. Is it Bridget?" Franky followed him towards the visitation area.

"It's not Bridget. I think they said her name was Liz."

Will opened the door and Franky saw the curly-haired blonde sitting at one of the tables waiting for her. She quickly crossed the room and embraced her as Liz stood up.

"Franky, love, what the hell happened? And why didn't you tell me you were in here? I had to hear it from the director of the centre when he asked me to cover your classes!" Liz looked at the brunette and Franky knew that she'd made a mistake by not getting in touch with her friend. Liz had always been good to her.

"Ah, Liz, I'm sorry. I should have called you or at least had Bridget tell you. It's such a fucking mess. I don't even know where to start." Franky rested her head in her hand.

"Just start from the beginning, love."

Franky told Liz everything. About how she had broken things off with Kim when she met Bridget, about Kim coming to the centre, and her apartment, following her from the coffee shop and then finally, she told her about the night Kim showed up at Bridget's house.

"I was mad, yeah, of course I was, but I never touched her after we left the house. I swear, Liz." Franky wiped away a tear that was running down her cheek.

Liz reached over and took one of the younger woman's hands in both of hers. "I know. I believe you. You've come such a long way, and I'm proud of you. Things are going to work out, love. We'll do whatever we have to to help get you out of here. The girls all send their love, too."

"Thanks Liz. I just want to go home. I want to be back to my normal life with all you guys and Bridget. Em will be back soon too. I can't let her see me in here." She wiped more tears from her face.

The officer called out that visiting hours were now over and Franky gave Liz a long hug goodbye.

"Stay strong, love," the older woman whispered in Franky's ear.

"I will, Liz. Thanks so much for coming."

Liz gave Franky a kiss on the cheek and went to the desk to turn in her visitor's pass as the brunette turned to go back to her cell. Linda was on duty in that section today, and waived her past the strip search room without a second glance, for which she was grateful.

Franky hoped Bridget would be able to talk to Vera in the morning so that she could get scheduled in for a session.

Chapter Text

It was Monday morning, and Bridget was on her way to work. She'd had a wonderful visit with her niece, and she was proud to see that she was becoming a warm and caring person. The first item on her list this morning was to talk to Vera. She needed to know why she wasn't being allowed to schedule any sessions with Franky. She felt like Vera had been avoiding her this past week. She thought maybe it was just due to the fact that the whole situation was a bit awkward, but she had a bad feeling there was more to it.

********

As Franky sat eating breakfast in the cafeteria, she thought that maybe she would ask Linda if she could schedule a visit with Bridget for her today. She had remembered Bridget saying once that Linda sometimes took bribes from the inmates in exchange for favors. Mostly, they only ever wanted some dirt on a fellow inmate or officer, or access to a more private area of the prison for a few minutes. The brunette figured she had more than enough cash on her to make something happen if simply asking didn't work. She saw Linda sitting in the monitor room, reading the paper, so she quickly finished her breakfast and went to talk to her.

She leaned on the door frame. "Hey, Linda." The officer looked up from her paper. "Do you think you could schedule me in for an appointment with Bridget today?"

She sighed, set down her paper, and turned to the computer. She clicked on Bridget’s schedule for the day. “She’s got a free slot in a half hour and one at two this afternoon.”

“I’ll take the one this morning.” Franky waited while Linda typed her name into the computer.

“It’s not working,” she said, trying again. “Nope, still nothing. You’re going to have to go talk to the Governor.”

“Can you just take me up to Bridget’s office?” Franky saw Linda hesitate. “I’ll make it worth your while.” The brunette pulled the money she had stashed in her pocket this morning out just far enough for the officer to see it.

“Yeah, alright. I’ll come get you in a few minutes.” She sat back and resumed reading her paper.

********

Bridget was just settling in for her day when there was a knock on the door. “Come in,” she called out. The door opened, and Vera stepped inside. “Ah, Vera, just the person I wanted to see.” The blonde smiled warmly.

“Did you just try to book a session with Franky?”

The question caught Bridget off guard. “No, actually I-“

“Someone tried to schedule her in just now!” Vera wasn’t normally someone who got upset, especially not with Bridget, so the blonde knew for sure now that something was going on.

Bridget tried to be calm. She stood up, and walked to the centre of the room to meet her friend. “Vera, I assure you, it wasn’t me. In fact, I was just on my way to talk to you about it. I tried to schedule her last week, and the system wouldn’t let me. Then she said that you told her on Friday that I had no free slots when I actually had two.”

“You went to see her? Where? In her unit?”

“Vera, I see inmates outside of the office all the time. Nothing looked wrong or out of place, I promise.” Bridget couldn’t believe that her friend would think that she would take the chance of exposing hers and Franky’s relationship.

“I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned for your safety.” Vera ran a hand through her hair that was loosely tied back.

“I went to see Franky. Not a random inmate. Franky.”

“That’s exactly what concerns me!” Vera threw her arms to the side and let them fall.

Bridget took a moment to process what the governor had just said. “What?! You think Franky is dangerous?”

“Did you read her file?” She gestured towards Bridget’s filing cabinet where Franky’s file would be stored.

“No, actually, I didn’t. I felt it would be a breach of trust and would give me an unfair advantage over her in our relationship. I don’t want to know anything she’s not ready to tell me herself.” Bridget crossed her arms to signal that this was something in which she strongly believed.

Franky and Linda were approaching in the corridor, and Franky signalled the blonde officer to slow down a bit when she heard Vera and Bridget having what sounded like a heated discussion. The brunette had a feeling it had something to do with her, and she wanted to know what was going on.

“Well, you should, because I did. She’s got quite a long record, you know. It goes all the way back to when she was a teenager. Did she tell you that?” Vera looked at her friend, waiting for an answer.

“She’s…told me some things, yes.” Bridget knew her girlfriend had some run ins with the law in her past, but not to the extent it seemed like Vera was talking about.

“Some things? There’s a lot there, Bridget. Drug possession, drug trafficking, petty theft, assault. More than once for most of those. Did she tell you about the TV show?”

The blonde’s mind was racing, “Uh, yeah she did. She said the host was a jerk and it got cancelled.”

“Did she tell you she was the reason it got cancelled?” Vera took Bridget’s silence as a ‘no’. “The man criticized her food, so she beat him unconscious. Then, she somehow got away with a fine and community service. She’s lucky she wasn’t in prison years ago. So that’s why I was concerned, and yes, I cancelled the session you tried to schedule, and the one today. You need to seriously think about this. She’s not the kind of person you should be around, or that Emily should be around. You deserve better.”

Having heard Vera’s rant, Franky picked up her pace, and flung open the office door. She came to a stop a couple feet in front of Vera. Even though the governor was in heels, Franky still towered over her. “You think I’m not good enough? That I’m not a good person? You need to sit the fuck down, and listen to me.” She pointed to one of the green chairs on the right side of the office.

“Franky-“ Bridget reached out for her, but the brunette pulled her arm away.

“No, Gidge, she needs to hear this. She thinks all I am is what’s written in that file, well that doesn’t say shit about me, or how my life was. So now she’s going to hear it from me.”

Linda had appeared in the doorway, hand on her radio ready to call for backup. Vera looked to Franky, then Bridget. “We’ll be fine, Linda. Just close the door and go.”

Vera sat down in the chair Franky had pointed to, and when the brunette looked to Bridget, she knew she wanted her to take a seat in the other chair. Franky was ready to tell her story, and even though this wasn’t how Bridget would have hoped to hear it, she was happy to listen. She could tell the brunette was worked up and agitated, but she trusted that Franky had herself under control.

She began, “First of all, you need to know, that what that file doesn’t say, is that the reason I left home in the first place was because my mother was an abusive, alcoholic bitch. My Dad couldn’t handle it, and he left me with her when I was a young kid. She used to beat me and burn me with her cigarettes, and there was no one there to stop her. As soon as I was old enough, I ran away. They caught me and tried to put me in foster homes, but they were all shit. None of those people really cared about me, they just wanted the cheque that came with me. So, I ran away from those places, too. Living on the streets isn’t easy. The way I saw it, I had one of two options. I could either sell drugs, or sell myself. There was no fucking way I was letting anyone touch me, so yeah, I became a dealer. I was pretty fucking good at it too, that’s why none of those charges really stuck. I’m not proud of it, but I did what I had to do to survive. The theft charges were me trying to just get the basic things I needed. Mostly I stole food, sometimes clothes or some medicine from the pharmacy. I never took anything I didn’t need.” Franky had been pacing back and forth across the office the whole time she talked. “Some of the guys I’d sell to, they were pretty important, and had lots of money. They felt entitled to whatever they wanted, you know? A couple times, I’d meet one of those types of guys to make a sale, and they’d think that I was part of the deal. They were used to getting whatever they wanted, and they didn’t like some kid telling them they couldn’t have it. So yeah, those assault charges, I beat up a couple guys to save myself from being raped, and people walking by, they probably thought I was trying to rob him or something, and they called the cops on me. Who do you think they believed when they showed up, a homeless kid with drugs, or a well-dressed rich guy? One of the times I got arrested, I ended up getting community service. They made me work in the soup kitchen. That’s where I met Liz. She took me under her wing, saw that I had a talent for cooking, and she taught me everything she knew about it. She took me in. That was the first time I ever remember living in a house where I wasn’t afraid that someone was going to come to my room in the middle of the night and hurt me. I did pretty well for a couple years after that. I got a job at a diner, put myself through culinary school, got a place of my own, and then I got selected for the cooking show. That chef though, Mike, he was such a dick. He shat on me just like my mother used to, just like all those people who looked down on me when I was living on the street. I had anger issues, I always had, and one day, I just snapped. So yeah, that one, I admit is as bad as it looks. Liz convinced me to go to therapy after that. She was always there for me since that first day we met. I’m different now. I still get mad, but I can control it. I haven’t hit anyone since that day on set.” She looked at Vera now. “I heard what you said, that you think that Bridget and Em aren’t safe with me, you’re wrong. I would never hurt them. This whole mess started because I was protecting them. Did Gidge tell you that the reason I was mad at Kim that night was because she said she came to take Em from us as a way to punish me?” Vera glanced over at Bridget. Cleary her friend hadn’t told her that detail, and Franky picked up on that fact. “Yeah. So you still think I’m not good enough?”

“I-“ Vera opened her mouth and closed it again. While Franky had been talking, tears had gathered in her eyes, and now that she was put on the spot, they ran freely down her cheeks. “I-, I can’t. I’m sorry, I need to go.” She wiped the tears off her face one last time, and quickly headed out the door, and down the hall.

Bridget rose and closed the door, leaving just her and Franky in the office. “Franky.” The blonde wasn’t sure if her girlfriend would want to be comforted at this point, or if she needed some time to cool down, so she decided to proceed cautiously for now. “I didn’t know all of that.”

Franky looked up and met her eyes. “I should have told you sooner, Gidge. I’m sorry you had to find out this way. I just couldn’t stand her thinking that a list of charges told her everything about who I was and I didn’t want you to think that either.”

“I never read your file.”

“But you had it that day you came to my cell.” Franky had seen her file in the stack Bridget had brought with her and assumed she’d had to read it as part of her job.

“I never opened it. I wanted you to tell me whatever it said in there when you were ready. I know those files never tell someone’s whole story. To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered what it said anyway, I know who you are, and who you were doesn’t change anything.”

Franky wiped her eyes. “I love you, Gidge. You’re the only person I’ve ever said that to.”

Bridget opened her arms and Franky stepped into them without hesitation. “I love you too, baby.”

She wasn’t sure how long she stood there holding the brunette tightly, with Franky’s face buried in the crook of her neck. She held her until she couldn’t feel her sobbing anymore, and until she felt her relax, leaning a bit more of her weight onto the blonde’s body. Bridget ran one hand up and down her back. She knew Franky loved this, and it often helped her fall asleep if she was having a restless night. She felt Franky sigh and the brunette lifted her head. She locked onto her green eyes and Franky leaned in for a slow, gentle kiss.

“You doing okay, baby?” Bridget asked when they split apart. Franky nodded. “You can stay for a little bit longer if you want, until my next appointment, then why don’t you take a nap in your cell? I have a free slot at two I’ll leave open. I’ll get Will to bring you up again then, okay?”

“Thanks, Gidge. Can we just sit though? I think I’ve done my talking for today.” She gave a weak laugh.

“Yeah, of course, baby.” Bridget turned to go back to the green chairs, but Franky stayed where she was and held on to the blonde’s hand, making her stop.

The brunette tilted her head toward the wall, indicating for Bridget to follow her. She put her back against the wall and slid down until she was sitting on the floor and the blonde joined her. “I know it’s not the most comfortable but I just want to be closer to you than those chairs allow.”

“It’s okay.” Bridget sat down beside the brunette, and pulled her close so that the younger woman could rest her head on her chest.

“You really should invest in a couch for here, Gidge.”

Bridget laughed. “That’s such a cliché, baby.”

They sat like that until it was time for Franky to go back to her cell. Bridget promised to send Will for her at two, and to see if she could find Vera in the meantime.

********

Lunch time came and Bridget headed for the lounge. She was hoping to catch Vera there but when she walked in, her friend was nowhere to be found. The blonde walked over to the fridge, opened the door, and took out her lunch bag. She saw that Vera’s was still sitting there, untouched. She thought that maybe after the events of the morning, the Governor had decided to keep a low profile, and stay in her office. Bridget grabbed both bags and headed off to find Vera.

As she approached the large office, she could see Vera, through the window, sitting at her desk with her head in her hands. She gave a light tap on the door and got no response so she quietly opened it and let herself inside.

“Vera.” Bridget approached her friend slowly and kept her voice calm. She wanted Vera to know that she was there to talk, not to have a confrontation. “I brought your lunch. I thought maybe we could eat together.” She sat both bags down on the desk.

“Why?” Vera didn’t look up.

“I think we should talk.” Bridget sat down and started to unpack her food.

“I mean why are you even still speaking to me?” She looked up and Bridget could tell she had been crying for quite some time. “I made such an ass of myself this morning.”

“You made a mistake, Vera. We’ll get through it.”

“Is she okay?” The governor reluctantly opened the container that Bridget had sat in front of her and pushed the food around with her fork.

“She was upset, but she settled down quickly. I think by the time she left, she was feeling more drained than anything.” Bridget debated whether or not to tell her friend the next part, but she figured there was no way she would argue with her at this point. “I told her to come back to see me at two this afternoon. I don’t want her to sit down there all day and think.”

Vera nodded her head then cleared her throat, “I, uh, won’t be keeping you two apart anymore. You can schedule her in as much as you like. Please do still be careful though.”

“I appreciate that, really.”

“She was always nice to me,” Vera smiled, remembering the talks she’d had with the brunette. “She saw me sitting alone outside at your party, and she came and sat with me. Then at the bar when she made me dance with her, I really didn’t want to, but she’s good at putting people at ease.”

“Mmm, I remember that night,” the blonde said, taking a bite of her sandwich. “I meant to ask one of you what happened out there. You looked like you’d been crying when you came back.”

“She just said some really nice things to me,” Vera was going to leave it at that but Bridget sat silently waiting for her to say more so she felt like she should continue. “She offered to ask you to set me up with a guy. Then she offered to set me up with Allie. I declined both offers. I said I didn’t feel like I fit with anyone, that I wasn’t anyone’s type. She listed off all these nice things about me and said to stop being so hard on myself. That’s all.”

“Yeah, sounds like Franky.” Bridget smiled at her friend.

“Should I go talk to her? I feel like I owe her a huge apology.”

“Maybe just give her a day or two. I think she might not be open to talking about it anymore today.” Even though she was planning on seeing Franky again that afternoon, she wasn’t going to bring up what had happened earlier. The session this afternoon was just for them to finally spend some time together where they didn’t have to have their guard up so much.

Vera nodded. “Do you think she’ll forgive me?”

“Yeah, just give her time.”

They finished their lunch and Bridget took their bags back to the lounge

********

Two o’clock had come, and Bridget was waiting for Will to arrive with Franky. It wasn’t long after when he knocked on the door. “Come in,” she called out.

Will opened the door for Franky. When she stepped in, Bridget noticed that she still looked rather tired. “Thanks, Will.” He nodded and left, closing the door behind him.

Franky was immediately in Bridget’s arms. “How are you doing, baby?” The blonde could feel her girlfriend tighten her arms around her at the question.

“I’m alright. I went to sleep not long after I left here this morning. Will had to wake me up just now.”

“You missed lunch?” Bridget felt Franky nod against her shoulder. “Okay, why don’t you sit down? I’ve got some food here.”

Franky let the blonde go and Bridget went to her desk and took out a protein bar and a biscuit. When she turned back around, the green chairs were both empty. She thought for a moment that maybe Franky had decided to leave, but she hadn’t heard the door open. She looked down and to the right, and saw her sitting on the floor where they had sat earlier that morning. She walked over and locked the door so no one would barge in and hit them with it, then sat down beside her, handing her the snacks.

“Thanks, Gidge,” Franky opened the bar and took a bite.

Bridget put her arm around her, and they sat in silence for a couple of minutes until the brunette spoke. “Is Vera okay?”

“Yeah, she will be.”

“I heard what she said when I was in the hallway about me not being good enough for you. It made me scared and angry at the same time. It reminded me how every time I got pulled into the station and had to talk to a cop or a social worker, how I always felt like they looked down on me. Like they just read the paper in front of them and never really saw me. Then I got scared because I thought maybe you would think you should stay away from me after you knew all that stuff. I love you, Gidge. I can’t lose you.” She wiped her cheek with the sleeve of her shirt.

“Hey,” Bridget turned her head and waited until Franky looked at her before she continued. “I meant what I said earlier. I don’t care who you were before. I know who you are now, and that’s all that matters to me. You’re not going to lose me.” She put her hand on Franky’s cheek and held it there while she kissed her long and slow.

The brunette sighed. “I miss you so much. I just want to come home.”

“I miss you too, baby. I’ve been sleeping in your shirt.” Bridget didn’t know why, but she was a little embarrassed to admit the second part.

“I assumed that was why you wanted it,” she smiled, sensing the blonde’s hesitance to admit it. “It’s okay, Gidge.” It was Franky’s turn to put her arm around her girlfriend, and let her lean into her. “Enough about me for today, I want to know how you’ve been doing.”

Bridget took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Honestly, I’ve had some not so great moments. I drank a whole bottle of wine the other night, and when I looked around the house, everything reminded me of you.” Franky pulled her a bit closer. “So I went to bed, and all I could think about was how if you were there, you would have made me feel better. I never told you before, but some of my favourite times with you were when we just laid in bed and talked, and you’d tell me about yourself.” The brunette reached over and took one of Bridget’s hands in her own, intertwining their fingers. “And that,” Bridget nodded towards their hands, trying not to cry, “You’re the only one who’s ever done that while we slept, and I miss it.”

Franky brought their hands to her lips and kissed the back of Bridget’s, “I’ll be there to do it again soon, babe.”

The blonde smiled, “Em came back on the weekend too. She stayed with me the night after my not so great night. She asked about you. I told her you were where I worked. I think she doesn’t really understand everything, but she knows that you might not be around for a little while.”

“Fuck, Gidge, I was hoping this would all be over before she came back. I don’t want her to see me in here.” Franky remembered the night that Kim showed up, one thought that went through her head immediately was how glad she was that Emily wasn’t there to see her get angry. She saw it too much herself when she was growing up and she knew how it could taint a child’s view of someone. She didn’t want Emily to have to deal with that.

“She didn’t ask, and if she does, I’ll say no. I know how hard it is when the women have their kids visit them. I won’t do that to you or her.” Franky nodded, relieved that she and Bridget were on the same page with that. “I do have something for you though, and if you don’t want to take it with you, I’ll understand.” Bridget pulled the burner phone from the pocket of her jacket. “It’s completely anonymous, and if you clear the call history after each time, then even if someone finds it, they won’t be able to trace it back to you or me.” Franky took the phone without hesitation, and put it in her pocket. “I can’t not talk to you at night anymore. I know it’s not as good as the real thing, but I need to know that you’re okay, and that you’re safe.”

Franky gave her a small kiss, “It’s perfect, Gidge.” The brunette guided Bridget’s head onto her shoulder and held her for the rest of their time that afternoon. When she had to leave, she promised she’d call her that night and the blonde told her that Vera had given the okay for daily sessions. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do for now.

Chapter Text

Bedtime was now something that Bridget didn’t dread quite so much. Almost every night since she had taken the phone to Franky, they had talked for a few minutes while they both laid in bed, unwinding from their days. The brunette didn’t tell stories of her past though, she saved those now usually for their sessions, saying that she wanted to tell them to Bridget in person, not over the phone.

Bridget had just settled in when her phone rang. “Hey, baby.”

Franky could hear her smiling on the other end of the line, “Hey, spunky.”

“How was your day?” No matter what time of day Bridget had last seen her, she always led off with this question.

“Ah, you know. I have the same conversations with the same dickheads every day, and if I’m spared from those, then it means I got to sit in my cell alone. The only good thing about this place is when I get to see you.” Franky signed.

“I know. Every time you leave my office, I wish that you were leaving with me instead.” Bridget needed to find something happy to turn this conversation around. “I tried one of your recipes tonight for supper.”

“Ooo, did you? Gidge is getting bold,” Franky chuckled. “Which one was it?”

“The lasagna you made for us that first night. I think I was after the memory of it more than the food itself.” Franky had made that dish for them a couple times since that night. Every time Bridget took that first bite, she was transported back to when she first stood in the classroom doorway, and watched her niece and Franky talking and joking with each other.

“That’s the amazing thing about food, huh? Sometimes the experience around it is better than the food itself. How did it turn out?”

“Well, considering I called you one night to ask how to put cheese on a sandwich, I think it turned out okay.” Bridget giggled. It definitely hadn’t turned out as good as the ones Franky had made but it was edible.

“We both know you didn’t really call to ask about a sandwich that night.” She heard a small laugh from the blonde on the other end of the phone. “I’m willing to bet you were in bed, just like you are now, and you just wanted to talk to me again.”

Bridget scoffed, “Is that what you think?”

“Mmm, it is. I would even go so far as to say that maybe it was a booty call, and you lost your nerve.”

The blonde laughed, “Franky! I would never.”

“But you did.” Franky let that hang in the air for a moment. She could hear the blonde’s breathing pick up. “Just a couple nights later.”

“Mmmm, yeah, I might have done it then.” Bridget had vivid memories of pulling Franky through the hall to her bedroom, Franky picking her up and putting her on the bed, and the way the brunette looked at her when she told her she intended to use the whole night to fuck her. She turned onto her back, and let one hand brush over her breast, feeling the hardened peak of her nipple under the fabric.

Franky laid there for a minute just listening. “I got the same silences that night as I am now. Tell me what you’re doing.”

“Franky.” It was meant to be a protest, but it died on her lips as a whisper.

“You’re thinking about that night, aren’t you?” The brunette smirked.

“Yes.”

“You know what I remember about that night? About you? You knew what you wanted, and you weren’t afraid to tell me. So tell me what you want me to do.” The brunette moved her hand under her t-shirt and ran her fingernails over her stomach.

“I want you to fuck me.” Bridget let her fingers slip under the top edge of the fabric of her underwear.

“Tell me how you want it, babe.” Franky reached down and guided her hand into her own shorts, feeling the wetness there meet the tips of her fingers. “Fast and hard, or slow and soft?”

“Slow,” the blonde quickly put Franky on speakerphone and laid it beside her on the pillow. She reached her now free hand up under her shirt to squeeze her breast. “I want it slow.” She let her hand dip lower, gliding over her slick folds, and brushing over her clit. “Fuck. I want to make you feel good too, baby.”

“If you want it slow, I’d lay you down on the bed and kiss all the way down your neck.” The blonde let her fingers trail lightly where she imagined her girlfriend’s lips would be. “Then I’d suck on each of your nipples while I fucked you like I did that day in your office.” She heard a moan come from Bridget through the phone. “I’d let my fingers slide inside you. I’ve always loved how you feel. Then, I’d let my palm rub against your clit in between each thrust.”

Bridget pinched her nipple with one hand while she buried the fingers of the other one inside her. She remembered exactly how Franky felt inside of her that day. She could hear her now, breathing hard. “Tell me what you want, baby.”

“Mmmm, the night of your birthday. So fucking hot.” She pushed in hard with her fingers to reach that certain spot.

“You liked it when I took control and fucked you.”

“Yeah, babe. I never let anyone else do that.” Franky hadn’t meant for that last part to slip out, but it was too late now.

Bridget hadn’t realized at the time that it had been a new experience for the brunette and it turned her on more now to know that she was the first who got to share that with her. “I’d fuck you slow, and hard, and you’d beg me to make you come.”

“Fuck, Gidge.” Franky could feel the first familiar sensations of her orgasm building. “I’d want to taste you. I love all the sounds you make when I do that.”

“Shit, Franky.” Bridget felt her muscles flutter around her fingers. “You’re really fucking good at that. It always feels so good.”

“I’m really close.”

“It felt really good that night, didn’t it? I got to fuck you, and still be able to touch you and kiss you..” She heard the brunette’s breathing pick up, and she sped up the pace of her own hand. She knew it wouldn’t take her much longer as she thought of Franky touching herself, close to her own release.

“Gidge, I’m gonna come.”

“Me too, baby.”

The brunette drew in a breath and held it while her muscles tensed and her body shook. She heard the blonde moaning and was happy that Bridget didn’t have to try to be quiet. Hearing the other woman’s reactions was one of her favourite parts. As she shakily let out the breath she was holding she heard one final “oh, fuck” from the blonde before release came over her as well.

They both laid there in the quiet for a moment, relishing the feel of their muscles tingling.

“Definite bonus points for thinking of this phone thing, Gidge.” Franky was the first to break the silence.

“I don’t think it’s an overly original idea but I’ll take the credit, sure.” The blonde gave a small laugh.

“How are you feeling, babe?” Franky knew that her girlfriend liked to be held after sex and she felt bad that she wasn’t there to do that for her this time.

“I’m good, baby. I’m good. Just a little sleepy now.” Bridget’s voice was showing signs now of how tired she was, and had been, ever since this all started.

“I’ll let you sleep, okay? And I’ll see you in the afternoon for our session.” Franky had made sure to ask to be scheduled for one every day since Vera had had her change of heart towards her. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“Wait. Gidge, you still there?” The brunette remembered something she wanted to ask for. “Can you bring me a shirt?”

“You need more clothes? Yeah, I can get Will or someone to deliver them.”

“No, I mean one of yours. Like how you took mine.” At first Franky had told herself that she was fine. That the daily sessions were enough, but as time went on, she hated this place even more and anything that reminded her of her life on the outside seemed to make it a bit more bearable.

“Yeah, sure, baby. I’ll have it for you tomorrow.” The blonde decided she’d take her the one she was wearing that night.

“Thanks, Gidge. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, baby.” She waited until the line went dead. She never wanted to be the first one to hang up. She put her phone on the bedside table and quickly drifted off.

********

It was just after lunch when Bridget’s phone rang, “Hello, Bridget Westfall.”

“Auntie Bridge?” Bridget heard a small voice on the end of the line.

“Hey, love, how are you?” The blonde always enjoyed calls from her niece and they had become more frequent since her and her dad had moved here.

“Good. Dad picked me up from school early, and we’re having ice cream!” Bridget could tell from the background noise that it sounded like they were somewhere busy.

“Ooo, ice cream sounds delicious. What kind did you get?”

“Chocolate chip cookie dough. Can I come stay with you this weekend?” This would be only the second weekend that Emily was back in town and the second time that she’d asked to stay with Bridget. She hoped it was just due to the fact that she’d had a good time staying with her while Tim was away, but she made a note to ask her a few questions to see if everything was okay at home.

“Of course, darling, as long as it’s okay with Dad. Can I talk to him for a minute?” She heard Emily tell Tim that Bridget wanted to talk to him.

“Hey, Bridge.” Tim sounded tired.

“Hey, so Em is asking to stay over again this weekend. You’re okay with that?”

“Yeah, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind at all. I love having her around. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t taking away from your time with her. You’ve only been back a few weeks after being gone for months.” Bridget thought that Tim and Emily always had a good relationship, but maybe with Sarah gone he was finding it harder to bond with her.

“I spend all week with her. Besides, I don’t think the old man is cool enough anymore. All she talks about is you, and asks when Franky is coming back.” Bridget could definitely hear the weariness in his voice now.

“Okay, I’ll be home by six so you can drop her off anytime after that.” Bridget hesitated, “Tim? Are you doing okay?”

“Yeah, Bridge, all good. I’ll catch you later, okay?” He hung up the phone before Bridget could say goodbye.

********

At three o’clock Franky arrived, escorted by Linda, although her and Will had basically stopped “escorting” Franky and more or less just walked by the door with her now. The brunette opened the door and came in as Linda gave them a nod and continued on. Franky shut and locked the door behind her and plugged the phone into the charger that she kept in the office, while Bridget got up and closed the blinds. It had only been a week, but they had settled into their routine already.

She wrapped her arms around the tall brunette and Franky picked her up and sat her on her desk. Bridget moved her legs apart so that the younger woman could stand closer to her, and put a hand on the back of her head to pull her down for a long kiss.

“I brought you something,” Franky grinned against Bridget’s lips, and gave her bottom lip a small bite as she pulled away.

Bridget watched carefully as the brunette unbuttoned her shirt. Franky discarded it on the chair behind her, and reached down to the hem of the t-shirt she was wearing.

“Franky.” The blonde warned her.

“Relax, Gidge. I’m not getting naked,” Franky leaned in and gave her a quick kiss. She removed her t-shirt in one quick motion, and handed it to Bridget. “I figured you could use a new one by now.”

“Thanks,” Bridget took the shirt, and laid it beside her on the desk.

She let her eyes wander down the brunette’s body. She still had her bra on, but it was the most naked she’d seen her since she was arrested. She reached out and ran her fingers down the sides of Franky’s ribcage; feeling the muscles tense, and let them finally come to rest on her hips. The blonde thought she must have been going to the exercise yard regularly since she’d been in here.

Franky smirked as Bridget’s eyes came back up to meet hers. “Like what you see?” The blonde dropped her hands, smiled, and mumbled a slightly embarrassed ‘sorry’. “Nah, Gidge, it’s all good.” She placed Bridget’s hands back on her hips and leaned in, capturing her lips.

Franky could feel the other woman’s hands move around to her back, fingers spreading wide so she could touch as much skin as possible. The brunette moved her lips along Bridget’s jaw, and she felt a hand come up to tangle in her hair, as she found the spot just below the blonde’s ear. She heard her sigh as she left small kisses there. Franky went to move down Bridget’s neck when the hand in her hair tightened, and a barely audible ’stay there’ left the blonde’s lips. She lingered there for another minute then whispered ‘I love you’, before pulling back and resting her forehead against her girlfriend’s.

“I love you too, baby.” Bridget gave her a small kiss. “And I have something for you.” She patted Franky’s side, signalling for her to step aside so she could get off the desk. She reached into the clear, prison-issue bag they were allowed to bring in and took out a rolled up t-shirt. “As requested.” She handed it to Franky and the brunette immediately put it on. “It’s the one I wore last night.”

“Kinky, Gidge. I like it.” Franky laughed and grabbed her button up shirt from the chair and put that on as well. “So you’re out of here soon for the weekend?”

“Yeah.” Bridget still hated the weekends. “Em called me this afternoon. She asked if she could come over again.”

“Aw, hey, tell her I said hi, yeah? She’s been doing okay since she’s been back?”

“I think so, yeah.”

Franky sensed that Bridget’s mind was working on something. “She’s gone through a lot in the past year. If anything seems off, I’m sure it’ll be fine once they really get settled in here.” Bridget nodded. “Do you think I could talk to her for a minute one of the nights she’s at your place?”

“I think she’d really like that, yeah.” Bridget glanced up at the clock and was sad to see that their time was almost over.

Franky grabbed the phone and put it in her pocket. She walked over to the blonde and cradled her face in both hands. “I’ll see you on Monday, okay?” Bridget nodded. “I love you.” They shared one last kiss before there was a knock on the door, signalling that it was time for Franky to go.

The brunette unlocked and opened the door and was met by Linda who started walking back to H-block as soon as Franky exited the office.

********

Bridget arrived home just before six. She had stopped and picked up a pizza on the way home, thinking she didn’t feel like cooking anything that evening. She dropped her bag onto the couch, and sat the pizza on the kitchen island. She went to the bedroom to change out of her work clothes, opting for one of Franky’s old t-shirts and a pair of sweatpants, and came back to the kitchen setting out a stack of plates for her, Emily, and Tim beside the pizza box.

“Auntie Bridge!” Emily ran around the corner and wrapped her arms around Bridget’s waist.

“Oof! Hey, love.” She reached down and placed her hand on the back of the girl’s shoulder, returning her hug. She looked toward the hallway expecting to see Tim not far behind his daughter but he was nowhere to be seen. “Is your Dad coming in?”

“Yeah, he has my bag.”

“Hey, Bridge!” Tim called from the entryway. He walked to the hall and dropped Emily’s bag under the large mirror hanging on the wall. “Here you go. Have a good weekend, okay? I’ll see you guys on Sunday.” He turned to leave.

“Tim! Hey, Tim!” Bridget pulled herself away from Emily and followed her brother back towards the door. “Hey, wait!” She jogged a couple steps to get close enough to grab his arm and make him stop. She glanced back to make sure her niece hadn’t followed her. “Tim, where are you rushing off to? I thought we could all have supper together. I got pizza.”

“I can’t, Bridge, I’m not really feeling so well. Thanks though.” He went to leave again, but Bridget didn’t let go of his arm.

“Call me if you need anything, okay?” She made him look her in the eye before she let go.

“I will. Thanks again.” He gave her a kiss on the cheek, and headed out the door.

When she returned to the kitchen, Emily was sitting on the couch. She put a slice of pizza each on two plates and put the third one back in the cabinet.

“Dad didn’t stay, did he?” The little girl asked when she saw Bridget put away the third plate.

“No, love. He said he wasn’t feeling well.” Bridget sat down beside Emily, putting her feet up on the coffee table, and handed her one of the plates.

“Okay.” The girl took a bite of her pizza.

“So, we’ve got all weekend, what are we going to do?” Emily shrugged in response. “Well, I looked online after you called me today, and I was thinking we could go to the Sea Life Aquarium tomorrow. How does that sound?”

Emily’s face lit up at the mention of the aquarium. “They have penguins there like the toy one you have in your bedroom. They have sharks too!”

Bridget laughed, “Yeah, they do. So we’ll go there tomorrow. What do you want to do tonight though?”

“Can we watch a movie?”

“Sure, love. Let’s finish eating then we’ll get you washed up and in your pyjamas, then we can settle in and watch something.” Bridget had learned her lesson one of the first times she had looked after Emily: it was much easier to get her to change her clothes early than to try and make her do it when she was half asleep and uncooperative. She noticed that the girl had finished her slice of pizza already. “Do you want another piece?” Emily nodded and Bridget got them each another slice.

When they finished, Bridget carried Emily’s bag down to the guest room for her when she sent her to the bathroom to wash up, and noticed that she had brought the teddy bear that Franky had won for her at the park. She smiled to herself, remembering that day.

Bridget went back to the kitchen to put away the leftovers while Emily got changed. She sat out a wine glass for herself and a small glass for Emily. She was just pouring herself some red wine when her niece walked back into the kitchen.

“What are you having? Orange juice or milk?” Bridget put the cork back in the bottle and set it on the counter.

“Are you sad?” Emily looked at the glass of wine then at Bridget.

“I still miss Franky, but no I’m not sad right now.” Bridget found that getting to see her girlfriend almost daily was making things a little easier. Spending weekends with Emily was good for her as well. “Why do you ask?”

“Dad says people drink that when they’re sad.” She looked at the glass of wine again.

Bridget thought carefully before she answered. “That can be true for some people, but it’s not always the case.” Emily was still looking at her. She sensed that this was an issue for the young girl. “You know what, I changed my mind.” She turned and dumped the wine down the sink, and took another glass out of the cupboard for herself. “I’ll have what you’re having. Which do you want?”

Her mood seemed to lighten. “Milk.”

“Alright, two milk it is.” The blonde said, taking the carton from the fridge. “Would you like to go pick out a movie, and I’ll bring these over?”

When Bridget arrived with their drinks, Emily had picked out something to watch, and had gotten a blanket off the back of the couch for them. Bridget sat down beside her, and spread the blanket out over them. Emily immediately curled into her aunt’s side, and the older woman put her arm around her.

About halfway through the movie, Bridget’s phone rang. It would have been just after final count at Wentworth. She figured Franky was calling earlier than usual because she was hoping to catch Emily still awake.

“Hello?”

“Hey, babe.” It was always a relief and comfort to hear Franky’s voice. “How is everything?”

“It’s good, yeah really good. Everything’s good with you?” Bridget always held her breath when she asked this. She knew there were probably things that happened in there that Franky kept from her because she didn’t want her to worry, but she hoped if anything major was wrong, that she would tell her.

“Yeah, all good. I’m just calling early, hoping to catch you all still awake.”

“We’re all here. I didn’t say anything about this.” Bridget hadn’t mentioned it, in case something happened that the brunette wasn’t able to call that night. She didn’t want Emily to be disappointed. “I’ll put you on speaker so you’ll have both of us.” She pushed the speakerphone button and held the phone out between her and Emily. “Okay, We’re ready.”

“Hey, Em.”

“Franky!” Emily practically squealed the name.

“Yeah, it’s me, bub. I’ve missed you.” Bridget could hear the smile in the brunette’s voice when she talked to the young girl.

“When are you coming home?” Emily asked. It was an innocent question, but the blonde knew it would get to Franky a bit.

“I don’t know, Em. I really really want to be there with you and Auntie Bridge but I can’t leave here until they tell me I’m allowed to. When I do get home though, we’re going to spend loads of time together, okay? I promise.”

“I want to make cookies again.”

Franky was pleased to hear that she still had an interest in cooking. “Yeah, we can do that for sure. What are you two doing tonight? I hope you’re not having too much fun without me.” The brunette laughed at her own joke.

“We’re watching a movie and tomorrow we’re going to see the penguins.” The girl was excited all over again about the trip with her aunt tomorrow.

“The penguins?” Franky wasn’t sure what the girl was talking about.

“We’re going to the aquarium.” Bridget chimed in.

“Ohhhh, hey take lots of pictures for me, okay guys?”

“Okay!” Bridget and Emily both answered at the same time.

“Listen, I’ve got to go now. I’ll try to call again tomorrow, but I can’t promise.” Franky knew she would call, but on the off chance something happened, she didn’t want Emily to be upset.

“Bye, Franky!” Emily cuddled back into her aunt’s side.

Bridget took the phone off speaker and put it back to her ear. “I love you, baby.”

“I love you too, Gidge.”

“I love you, Franky!” Emily shouted so that the brunette would hear her.

Bridget put the phone back on speaker. “I love you too, Em.”

They said their goodbyes and Bridget and Emily settled in to finish the movie.

Not long after Franky called, Emily had fallen asleep. Bridget gently picked her up and started down the hall toward the spare room. After she got her settled, she went to her own room, and changed into the shirt that Franky had given her earlier that day. She breathed in deeply and smelled the scent of the brunette’s soap lingering on the t-shirt. She hoped that the one she had given Franky would bring her some comfort as well.

Chapter Text

Franky walked into her unit, returning from the exercise yard, and saw officers tossing everyone’s belongings out of their cells.

“Doyle! Stand by your door!” Will shouted at her. It appeared that he, and another officer that she didn’t recognize, were in charge of searching her unit.

They hadn’t gotten to her cell yet, and she prayed it would be Will who searched hers. She had hidden the phone but probably not well enough to not be found by someone who was really looking.

The unknown officer was about to start on her cell when Will stopped him. “I’ve got this one.” The officer nodded and moved on.

Franky stood there and watched as most of her things were thrown out into the unit’s common room. She could feel her heart beating in her ears. She wasn’t sure what the punishment would be for being caught with the phone but she figured she’d at least spend some time in the slot. That meant no sessions with Bridget, and probably no more phone calls for the rest of her stay. If she got caught, there was no way Bridget would risk giving her another one. Now that she thought about it, she hadn't hidden it very well. It was only under her mattress, which was of course an obvious hiding place. She glanced in and saw Will turning his attention to her bed. He ripped off the blankets, throwing them onto the floor in the middle of the cell. As he reached down to pick up the edge of the mattress, she closed her eyes, and leaned her head back against the wall.

“All clear.” Will stepped out, gave Franky a small nod and, having completed searching all the cells, left with the other officer.

Franky immediately entered her cell. Her mattress had been placed back down on the bed and she quickly stuck her hand in under it, feeling around. At first she felt nothing, and thought maybe he had confiscated it. If he did, at least he was letting her off without additional punishment. Then her fingers found it. There was no way he wouldn't have seen it when he looked there. She let out a huge sigh, relieved to know at least he was still on her side.

She started to gather her stuff and put her cell back together when she heard a voice behind her.

"Hey, need a hand?"

Franky glanced back to see Hannah standing in the doorway. "Nah, I'm good," the brunette continued putting her things back in order. She had been trying to keep the young woman at even more of a distance than she had before, since she’d found out that Hannah had watched her in her cell that night.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I got it." Franky walked out of her cell, forcing Hannah to back up into the common area. The brunette gathered her belongings that had been tossed aside and headed back into her cell, closing the door behind her so she wouldn't follow her back inside.

********

That evening at dinner, Franky sat just one table over from Juice and her crew. For some reason it seemed like the older inmate had lost interest in her for the time being. Most of the time, Franky was able to avoid her since she was in a different unit, but the exception to that was meal time. All of H-block ate together regardless of what unit they were in.

She usually didn't pay attention to what they were talking about. Most of the conversations she did overhear were just about which one of the new arrivals the woman was planning on making her next conquest. Tonight however, Franky picked up a few words and realized they were talking about the cell toss.

"Fucking bitch Governor ordered that. Confiscated my books, and the load of cash I had. People are gonna want their money back and I don't fucking have it. What the fuck am I supposed to do then?" she spat out as she ate her food.

It was well known that Juice ran the betting game at Wentworth. Exactly what they were betting on this time around was a mystery to Franky, and honestly, she didn't really care. She was trying her best to take Will's advice to keep her head down. She knew that seeing Bridget every day might look suspicious, but her sessions were usually scheduled when the others were at their work assignments. There were hardly ever any other inmates around when she came and went.

Franky finished her meal and headed back to her cell. She was already tired of her daily routine which, except for her sessions with Bridget, basically consisted of eating her meals and then spending the day in her cell or in the exercise yard.

She laid down on her bed and wondered what Bridget and Emily would be doing now. Their trip to the aquarium was today, and no doubt they had gotten there bright and early. She wished she could be there with them, and remembered how much fun she had had the day they all went to Luna Park. She had been looking forward to talking to the young girl on the phone the day before ever since Bridget had told her she was looking after her for the weekend. Now she thought that might have been a mistake. Hearing how excited she was when she realized it was Franky on the phone, and hearing her say she loved her when they said goodbye, had made her want to be out of this place so much more. She decided that she didn't want to think anymore right now. Normally that meant she went to the exercise yard or the gym, but today she didn't want to chance having to deal with any of the other inmates, and she’d already been there earlier. Anyway, she wasn't in the mood. Instead, she wiped her eyes and turned to face the wall, hoping that sleep would come and take her away for a few hours.

********

Vera walked through the hallways, doing her final round of the night. Technically she didn't have to be out here. There were more than enough officers to cover all the areas, but she liked to get a firsthand view of what was going on in her prison, and ending her day like this was her way of putting her mind at ease that everything would be okay for the night as it was just an hour until the final count.

She turned the corner and headed past the hallway leading down to the H-block showers. Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a flash of movement coming at her from the side. She didn't even have time to reach for her radio before a strong arm was around her, and a hand was clamped over her mouth. The inmate removed Vera's radio from her belt, and put it in the pocket of her hoodie. The brunette quickly glanced up at the security cameras and realized that they had been turned. Nothing that was happening in the hallway would be visible to the officer watching the monitors. She knew it usually took some time for the officer to realize that the cameras had been tampered with. While they did sometimes catch inmates in the act by using them, more often they were only useful after the fact if they were investigating an incident. With the cameras effectively out of commission, and the inability to use her radio, she was helpless. This wasn't a high traffic area at this time of day, and it was unlikely that anyone who was willing to help her would wander by.

The inmate guided her towards the showers, and shoved her through the door. She then took up a guard post outside as Vera stumbled, but managed to regain her balance just in time to come face to face with two more masked and hooded inmates. Vera turned to run, but one of the women grabbed her, holding her arms behind her, and brought her back into the middle of the large room.

She was now face to face with the inmate who seemed to be in charge. "You and I are gonna have a little chat. Your cell tosses are ruining my business, and if there's one thing I don't tolerate, it's people who fuck with my business. So now, I'm gonna have a little fun, and you're gonna learn your fucking lesson."

********

Franky woke up and guessed that it was late in the day. It seemed like everyone was back in the unit and that didn't usually happen until after dinner. She looked at the clock and saw she had an hour until final count, after which they'd be locked in for the night.

She grabbed her toiletry bag and her towel, and headed to the showers. She knew they'd be pretty much deserted by now and that's what she preferred. Her shower time was her time to think and unwind, and she didn't like other people being around. She'd never shared a shower with any of her partners, not even Bridget, so she sure as hell didn't want random strangers around her.

She turned down the hall, and when she got to the door, she was met by an inmate with her face covered and her hood up.

"Shower's occupied, so fuck off."

Franky peeked around the inmate blocking her path, trying to see what was going on through the frosted window in the door. She could make out three figures inside; two larger ones dressed in teal that she assumed were inmates and one smaller one who was dressed in darker clothes. Her mind ran through the possibilities. It could be another inmate who just wasn't wearing teal, or it could be an officer. Surely though they wouldn't have the guts to assault an officer, although that would explain why their faces were covered. Usually, when inmates went after another, they wanted the other person to know who was getting their revenge.

She thought of what Will had told her about keeping her head down. Getting involved in other people's business was the exact opposite of that, so she decided her shower could wait until the morning.

"Yeah alright, whatever," she mumbled, and turned to leave.

She was almost back to the end of the hall when she heard whoever it was they had in the shower begging for them to stop. "Please, just let me go. Please. There won't be any repercussions for any of yo-" The voice was cut off by the sound of a hand hitting the woman's face. Franky's step faltered slightly. She knew that voice; it was Vera. She couldn't leave her there. She'd heard Bridget talk before about the methods of revenge some women there used.

She needed a plan. She needed a weapon. She knew how to fight, that was something she'd had to learn to survive on the streets. This was three on one though and they were all bigger than her.

As soon as she was around the corner and out of sight of the inmate guarding the door, she picked up her pace. She scanned the hallways and rooms she could see into, looking for anything she could use. She came to an abandoned cleaning supply cart. No one was in sight so she dropped her shower things and towel, grabbed a mop, and in one swift movement stomped down on it, snapping the head off, and leaving her with just the handle.

Even with a weapon, her only hope of being successful would be if she could separate them as much as possible, and take them down one by one. First, she decided she would lure the one outside the door to the end of the short hallway. She leaned the mop handle against the wall, and stepped out in view of the inmate, who had told her earlier to get lost.

“Hey! I thought I told you to fuck off!”

Franky stood her ground and the inmate started towards her. She stepped back around the corner, picked up the mop handle holding it like a baseball bat, and waited. As soon as the inmate emerged from the hall, she swung with all the force she could and hit them square in the face. The woman dropped to the ground, out cold, and with a bloody, and probably broken nose. She stepped around her, and continued to the showers.

As she approached the door, she could make out Vera being held from behind by one inmate, while another paced back and forth in front of her. Franky could hear the pacing inmate talking, and it sounded like Juice.

“So now, I think it’s only fair that I get a bit of payback for all the trouble you’ve caused me.” The inmate pulled back her fist and punched Vera square in the stomach. The Governor’s knees buckled and hit the concrete floor with a sickening thud.

Vera collapsing gave Franky the opportunity she needed. She shoved open the door, and using the mop handle like a spear, she rammed it into the side of the inmate who was now bent over trying to keep hold of Vera. The inmate grunted and released the Governor’s hands as Franky took another jab. After having realized what had just happened, the third inmate sprung into action, and went for Franky. Vera managed to reach out and wrap her arms around the lunging inmate’s legs, causing her to fall just before she was able to grab onto Franky. The tall brunette brought her boot up hard into the face of the inmate she had doubled over and they collapsed onto the ground.

She turned her attention to the inmate, who was now lying on the floor behind her. “Get out of here, Vera, run!” They were all down momentarily, but Franky knew they wouldn’t stay down forever. Vera struggled to get to her feet, collapsing back to the ground when the combination of her injured ankle and knee wouldn’t support her weight. Franky glanced over and saw the smaller woman still on the floor. “Fuck,” she muttered.

The brunette buried her boot in the third inmate’s stomach twice, and then turned her attention to Vera. “Come on, we gotta get out of here!” She bent down, putting the Governor’s arm around her shoulders, and helping her to her feet. “Come on.”

After a few steps, Franky could hear at least one of the inmates begin to stir behind her. They weren’t able to move fast enough with her trying to help Vera walk. “Wait, stop,” Vera looked at the brunette with a questioning look. “I’m going to carry you. It’ll be faster.” Franky didn’t wait for an answer. She bent down, scooped up the woman in her arms, and headed out the door.

By the time she got to the end of the hall, she knew there was definitely one of Vera’s attackers coming behind them. She looked for somewhere to hide, or somewhere where they would be safe. She saw the airlock partway down the hall to her left, and took off. It wasn’t ideal, but the doors needed a swipe card to be opened so if she could get them through it, and get it closed fast enough, at least they would be separated from whoever was behind them.

As she approached the door, she glanced down and saw Vera’s swipe card hanging from her belt. Thank fuck for that, she thought. If the card hadn’t been there, she’d have run them straight into a dead end. When she got to the reader, she turned slightly so that it would pick up Vera’s card, and heard the beep signalling that the door was unlocked. The Governor quickly reached down and turned the knob allowing Franky to kick it open the rest of the way with her foot. The brunette stepped into the airlock, slamming her back against the door to make sure it closed and locked again as quickly as possible. It seemed like they had outrun them by quite a bit in the end, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

She bent down, and gently put Vera’s feet on the ground. “Are you able to stand now?”

Vera gave a small nod, “I’ll try.” She tentatively put her weight onto her feet, and found she could stand, but probably not walk too far or very fast just yet.

“Are you okay?” Franky winced at her own question, “Of course you’re not okay, but, I mean, they didn’t try to do anyth-“

Vera shook her head as the tears started down her face, and she wrapped her arms around Franky’s torso. She hid her face in the soft fabric of the younger woman’s shirt, and felt strong arms wrap around her.

There was a loud bang on the glass in the window of the door, and Franky felt Vera jump. “Your time will come, you fucking screw lover! Mark my words!” The inmate banged on the glass one last time before limping away.

“Why did you help me? You’ve got a huge target on your back now.”

“Maybe I’m not such a bad person after all, hey?” Franky felt Vera’s arms tighten around her.

Chapter Text

Franky wasn’t sure how long they had been standing there when Will came around the corner and saw them in the airlock. He rushed over and quickly swiped his card, opening the door.

“What the hell happened?” He looked down at Vera, seeing her bruised face, and then back up to Franky.

“She saved me.” Vera’s voice was small. “Three inmates had me in the showers.” She closed her eyes.

“Well that would explain the one laying back there with her face smashed up.”

“Let me guess,” Franky spoke. “One of Juice’s crew?”

Will nodded, “Looks like it, yeah.”

“She was pissed about the cell toss. Her betting books and money got confiscated. Said people were looking for their money back and she didn’t have any way to pay them.” Franky knew that in prison you didn’t lag, but Will had pretty much figured it out anyway, and she couldn’t get in much more trouble with the inmates than she already was. Helping an officer was pretty much the worst thing an inmate could do.

“Do you need to go to Medical? Either of you?” Franky and Vera both shook their heads.

“I’d just like to go home, I think.” Vera finally let go of the tall brunette, and swiped her card to open the other door so she could go back to her office then leave for the night.

“Hey, wait, you shouldn’t go alone. I’ll walk with you.” Will had rushed through the airlock to catch up with Vera.

“I’ll be fine. It’s lockdown now anyway. You go with Franky, and I want someone with her 24/7 until we get things settled down again. Understand?”

Will nodded and motioned for Franky to follow him. After a minute he spoke, “I know why you did it, but fuck.”

“I know. I’m in shit. I couldn’t leave her there. Bridget’s told me what she’s seen them do to people.”

“I know, Franky. We’ll do our best to keep you safe, but you need to watch your back now too, okay?” They had stopped just before they got to her unit.

Franky glanced around to make sure they were alone, then lowered her voice. “Why didn’t you take the phone you found today in my cell?”

“You use it to call Bridget, yeah?” he asked. Franky nodded. “That’s why. She’s different since you’ve been in here. Just not quite herself most days, you know? If extra phone calls help you guys get through this, then I’m not going to take that away. We’re worried about drug dealers and people trying to hire contract killers, things like that. Not someone who just misses her girlfriend.”

“Thanks, Will. Really.” Franky didn’t often get emotional, but after the day she’d had, she was starting to. Knowing that her being in there was causing Bridget enough pain that other people noticed, made her heart break.

“Just find a better hiding spot. In case it’s not me next time.” He gave her a small smile, and swiped his card, unlocking the gate. “I’ll be out here tonight. Don’t leave here without myself or another officer from now on.” Franky nodded and waited while he opened the gate, then locked her inside for the night.

She closed the door to her cell behind her and retrieved her phone from under the mattress. She wanted to call Bridget, to see how her and Emily’s day at the aquarium had gone. It was getting late though and Emily would probably already be in bed, most likely Bridget was as well. She remembered how the blonde had almost fallen asleep while sitting on the counter leaning against her after their day at the park. She was like a kid in that way; the excitement of big days like that got to her and she tended to crash after. It was something about her that Franky found adorable.

She decided on a text for tonight. She didn’t want to wake them if they were asleep, and she didn’t want to ruin what had probably been a fun day by telling Bridget what had happened with Vera.

To: 61 3 9642 0440
I hope you guys had a great day and saw some awesome stuff at the aquarium! It’s a bit late and I figured you’d both be exhausted. Didn’t want to wake you with a phone call. I’ll talk to you tomorrow though. Love ya. X

********

Bridget woke the next morning, and realized she’d spent the night on the couch. She’d put Emily to bed not long after they had gotten home, and then laid down to watch a show on TV before she went to bed herself. She squinted against the sunlight coming in through the window as she sat up. She picked up her phone and saw that Franky hadn’t called, but had sent a text instead. The blonde smiled at how thoughtful the brunette was to be concerned about not disturbing them. She got up and set about making breakfast for her and Emily so they could eat before Tim arrived to pick her up.

Emily walked out into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes, just as Bridget was getting ready to serve breakfast.

“Good morning, love,” Bridget sat their plates down on the table. “Did you sleep well?” Emily nodded as she sat down at the table.

They chatted while they ate. Bridget found out that Emily had made some new friends at school, and that she was excited about a trip her class would be taking to a local museum. She never asked about Franky, and Bridget figured it was because she understood that it might be awhile before she was around again. They finished up, and Bridget sent her to pack her things while she cleared the table.

When Tim arrived, Emily ran to meet him, Bridget’s iPad in her hand so she could show him all the pictures they’d taken at the aquarium. “Hey, darling,” He knelt down beside her and kissed the side of her head while she started telling a story about each picture.

Bridget smiled at the sight of her niece so excited to share everything with her dad. She walked down to Emily’s room to bring her bag out for her. When she got to the bed, she noticed that Emily had forgotten to pack her teddy bear. Bridget unzipped the bag to put it in for her, and noticed there were a few granola bars tucked away inside. She smiled to herself, thinking how she had bought them knowing that they were one of Emily’s favourite snacks. She carried the bag out and set it beside the door.

“You going to stay for a minute? Have some coffee?” Bridget hadn’t really had a chance to catch up with her brother since he’d moved here a couple of weeks ago.

“Thanks, Bridge, but I’ve got to get back home. There’s a big presentation tomorrow and I need to finish up a few things.” He kissed her cheek goodbye. “And thanks for looking after Em.

“Aw, she’s a pleasure to have here. I’ll drop by sometime this week with printouts of those photos for her, okay?”

“Yep, thanks.” Tim and Emily were out the door, and Bridget once again looked around her empty house.

********

It was shortly after lunch when Vera showed up at Bridget’s door.

“Oh my god, Vera, what happened?!” The blonde took in the sight of her friend. Her face was bruised, and she was obviously favouring one of her legs.

“That’s actually what I came here to talk to you about. Something happened at work last night.” Vera hesitated. “Franky was involved.”

Bridget felt her stomach drop. She was hoping the Governor didn’t mean that Franky was responsible for her injuries, but Bridget knew how manipulative and threatening some of the women could be. She knew the brunette would never do something like this on her own, but she worried that Franky had maybe had no choice. “Come in, please.”

They sat in the living room, and Vera began to tell her friend what had taken place the night before. “First of all, Franky didn’t do this. I realized after I said she was involved, and saw the look on your face that you were worried about that.” Vera gave a weak, apologetic smile. “I was doing my final round for the night, and an inmate pulled me into the H-block showers. There were two more of them waiting for me in there, all wearing masks. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the cell toss I’d ordered earlier in the day. Anyway, one of them restrained me while the other beat on me, and the third stood watch outside. I heard the guard tell someone that the showers were occupied, and it seemed like they had left. I felt like my hope of maybe being rescued was gone. Then a minute or so later, I heard the guard talking to someone again. Then Franky burst through the door and took out both of the other inmates. I tried to get up, but I couldn’t walk, so she carried me, and ran until we got to an airlock and got in between the doors.” Bridget could see the tears in Vera’s eyes. “After everything I said about her, and did to keep you apart, she didn’t even hesitate. And when I was too scared to let go of her, she just held on to me, and made sure I was okay. She could have just walked away, Bridget. She could have left me there, but she didn’t, and now she’s a target. You know what happens when an inmate sides with an officer.”

“Oh, Vera.” Bridget didn’t know what to say. She was glad her friend was okay, but she was concerned for her girlfriend. “It’s just what she does. That’s Franky.”

“I’ve put her under 24/7 guard. When Will is on duty, it will be him. When he’s off, I’ll have to assign someone else. I’m going to put a call through to the police too and see where they are with her case. We need to get her out of Wentworth. The sooner the better.” Vera took a deep breath. “I have a favour to ask you. I have something I need help with there tonight. Can you come by, say around seven? I’ll meet you in your office?”

Bridget was a little confused by Vera’s request, but if she needed her help then she’d be there. “Yeah, of course.”

“Right. I’ve got something to do before that, so I’m going to take off, but I’ll see you later on.” Vera got up and made her way to the door.

********

“Franky,” Linda walked into her cell, closing the door behind her. “I’ve got a message from Vera for you.”

“Don’t get my arse kicked? Yeah, I got that one.” Franky smiled at her. The brunette appreciated Vera’s concern. The officers had told her she’d called several times throughout the night and morning, making sure that nothing had happened to Franky.

“No,” Linda said, “She’s just concerned, yeah?” Franky gave a small nod. “She wants you to complain about not feeling well after you eat dinner. At seven, ask to go to Medical, alright?”

“Yeah, sure. Should be believable. The food here is usually a bit dodgy.” She went back to reading her book, and Linda resumed her post just outside the unit.

********

Seven o’clock came, and Bridget was waiting patiently in her office for Vera to show up. She only had to wait a few minutes before there was a knock at the door.

“Come in.” Vera entered, followed by Franky.

Vera spoke quickly. “I need you both to come with me. There’s not a lot of time, so I’ll explain when we get there.” She led them down a couple of hallways until they came to a stop outside of a room. Bridget and Franky both looked at each other, unsure. Vera opened the door marked ‘Conjugal Room 1’, and motioned for the couple to go inside. She stepped in behind them and closed the door.

The only light in the room was from the strings of fairy lights that had been put up, giving it a warm glow. There was an oil diffuser sitting on one of the small tables, giving off the aroma of sandalwood. The bed linen looked much more luxurious and soft than anything prison issued. The two stared around the room, taking it all in.

Vera cleared her throat. “So, I, uh, haven’t expressed my gratitude for what you did last night.” the Governor looked at Franky. “I haven’t really known how. You saved me from, at the very least, being badly beaten, and maybe even saved my life. I can’t do much to help your situation in here, but I thought maybe there was something I could do to say thank you. So, this room is yours for the night. I’ve assigned myself the night shift in this section, and Will is here tonight too. The CCTV was turned off while I brought you both up here, which was why we had to be quick.” She sat a radio down on the bedside table. “So how this has to work, is that neither of you leave this room without myself, or Will, accompanying you. We’ll need to turn off the cameras to get you out of here. So if you need us, use the radio. Click the button twice, don’t say anything, we’ll know it’s you. Otherwise, I’ll be back just before morning count to take you to Medical, then you’ll go back to your unit from there. Okay?”

Franky just stared at her, “Are you fucking serious?”

Vera nodded, “I am. I know this has been hard on both of you, so I hope this helps a bit, even if it’s only for one night.”

She turned to leave when Franky grabbed her arm, “Hey.” She waited until Vera met her eyes. “Thank you.”

Vera gave a final nod, then left.

Bridget walked over and locked the door. Of course, it could be opened by the officers, but it would stop any inmates from walking in on them. She felt Franky come up behind her, putting a hand against the wall on each side of her, and gently pressing her body against the blonde’s.

“You know what I hate the most about being in here?” Franky whispered, her lips next to Bridget’s ear. The blonde shook her head. “I hate seeing you walk down the hall, and knowing just from the look on your face that you’re hurting, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s made me realize something though. That I’m absolutely, totally, completely, in love with you.” She placed a kiss on the back of Bridget’s neck, and the blonde let out a shaky breath.

Bridget started to turn, and Franky eased back enough that she was able to, before pressing her body against her again. The blonde looked into green eyes, “I’m so in love with you too, baby.”

She wrapped a hand around the back of Franky’s neck, and pulled her down to meet her lips. The kiss was slow, and deep. As Bridget gently sucked and nipped on the brunette’s bottom lip, she felt a hand slide down each side of her neck and under her jacket, pushing it off over her shoulders. She removed her hand from the back of Franky’s neck, and let the garment slide down her arms to drop on the floor. She reached down and grabbed the hem of Franky’s t-shirt, pulling it up, and forcing their lips to part while she pulled it off over the brunette’s head, and discarded it somewhere to her left. Franky quickly reached down and rid Bridget of her v-neck shirt as well.

Franky watched as Bridget ran her eyes down over her torso, much the same way she had done that day in her office. The blonde ran her fingertips over the branches of Franky’s cherry blossom tattoo and the younger woman felt goosebumps erupt over her body. Bridget moved her hand around to the clasp of the brunette’s bra, and undid it. Franky let the straps slide down her arms, and discarded it to the side.

Bridget brought their lips together again, then slowly began kissing her way down Franky’s neck, taking her time to feel the pulse quicken beneath her lips. She bit down gently on the sensitive skin and heard the brunette suck in a sharp breath. The blonde ran her tongue from the base of Franky’s neck to the hollow between her collarbones, then continued kissing down her chest until she reached her breasts. She wasted no time capturing one of the brunette’s nipples between her lips and rolling her tongue back and forth across the tip of it. Franky let out a breathy ‘fuck’, and once again placed her hands against the wall behind Bridget for support. The blonde worked her way down Franky’s stomach, coming to the top of her pants. She undid the button, tucked one hand into each side, and slid them down the brunette’s long legs. Franky toed off her shoes and socks and stepped out of her pants so she was now standing in front of Bridget wearing only her underwear.

The blonde, now on her knees, ran her hands up the back of Franky’s thighs. She let her hands slide under the brunette’s underwear, and cupped her butt. Bridget held her in place while she let her lips brush gently over the fabric covering Franky’s clit and breathed out, letting the brunette feel her warm breath.

Franky was beyond turned on, but she forced her mind to focus. She wanted to lavish Bridget with her attention first. The brunette had been on the receiving end of Bridget’s affection since she’d been in here, but she hadn’t been able to return the favour, until now. She reached down and tangled her fingers in the blonde’s hair, gently pulling, signalling for her to come back up.

“Everything okay, baby?” Bridget looked into Franky’s eyes.

The brunette nodded, “I just...you first.” She leaned in for a long, slow kiss.

Bridget smiled as she reached up and cupped Franky’s face with her hand, brushing her thumb over her cheek. “Take me to bed.”

Franky backed Bridget towards the bed, unclasping and discarding her bra as they went. She reached down with one hand and pulled back the sheets, then picked up the blonde, and laid her on the bed. In the back of Bridget’s mind it registered that her observation the other day had indeed been right; Franky had been working out a lot since she’d been in here. The brunette reached down, unbuttoned Bridget’s pants, and slid them down and off her legs, taking her sandals with them. She took off her own underwear, then settled herself on top of the blonde.

“I’ve missed this,” Bridget gasped as Franky’s lips were finding all the right spots on her journey down the blonde’s neck and chest.

The brunette paused to swirl her tongue around each nipple, sending jolts down between Bridget’s legs. Franky moved down, placing kisses across the blonde’s ribcage. When she got to the sensitive spot on her side, she gave a small nip, causing Bridget to dig her nails lightly into the back of her shoulder. The younger woman moved down to the blonde’s stomach, leaving kisses and soft bites along the way.

She parted Bridget’s legs and settled herself between them. She turned her head, and kissed along the inside of the blonde’s thigh. At one spot, about midway up, she paused for a few seconds and applied some suction to a small patch of skin. Her and Bridget had an agreement never to intentionally leave marks on each other anywhere that would normally be visible, but everywhere else was fair game, and she wanted Bridget to remember this for the next few days when she saw it.

When she reached the top, Franky stopped and looked up at Bridget. Her normally bright blue eyes had turned dark and intense. The brunette lowered her head and ran her tongue along her girlfriend’s slick folds.

“Fuck, baby. Yes.” Bridget’s hand shot down to gently hold Franky’s head in place.

The brunette ran her tongue over Bridget a couple more times before wrapping her lips around the other woman’s clit and sucking gently, while slowly tonguing the small bundle of nerves. It only took a couple of minutes before Franky could tell that Bridget was nearing her orgasm. She looked up and saw the blonde’s eyes open, looking down at her, then snap shut as she threw her head back into the pillow. A steady stream of moans was coming from the older woman’s mouth and Franky could feel the tremors under her hand that was resting on Bridget’s thigh.

“Baby, oh god,” Bridget was close. “Oh fuck, wait, wait baby.”

Franky stopped her movements and picked her head up. “You okay, Gidge?”

“Yeah, I just, I don’t….” She was having trouble forming sentences. “I want to make this last.”

Franky gave a cocky grin, understanding now what the blonde’s issue was. She was doing her job too well, and Bridget was going to come faster than she herself wanted. “Babe,” Franky spoke, and waited until Bridget looked down at her, “there’s no rule that says you only get one tonight.” She lowered her head again and continued where she left off. It was only about a minute before the blonde was writhing again, grabbing at the sheets, and Franky’s hair. With a few final flicks of her girlfriend’s tongue, Bridget’s body shook as her fingers grasped the sheets until her knuckles were white. Franky stayed with her, slowing her movements, and prolonging the blonde’s orgasm as long as possible.

As soon as Bridget’s body stilled, the brunette brought two fingers to her entrance, and dipped them in slightly. The older woman let out a soft moan and pushed her hips forward, causing Franky’s fingers to move in a bit further. She knew the blonde’s clit would be overly sensitive for a few minutes, so she kissed the area where Bridget’s leg met her hip, another one of her ‘spots’.

“Please, baby,” Bridget whined, as she tried again to push herself fully onto Franky’s fingers.

The brunette gave in, buried both fingers into Bridget’s wet heat, and set a steady pace. She moved up the blonde’s body until she reached her breasts. She took a nipple between her lips, and gently scraped her teeth over it as she curled her fingers inside Bridget.

“Fucking hell,” the blonde arched her back, placing her hand on the back of Franky’s head , and pushing herself harder into the brunette’s mouth.

Franky lingered there, then switched to the other nipple until she felt Bridget’s muscles start to tighten and flutter around her fingers. She started to go back down the blonde’s body until she felt the hand, still on the back of her head, gently signal for her to move up to be face to face with her girlfriend.

She kept up her pace with her fingers, the blonde meeting her each time, as she looked into Bridget’s eyes, and watched the subtle changes in her expression when she hit a particularly good spot. “You like that?” Franky asked softly. The blonde gave a small smile, and a barely audible ‘yeah’.

Franky leaned down, capturing the other woman’s lips. She swiped her tongue along the blonde’s bottom lip, asking for entrance, which was immediately granted, and massaged the blonde’s tongue with her own. The kiss got sloppy as it became harder and harder for Bridget to concentrate on anything other than what Franky’s fingers were doing to her. The brunette felt Bridget clamp down hard on her fingers, as she moved her lips along the blonde’s jawline. With one final curl of Franky’s fingers, Bridget wrapped her arms tightly around her girlfriend, pulling her close, and felt the waves of pleasure wash over her for the second time.

When the blonde’s body had calmed once more, Franky picked her head up from the crook of her girlfriend’s neck and placed a featherlight kiss on her slightly parted lips. She pulled her fingers out slowly and the blonde whimpered at the loss of contact. Franky’s face hovered above Bridget’s and she reached up, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear. The blonde looked into her girlfriend’s dark green eyes.

“What are you thinking, babe?” Franky asked quietly.

Bridget shook her head. “I just want to make you feel good, too.”

“You always do.”

Franky was already straddling one of Bridget’s legs, so the blonde bent her knee, and placed her foot flat against the mattress. The brunette immediately pressed into it, causing her clit to come into contact with Bridget’s soft skin. The blonde could feel Franky’s warmth and wetness on her leg. The younger woman lifted herself up, supporting herself with her arms as she began to move against her.

Bridget let her hands trail down Franky’s back, then placed them on her hips, slowing the brunette’s motions down a bit. Once Franky had adopted the pace that her girlfriend wanted, Bridget let her hands wander over her back, paying special attention to the sensitive area in the middle. The brunette lowered herself down onto her elbows so that she was able to meet the other woman’s lips. They kissed lazily and Bridget could feel the vibrations of the small moans Franky was making when their lips met. The blonde snaked her hand in between their chests, and gently squeezed one of Franky’s breasts. She took the nipple between her thumb and forefinger, and pinched as the brunette ground down against her. She did it again, matching Franky’s pace.

“Gidge…” Franky broke contact with the blonde’s lips just enough to whisper her name.

“Mmm?” Bridget continued her ministrations on Franky’s breast.

“Ah, fuck…” Franky couldn’t concentrate anymore on anything other than the feeling building quickly in her stomach. She moved her head back a fraction of an inch, only enough to be able to catch her breath, and she could still feel Bridget’s lips brush against hers as she moved. “I’m gonna come.”

Franky felt Bridget’s lips stretch into a small smile. “I’ve got you, baby,” the blonde cooed.

The brunette ground down one more time, and her body shook as her orgasm went through her. Bridget pulled her close, and held her tightly.

After a moment, Bridget flipped them over in one swift movement, so that Franky was now under her. The surprised brunette laughed, and Bridget gave her one of the sexiest smiles she’d ever seen. “I’m not done with you yet, baby,” the blonde husked as she lowered her head, and captured one of Franky’s still sensitive nipples in her mouth.

“Shit,” Franky arched her back.

Bridget worked her way down Franky’s body. She knew that the brunette loved having her tattoos touched and kissed. The psychologist part of her mind thought at one point that maybe it was a pleasure in pain thing, but she had quickly pushed that aside and accepted that it was just something her girlfriend liked. She kissed along the branches of the tattoo that wound from the brunette’s ribcage just under her breast, to her hip. When her lips had traveled about halfway down her stomach, Bridget reached down and ran her fingers along Franky’s slit. She smiled, feeling how much wetness had gathered there. Franky lifted her hips to meet the blonde’s touch, and Bridget let two fingers sink deep inside. She easily found the small, rough patch on the brunette’s upper wall, and applied a bit of extra pressure each time she passed over it. Franky’s mouth dropped open, and she let out a low moan.

When Bridget’s lips reached Franky’s centre, she slowed her fingers, but applied a bit more pressure. She laid herself down between her girlfriend’s legs, and placed one of them over her shoulder to give her more access. She reached up with her free hand to intertwine her fingers with Franky’s. She traced around the brunette’s clit slowly with the tip of her tongue, taking note of which areas made Franky involuntarily squeeze her hand a bit. She made sure to give those extra attention. After a few moments, she gave in, and wrapped her lips around the brunette’s clit. She let her tongue match the same, slow, steady rhythm as her fingers. With each thrust and lick, Franky’s grip on her hand tightened. It wasn’t long before she could feel shivers running through the brunette’s body.

“Holy fuck, Gidge.” Franky lifted her head and looked down at her as Bridget picked up her pace slightly. “Oh my god…” Her head fell back against the pillows.

Bridget watched as every muscle in the brunette’s toned body tightened. With a final swipe of her tongue, Franky went rigid and her back arched, mouth open in a silent scream before a wave ran over her, then another, and another, until she laid on the bed feeling like all her limbs had turned to jelly.

The blonde kissed her way up Franky’s stomach and chest until she was finally able to look the brunette in the eye. She wore a grin that told Franky she was very pleased with herself.

“What the fuck, Gidge? Where did you learn that move?” Franky laughed and Bridget just shrugged and gave her a small kiss.

“I love you, baby.”

“I love you, too.” Franky rolled to lay on her side, and Bridget turned and moved her back against her, taking up their usual spooning position. The brunette placed small kisses along the back of the blonde’s shoulder.

“Promise me once you’re out of here that you’ll never leave me again.”

Franky reached behind her and pulled the blankets over them. She wrapped her arms around the blonde and took hold of her hand. “I promise, Gidge.”

They laid there in comfortable silence for a few minutes then Franky could tell from Bridget’s breathing that she had fallen asleep.

“I’m not going anywhere, Gidge, because I promise I’m going to marry you someday.” She said softly, wrapping her arms around the older woman a little tighter and closing her eyes, knowing that sleep would come soon.

The blonde was somewhere between wake and sleep when Franky’s words drifted to her ears. ‘…I promise I’m going to marry you someday…’. She willed herself to be able to remember it in the morning.

********

It was just before six in the morning, and Vera was on her way to get Franky and Bridget so she could get them out of there before anyone else arrived for work. She arrived at the door and gave a light knock, not wanting to frighten them. She waited a few seconds, and heard nothing, so she knocked a bit louder. Still nothing.

“Seriously?” She mumbled. She began searching for the key on the ring attached to her belt. She did not want to go in there and wake them up. Vera didn’t do awkward well.

She finally found the key she was looking for and slid it into the lock. She entered the room using her hand as a shield to block her view of the bed, not wanting to catch her friend in a potentially embarrassing situation.

When she stepped into the room, straight in front of her she saw Bridget’s discarded jacket, a bra, Franky’s jeans and boots, and a t-shirt.

“Great. Wonderful.” Vera muttered sarcastically.

She slowly turned her head until the foot of the bed came into view around the edge of her hand. She continued, prepared to snap her eyes closed if she started to see something she shouldn’t. As she scanned up the bed, she realized they were both covered up to their shoulders, and she let out a sigh of relief.

She walked toward the bed, intending to wake them gently, when her foot hit one of Bridget’s sandals, knocking it against the wall. The blonde stirred at the noise. Vera watched as it seemed that Franky could sense Bridget’s movement, as she pulled her closer and placed a small kiss on the back of her shoulder. The Governor saw a small smile flicker on her friend’s face.

“Bridget.” Vera whispered. “Bridget.” She repeated, a bit louder this time.

The blonde stirred, and slowly opened her eyes. “Vera! What-“ It took her a minute to realize that she wasn’t in her own bed at home, but in Wentworth.

“I’m so sorry, but it’s time to get up. I have to get Franky back to Medical.” Vera saw Bridget give a small nod. “I’ll wait outside while you two, uh, get dressed.”

After she’d left, Bridget turned to Franky. “Baby.”

“Mmm.” Franky groaned.

“Baby, you need to wake up.” The blonde brushed the backs of her fingers over Franky’s cheek.

“Aw, Gidge, come on, we can sleep in for one day.” She tucked her head further into the pillow.

“Franky, look at me,” Bridget spoke softly, and Franky opened her eyes slowly, looking around and realizing where they were. “It’s time for you to go back to Medical. Vera’s waiting outside.”

The brunette nodded, and moved in to give Bridget a kiss before getting out of bed. The blonde followed her lead as they gathered their clothes from around the room and got dressed.

Just before they stepped out the door to head their separate ways, Bridget wrapped her arms around Franky. “Please be safe in there. Please.”

“I promise. I’m gonna be fine, Gidge. Got my own personal guard, remember?” Franky smiled.

The blonde still remembered Franky’s last words from the night before. “I know, baby. You always do follow through on your promises.” She smiled and gave Franky one last kiss before they went out to meet Vera.

The Governor gave them a small smile, “Bridget, I’ve cleared your morning schedule as well, so you can head home if you’d like. I wasn’t sure how uh, rested, you’d feel.”

A smirk came across Franky’s face, and she noticed a slight blush creep into Vera’s cheeks when she saw her expression.

“Oh, Vera, thanks. Yeah I think I’ll head home and change. I’ll see you this afternoon though. Both of you.” She knew Franky had a session scheduled every afternoon so she’d be sure to be back in time for that. She turned and headed toward her office to get her bag.

Vera started back toward Medical and Franky followed her. “Vera?”

The Governor glanced over her shoulder. “Yeah?”

“Thanks again. That was a really nice thing to do for us.”

“Don’t mention it. I owe you way more than that.” They stopped at the door to the Medical unit and Vera swiped her card. “Linda will be along to pick you up soon, and you can go back to your cell. She’s with you for the day.”

“Awesome.” Franky said unenthusiastically, and flopped down on one of the stretchers. She had a long day of nothing ahead of her.

Chapter Text

Bridget had gotten a few more hours of sleep, showered, and was now waiting in her office for Franky to arrive for her afternoon appointment. She was grateful for what Vera had done for them, but in some ways it had only made her feel worse about being away from her girlfriend. When she had laid down in her bed at home that morning, the memory of how Franky’s arms felt around her was so fresh in her mind that it was almost like she could still feel her there. Up until now, she’d been able to push that feeling out of her thoughts. It wasn’t that she wanted to forget how it felt, but more that it was a coping mechanism so she wouldn’t miss it as much. It was too painful to go back to that feeling every night.

There was a light knock on the door and Bridget didn’t even have time to answer before it swung open.

“Doyle here to see you.” Linda barely poked her head in the door before she was gone down the hall again.

Franky stepped inside, glanced down the hall after the officer, and closed the door behind her. “She’s been off all day,” she said, motioning in the direction Linda had taken off in.

“Hey baby.” Bridget stepped around her desk and met Franky in the middle of the room. She took the brunette’s face in both of her hands and gave her a long, deep kiss.

When they finally broke apart, Bridget reached behind her and grabbed the thermal mug from her desk. “I brought you something,” she said, handing it to the brunette.

Franky took a sip, “Mmm god, I haven’t had real coffee in weeks.”

“I thought you might like that.” Bridget gave her a wink. “Everything been alright today?”

“Yeah. I got Linda. She’s alright, but I prefer Will.” The brunette took another sip of her coffee as she leaned against the arm of one of the large green chairs.

Just then, Bridget’s mobile began ringing in her bag behind the desk. She gave Franky a confused look, she never got calls during the day. The brunette shrugged and Bridget fished it out of her bag. She didn’t recognize the number.

“Hello?”

“Bridget Westfall?” The voice on the other end asked.

“Yes, that’s me.” She glanced over at Franky.

“This is Lisa Johns. I’m the principal at Newport Gardens Primary School. I’m phoning because I have your niece Emily here, and she’s not feeling well, it’s her stomach.”

“Oh, I, um…her Dad is back from his business trip, have you tried calling him?” Bridget was sure that Tim had switched over the contact information on Emily’s file.

“We did. We called both of the numbers he provided twice and got no answer. Our policy after that is to call the secondary contact. Are you able to come pick her up?” The woman on the other end of the line waited for Bridget’s response.

“Yeah. Yes, of course. I’m on my way.” She hung up and looked at Franky. “I’m sorry, baby, but I have to go. Em is sick and needs to be picked up from school. They can’t get ahold of Tim.”

Franky stood up. “Is she alright?”

“They said she has a stomach ache.” Bridget began gathering her things into her bag. “I have to stop by Vera’s office and tell her I’m leaving. You’ll have to come with me and she can call Linda to come pick you up from there. I can’t leave you here alone.” She went to give Franky a quick kiss before they left, but stopped when she saw the look of concern on the brunette’s face. “Baby, she’ll be okay.”

Franky nodded. “I love you.” She gave Bridget a kiss. “And tell Em I love her too.”

“I will. I love you too.”

Franky followed her to Vera’s office. The governor was more than understanding about the situation, and told Bridget to let her know if she needed anything more picked up for her later. The brunette took a seat in one of the chairs in the office while she waited for Linda, and Bridget left to pick up Emily.

********

Bridget made her way to the main office of the school and spoke to the receptionist.

“Ms. Westfall?” A tall, middle-aged, blonde woman came out of an office and greeted her, holding out her hand. “I’m Lisa. I spoke to you earlier.”

Bridget shook her hand. “Yes, how is she feeling?”

“About the same, I think. She’s laying down in my office.” Bridget expected the other woman to take her to her niece then, but it seemed like she had more to say. “Her teacher has noticed a change in her mood during the past couple weeks.”

“Oh? How so?” Bridget thought back over her recent interactions with Emily. She had seemed okay the last few times she’d seen her, other than the incident with the wine.

“Her teacher noted that she seemed quieter and more withdrawn than she was during the time she stayed with you.”

“Her Mom passed away about six months ago. I expect that maybe being at my place gave her a break from the things in her own home that reminded her that her mother is gone. I suspect that maybe now that they’ve moved here permanently, it has hit her that things aren’t ever going back to how they used to be.” Bridget didn’t like to analyze the people close to her, but she wasn’t blind to their situations either. “She’s spent the past two weekends with me. I’ll keep an eye out for anything unusual from now on.”

“Yes, her weekends with you are the one thing that she does seem to like to talk about.” Lisa gave her a warm smile. “Also, someone named Franky.”

Bridget smiled thinking of all the time she had watched the two of them spend together. “My girlfriend.”

“Well, the two of you have certainly made an impression on her. Here, I’ll take you in to get her, you’re probably ready to be going home.”

Bridget followed her into her office, where Emily was laying on the couch.

“Auntie Bridge,” Emily gave a small smile. “They said you were coming to get me.”

“Yeah, love, I’m going to take you to my place for a bit. Hold my hand while we walk out?” Bridget reached down, and Emily sat up and took her hand, allowing her aunt to lead her out of the office and towards the parking lot.

Emily was quiet on the drive to Bridget’s house. The blonde kept an eye on her in the rear-view mirror. When they arrived, Bridget gave her one of her bigger t-shirts to change into, which ended up looking like a dress on her. She couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the little girl looking almost swallowed up by the garment.

“Would you like to go lie down in your bed?” Bridget asked her when she returned to the living room.

Emily shook her head. “I want to stay with you.”

“Okay. Why don’t we stay in the living room? You can lay on the couch, and I’ll sit with you?”

“Okay.”

Bridget placed a pillow at the end of the couch and Emily laid down. The blonde gathered a bottle of water from the kitchen and a bucket from the utility closet, and headed back to the living room.

She sat the bottle of water on the coffee table. “When you feel like it, I want you to drink a bit of this, okay? Slowly.” Emily nodded. She placed the bucket beside the couch. “And this is for in case you feel like you’re going to be sick.” Bridget reached behind the girl and took the blanket from the back of the couch. She placed it over her, making sure she’d stay warm. “I’m going to go change then I’ll be back.” She gave her niece a kiss on her temple, and went to her bedroom.

While she was in her room, out of earshot of Emily, she decided to try to call Tim. She called his mobile number and it went straight to voicemail…’You’ve reached Tim Westfall, leave a message and I’ll get back to you ....’. ”Hey, Tim, it’s me. Listen, I’ve got Em here at my place. The school called and said she wasn’t feeling well. They couldn’t get ahold of you so they called me. Give me a call as soon as you can. Bye.” She hung up and tried his home phone as well on the off chance that he was working from there today, but got the same result.

She changed out of her work clothes and went back to join Emily on the couch. She handed her niece the TV remote, and told her she got to pick their afternoon entertainment. Bridget watched the movie, thinking how it was complex considering it was made for kids. When it ended, she noticed that Emily had drank about half of the water she’d given her earlier.

“How’s your stomach feeling?” Bridget hoped the fact that she was drinking meant she was starting to feel better.

“A little better. I’m kind of hungry.”

“How about some toast? We’ll start with something small.” The young girl nodded and Bridget got up to make it for her. “Pick out another movie for us.” She called from the kitchen. Bridget glanced over and saw that she was about to choose ‘Despicable Me 3’. “Hey, love, not that one, okay?”

“Why not?” Emily asked.

“Because the last time you watched one of those, the minions gave you nightmares, remember?” ‘And you walked in on us.’ She added in her mind. Bridget raised her eyebrows, waiting for the young girl’s answer.

“Yeah, okay.” She continued scrolling, and picked something else.

Thirty minutes later, Emily had eaten her toast, drank most of the rest of her water, and fallen asleep. Bridget walked quietly into her office and brought her laptop out to the living room. She thought she could at least get some of her paperwork done, even if she wasn’t at the prison.

********

Bridget was just finishing her supper when she saw the screen of her mobile light up. She had put it on silent so as not to wake Emily. It was Tim. She walked out onto the patio as she answered it.

“Hello?”

“Bridge, I’m so sorry.” Tim began.

“Where were you today?” Bridget knew she sounded like she was mad. She wasn’t. She was concerned.

“I just, I… had some things I needed to do.”

She took a deep breath. “Okay.” Now wasn’t the time to get into anything.

“Is she alright? I’ll come get her now.”

“She’s had something to eat and drink.” Bridget looked in at her sleeping niece through the large windows. “She’s already asleep. Why don’t you just let her stay for the night? I have her emergency change of clothes here, and I’ll take her to school in the morning if she’s feeling up to it.”

“Are you sure, Bridge?” Bridget thought he sounded almost relieved.

“Yeah, I’m sure. I’ll let you know how she’s doing in the morning.”

“Okay, thanks again.” He hung up the phone before she had a chance to say goodbye.

********

Vera looked at the clock. Only an hour left until her shift was over. She no longer did her final nightly rounds after what had happened the previous week. She’d been at the prison for nearly 24 hours now, having come in to facilitate her favour for Franky. She had managed to get a couple hour’s sleep in her office though between the time she took Franky back to Medical and when her actual shift started.

The phone on her desk rang. “Hello?”

“Hello Governor. This is Detective Anders. I’m calling in regards to the case involving Francesca Doyle.”

Vera’s heart rate doubled. This was the call she had been both eagerly awaiting and dreading for the past two weeks. She cleared her throat. “Go ahead.”

“Ms. Chang has woken up, and she remembers what happened the night of the incident….” The Detective went on to explain the details of the interview they had conducted when Kim woke up.

Vera listened without saying a word.

“…so this call is basically a professional courtesy. We’ll be seeing you by the end of the week.” The Detective finished.

“Uh, yes, thank you. I appreciate the update.” Vera hung up the phone. She got up and paced back and forth across her office. She had to tell Bridget. She knew it broke all the protocols, but she had to do it.

********

Not long after her conversation with Tim had ended, the screen on her phone lit up again. She wasn’t surprised to see that it was her friend calling. It wasn’t long until she would be heading home, and she was probably checking to see if Bridget needed anything dropped off for Emily.

“Hello, Vera.”

“Bridget,” Vera was struggling to remain calm so that she could explain to Bridget exactly what she had just found out. “I just had a call from one of the Detectives handling Franky’s case. Kim has woken up.” She paused. “It’s not good.”

The blonde was trying to process what Vera could mean. “Not good, like, she doesn’t remember what happened?” Bridget knew that if Kim couldn’t remember who attacked her, then the evidence pointed to Franky, and she would be charged.

“No, she remembers.” Vera took a deep breath. “She’s saying it was Franky who beat her.”

Bridget couldn’t hear anything besides the sound of her own heart beating in her ears. She felt nauseous. This was worse than Kim not remembering. When she was finally able to gather her thoughts, she spoke, “What? Vera, you know-“

“I know. I know she’s lying, but there’s no evidence to support that.” Vera sighed. “Look, the detective called me as a courtesy because she knew the news would affect a staff member. I shouldn’t even be telling you.”

“When will Franky find out? I want to be with her.” The blonde couldn’t bear the thought of her girlfriend sitting there alone when she was charged.

“They said it would be most likely Thursday before the paperwork was processed. Friday at the latest.”

“This is such a fucking mess.” Bridget could feel the tears in her eyes threatening to spill down her cheeks.

“I know. I’m so sorry. I will do anything I can on my end to help. In the meantime, do you need anything tonight?”

“No, I think I’m okay. Thank you though. Em is staying here for the night, and I think she’s feeling a bit better. She’s already asleep.” Bridget was thankful her niece was there, even though she was sleeping. She loved having her there anyway, but tonight it gave her something to divert her attention to, even if it was only for a few minutes.

“Okay. You know where to find me if you change your mind.”

Bridget thanked her again and they said their goodbyes.

********

“Hey, Linda.” Franky stuck her head out the door of her cell. “Can you take me to the showers now?”

“Seriously? It’s less than a half hour until shift change. Can’t it wait until the morning?” Linda’s commitment to her job only went so far, and didn’t include doing anything she didn’t absolutely have to.

“Come on. I’ll be quick.” Franky knew she should have asked earlier but she’d lost track of time, and now she really wanted to get clean before she went to bed.

Linda huffed, “Alright, but make it fast.”

Franky grabbed her towel and shower bag from her cell, and Linda escorted her to the showers.

She stepped under the stream of hot water, and let it relax her muscles. She rested her forearms against the tiles, and let it hit the back of her head and run down her back. She always lost track of time when she was in there.

“Doyle! Hurry up!” Linda’s shout from outside barely registered in Franky’s mind.

Outside, Linda looked at her watch. It was only five minutes until her shift was over. It would take her that long to walk to the lounge and gather her things. She had to leave on time tonight. Someone had given her a hot tip for the track, and she needed the money. She glanced down at her watch again. The hallway was deserted. Will was the one who would be taking over for her on the night shift. She figured he was probably already there, just still up in the lounge. Franky would only be alone for a few minutes, and she’d get to leave on time. She decided that leaving her post was a risk she was willing to take.

She hurried from the H-block showers toward the officer’s lounge. On the way, she passed by Radic who, once Linda had gone out of sight, quickly hurried to Juice’s cell door.

“I just saw Ms. Miles go by without Doyle. She must still be in the shower.”

Juice peered over the top of the magazine she was reading on her bed. “Get the boys.”

Franky heard the door open behind her, “Yeah I’m coming Linda!”

“So you call all the officers by their first names, eh? Not just the Governor’s pet then, are we?” Franky turned just in time to see the shower curtain ripped open behind her. Juice stood directly in front of her, with two of her boys waiting just behind. She let her eyes roam up and down over Franky’s naked body and licked her lips. “Get her out of there boys.” Juice stepped aside and allowed the other two to grab the brunette, one taking a hold of each arm.

Franky struggled, but she didn’t have a weapon this time, and she didn’t have the element of surprise on her side. She had nothing, not even clothing to offer any bit of protection from what she knew was coming. And with nothing, she was no match for the two holding her. They dragged her to the middle of the room. She kicked out her legs, but Juice stepped back just enough that she couldn’t reach her. As soon as she had her feet back on the ground, she felt the inmates on either side of her place a foot behind each of her knees and pushed forward, forcing her to kneel. She tried to get one of her arms free, but that only made them twist them further behind her. She was out of options.

“You know why I’m gonna enjoy this?” Juice asked. Franky held her stare and refused to give any sort of answer or reaction. “It’s almost like a two for one deal. We take care of you and we’re getting rid of a screw lover, and the psych’s girlfriend. You know, she’s rejected my advances more than once. Stuck up bitch, she is. Maybe she’ll reconsider after this. You won’t be so pretty when we’re done.

“Fuck you,” Franky spat out.

The fist came out of nowhere and landed square on her jaw, snapping her head to the side. The second one came from the opposite side, knuckles crashing into her cheekbone. Franky’s head flopped forward. She tasted blood. The next blow she felt was a fist to her stomach that knocked her breath out of her. The blows continued, and she knew she wouldn’t be awake for much longer.

********

“Hey, Will.” Linda entered the officer’s lounge.

Will peeked out around his locker door. “What are you doing up here? I thought you were watching Franky today?”

“Yeah I am.” She unlocked her locker and began putting her things into her bag.

“Yeah and I’m relieving you, so again, what are you doing up here?” This wasn’t the first time Linda had shown carelessness in her duties, but it was the first time he had known her to knowingly put a prisoner in danger.

“Ah calm down. I have to leave on time today. I couldn’t wait for you to get down there.” She closed her locker door and lifted her bag onto her shoulder. “She’s in the shower. Head down there now and she won’t have been alone more than five, ten minutes max.”

“Christ, Linda!” Will turned and took off towards H-block. Moving as fast as he could through the hallways. The prison, by design, was not made to let people pass through it quickly.

When he turned down the hallway toward the showers, he could see the silhouettes of three inmates, gathered around something, or someone, on the floor. It looked like they were stomping on whatever it was.

Will knew immediately what was going on and he reached for his radio. “Officer needs immediate assistance in H-block showers! Medical required!”

Will slammed into the door, sending it crashing open just as the alarm began to sound. Radic raised her foot and brought it down hard on the back of Franky’s left shoulder with a sickening thud, and the brunette cried out in pain.

“Get the fuck out!” He pushed them out of his way, and out toward the edges of the room, away from Franky. “I said get the fuck out!” He yelled. Will would let the officers who were on their way worry about rounding up the other inmates, right now, he needed to get Franky medical attention.

He grabbed her towel off the hook, and knelt down beside her. “Hey! Franky! Look at me!” He draped the towel over her.

“Will…” she tried to turn over, and winced in pain.

“Easy, easy. Yeah, it’s me. We’ve got to get you to Medical. Are you able to stand?” He looked behind him. There was no sign of any other officers approaching yet. He knew in reality it had only been a few seconds, but it seemed like forever.

“I’ll try.”

With Will’s help, Franky was able to get to her feet. He picked up the towel that had fallen to the floor, and wrapped it around the brunette’s body, tucking it into itself just behind her uninjured arm. Normally, she would have had a smart remark for him about seeing her naked, but right now everything hurt. She felt a stabbing pain when she tried to take a deep breath, and she couldn’t move her left arm.

He put an arm around her for support, and they started their slow journey to Medical. They had met officers on their way, and he sent them to round up Juice and her crew. They’d be spending at least the next week in the slot.

When they entered Medical, the nurse was still preparing her supplies in anticipation of Franky’s arrival. Will helped her over to the bed, and got her laying down. The nurse started at the top with her evaluation. She checked her for a concussion; all clear, but she’d need to be under observation for at least 24 hours. In the end, the nurse determined that she had a dislocated shoulder and probably a couple of broken ribs.

Vera arrived not long after the nurse had finished her assessment. She stood beside Will, who was just outside the door, observing through the large windows. The governor knew when she heard the call on her radio who it was, but until she had actually seen it for herself, she didn’t want to believe it. Now though, it was real. She lowered her head, staring at a point on the floor, and felt Will’s arm wrap around her shoulders.

“I failed her.” Vera swiped at a tear that was about to fall from the end of her nose.

“No, you didn’t. Linda did. She left her post early, before I got there.”

“I should have made her go into protection.” She wiped away another tear.

“You put her under 24-hour guard. She was attacked in the shower, not her unit. Even if she was in protection, she would have been alone in the shower room with a guard outside, which is exactly what should have been happening anyway. The problem was that Linda left, and that’s not your fault.”

Vera nodded. “I guess.” The nurse motioned for her to come inside. She was ready to give her report, but the Governor wasn’t sure she was ready to hear it. She stepped into the treatment room. “What are we looking at?”

“No concussion, but she will need to be observed for at least the next twenty four hours to watch for a delayed onset of symptoms. Bruising to the face but nothing seems broken there. She does however, most likely have a broken rib, but the doctor may want an x-ray to confirm that. There is bruising on most of her torso, but my initial exam revealed no evidence of internal injuries. She also has a dislocated shoulder. The doctor is on his way in and he will reset it. She’s been given some pain meds, a mild sedative and a muscle relaxer, as per the doctor’s orders, in preparation for the procedure when he arrives. In other words, she will be sore for awhile, but there doesn’t appear to be any permanent damage.” The nurse finished her report, and looked to Vera for any questions she may have.

“Can I speak with her?”

“You can try, but you probably won’t have much luck until the morning when those meds wear off.” The nurse placed Franky’s chart on the bedside table and left the governor to talk with her patient.

The tears started again. “Franky, I’m so sorry.” She reached down, and took hold of the brunette’s right hand, giving it a small squeeze. She felt Franky’s fingers twitch in response.

“S’okay.” Franky mumbled without opening her eyes.

“Franky,” she looked around to make sure there was no one else within earshot. “Did they do or try anything other than the beating?” She thought back to her own assault, thankful that they hadn’t gone that far with her. Franky however, had been in a much more vulnerable situation when Juice and her crew had found her.

“No.” The brunette shook her head slightly and winced at the movement. “Gidge?”

“She’s not here right now. I’ll let her know what happened though. As soon as I leave here.” She went to leave to allow Franky to get some rest.

“Vera…” Franky’s small voice made Vera stop and look back towards the bed. “Stop crying. I’ll be okay.”

Vera gave a small nod and continued on her way out.

“Will, you’re with her tonight, don’t leave for anything, don’t respond to any codes or alarms. Nothing. I’m going to Bridget’s.” She marched down the hallway.

********

Bridget had just moved Emily from the couch to the spare bedroom when there was a light knock on the door.

“Vera!” She was surprised to see her friend there considering they had already talked on the phone, and Bridget had told her they didn’t need anything. As soon as she laid eyes on her friend’s face, she knew something was wrong. “What’s happened?” Bridget stepped aside so that she could enter.

“Let’s go sit down, okay?” Vera led the way into Bridget’s living room and sat down on one section of the L-shaped couch. Bridget sat on the other section, and turned to face her. Vera took a deep breath. “There was an incident right before I left. Franky was involved. The officer assigned to her was negligent and left their post before Will came to relieve them. During that time, Franky was left in the showers, alone. Gambaro and her crew must have been waiting for their opportunity, because in the few minutes that Franky was unguarded, they attacked her. As soon as Will realized that she’d been left alone, he raced there and broke up the assault. It was three on one. Franky was on the floor, still awake. He says she was talking and recognized him. She was able to walk, with assistance, to Medical for treatment. The nurse said it’s mostly bruising, but she does have a dislocated shoulder and possibly a broken rib. The doctor was on his way in when I left to set her shoulder, and she’d been medicated. Something for pain, and a sedative to help her stay still and rest. I spoke to her for a moment, but as you can imagine she wasn’t in a state to say much. She did ask for you though, so I said I would make sure you knew what had happened.” Vera had been looking down at her hands the whole time she’d been talking. When she finally looked up, she saw silent tears streaming down her friend’s face. “I’m so sorry.”

“Can I see her?” Bridget knew Emily was there, but she thought maybe Vera would be willing to watch her for a couple hours while she checked on her girlfriend.

“Bridget. I can’t….I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to go in there right now. The doctor had to do the procedure on her shoulder, and the nurse said she’d be sedated until at least the morning. Stay here and be with Em. That’s what she’d want right now I think.”

Bridget nodded. “Yeah, you’re right. She was so concerned this morning when I got the call about Em.” Bridget thought back to the look on her girlfriend’s face when she told her Emily wasn’t feeling well.

Vera put her hand on Bridget’s knee. “I’m going to make us some tea.” Bridget nodded.

They sat and drank, and when they had both finished, Vera asked Bridget if she’d be okay there alone for the night. Bridget assured her that she was, but made it clear that she wanted to see Franky first thing in the morning. Vera gave her a hug and another apology on her way out the door.

Bridget peeked into Emily’s room to make sure she was still asleep, then went around the house, making sure the doors were locked and turning out the lights before she settled into her own bed for what would probably be a sleepless night.

Chapter Text

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.”

“My thing?”

“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.”

“What is?”

“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.

Kim shrugged.

“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.

Chapter Text

Bridget was sitting with Franky in Medical the next morning when Vera arrived.

“Good morning,” she greeted them both. “The, uh, Detectives are on their way now to talk to you,” she looked at Franky. “They called maybe thirty minutes ago. One of the officers is bringing them in from reception now.”

Bridget went to get up to leave, and Franky reached out for her hand, motioning for her to sit back down on the bed. “I want you to stay.”

The blonde wasn’t sure what the protocol was in this situation. Technically, as the prison psych, an inmate could request that she be present at any interview or meeting, but this was different. She was involved in the case on a personal level, and the detectives knew that, because they had interviewed her. The fact that Franky had been arrested in Bridget’s house meant their relationship was in the open from the start.

“I think it’s fine, unless they object to it.” Vera could see Bridget’s hesitation at Franky’s request. “They already know you work here, and that you two are in a relationship.” The blonde sat back down on the bed. The Governor had a bad feeling. Detective Anders had told her they would be coming to file charges either today or tomorrow, and they seemed to be right on schedule. If that’s why they were here, she was glad that Franky wouldn’t be alone when she heard the news.

The officer arrived with the Detectives and Vera signaled for them to come inside.

“Good morning, Governor, Ms. Westfall, Ms Doyle.” Detective Lewis greeted each of them. He looked at Franky, seemingly assessing her condition. “The Governor informed us of the incident the other night. I hope you’re on your way to a full recovery.”

“Yeah, I feel like a million bucks.” Franky’s sarcasm was still well intact, even if she wasn’t feeling the best physically. Bridget discreetly tapped her on the leg, reminding her that it was in her best interest to cooperate with these people.

“Yes, well, this won’t take long. We got a call from Ms. Chang late last night.” Detective Lewis began. Vera, who had been looking at a point on the floor, snapped her head up. This visit was about something new. The detective continued, “She wanted to revise her statement. Said she needed to ‘do the right thing’, to quote her exact words. She told us what really happened that night. It seems that when she ran into the alley, someone grabbed her and pulled her into one of the buildings. That’s why you couldn’t find her. She says the man beat her after she refused to give him what he wanted, then must have thrown her back outside, where she was found by the eyewitness. She says she never saw you after she left your car, and at that time she was very much unharmed.”

Vera, Bridget, and Franky all wore looks of shock. Bridget couldn’t believe her plan had worked. She thought for sure that she hadn’t gotten through to Kim last night.

Franky was the first who spoke, “So what does that mean?”

“As far as we’re concerned, you’re free to go.” Detective Anders spoke up. “As soon as Governor Bennett can get the paperwork processed, you’ll be able to go home.”

“Usually takes about twenty-four hours.” Vera said quietly, still in shock.

“Right, well, we’re all done here.” Detective Lewis stated. He handed Vera a file folder. “This should be everything you need from us to get her release processed.”

The two detectives exited the room, and the officer who had escorted them in, led them back out to the entrance. The three stayed in silence for a moment.

Vera rested her hand gently on Franky’s injured shoulder, “I’m really happy for you. For both of you.” She exchanged smiles with each of the women. “I’m going to go get started on this,” she said, holding up the folder the detective had given her. She stopped just past the end of Franky’s bed and turned back to Bridget. “And after you’re done here, go home. I don’t want to see you in here for at least a week.” She turned and continued on, pulling the curtain closed around Franky’s bed on her way out.

“Holy fuck, Gidge. I thought I was so fucked just then. I was just waiting for them to tell me they were charging me.” Bridget looked over and saw the tears streaming down her girlfriend’s face. She gently wiped them away with the backs of her fingers. “I want to come home.”

“Tomorrow, baby,” She leaned down, and gave Franky a soft, but long kiss. “I’m going to go out right after I leave here, and pick up some things to have ready when I bring you home.” The brunette gave her a questioning look. “Heat packs, ice packs, pain relievers, just stuff like that.”

Franky nodded and pulled her back in for another kiss. “Can we just do this all day tomorrow? I reckon it would keep my mind off the pain.”

Bridget gave a small laugh. “You need to rest, baby.” She gave her another kiss. “I’ll be back to take you home, okay?” Franky nodded, and Bridget left to do her errands.

********

Bridget had picked up everything she could think of that Franky could possibly need to be comfortable for the first few days. She planned to take her to her apartment at some point too to pick up more clothes that were easy for her to get on and off with one arm. Nothing with buttons or snaps. She also picked up a bunch of groceries to restock her fridge and cabinets. Her cooking had been minimal while the brunette had been away, and she knew Franky would want some real food when she got home. Even though she wasn’t much of a cook, she figured that Franky could at least walk her through some of the meal prep.

She decided to browse through some of the smaller shops. She wanted to get Franky something as a sort of ‘welcome back home’ gift. The blonde had no idea what it would be, but she felt like she’d know it when she saw it. She wandered into a shop that looked to specialize in handmade jewelry. She looked at everything laid out in the cases, and was about to give up when something caught her eye. It was a necklace with a small silver kite charm on it, with a piece of red string for the tails of the kite.

“That’s one of my favourites,” a voice came from the door behind the counter as an elderly lady emerged from the back room of the shop.

“Do you make all of these?” Bridget asked.

“Oh yes. It started out as a hobby and eventually grew into this. I’ve had this shop almost fifty years now.”

“Why is this one of your favourites?” Bridget had always loved knowing the stories behind the things that people created.

“I got the idea for it one day when I was sitting in the park. There were some kids flying kites, and I just thought they looked so happy and carefree. So I guess it kind of represents freedom to me.”

“Freedom…” Bridget thought for a moment. “I’ll take it.”

“Good choice, you won’t regret it.” The lady smiled at the blonde and placed the necklace into a box for her.

Bridget left the shop, excited to give Franky the gift tomorrow.

********

It was late in the evening and Franky was preparing to spend another night in the uncomfortable hospital bed. She was technically cleared to go back to her unit, but Vera felt that Medical was a safer spot for her. Since no other prisoners needed to be there that night, the governor had decided to leave her there until her release. Will had just come on shift, and was talking to Matt. It had been an uneventful day in the prison, so she figured they were probably just chatting about the latest football match or something. Will was her favorite guard to have with her. The others just sat in the chair outside the door and barely spoke to her. Will would bring a chair in, sit beside her bed, and talk with her until he noticed her getting tired, then he’d leave to let her rest. Today, he came in, but didn’t look like he intended to stay very long.

“Hey Franky, Vera wants to see you. Said to make sure you brought all your personal things with you from here.”

Franky tried to read his expression, but failed. “Is something wrong?”

“I don’t think so. She just asked me to bring you up to see her.” He grabbed a plastic bag from one of the supply shelves, and helped her place her few extra clothes inside. She reached out to take it from him, but he just shook his head. “I got it. Let’s go.”

When they arrived at Vera’s office, she was standing in front of her desk, leaning back against it. Franky could see a box, labelled with her name sitting on the desk beside her. When she had been brought in, they had made her put all of her personal items other than what she was wearing, into that box, and said she would get them back when she was released. Will swiped his card and held the door open so Franky could enter the room.

“How are you feeling tonight?” It was always the first question that Vera asked her now.

“Alright, I guess.” She looked at the box sitting on the desk. “A little curious as to what’s going on.”

A small smile came across Vera’s face. “You’re going home.”

Franky looked at her. “Yeah I know. In the morning. Bridget’s coming to get me.”

“No. You’re going home now. I pushed your paperwork through. I don’t want you here any longer than absolutely necessary. The only way I can one hundred percent guarantee your safety is if you’re not here.” She waited while the brunette processed what she’d just heard.

“But…” she looked to Will then to Vera. “Bridget isn’t coming until the morning. I haven’t packed my things from my cell.”

“I went to your cell and packed up your belongings. Including your phone.” She gave Franky a look, and the brunette grinned sheepishly. “And, I’ll drive you home. I just need you to look through the box and sign this form saying that everything was returned to you, and then we can leave.”

Franky didn’t even open the box. She really didn’t care if all of her clothes were in there or not. She picked up the pen and signed the form. “Let’s go.”

Will picked up the box and followed Franky and Vera out to Vera’s car. He sat it on the back seat for her.

“Thanks for everything Will.” She reached out with her good arm, and he gave her a gentle hug, careful not to bother any of her injuries. “Come by and visit us, okay?”

He nodded, “Yeah, okay.”

The drive to Bridget’s house was relatively quiet. Franky could tell that Vera wasn’t quite comfortable around her ever since the incident in Bridget’s office. The brunette wasn’t mad at her, she was just disappointed and hurt.

“Franky…” Vera began, and Franky turned to look at her. The governor just shook her head, indicating that she had changed her mind and didn’t want to say anything.

“Does Bridget know you’re bringing me there tonight?” Franky asked to break the silence.

“No, I wanted to surprise her.” Vera gave a small smile, and glanced at the brunette before turning her attention back to the road.

They pulled up in front of Bridget’s house, and Vera parked the car. As they walked up the path, Franky looked in through the window. The blonde was sitting on the couch, working on her laptop and something was playing on the TV. Franky looked to see if Emily was there, and was a bit disappointed not to see her inside. She reasoned though that it would be good to have a few more days to rest and heal before she saw her. Franky didn’t want her to be upset when she saw the bruises on her face, and until her shoulder healed a bit more, she wouldn’t be able to do much with her besides watch movies.

Vera stepped up and knocked on the front door while Franky stood to the side so that Bridget wouldn’t see her when she opened it.

“You go in first.” Franky whispered, and Vera gave a small nod.

“Hey, Vera. Is everything alright?” It wasn’t that it was uncommon for her friend to stop by, but with everything that had been going on lately, Bridget was worried that something bad had happened at the prison.

“Yeah, everything’s fine. I just thought I’d drop by on my way home.”

“Sure, come in,” Bridget smiled. “I just put the kettle on.”

Vera sat down on the couch, and Bridget set a second mug out on the counter. The kettle would take another couple of minutes to boil, so the blonde took a seat on the couch opposite her friend.

Franky glanced in the window and saw that they had sat down on the couch. She turned the handle, and slowly opened the door. She stepped in and closed it behind her, doing her best to be as silent as possible. She walked softly through the entryway, and came to a stop just past the end of the wall.

“You’d better put out a third mug.”

Bridget’s head snapped up, and she locked eyes with the brunette who was now standing in her living room. Vera looked from one to the other as a big grin broke out on Franky’s face, and the blonde was still trying to process what was going on.

“Franky…” Bridget stood, still just looking at her. “But how?...”

“The Gov decided to spring me out early.” Franky’s grin grew wider. She held open her uninjured arm. The other one had been put in a sling now that she was up and moving around more, in order to keep it stable.

The blonde stepped to her and carefully wrapped her arms around her, burying her head in her neck. Franky put her arm around her holding her close. The brunette looked over to Vera, who had a huge smile on her face.

“I think I’m going to take off now. Thanks for the offer of tea, but I really just came to bring Franky home, and you two need some time together.” Vera put her hand on each of their shoulders on the way out. “I’ll bring your things in from the car too.”

“Vera,” Franky turned a bit to face her, “Thank you for this. Really.” They exchanged small nods.

After Vera had brought in her things and left again, Franky broke the quiet. “Do you want me to make you that tea?” She felt the blonde shake her head. “Okay, you want to sit on the couch for a bit?”

The blonde picked her head up. “I just want to lay in bed with you.”

“Okay, babe.” Franky took her shoes off, leaving them by the door, and made sure it was locked before following Bridget to the bedroom.

The blonde had gathered some extra pillows from the spare beds and put them on Franky’s side, so that she would be able to sit more upright. The doctor had told her it would probably be about a week before she could comfortably lie down to sleep again. Bridget helped her change out of her clothes, and into her pyjamas, then got her settled under the blankets. She changed her own clothes and grabbed the small box off her dresser before settling in beside the brunette. Franky lifted her good arm, allowing Bridget to curl into her side.

“I went shopping today after I left the prison, and I got you something.” Bridget sat the small box on top of the covers in Franky’s lap. “Don’t worry, it’s not a ring,” she laughed, mimicking the words Franky had said when she gave the blonde her star necklace on her birthday.

Franky gave a small chuckle. “Open it for me?”

Bridget opened the box and held it up so Franky could see it. “The woman who owns the shop makes all the jewelry they sell there. She said this represented freedom, so I thought it would be perfect to give you when you got to come home.”

“I love it, Gidge.” Franky lowered her head and gave the blonde a kiss. “Thank you.”

“I think it suits you.” Bridget helped her sit forward a bit so she could fasten it around her neck for her.

Franky leaned back and settled in. She put her arm out again so that Bridget could lay against her, but the blonde didn’t move. It looked to Franky like she was trying to decide something. After a couple seconds, she moved up the bed more, so that she was in the same half-sitting position as the brunette. Bridget reached out and cupped Franky’s cheek, pulling her in for a kiss at the same time she carefully moved her body to rest ever so slightly on Franky’s ‘good’ side. Luckily, in this case anyway, the brunette’s injured rib and shoulder were both on her left side.

“Is this okay?” She asked quietly when they broke apart. Franky nodded. “I’m not hurting you?”

“No.” Franky shook her head as she connected their lips again.

They shared slow, lazy kisses, just enjoying being near each other again without worrying who might see them, or being on a time limit, until they were ready to fall asleep. Bridget moved back down a bit and melted into Franky’s side again. She fell asleep quickly for the first time in weeks.

********

The next morning Franky awoke early to a throbbing pain in her shoulder. At some point during the night she had moved so she wasn’t sitting completely upright anymore, and the new position had put a strain on her arm. She tried to carefully move herself away from Bridget so she could get out of bed, but one of her movements made her gasp and stiffen a bit, and the blonde was immediately awake.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” Bridget put her hand on Franky’s back, helping her to sit up.

“Ah! I think I just slept wrong.” She turned to sit on the edge of the bed.

Bridget went to the medicine cabinet in the bathroom and grabbed a couple of pain relievers for the brunette. “Here, take these.” She handed the pills to Franky, with a glass of water. “How about a warm shower too while those kick in?”

“Yeah, I think that would help.” Franky slowly got up off the bed and into the bathroom.

She let Bridget help her get undressed, and help her again in the shower to get washed. The hot water felt good on her shoulder, and about halfway through, Franky could feel the pain relievers starting to work. The blonde could feel her girlfriend’s body start to relax, and she spent some extra time rubbing her back to work out the knots.

After their shower, Franky talked Bridget through how to make waffles for their breakfast. It worked out pretty well, but they could both see that when they tried the more complicated recipes, it was going to take some extra patience on both their parts.

They spent the morning with Bridget doing stuff around the house, and Franky relaxing on the couch, occasionally getting up to wander around when she needed to stretch and move. After lunch, the brunette decided that she was going to lay outside on the patio in one of the lounge chairs. It had turned into a warm afternoon, and she was tired of being inside.

Bridget was doing some work on her laptop when there was a knock at the door. She opened it to find Vera standing there.

“Hey, come in.” Bridget stepped back so her friend could enter the house. “You’re off early today.”

“Yeah, I’ve got a bunch of overtime saved up, so I figured I should use some. I popped home and had some lunch and got changed then I figured I’d stop by here.” Vera looked around the kitchen and living room, then glanced down the hall.

“Is everything alright?” Bridget asked, concerned that Vera was acting a bit off.

“Yeah, I just, uh, came to talk to Franky, actually. Is she here?”

“She’s out on the patio.” Bridget tilted her head towards the large sliding glass windows. “Come on.” Bridget started to walk towards the patio door.

“If she’s asleep, I can come back another time.” Vera took a couple quick steps to catch up with Bridget.

The blonde stepped out onto the patio, and Franky turned her head to look at her. “She’s awake,” she called back into the house. “Vera’s here to see you, baby.” Franky nodded, and Bridget moved a chair over beside the brunette for Vera to sit in. She sensed that this wasn’t strictly a social visit, so she went back inside, closed the door, and continued on with her work.

Vera took a seat in the chair. “How are you feeling?”

“A bit better actually. Being out of that place is enough on it’s own to help.” She glanced at the other woman. “No offense.”

“None taken.” Vera gave a small laugh. “The officers feel the same way too most days, trust me.” She paused and took a deep breath. “I didn’t just come here to check up on you. I owe you a huge thank you that I will probably never be able to repay, and an apology that I don’t even know where to start with. So first of all, thank you again for saving me that night. I don’t know how that would have ended if you hadn’t shown up. I had been horrible to you, and you didn’t even think twice about helping me and putting yourself at risk. Look where it got you.” She motioned to Franky’s injured shoulder and bruised face.

“You’re welcome, but you don’t have to keep thanking me for that. You already said it, and you gave us that room for the night, which you didn’t have to do, but it was a really nice gesture. If you need to hear me say it, then I’ll say it; we’re even, okay?” Franky waited until Vera looked her in the eye and acknowledged her statement with a nod.

Vera leaned forward and studied the pattern on one of the patio stones. “I still owe you an apology though. I don’t know how to start.”

“Just say whatever comes to mind. I’ll listen.” Franky gave her a small smile to reassure her. She knew what this was about, and she had some things she needed to say to Vera as well. It wouldn’t be easy for either of them, but she knew in the end it would be okay.

“I’m sorry that I read your file then made those assumptions about you. I should have known better. The reason I got into corrections was because I believed that everyone deserves a second chance, the benefit of the doubt, and I wanted to help them get those. I work every day to give those things to strangers, and then when it involves someone I know, I couldn’t do it. I’ve known you for months, and never questioned anything about you. Then I let some words on a piece of paper speak louder than all your actions. I know it’s going to take time for us to be in a good place again, if it’s even possible at all, and I know that’s my fault, but I’d very much like to get back to how things were someday.” Vera wiped away a tear that was running down her cheek.

“It’s possible.” Franky looked over towards Vera. “I’m not mad at you, I never was, really. I was hurt. Probably a bit disappointed too. I know what my file looks like, and it doesn’t look good. I would understand if some random cop or case worker looked at it and said the things about me that you did, but it really hurt when I heard you say them. When they came from someone who knows me, someone I care about. I’d been nothing but nice to you, and right then, it didn’t matter. What hurt even more though, was that you implied that you thought I would hurt Bridget, or Em. There’s absolutely nothing in my file that indicates I have ever laid a hand on anyone I was in any kind of relationship with. I would never do that. And I would never, ever hurt a child. I lived that kind of life as a kid, getting hit, burnt, screamed at. I would never make a kid go through that. Even if you didn’t trust me, you should have trusted Bridget’s judgement. She’s a strong woman, she would never let anyone hurt her or Em.” The brunette thought she saw a flicker of something in Vera’s eyes. “She would have gotten rid of me, of anyone, so fucking fast if they tried anything like that.” She paused and took a deep breath. “So yes, it might take awhile, but we can get back to how we were. You’re still a friend, Vera, and I don’t hold grudges. As far as I’m concerned, after today we’ve both said what we need to say, and we can move on from this.” She waited while Vera wiped her cheeks dry. “Okay?”

Vera nodded, and Franky stood up, holding open her good arm. The other woman stood as well, and Franky pulled her in for a hug. Vera wrapped her arms gently around the tall brunette, and they stood there for a few seconds, letting everything that was said sink in. Bridget glanced up from her laptop to see her girlfriend and best friend in a warm embrace. She knew Franky appreciated honesty, and the ability for someone to admit when they had fucked up. She was forgiving. As she continued to watch them, she knew they were on the way to making things right between them again.

********

Franky and Bridget laid in bed that night, the brunette propped up on the extra pillows again, and Bridget against her side. The blonde had suggested that maybe Franky could try sleeping on the couch, or they could bring one of the lounge chairs in off the patio, so that she wouldn’t move and be in an uncomfortable position by the morning. The brunette quickly put an end to the idea though, saying that she wanted to sleep in the bed with Bridget.

“Did you and Vera have a good talk?” Bridget asked. Franky had seemed a bit calmer since Vera had left and the blonde suspected that she had gotten some things off her chest during their conversation.

“Yeah, we did. I think we both got out what we needed to.” Franky took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“She came to the house the day after you helped her. She felt so bad, Franky. She knew that you were in trouble, and that she’d been horrible to you.” Bridget played with the kite charm on Franky’s necklace.

“I was never mad at her. I told her that today. I told her we’d be okay again. I’m going to make her dance with me again.” They both smiled, remembering the night at the bar.

“She really liked that you did that, and she told me what you said to her, it was very sweet.”

Franky just smiled down at Bridget, then her face turned serious again. “You know what bothered me most about what she said that day?” The blonde shook her head. “She thought that you weren’t safe with me. That I’d hurt you or Em. I want you to know, I would never do that. I’ve never hit anyone I was with or any kids. I told her not to worry ‘cause you’d never tolerate that shit anyway.”

Bridget was quiet for a moment before she spoke. “I never thought I would.”

“What?” Franky sat up a bit more so that she could see Bridget’s face better. “What do you mean?”

The blonde re-positioned herself so that she could lay her head on her girlfriend’s chest. “There was someone I used to be with. We were serious, together for almost 5 years. One day, we got in an argument and she hit me. Right across the face, just bam; I never saw it coming. We both just kind of looked at each other. She broke down and started to cry. She said she was under all this pressure at work and she’d had a meeting that day that had gone to shit, then when she came home we argued and she just lost it. She said it was like she could see herself doing it, but she wasn’t in control of her body. She promised it would never happen again, and I believed her. I forgave her. I knew all the things that people like that say, and what I tell the abuse victims that I counsel, and I still couldn’t take my own advice. Vera saw the bruise on my face. I tried to make up an excuse and cover it with make up, but she knew what had happened. Things seemed okay after that for the most part except for the fact that she hated Em. She was maybe two at the time, and she and her parents would come for a visit, and my ex wanted nothing to do with her. She just complained about how noisy and messy she was. She’d never come out anywhere with us. One day, about three years ago, we got in another pretty big argument. She drew her fist back again and I just stood and stared right at her. She stopped, she never hit me, but I knew she had come close. That was the end of it. We were done after that. Trust me, I’ve learned my lesson. It was a huge wake-up call for me. I wanted you to know that that’s what triggered that part of what Vera said about you. It doesn’t excuse it, because you are nothing like she was, but in her mind, she was being protective of me and Em.”

Franky wished she had the use of both arms right now. She didn’t know what to say, and she felt like she couldn’t hold Bridget close enough. The blonde could feel her girlfriend’s body shaking. She lifted her head and looked into the brunette’s eyes. The normally clear green colour had turned stormy. She knew Franky was probably feeling a mixture of emotions right now, mostly anger and sadness.

“Baby, I’m okay. I promise.” She leaned in and gave Franky one of her own ‘I love you’ kisses. “I’m so fucking glad I met you.” The blonde gave her another kiss. “Okay?”

“Okay.” Franky took a deep breath. “Okay.”

“You good, baby?” Bridget waited until Franky looked at her.

“I’m good.” The brunette nodded. “I love you, Gidge.”

“I love you too.” After a couple more kisses, Bridget laid back down beside Franky, and they fell asleep.

Chapter Text

“Hey, baby,” Bridget walked out onto the patio to join Franky in the warm afternoon sun. The brunette had taken to spending most afternoons outside. If the weather was good, she’d sit in one of the lounge chairs out back. If it was rainy, she’d usually sit under the covered seating area around the side. “Tim just called, he has to work late tonight, and he wants us to pick Em up from school this afternoon.”

“Ay, sounds great!” Franky’s face lit up. She’d been out of Wentworth for almost a week, but she hadn’t seen the little girl yet. Bridget had suggested that they not tell Emily that Franky was out right away. She reasoned that the brunette needed her rest, and even though Emily was a great kid, all kids take energy to entertain and look after, and she didn’t want Franky to overdo it, and set back her recovery. The brunette had to agree that her girlfriend was probably right, but fate had thrown her an opportunity today. “I’ll walk down and pick her up when it’s time. It’s just down the road, and I need to get out and move around for a bit.”

About an hour later, Bridget helped Franky change into a clean shirt and trackies, and she left for the school. Her shoulder was healing nicely but she still had trouble lifting her arm very high, and her ribs were feeling much better, only really hurting when she coughed or sneezed. Bridget had tied her hair back for her as well. She hated not being able to look after herself, but she was thankful that Bridget was the one helping her. The blonde never made her feel like she was helpless or weak, and she was good at anticipating what Franky needed, and just doing it rather than making the brunette ask for everything.

It took her less than ten minutes to reach the school, and when she got there, she joined the group of parents waiting for their kids. Most of them were the typical upper middle class moms and dads, all dressed nicely, and most of the women had their hair and makeup done. Bridget lived in a nice neighbourhood, and Franky felt a bit out of place. She could feel some eyes on her and she tried to tell herself that it was just because she was new to them, and not because they were judging her. Thankfully, she only had to wait a few minutes before she saw the kids start to come out of the building.

As soon as Emily saw her she started running towards her. Franky crouched down, and put out her good arm to give her a hug. When the young girl noticed that the brunette’s arm was in a sling, she stopped running, and slowly walked up to her.

“You’re hurt,” she said, looking at Franky’s arm from her hand up to her shoulder.

“Yeah, bub. I had an accident, but I’m okay. I’m feeling better now except my shoulder is sore.” Franky watched Emily as she took it all in. After a moment, the young girl stepped forward and put her arms around the brunette’s neck. “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too,” Emily said.

“Your Dad has to work late, so he asked if you could come to our place for supper. How does that sound?” Emily gave an enthusiastic nod.

While she had been talking with the young girl, Franky had seen one of the other kid’s mothers coming towards them. She greeted her as she stood up, “Hey.”

The woman looked at her, then at the tattoos on both of her arms. Franky could feel the judgmental vibe coming off of her the second she’d laid eyes on her. The woman ignored the brunette’s greeting and turned to Emily instead.

“Emily, darling, who’s this?” She asked in a sweet voice.

“Franky.” Emily stated simply.

“Yes, but who is ‘Franky’? The woman asked her, taking another glance in the brunette’s direction. Emily shrugged.

Franky figured that Emily didn’t really know what to call her. To her she was simply ‘Franky’. Of course the child knew that she was her aunt’s girlfriend, but that didn’t give her a specific title in her life.

“Is she a friend of your aunt?” The woman asked. The brunette knew exactly what this woman was getting at. If she had come here dressed up like them, no one would have looked at her twice.

Emily started to nod her head when Franky jumped in, “Yeah, I am. I’m banging her actually,” the brunette said with a wink.

The woman’s jaw dropped open, and Emily just had a blank look on her face. Franky had guessed, and was glad she was right, that the child didn’t know what that meant.

The brunette looked down at the young girl. “You ready to go home?” Emily nodded and took Franky’s hand, and they began their walk home.

After a minute Emily spoke, “She didn’t like you.”

“She just didn’t know me and she wanted to make sure you weren’t leaving with a stranger.” Franky was constantly amazed at how perceptive the young girl was. Emily was right in her statement about her classmate’s mother, but the brunette wasn’t ready to have a conversation with her about stereotypes and prejudices, so she opted for a half truth.

When they arrived at the house, Emily ran in and greeted Bridget with a hug. “Hey, love, how was school?”

“We learned about volcanoes!” She took off her school bag and produced a piece of paper, handing it to Bridget.

The blonde looked over it quickly. It was instructions for making a paper mâché volcano that erupted with lava made from mixing baking soda and vinegar. Bridget remembered when Tim had made one of these as a kid. He had miscalculated the amount of both ingredients for the lava and ended up covering the entire kitchen table with foam that then spilled onto the floor. Their mother was not impressed. “You going to ask your Dad to help you with this? I remember he made one when he wasn’t much older than you.”

Emily nodded. “Yeah, we each have to make one and take it to school in two weeks.”

“Make sure you let your Dad know soon, okay? So that you have lots of time.” Bridget put the paper back in her bag.

“Can I show Franky the pictures from the aquarium?” Emily had picked up Bridget’s iPad from the coffee table.

“If she feels up to it. Ask her though, okay?” The young girl nodded. Bridget hoped that Franky would say ‘no’ if she needed to rest.

“Franky!” Emily ran up to the tall brunette who was pouring them drinks in the kitchen. “Can I show you the pictures from when me and Auntie Bridge went to the aquarium?”

“Sure, bub. Here, this is for you.” She handed her a glass of water. “We’ll sit on the couch.”

Franky made sure that Emily sat on her right side. She knew the child would try to be careful, but she could also see that she was excited to talk about their day trip, and she didn’t want her to accidentally bump into her shoulder.

Once they had been through all the pictures, it was time to make supper.

“What do you want for supper, Em?” Bridget was standing, looking into the fridge, hoping that a meal idea would jump out at her.

“Omelettes with Franky!”

“Omelettes wi-“ The blonde was confused for a second. “Ohhh, you want to make them with Franky?” Emily nodded her head enthusiastically.

Franky still wasn’t doing very much of the cooking aside from talking Bridget through the recipes. “How about the three of us make them together?” the brunette asked.

Bridget and Emily gathered all the ingredients while Franky turned on the stove and got the pans warming up. Bridget chopped up some vegetables and leftover ham she had from making sandwiches and the brunette was having Emily crack open the eggs, beat them, and add the salt and pepper.

They worked in relative quiet until Emily asked a question. “Auntie Bridge?”

“Yes, love?”

“Is Franky your girlfriend?” She cracked another egg into the bowl.

“She is. Remember we had a talk about that awhile ago?” Bridget moved on from chopping up the veggies and ham to shredding some cheese.

“But that’s not what she told Owen’s mother today.”

Warning bells started going off in Franky’s head. She tried to say calm, but she knew what was coming. She willed anything to happen right now to stop Emily from finishing her story.

“What did she tell Owen’s mother?” Bridget thought that maybe Franky wasn’t sure how accepting the other parents would be of a lesbian couple, so she just said she was a friend or something like that.

“She said she was banging you.”

Bridget sat down the grater and the piece of cheese and gave Franky a look that the brunette was pretty sure was meant to kill her.

“Gid-” The blonde held up her hand, signalling Franky to stop talking.

“Auntie Bridge?” The girl was still waiting for an answer.

Bridget had to think about how she was going to answer, but not answer, her niece’s question. “The way that Franky used that word isn’t right, okay? A bang means a loud sound, and that’s how you use it. She made a mistake. Understand?” Emily nodded. “And from now on if someone asks who Franky is, she’s my girlfriend.”

Emily thought for a moment then shrugged. “Everyone makes mistakes, it’s okay, Franky.” She went back to adding the salt and pepper to the eggs.

Franky gave Bridget a ‘see, it’s all good’ look, but the blonde didn’t crack a smile. She walked past Franky to put the cheese back in the fridge. “We’ll talk later,” she said quietly as she passed.

The conversation at the supper table was uncharacteristically sparse. Franky knew she had fucked up. As much as she loved having Emily around, tonight, she just wanted to clear the air with Bridget, and that couldn’t happen while the child was still there. She was glad Tim had said he’d be there right after supper to pick her up.

********

Emily had left and Franky was helping to put away the last of the dishes from their meal when she decided that they might as well get this over with.

“Gid-”

“Franky, you can’t just say stuff like that in front of her!” Bridget interrupted.

“I know, I’m sorry. You should have seen the way that snotty bitch was looking at me though. Like I was trash. She was questioning Em like I was some stranger coming to take her away!”

“Okay, but Franky, to them, you are a stranger. It doesn’t excuse her other behaviour though, and trust me, I know what they can be like.” Bridget had no doubt that what Franky was saying was exactly what had happened. She’d seen them do it to other parents who didn’t fit their expectations.

“I just wanted to get a reaction out of her. I figured Em wouldn’t know what it meant, so no harm done.”

“She didn’t! That’s why she asked.” Bridget took a deep breath. “From now on, just don’t say stuff like that in front of her, alright? If she doesn’t already know what it means, she’s going to ask. She’s too curious to just let it drop. She doesn’t need to know, and I don’t want to explain it to her.”

“Okay, I’m sorry, Gidge. I really am.” Franky was truly upset. She had reacted without thinking.

The blonde’s expression softened. “I would have loved to see her face though.” She gave a small chuckle.

“Ah Gidge, it was the best! Her mouth just dropped open! Shut her right up!” Franky laughed remembering the scene.

********

It was the first night that Franky decided to try laying down to sleep since she had injured her shoulder. She’d forgotten how much she had missed sleeping like a normal person. Her and Bridget had talked more that evening, and had worked things out.

The blonde was currently changing out of her clothes, and into her sleepwear. She had chosen a pair of underwear, and an old t-shirt that belonged to Franky. The brunette had always loved it when girls wore her clothes. Bridget lifted the covers and climbed in. She moved in next to Franky as close as she could. The blonde leaned on her elbow and looked down at her girlfriend. She lowered her head and gave Franky a long, slow kiss, gently biting the other woman’s bottom lip as she pulled back. The brunette smiled, and Bridget laid her head on her chest and hooked a leg over Franky’s right one.

The brunette let her right hand trail up and down the older woman’s back. She could feel Bridget shift against her every once in a while. “You’re turned on tonight babe, aren’t you?”

“Maybe,” the blonde gave a small laugh. “Yeah. It’s been a long month, other than the night Vera gave us a room.”

Franky laughed. “You can’t tell me you didn’t do anything all those nights you were lying here alone.”

Bridget picked her head up to look at the brunette. “Well, yeah, of course I did, but it’s not the same.”

Franky smirked. “Wish I could have seen that.”

The blonde raised herself up on her elbow again then dipped her head, leaving small kisses along Franky’s jaw until she reached her ear. “Well…” she whispered. “You could see it now.” Franky was right, Bridget was turned on, but she also knew that the brunette wasn’t feeling physically up to doing their usual activities yet. She thought maybe this could be a fun compromise.

Franky turned her head to look at her girlfriend. “You want to show me?” Her eyes trailed down the blonde’s body.

Bridget sat up so she was kneeling on her side of the bed. She reached down to the hem of her shirt and pulled it off over her head, discarding it on the bed behind her. “Sure.” She gave a mischievous smile. “I have one rule though.”

Franky reached up and ran her fingers down the blonde’s side, letting her hand come to rest on her girlfriend’s hip. “And what’s that?”

Bridget took the brunette’s hand and moved it off her hip and back onto the bed. “You don’t get to touch me.”

The blonde flattened her hand against her own stomach and slid it into her underwear. She saw Franky’s gaze follow her fingers, watching them move under the thin fabric. Her eyes fluttered closed as she brushed over a particularly sensitive spot. When she opened them, she saw the brunette was still fixated on her.

“Is this punishment for me saying I was banging you today?” Franky gave a small smirk.

Bridget leaned forward and placed her free hand on the pillow beside the brunette’s head for support. “No, baby,” she said, lowering her head to brush her lips ever so slightly against Franky’s. She let out a small moan as her fingers continued their slow movement on her. She heard the brunette draw in a deep breath and hold it for a second before letting it out slowly. Bridget knew her girlfriend was trying to calm herself. Not being able to touch the blonde would be torture for her.

Bridget raised herself up, removing her hand from inside her underwear. She turned and laid down on her back a couple of inches away from Franky as the brunette carefully re-positioned herself onto her side, so she could fully see her. The blonde locked eyes with her girlfriend and hooked her thumbs on each side of her underwear, pulling them down and off over her feet. She tossed them towards Franky, hitting her in the chest and breaking her out of her stare. The brunette gave a small giggle.

Franky watched as Bridget closed her eyes and lazily trailed her left hand down her body. She saw the blonde run her fingers over her clit before letting them dip in between her folds. The brunette smiled to herself, as she thought back to the day in Bridget’s office when she had her handcuffed against the door. That exact same movement had elicited a very nice response from the blonde, and now Franky knew that it was because she had discovered something that Bridget liked to do to herself.

The blonde moved her right hand to squeeze her own breast and lightly pinch her nipple. She had her eyes closed but she could hear Franky breathing beside her, and felt her inch closer. Bridget let her mind replay their night in the conjugal room at Wentworth, the night of her birthday, the time when Franky had sat her on the counter and made her confess one of her fantasies. She could feel the muscles in her body start to tighten, and she focused on the subtle sounds that were coming from the brunette beside her. She knew that if she opened her eyes, she would probably see that there was less than an inch of space between them on the bed now.

Franky watched Bridget’s body. She knew how to read her by now and she could tell that it wouldn’t be much longer before the blonde reached her release. Franky saw her hips rising slightly to meet her fingers and heard the hitches in her breath as she moved them in and out of herself. The brunette felt like her body was on fire, but she felt no pain at the moment, probably too distracted and driven by hormones for her brain to register any other sensations.

The brunette needed to touch her. Not necessarily with her hand, but she needed to feel some kind of connection to her. She dipped her head and placed a light kiss on Bridget’s shoulder. The blonde opened her eyes slightly and looked at her girlfriend.

Franky wore a small grin on her face. “Couldn’t help it.”

Bridget gave a small shake of her head. She moved the hand that was currently massaging her breast, and reached up to place it behind Franky’s head, tangling her fingers through the brunette’s hair. She pulled her in for a kiss and quickly got lost in the feeling of Franky’s lips on hers. The blonde sped up her fingers.

Franky broke the kiss, wanting to see the visual of Bridget making herself come, and she knew the blonde was close. It only took a few seconds for the first wave of pleasure to wash over the older woman’s body. The brunette watched as she rode out her orgasm, and began to slowly come down. Franky placed another kiss on her shoulder. “You’re so fucking beautiful.”

Bridget opened her eyes, and looked at her girlfriend. It was the last thing she had expected to hear as Franky’s response to what she had just witnessed, and it made a huge smile break out across her face. The blonde turned onto her side and gently placed a hand on the brunette’s shoulder, forcing her to lay on her back.

“How are you feeling, baby?” Bridget gave her a small kiss.

Franky gave a small laugh. “About as expected after witnessing that.”

“Mmm, but how’s your shoulder?” The blonde placed a kiss on the side of Franky’s neck.

“It’s alright.” The brunette felt Bridget grin against her skin.

The older woman positioned herself lower on the bed, between Franky’s legs. She pushed up the material of the brunette’s shirt so that it gathered under her breasts, exposing her stomach. Franky closed her eyes as she felt Bridget’s lips on her skin, moving down until they reached her shorts. The blonde hooked her fingers on each side and Franky raised her hips, allowing the other woman to remove her shorts and underwear in one movement. Bridget continued kissing across both of Franky’s hip bones, and she could feel that the brunette was getting impatient.

The blonde dipped her head and ran her tongue up along Franky’s folds, ending with a large circle around her clit. Bridget wasn’t about to tease her girlfriend any longer. Forcing her to sit back and watch had been enough, and she could tell the brunette was more than ready.

Franky felt her girlfriend’s lips wrap around her clit, and her tongue gently moving back and forth. She reached down, burying her hand in Bridget’s hair, keeping her where she wanted her. She knew she wouldn’t last long. Watching the blonde had been one of the hottest things she’d seen, and it had taken every ounce of her willpower not to jump in and take over. As Bridget pushed her closer to her release, Franky moved against her mouth. Every time she lifted her hips even the slightest bit, it put pressure on her shoulders, and the brunette was starting to feel the pain coming back a bit. She pushed it out of her mind. There was no way she was telling Bridget to stop now, not when she was this close.

After a few more flicks of the blonde’s tongue Franky felt her back arch, and a shot of pain ran through her shoulder. She gasped, and she knew if Bridget thought she was in pain then she would stop, so the brunette quickly followed with a ‘Keep going’. One more flick and Franky’s body released all the tension that had been building up. Each contraction of muscles brought both pain and pleasure, but when her body came down she just felt relaxed and good.

Bridget kissed her way back up Franky’s stomach, and then connected their lips. The blonde pulled back to look at her. “That hurt your shoulder, didn’t it? Are you okay?”

“There’s pleasure in pain, Gidge.” Franky tried to laugh it off, but she winced as she tried to move herself up further on the pillows.

“I’m going to go get you something for it.” The blonde got up out of bed and headed toward the kitchen.

Franky heard the microwave beep and a couple minutes later, Bridget returned with a heat pack wrapped in a towel. She helped the brunette sit forward and draped it over her shoulder, holding it in place while she laid back again on the bed. The blonde crawled in again beside her and cuddled into her side.

“Thanks, babe.” The brunette said quietly.

Bridget gave her a quick kiss. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Chapter Text

It was a rainy morning, and Franky and Bridget were sitting on the couch having some tea when there was a knock at the door. Bridget sat down her mug, and went to answer it. She was greeted by Liz, Boomer, Allie, and Bea.

“Hey, love,” Liz greeted her with a big hug. “I hope it’s okay, us just showing up here. We came to see Franky; see how she’s doing.”

“Oh, it’s completely fine, “ Bridget replied with a smile. “She’ll be so happy to see you all. She’s in the living room, just down and around the corner.”

They each said hello to the blonde as they walked past her into the house. Bridget went to the kitchen to make some tea for their guests as Franky’s friends settled in around her.

“Heya, Franky.” Boomer gave her a hug, and sat down beside her. “They do that to ya in there?” She pointed to Franky’s face.

“Yeah, Booms. Three of them attacked me in the showers.”

“Wouldn’t a happened if I’d been there. I woulda bashed some heads for ya.” Boomer struck the palm of her hand with her fist. “Liz told us why you were in there. We all told ya Kim was crazy. I know you like a good root with a hot girl, but wasn’t worth it, eh?”

Allie discreetly elbowed Boomer in the side. “Booms.” When she caught her eye, Allie tipped her head towards Bridget, who was putting their mugs of tea on a tray to bring over.

The woman looked at her, confused for a moment, and then caught on that maybe she shouldn’t have said what she did in front of Franky’s girlfriend. “Oh, ah, sorry.”

Bridget just smiled at her as she placed the tray on the coffee table. The blonde turned to go back to the kitchen.

“You going to sit with us, babe?” Franky asked.

“I think I’ll finish up some work. I’ll let you guys catch up.” She smiled again and went into her office.

“So, how exactly did they end up letting you out?” Bea asked, taking a sip of her tea. “It sounded pretty bad from what Liz told us.”

“She had a change of heart and decided to tell the truth, that I never touched her.”

While Franky told stories of her time at Wentworth, Liz quietly excused herself, saying she was going to the bathroom, but instead found Bridget in her office. She knocked lightly on the open door, so as to not startle the blonde.

“Oh, Liz! You surprised me, come in.” Bridget closed her laptop, and turned her chair.

“I just wanted to make sure Franky’s doing okay. I know prison can kind of mess with your head. I think she’d tell me if something was wrong, but you spend more time with her now.”

“Well, I think she’s probably still processing some things, and physically, she’s definitely still healing. I think she’s happy to be out.” Bridget paused. “While she was in there, she told me some things about her past. I just want to say thank you for everything you did for her. She wouldn’t be here with me today if it weren’t for you.”

“Love, she wouldn’t have been here with anyone. The streets are brutal, especially for a young girl, and she was headed for heaps of trouble.” Liz took a deep breath. “A lot of people had given up on her, but I had a feeling, and I had to try. I look at where she is now, and I’m so glad I did. She loves you a lot, I don’t know if she’s told you that yet, but I can tell she does.”

“She has.” Bridget couldn’t help the smile that came across her face.

Liz excused herself and went back out to join the others.

“So, Franky, you coming back to work?” Allie asked, as Liz returned.

“Yeah, definitely. As much as I love being home with Gidge, I need to keep busy too. She’s going back to work next week. I don’t think I could handle being here alone all day for very long. The doc said the sling could come off in a few days, and after that I’m allowed to do whatever doesn’t cause too much pain.” She looked over at Liz. “Thanks again for taking over my classes while I was gone. I’m still going to need extra help with the prep work when I get back.”

“No trouble, love. Makes it feel like old times a bit. The kids especially miss you though.” Liz smiled. “Maybe Emily will come back once you’re there again.”

“Wait, she wasn’t going while I was away?” Franky hadn’t specifically asked Bridget or Emily if she was still going, she had just assumed that she was.

Her friends all shook their heads. She made up her mind that she would get Emily to go back, the child had too much potential and passion for her to waste.

One hour and another round of tea later, and Franky’s friends said their goodbyes. She wandered into Bridget’s office.

“You know I love you, right?” the brunette asked, placing a kiss on the side of her girlfriend’s neck.

Bridget turned, searching Franky’s face, “Yeah, of course I do.”

“I know you heard what Boomer said today.” The brunette looked at the ground then out the window.

The blonde stood and put her arms around her girlfriend’s neck. “Baby, we all have our pasts. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to know all the details about the women before me,, but I know they exist.” She gave Franky a small kiss. “I’m okay, alright? Are you up for us doing some errands after lunch?”

Franky nodded her head and rested her forehead against Bridget’s. “I also need to pick up some more clothes from my apartment.”

“Alright, let’s shower and get some lunch then we’ll go.” Bridget took Franky’s hand and led her to the bathroom.

********

They had spent about an hour running various errands and browsing through a couple of their favorite shops. The next stop was Franky’s apartment to swap out some of her clothes. The weather was getting warmer and she needed some lighter stuff to wear.

Bridget’s phone rang just as they were getting in the car. Franky sat inside while the blonde stood outside the driver’s door and talked.

“We need to go pick up Em from school.” Bridget started the car, and headed towards the school.

Franky sensed that something was bothering the blonde. “What’s going on?”

“Tim has to stay and work late again on this project and he can’t pick her up. I don’t mind, I really don’t, and I said I’d help out, but what’s going to happen when I’m back to work next week?” Franky sat back and listened while Bridget said what she needed to say, but the brunette already had a solution in mind. “I understand that he didn’t want a sitter because Em doesn’t really do well with them. His boss promised that if he moved here he could pick her up from school and work from home in the afternoons. I’m just worried about Em. That she’s going to get forgotten or all of us are busy and can’t go get her.”

“Can I make a suggestion?” Franky waited until she was sure Bridget was done talking. “Why don’t you just tell Tim that while he’s working on this project, I’ll look after Em after school? Then it doesn’t matter what time he finishes each day. She can come to the Centre on the bus like she was when you were looking after her and I’ll bring her to your place, or mine, or Tim’s when I’m done for the day. If she wants to help with the class that day, she can help me, or she can go in the office and work on her school stuff, or read, or have a nap. I mean, we’ll have to ask Tim of course, but the offer is there.”

“I think it’s a good idea, but won’t your boss mind?” Bridget actually thought it could be perfect for Emily, but she didn’t want Franky to get in trouble.

“Well, that’s Liz, so no.” Franky chuckled.

“Liz is your boss?” Bridget glanced over at her. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“ ‘Cause that’s not really what our relationship is like. I don’t look at her as a boss. She’s like the mother I wished I had.” If she was being completely truthful, Liz had done more for her than her own mother ever had.

They pulled up in front of Emily’s school and Franky saw mostly the same group of parents waiting there again today, including Owen’s mother. She had planned on waiting in the car while Bridget got her niece, but she couldn’t resist the chance to have a bit more fun.

The blonde walked to the edge of the group and saw Franky come up beside her out of the corner of her eye. The brunette wrapped her good arm around behind Bridget’s waist. She looked over and saw the mother looking at her again, the same way as during their first meeting, so Franky gave her a little nod and a wink. The woman cleared her throat and turned her attention back to the front doors of the school. Bridget couldn’t help but smile a bit, then she decided she could have her own fun.

“Oh, hey Cynthia. How have you been?”

“Not too bad, Bridget.” She kept her eyes forward. “I trust you’ve been well?”

“Yes, actually. Have you met Franky?” Bridget stepped back slightly so that Cynthia had a view of the brunette.

Franky removed her arm from around Bridget, and extended her hand. “Yeah, we met the other day, Gidge. Weren’t properly introduced though.”

Cynthia took her hand, “Ah, yes, you’re the…” She stopped mid-sentence.

“Girlfriend.” Franky smirked.

“Right, the girlfriend.”

Right on cue, the kids started coming out of the building, and Emily quickly found them.

"Hey, bub," Franky crouched down and gave her a hug.

"You're with us again for a bit today, love," Bridget told her. "Your Dad is tied up at work."

They got Emily settled in the car, then headed back towards Franky's apartment.

"Where are we going?" the young girl asked from the back seat.

Franky turned in her seat so that she could look at her. "We have to go to my apartment for a few minutes, okay?" The brunette could see that Emily was thinking about something, but in the end she just nodded her head and went back to looking out the window.

They pulled up to Franky's building, and Bridget walked with Emily while the brunette found her key. When they reached the door, Franky unlocked it and held it open, allowing them to enter first. She heard a door open down the hall, and saw Mrs. Watson stick her head out of her door. She quickly flipped her the finger, then went inside.

"I'm hungry," Emily said as soon as they arrived inside.

"Ah, I'm not sure there's much food around here. I haven't been here much." Franky started looking through the cabinets to see if there was anything for her to eat. "Can you wait until supper? We can start cooking as soon as we get home."

The young girl shook her head. “I didn’t eat lunch.”

“Why didn’t you eat, love? Is it still in your bag?” Bridget thought maybe Emily just hadn’t been hungry at lunch. If that was the case, the easy solution would be for the blonde to go get it out of the car for her to eat now.

“Dad never gave me one.”

Franky and Bridget exchanged looks, and the brunette motioned for Bridget to come closer so she could talk with her without Emily overhearing. "Gidge, how about we just order something in and eat here? She’s probably really hungry."

"Yeah, sure. I'll order while you go pack some clothes." She found her phone in her bag and was about to ask what she should order when Franky handed her a stack of menus from on top of the fridge.

"I thought you liked cooking." Bridget gave a small laugh.

"I like cooking for people. Cooking for myself is boring." She gave the blonde a quick kiss. "Order anything you want. I'll go pack."

Bridget sat down on the couch and began looking through the menus. Emily had followed Franky into the bedroom, and Bridget ignored their conversation for the most part. There was something that caught her attention though.

"Why are your clothes here?" Emily was looking at the jewellery that was laying on the brunette's dresser.

"I live here," Franky replied, as she grabbed a bag and placed it open on the bed.

"But you're always at Auntie Bridge's house." The girl held up a silver necklace, then exchanged it for another one.

"Yeah, I like spending time with her, and you." She grabbed some t-shirts and lightweight pants and placed them into the bag.

"If you like being there, why do you live here?"

Franky turned to see Emily reaching for the handle on her bedside table drawer. "Hey, hey Em," the girl turned her head to look at the brunette, "not that drawer, okay?" The girl shrugged and went back to looking at the necklaces on the dresser.

Franky threw a few more clothes into the bag, and went to zip it up, but realized that she couldn't do it with just one hand. "Hey, Em, can you give me a hand with this?" After a few seconds with no response, the brunette looked up and saw Emily holding up one of her necklaces with a charm shaped like a swallow on it. It was silver, and the chain was in two pieces, attached at the beak and tail. She walked over and sat on the bed behind the girl. "Do you like that one?"

Emily nodded, "Yeah, it's pretty."

"You can have it if you'd like." A big smile broke out across the girl's face. "Okay, go ask Auntie Bridge if she'll put it on for you."

Bridget had ordered their food and was sitting on the couch. She had heard Emily ask Franky why she lived here instead of with Bridget. The blonde tried to remember how many nights Franky had actually spent here since they'd started dating. She could only think of a handful, and she had hated every one of them. Normally, she felt like sharing her space with someone was a chore, something that she had to get used to. With Franky though, it seemed like it was more natural to have her there than to not. She smiled, thinking how sometimes the logic of a child was so simple, 'If you like being there, why do you live here?'.

"Auntie Bridge, can you put this on me? Franky said I could have it!" Emily handed her the silver necklace.

"Oh, that's a nice one! Yeah, come here and turn around." Bridget took the necklace from her, and fastened it around her neck.

"What did you order for us?" Franky asked, setting her bag beside the door.

"Chinese from this place." Bridget held up the menu.

"Ooo good choice, Gidge."

The food arrived, and they ate. Tim had called and said he'd be at Bridget's to pick up Emily around six, so they decided to head back there not long after they had finished.

********

Bridget had said she'd talk to Tim about Franky looking after Emily after school, so when he arrived, Franky made sure that she had the young girl occupied with her drawings outside.

"Hey Bridge, thanks for picking her up again." Tim sat his bag down beside the door.

"Yeah, no problem, but uh, actually I wanted to talk to you about that. You know I don't mind at all, I love having her here, but I'm going back to work next week, and Franky probably will be too. I'm just worried that if this happens again, there won't be anyone to pick her up."

"Bridge, I ca-"

Bridget held up a finger to stop him. "Franky actually had a suggestion. She's offered to have Em come by the Centre after school and stay with her. When she's done work, she can either bring her here or to your place, depending on if you're still working or not. She's got an office in the classroom that Em can go in if she wants to be alone, or she can help with the class." She could sense Tim's hesitation. "I think it'll be good for her, you know how much she loves to cook."

He watched Emily draw with Franky at the table out on the patio. "Yeah, I think it would be great for her actually." He looked back to his sister, who had been watching the pair outside as well. "How's she doing after everything that happened?"

"I think she's okay. She's definitely glad to be back home." Bridget paused, considering that word, and glanced back outside.

Tim watched Bridget, and a grin came across his face. "Bridge?"

The blonde was pulled from her thoughts. "Hmm?"

"Whatever you're thinking, just do it." He placed a hand on her shoulder and she gave a nod.

********

Franky and Bridget were laying in bed that night when Bridget decided to tell the brunette that Tim had agreed to let her look after Emily after school.

"Tim said he's fine with Em meeting you after school." Bridget cuddled in closer to Franky's side.

"That's awesome, babe! I wonder if I can get her a little jacket to match mine?" Franky reached for her phone to check online for one.

"Franky, baby, wait until the morning at least." Bridget gave a small laugh and pulled the brunette's hand back down to rest on her side. She looked up at the brunette's face and could see that she was deep in thought. "What's going on in there?" she asked gently.

"How has she been since they moved here?" Franky picked an imaginary piece of lint off her t-shirt.

"She's been okay," the blonde remembered back to the day she picked her up from the school. How the principal had said Emily was acting differently now. "I think. It's just been an adjustment for both of them."

Franky nodded, seeming to accept Bridget's answer. "Liz said she hasn't been going to the classes at the centre."

Bridget picked her head up. "What?"

"Yeah, Liz said she hasn't been there since I've been gone. They all thought maybe she didn't want to go if I wasn't there, but I thought she'd be okay. Liz has looked after her before."

"Maybe Tim assumed that the class was cancelled since you were gone." Bridget shrugged. That seemed like the most likely explanation to her. She wished she'd thought to ask if Emily had been going though. She knew how much the girl enjoyed the class. "She'll get to spend lots of time there now though."

"Yeah, I'm gonna teach her everything," Franky smiled.

Bridget reached up and cupped the brunette's cheek. Every so often, she remembered Franky's final words to her as they fell asleep together that night in Wentworth, and this was definitely one of those times. "I love you so much, baby."

"I love you too, Gidge." Franky pulled her in for a kiss, and then Bridget settled in against her for the night.

Chapter Text

Bridget sat at a table in one of her favourite cafes in the city. She had asked Vera to meet her there. It wasn't that she hadn't made up her mind about what she wanted to do, but she still felt like she needed to talk it through with someone first. Her friend showed up right on time, as usual.

Bridget stood to greet her, giving her a hug. "Thanks for coming."

"Oh, not a problem. Is everything okay?" Vera asked. While it wasn't unusual for Bridget to call her and ask to meet up somewhere, this time the blonde had specifically said it was because she needed to talk with her about something.

"Yeah." Bridget gave her a warm smile. "Everything is great."

They made small talk for a few minutes while they each decided what they wanted to have for lunch. After the waiter had taken their order, Bridget decided that she wouldn't keep her friend waiting any longer.

"I've decided to ask Franky to move in with me." Bridget took a sip of her coffee then sat the mug on the table.

"Is she not already living with you?" Vera asked with a straight face.

"What? Um, no. She has her own apartment." The blonde was a bit taken aback at her friend's reaction to her news.

"I know, Bridget. I'm just joking with you. Seriously though, she's spent what, maybe two nights there since you've been seeing each other? I think it's time to ask her." Vera studied Bridget's face while she took a drink of her tea. "You're not having doubts, are you?"

"Definitely not. I think it's just like it is with anything new. It's a bit scary at first." The blonde ran her finger along the handle of her mug. "She's never lived with anyone before."

"She's not going to say no."

Bridget smiled at her friend. "After we eat, I'd like you to come somewhere else with me. There's something I want to get."

Vera stopped with her mug halfway to her mouth. "It's not the same shop as last time, is it?"

The blonde let out a laugh. "No, it's not."

Once they had finished their meal, Bridget led them to a place she had heard Franky mention. She thought all of her girlfriend's tattoos were beautifully done, so she knew she would be in good hands here.

When they entered, the bell over the door rang, and a man came out from the back to greet them. He looked at the appointment book sitting on the counter. "You must be Bridget."

"I am." Bridget had to admit she was a bit nervous.

"Alright, I'm Dave, so I'll be your artist today. Did you bring a picture or have something you wanted in mind?" He leaned on the counter, waiting for the blonde to find the paper she was looking for in her bag.

"I want this." She handed him a photo she had taken and printed off earlier that morning. "Just the outline, something simple."

"Okay, sure. That's a cool design. Come on back and we'll get you set up. It shouldn't take long." He started towards one of the rooms along the side of the shop. "Your friend can come too if she wants."

Bridget turned to see that Vera hadn't followed behind them. She motioned for her to come along, but the small brunette stood her ground. Bridget took a step back, grabbed her hand, and pulled her along.

"Where are you getting it?" Dave had returned with the stencil he'd drawn.

"I was thinking right here." The blonde pointed to the sensitive spot on her rib cage that Franky loved to touch.

"Okay, I'll get you to lay on your other side then, and pull your shirt up." He began to gather his supplies while Bridget got onto the table. "Is this your first tattoo?"

"Yeah. I guess I never had a good reason to get one before." The blonde had actually thought she'd never get one. She understood why people liked them, and she definitely thought they looked good on Franky, but she could never see herself with one. This one though, she was sure about.

"Okay, nice even breaths, and try to stay as still as you can." Bridget heard the tattoo gun start. "Here we go."

It didn't feel like she thought it would. It did hurt, but it wasn't as bad as she was expecting. She knew she had picked a sensitive spot, but it was perfect. She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. Before she knew it, she felt Dave washing it off with a cool liquid, and putting some ointment on it.

She carefully pulled her shirt down, and listened while he explained how to care for it over the next few days. She was excited for Franky to see it. She had decided that she wasn't going to tell her girlfriend that she had done it, but rather she'd let her discover it on her own. Bridget had one more thing to pick up then her idea would be complete.

********

When she arrived home that night, she left the item she had bought in the car, and checked to see where Franky was in the house. She opened the door quietly and heard the shower running. The brunette’s shoulder had been feeling much better the past couple days and she was able to shower and get dressed on her own now. Bridget quickly went back to the car to retrieve her purchase. She figured she’d have at least a few minutes before Franky was done and dressed. She carefully took down one of the pictures hanging on the wall in the hallway, and replaced it with the one she had just bought. She put the extra picture in the closet in the spare bedroom. She didn’t want to tip Franky off by having something look out of place.

Franky walked down the hall, running her fingers through her still damp hair. “Hey, babe, I didn’t hear you come in. How was your lunch with Vera?” She walked to Bridget, placing a kiss on her cheek on her way by.

“It was good, yeah.”

“You didn’t buy anything? I thought you were going shopping too.” The brunette looked around for bags containing Bridget’s purchases from the day.

“We ended up just having brunch then walking around a bit downtown.” Bridget headed towards the bedroom to change into more comfortable clothes.

“Babe?” Franky called down the hall after her. “What do you say we have the leftover Chinese food from yesterday for supper, and watch some movies tonight?”

“That sounds perfect,” the blonde hollered from the bedroom.

Franky fixed a plate for both of them, and warmed them in the microwave. When Bridget returned from the bedroom, she came to the kitchen to grab her food. She chose her seat on the couch strategically, making sure that when her girlfriend sat down, she would have a view of the new picture she had hung. Franky arrived with her plate of food and a beer for each of them.

Bridget watched her as they ate. Occasionally, the brunette would look around the room while she was chewing, but nothing had caught her attention yet. When they finished, Franky grabbed both of their plates to put them in the dishwasher. She took a few steps, then stopped.

“Gidge, this is new.” She pointed to what Bridget had hung on the wall earlier. “Did you get this today?”

“I did. Have a look at it,” the blonde said with a wide grin.

Franky reached out and sat the plates on the island, then went to have a closer look. It was a wooden picture frame, in the shape of a house and framed with silver trim. In the middle was written ‘Love Lives Here’. The brunette looked at the pictures that Bridget had put into the clips. There was one from their day at the amusement park with Emily, a selfie of the two of them laying in bed that Franky had taken early one morning, a picture one of Bridget’s friends had taken of them at her birthday party, and a few other ones that they had taken of each other. The last clip didn’t hold a picture, but held a key instead. After a few minutes, the blonde got up and came to stand behind Franky, wrapping her arms around her from behind.

“What do you think, baby?” she asked, kissing the back of Franky’s shoulder.

“It’s beautiful.” The brunette’s eyes fell to the key, and she reached up, running her fingers over it.

“That’s for you,” Bridget said softly. Franky looked confused for a second, and the blonde knew that she was thinking that she already had a key. “It’s more of a symbolic gesture. I want this to be your home, our home.”

Franky turned in her arms. “I love you.” She lowered her head, capturing Bridget’s lips in a slow, deep kiss.

“I love you too.” The blonde tried to read the younger woman’s expression. “Is that a ‘yes’?” Franky lowered her head and kissed Bridget once more. “Okay, baby, let’s watch something now, yeah?” The brunette nodded.

Bridget knew that when Franky got emotional, she sometimes got quiet. This was definitely one of those times. They picked a movie, and she settled on the couch against the brunette. The blonde watched the movie, absentmindedly taking Franky’s hand and lacing their fingers together. She ran her thumb back and forth across the side of the brunette’s palm and up the length of her index finger. After a bit, she felt Franky watching her, and she looked up to see a grin on her girlfriend’s face.

“Hey,” Bridget said softly, looking into Franky’s green eyes. “You alright?”

Franky smiled wider. “Better than alright. Come here.” She took Bridget’s other hand, gently signalling for her to sit on her lap, so the blonde was straddling her.

When Bridget sat down, Franky quickly ran her hands up the older woman’ thighs and around her hips, letting them come to rest on her butt. She pulled her close so that there was no space between them. Bridget looked down at her, and felt Franky’s hands travel up under the back of her t-shirt. She felt the brunette’s fingers tracing patterns on the back of her shoulders. She took Franky’s face in both of her hands and held it while she kissed her.

The brunette lifted her hands, and Bridget knew she wanted to take her shirt off. She figured Franky would see her new tattoo almost right away. She had taken her bra off after she’d gotten the tattoo so that it wouldn’t irritate the raw skin. Once the shirt was gone, it would be visible. She lifted her arms and allowed her girlfriend to remove her top.

Franky wanted to take her time. Sometimes she felt it was easier to show her emotions than to talk about them. She already knew she was completely in love with the woman sitting on her lap, but being asked to move in with her created a feeling that was new to Franky. No other place, except for Liz’s house, had ever felt like somewhere she wanted to call home. Even her own apartment seemed sterile and impersonal in some ways. It had been furnished when she moved in, so other than her clothes, some décor, and some kitchen items, nothing there was hers. She moved down Bridget’s neck, feeling the blonde’s pulse quicken under her lips.

Bridget leaned back a bit to allow Franky to continue her path down her chest. The brunette captured an already erect nipple in her mouth, and felt the blonde move her hips against her in response. Franky placed a kiss to the right, and Bridget knew where she was headed. The blonde felt a couple more kisses, then opened her eyes and looked down when she felt Franky pause her movements.

The brunette knew Bridget’s body, and knew what made her feel good. She also knew that what she was looking at was something new. She saw her girlfriend’s new tattoo that matched the necklace she had given her on her first night out of prison. The skin was still red and angry, so much so that Franky thought it had probably been done just earlier that day. She looked up at Bridget who was awaiting her reaction.

“Babe,” her voice was full of emotion. She carefully reached up and touched the skin as close to the tattoo as she dared. “You did this for me?”

Bridget nodded. “I’m yours.”

Franky pulled the blonde’s head down so she could connect their lips. She swiped her tongue along Bridget’s bottom lip, and the older woman parted her lips slightly to allow her access. Franky moved her hand down to the waistband of Bridget’s trackies and slipped inside her underwear. Her fingers soon made contact with wetness, and she gathered some on the tips before letting them glide back and forth over the blonde’s clit. Bridget moaned against her lips.

After a couple minutes, Franky could feel Bridget moving her hips, trying to push them forward. She knew what the blonde wanted, but she wanted to hear her say it.

“Tell me what you need.” She pulled back from the kiss just enough to speak.

“Mmm, I want you inside me.” Bridget nipped at Franky’s bottom lip.

The brunette moved two fingers to the other woman’s entrance, and Bridget pushed down so they sunk deep inside her. “Fuck,” she breathed out. She felt Franky’s long fingers flex as she moved against them. She felt her pulse speed up even more as the brunette hit all the right spots. She could easily let Franky push her over the edge quickly, but tonight she wanted the feeling of having her girlfriend inside her more than she wanted the inevitable orgasm that was building within her. She needed to take control and slow things down for a few minutes.

She kissed along Franky’s jaw. “Stay right there, baby,” she whispered when the brunette reached a spot deep inside. Franky stilled her fingers, as Bridget ground herself down onto them.

The blonde set her own, slower pace, moving up and down on her girlfriend’s hand. She threw her head back allowing Franky access to her neck and chest. She felt warm lips and a hot tongue following invisible paths over her body. She knew that soon, it wouldn’t matter how slow she went, her release would catch up with her.

“Fuck, baby.” Bridget leaned forward and buried her head in Franky’s neck. “I’m close.”

The brunette wrapped her other arm around the older woman’s body and held the blonde tight against her. “I’ve got you, babe.”

She could hear Bridget’s small moans in her ear, and feel the first tremors in her body. She let her fingers trace down the blonde’s spine, making Bridget’s muscles tense. The other woman moved against her fingers a couple more times before her orgasm ran through her. Franky moved her fingers slightly, to prolong the blonde’s pleasure for as long as possible.

Bridget was still and quiet for a moment before she picked her head up to look at the brunette.

Franky gazed into the blonde’s blue eyes, “Hey, babe,” she said softly.

The brunette smiled at her. “Hey.”

Bridget gave her a lazy kiss before moving her lips along the younger woman’s jaw and down her neck, giving a gentle nip on her collarbone. Franky pulled back to meet her eyes again, and the blonde could see that they’d turned a darker shade of green.

Franky stood up, taking Bridget with her, and the blonde wrapped her legs around the taller woman’s waist. As she connected their lips, she could tell that the brunette was heading toward the bedroom.

“Mmm, baby, put me down,” She mumbled against Franky’s lips.

The brunette sat Bridget down on her feet, and the blonde gently pushed her backwards into the dining area. Franky came to a stop when she felt the backs of her thighs hit the table.

“Get up.” Bridget gently pushed on the brunette’s shoulders to back her up onto the table. “Lay down.”

Franky laid back against the cool surface of the table feeling the goosebumps break out over her body. Bridget parted the brunette’s legs and stood between them, looking down at her. She pushed up the younger woman’s shirt, and trailed kisses across her stomach. She hooked her fingers in each side of her girlfriend’s pants, and Franky lifted her hips slightly to allow her to take them, along with her underwear, off over her feet and drop them on the floor beside her.

Bridget lowered her head and left small kisses all the way from the inside of Franky’s knee to the top of her thigh.

“Please, Gidge.”

Bridget decided that she wouldn’t make her wait. She ran her tongue the length of Franky’s slit, wrapping her lips around the brunette’s clit. She reached up with her left hand, sliding it under the younger woman’s shirt, and taking her breast in her hand. She let her palm graze over an erect nipple causing Franky to arch her back and push herself into Bridget’s mouth. She brought the fingers of her right hand to Franky’s entrance.

“Do it, babe,” the brunette moaned breathlessly.

The blonde pushed her fingers inside Franky and sat a rhythm. “Fuck, Gidge. Yes.”

The brunette’s moans quickly filled the room, and Bridget felt her fingers tangle in her hair, pulling gently when she did something that Franky particularly enjoyed.

The younger woman tried to control her breathing, tried to calm herself a bit, but she was no match for what Bridget was doing to her. Feeling the other woman inside her, her mouth on her, and her hand on her breast was like sensory overload, and Franky realized there was nothing to do besides give in. After watching and hearing Bridget earlier, she knew she was going to finish fast.

Her hand flew down to grip the edge of the table, and she felt her release come against the blonde’s mouth.

When Franky’s body had calmed, Bridget lifted her head to see the brunette looking down at her. Franky sat up and pulled the blonde towards her for a kiss.

A smile came over Bridget’s face. “Welcome home, baby.”

Chapter Text

Bridget woke to the feeling of Franky’s lips on the back of her shoulder. It had been a week since she’d asked her to move in, and today was the day it became official. Some of their friends had agreed to come help them move her boxes of stuff to Bridget’s house. They had decided to spend the night at Franky’s apartment so they would be ready to work first thing in the morning.

Bridget smiled into the pillow. “Mmm, good morning, baby,” she said, stretching.

She felt Franky’s hand reach around and up to squeeze her breast as she placed another kiss on the back of her neck.

“Not that I don’t love to be woken up like this, but we have work to do this morning,” the blonde said as she turned over to face the other woman.

“I know, babe,” Franky leaned down and gave her a soft kiss. “Come shower with me, then?” The brunette placed a kiss on the spot below Bridget’s ear.

The older woman sighed, “Fine, let’s go, but no funny business.” She pointed her finger at Franky as she got out of the bed.

“I promise. Scout’s honour.” The brunette winked at her and followed her into the bathroom.

While the two had become efficient at showering together when Franky had been injured, today it took them almost an hour. Franky had broken her promise more than once, but Bridget wasn’t complaining.

They had just gotten dressed when the first of their friends knocked on the door, and Bridget opened it to see Will and Vera standing there. Franky had seen Vera since she’d been released, but this was her first time seeing Will.

When he entered, he greeted the brunette with a smile. “It’s good to see you back on your feet.”

“Thanks, yeah I think I’m almost back to normal.” She noticed Vera hanging back a bit. “Hey, come here.” She opened her arms, and Vera reluctantly returned her hug. “You alright?” Franky asked, low enough that Will and Bridget wouldn’t hear her over their own conversation. She felt Vera nod against her. “Alright.” She stepped back.

They chatted for a few minutes, and by that time Allie and Bea had shown up as well.

“Where should we start?” Allie was eager to start working.

“All the boxes go, but none of the furniture.” Franky looked around to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything. “There’s a few things still to pack in the bedroom, so we’ll do that then help with the boxes. Just put them in whatever car they’ll fit in, and we’ll sort it out when we get to Gidge’s.”

“Home, baby.” Bridget gave her a kiss on the cheek on her way by.

“What?” Franky looked after her.

“You said it was my house. It’s not just my house anymore, it’s yours too.” The blonde continued into the bedroom to put the last few items into boxes.

The brunette looked back at their group of friends to see them all smiling at her. “Alright, come on let’s go!” She gave a small laugh and went into the bedroom to help the blonde.

“You going to miss this place?” Bridget asked as she took the sheets off the bed.

Franky looked around for a moment. “Nah, there aren’t really many memories here, good or bad. Best one was probably the night you came over for our first date. You were my only dinner guest.”

“Ever?” The blonde looked up, surprised.

“Unless you want to count the couple of times me and Booms had some crappy takeout here after a night out. As far as like actually cooking a meal and inviting someone over, yeah, just you.” She noticed that Bridget had stopped what she was doing. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just assumed…I don’t know.” The blonde shook her head.

Franky walked around to the other side of the bed, and took Bridget into her arms. “I told you you’re special.”

“I know. I just thought you’d probably at least wined and dined a few ladies.” She gave a small laugh at her own comment.

“Nah, I didn’t date those women, I just slept with them.” Franky thought for a moment about how honest she wanted to be right now. “I didn’t care about them. I mean, in the moment I cared that they were having a good time, but beyond that, no.”

Bridget was having a hard time reconciling the version of Franky she knew with the one Franky was saying existed before they met. In the end though, it didn’t matter. She stretched up, and gave the brunette a kiss.

“Ahem.” They both turned when they heard Vera clear her throat. She was standing in the doorway holding a bottle of something. “I was doing a final check through the bathroom, and I found, uh, this.” She held up the bottle, and the brunette could see it was a bottle of lube. “I figured you’ll probably need, um, want to pack it. Anyway, I’ll just leave it here, yep, okay.” She sat it down on the corner of the dresser, and wiped her hand against her pants before she quickly left the room.

Franky looked at Bridget. “Oops.” They both burst into laughter.

They rolled up the bedding, and placed it in a laundry bag along with the towels they had used that morning. They carried it out into the living room, and put it with the boxes, then began helping the others carry things out to the cars. With six people, it didn’t take long, and soon Franky was doing a final walk through, making sure she hadn’t left anything behind.

********

A few hours later, all the boxes were moved into the house. As a thank-you to their friends, Franky decided to cook a meal for everyone. It wasn’t anything big, or special, since the house was littered with boxes until she got a chance to unpack, but she had prepared burgers the day before with her own special blend of seasonings, and they were ready to go on the barbecue.

She was waiting for the grill to get to the perfect temperature when Will came around the corner carrying the plate of burgers.

“Bridget sent me out with these,” he said, placing the plate on the table beside the grill. “This is really nice of you, you didn’t have to do this for us. It’s going to be a long enough day for you two without feeding us as well.”

“Ah, no worries. I did most of the prep work yesterday. Besides, we have to eat too.” She gave him a playful nudge with her elbow.

“I know you’re the pro, but I’ve got a great kebab recipe that I could share with you some time.”

“Yeah, for sure, that sounds great!” Franky was always up for trying out new dishes. Will gave a nod and was about to leave. “Hey, Will. Thanks for everything you did while I was in there. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t shown up when you did.”

“It’s my job, and you’re a friend on top of that. When I saw Linda in the staff room before I’d traded off with her, I knew it wasn’t going to be good. How’s the shoulder?”

“Not completely healed but much better than it was. It just aches if I push it too far. I went back to work on Monday though since Liz said she’d help out with some of the prep.” She began placing the burgers on the grill.

When they’d sat down to eat, Vera noticed that Will was the only one who hadn’t tried any of Franky’s cooking yet.

“Will, you’re in for a treat. If the burgers are anything like the omelettes she makes, they’re going to be amazing.” Vera sat down at the table out on the patio.

“Oh! Franky this is seriously good! You could sell these.” Will took another big bite.

“That’s the plan someday.” Franky gave him a wink as she started eating her own burger.

********

A couple hours later everyone had gone home, and Franky was starting to unpack her things. She started with the boxes of clothes she had taken to the bedroom, thinking that they would be the quickest to get through. Bridget had cleared out some drawers for her, and she’d put away most of her underwear, bras, socks, and sleepwear. The next box she opened had some of her shirts and jackets. She opened the closet door, expecting to find some empty space, and was met with wall to wall jackets hanging up. There were two closets so she thought that maybe Bridget had cleared out the other one for her and that’s why this one was so full. When she opened the other one though, it was also packed. This one contained what looked to be the rest of her shirts and pants she wore to work and a shelving unit in the bottom filled with shoes and boots.

“Gidge?” Franky called out to Bridget, who was in the kitchen unpacking a box.

“Yeah?”

“Can you come here for a minute?” Franky could hear her girlfriend walking down the hall already.

“What’s going on, baby?” She looked at the open closet doors and the boxes of Franky’s clothes that were still packed.

“There’s no room for my stuff.”

“What about the drawers I cleared out?” Bridget opened the drawers Franky had just filled. “Oh. Um. Okay, maybe I have a bit of a clothes addiction.” She gave the brunette a weak smile. “You know, I’ve been thinking about getting rid of some of these.” She walked over to the closet that contained her jackets and began looking through them. “Oh, but this one goes so well with that silky blue blouse, and this goes really well with that black skirt I have.” She moved on to the next one.

“Babe,” Franky just wanted to get the unpacking over with so they could relax for the rest of the evening. “What about the closets in the spare rooms? Can we just put some in there, and you can go through them another day?” Bridget gave her a guilty smile. “Seriously, Gidge?”

“I admit I have a problem.” She gave a small laugh, and Franky walked over to her, giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “How about I’ll just lay them on the bed in there and I’ll get them sorted over the next few days?”

Franky gave her another quick kiss. “I’ll help you.”

After the clothes were dealt with, they moved on to the kitchen. Bridget had readily agreed that Franky was free to set that up however she liked since she’d probably be spending the most time in there out of the two of them. As she unpacked, the brunette swapped out Bridget’s things for hers. The blonde had agreed to donate anything that Franky didn’t think she’d need at the house, to be used in the classroom at the centre.

All in all, other than the lack of closet space, the unpacking went smoothly, and only took a couple of hours. It had been a long day though and they’d decided to call it an early night.

Franky was already laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, when Bridget returned from the bathroom. The blonde got under the blankets and laid next to Franky, resting her head on the younger woman’s shoulder, and draping her arm over her stomach. The brunette didn’t say anything, just pulled the other woman in and held her close.

“You alright?” Bridget looked up at her girlfriend, and saw that she was still looking at the ceiling. She had tears in her eyes. “Baby?”

“Yeah, I’m good, Gidge.” She gave Bridget a quick smile then went back to looking at the ceiling. The blonde thought that maybe she was done talking for the night, so she closed her eyes. She could feel herself drifting into sleep when Franky began to speak. “I just never really had a place like this before.”

“Hm? What do you mean?” Bridget fought her way back out of sleep. She loved when Franky shared what was going on in her mind, and she had a feeling this was going to be one of those times.

“A place that was really home. Liz’s place was really close, I felt good there, but I knew eventually I’d have to leave and make my own way. Here though…” She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I never thought I’d have someone like you either. I didn’t think I could love someone, I didn’t understand what that even meant.”

“You’re really good at loving someone.” Bridget turned her head, and gave the brunette a kiss on the shoulder. “You’re good at loving me, I’ve never questioned how you felt. You’re good at loving Em too. She’s not drawn to many people, but I saw your connection with her right away.”

“I probably owe that to Liz. I was so wary of her when I first met her. No one had ever just been nice to me.” Franky wiped away the tears that had fallen. “I had gotten involved with this guy. He saw me on the street one day, said he could see that I was struggling, and offered me a way to make money. He turned me into one of his dealers. I’d had a few close calls with some of the customers. Mostly those guys I told you about that day in your office. I’d been lucky that I went as long as I did without anything majorly bad happening. If I hadn’t met Liz, I don’t know where I would have ended up. I thought for sure for the first few weeks that she was going to want something in return, especially after she offered me her spare room. All she ever asked for though was that I stayed on the right path and worked hard. That’s when I realized that maybe that’s what people were talking about when they spoke about their mother loving them unconditionally. I was still angry, and I was a long way from being able to feel love for someone else, but that time with her was definitely the catalyst for who I became later on, who I am now. After all the therapy, I realized that I did love her like she was family. She’s the closest thing to a mother I’ve had. I still couldn’t let myself fall in love though. That was way too scary to think about. Until I met you. You made me feel like falling in love was easy, and safe.”

It was Bridget’s turn to wipe her eyes. “I’m so glad you’re here.” She picked up her head and gave the brunette a long kiss. “Turn over.” She motioned for Franky to lay on her side, and the blonde moved in behind her. It wasn’t often that Bridget was the big spoon, but tonight she felt like it was what her girlfriend needed.

Chapter Text

It was Wednesday afternoon, and Franky and Liz were busy getting ready for her class when Emily arrived. The girl went into Franky’s office as usual to drop off her school bag, then came out to join the two women.

“Hey, bub. How was school?” Franky asked. Emily had gotten up on the step stool beside the brunette, so Franky slid a cutting board and knife in front of her, assuming she wanted to help.

“It was okay,” Emily replied. She hadn’t yet touched the knife that had been given to her.

Franky glanced over and saw that the child hadn’t joined in. “Do you want to help out today, or do you want to go into the office?” She thought maybe she’d misunderstood, and Emily had only come over to talk, not to help. The girl shook her head. “Which are you saying ‘no’ to?”

“I want to help, but I’m hungry, too.”

Franky thought back to the last time Emily had told her that. “What did you have for lunch today?”

The young girl shrugged. “Dad forgot to pack it again.”

The brunette looked over at Liz, then back to Emily. “Okay, go wash up, then come back, and I’ll make you something. You can help after you eat if you want.”

After Emily left, Franky went to the fridge and got out some cheese and butter. She placed a pan on the stove and started getting it warmed up. Something wasn’t adding up. This was the second time in two weeks that Tim had forgotten to give Emily something for lunch. He had also gotten Bridget to pick her up twice on very short notice. Short enough that if they hadn’t happened to be around, the child would have had to stay at school until someone there could track him down. There was also the time when she was in prison, and Bridget had gotten called to come pick her up because she was sick, and once again, they couldn’t find Tim. She knew he loved Emily, and maybe this was just him trying to figure out how to transition into being a single parent with a demanding job, but he couldn’t just keep forgetting to feed her and not being there when she needed him. Franky knew what it was like to grow up with only one parent who wasn’t fully present.

“Franky, love, what’s wrong?” Liz had walked over to the other counter to stand beside her, pulling her out of her thoughts.

Franky realized that she had probably been banging things around a bit. She was getting more upset the more she thought about the situation. “He forgot to give her any lunch.” The brunette took out two slices of bread and began to butter one side of each.

“Yeah I heard, but why are you so upset? I’m sure it was a mistake.”

“It’s not the first time.” Franky sighed as she put the cheese between the bread and set the sandwich in the pan. “I just know what it’s like to not have food when you’re hungry. Doesn’t matter why it happened, it still doesn’t feel good. I’m going to talk with Bridget when I get home. Maybe we can talk to her teacher, leave some money there so if she doesn’t have lunch with her, she can buy something. You know, that’s what makes it even worse. He doesn’t even have to pack something if he doesn’t want to be bothered, he could just hand her some money. It takes two seconds to make sure she can eat that day, but nah.”

“Let’s not jump to any conclusions. Have a talk with Bridget tonight and see what she thinks. Em’s on her way back now.” Liz gave Franky’s shoulder a squeeze and went back to her work.

Emily returned and pulled the step stool over by the stove. “What are you making?”

“Grilled cheese. You like that, yeah?” Franky was sure she’d made it for her before. Emily nodded. “Here.” The brunette handed her the spatula. “It’s almost ready to be flipped.”

Franky showed her how to lift the corner and check to see if it was toasted enough, then how to flip it quickly so it wouldn’t slide off the spatula. “Now we wait until the other side is the same colour. Then it’s done.”

Liz looked over to see the two standing by the stove. The young girl was leaning against Franky, her arm around behind the brunette, and Franky had draped her arm over Emily's shoulders. She quickly grabbed her phone from her pocket and took a picture. She smiled, looking at the image on the screen and sent it to Franky. She knew the brunette would appreciate her capturing that moment between her and the young girl.

When the sandwich was ready, Franky held out a plate and let Emily take it out of the pan. She cut it for her. “Give it a minute. The cheese will be hot,” she said, handing her the plate. Emily sat down at the table and started eating while the brunette went back to her prep work with Liz.

********

When Franky checked her phone at the end of the class, she had a message from Tim, saying that he was home, so she could drop Emily off there whenever she was done work. She also saw the message from Liz, and smiled at the picture. She forwarded it to Bridget, along with a message saying she’d be dropping Emily off on her way home.

“You all packed up?” Franky asked Emily, lifting her own bag onto her shoulder.

“Am I going to yours and Auntie Bridge’s house?” Emily was putting the last items into her bag.

“No, your Dad is home so I’ll drop you off there.” The brunette stood by the door, waiting.

“Can I come to your place instead tonight?” She had stopped getting ready to leave and sat down on the couch.

“Not tonight, sorry. Your Dad said to bring you home. But hey, we can plan something for the weekend instead, okay?” Franky had had a long day, and was ready to get home and relax. “Come on, bub, let's go.”

Emily started putting her things in her bag again, although the brunette could tell she was taking her time. After a few extra minutes, they were out and getting in Franky’s car. She watched the child in the rear-view mirror as she drove. Emily’s mood had changed. She had gotten quiet, and was just staring out the window.

“You alright?” Franky asked, glancing back at her. She got no answer.

Fifteen minutes later, she pulled into the drive at Emily’s house and turned off the car. By the time the brunette had gotten out and gone around to the young girl’s door, she had unbuckled herself but was still just sitting there. Franky reached down and opened the car door.

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the door.” The brunette held out her hand. Emily reluctantly took it, and they started toward the house.

Franky knocked once and waited. There was no answer, so she knocked again. Still there was nothing, and she heard no movement inside. Technically, she figured she could just go in since she was bringing Emily home. She reached for the doorknob, just as the door swung open.

“Oh, hey. Sorry, was having a bit of a nap. Next time just come in.” Tim stumbled a bit as he stepped back out of the doorway to let them in.

Franky looked at him, then down at Emily. The girl looked up at her, and the brunette sensed that maybe there was more going on here than she had realized.

“Hey, Em, why don’t you go get changed into your pyjamas? I need to talk to your Dad for a minute. Then you can show me that book you were talking about earlier, okay?” Franky had crouched down to talk to the girl, and watched her go down the hall to her room before she stood up and faced Tim. She held his gaze for a moment, and he swayed slightly. “You feeling okay?”

“Yeah, fine,” he said, giving her a smile.

She could smell the alcohol on his breath, and it made her nauseous. She could drink, and did once in a while, but something about the smell on his breath, in this situation made her feel ill. It hit too close to home, too close to her own childhood. She could remember her mother getting in her face, and screaming at her that she was worthless and that no one would ever love her. Sometimes she’d wake up in the middle of the night, and before she’d even open her eyes she knew that her mother was in the room just from the smell of stale alcohol that came from her body. It made sense now why Emily had wanted to come to their house instead of here. She didn’t think Tim was abusive like her mother had been. She just thought that he’d checked out. He was lost in the booze, and Emily was left to fend for herself most of the time. She took a deep breath and realized that her whole body was tense. She concentrated on relaxing the muscles in her neck and shoulders, then down her arms and back. There were so many things she wanted to say to Tim, to ask him, but it wasn’t her place. This was something that had to come from Bridget. There was also the slight chance that she was wrong, and she prayed that was the case, but deep down she had a bad feeling about it. She didn’t want to leave Emily here, but she couldn’t just say she was taking her back with her, even though that was exactly what she wanted to do. “Listen, Em asked if she could come to our place tonight. I had said no, but now, given the situation, I think it’s maybe a good idea.” She knew it came out harshly, but right now she didn’t really care.

Tim held her eyes for a moment. Realizing that she had seen through his earlier statement that he was fine, he nodded. He knew he had fucked up. Just then Emily returned, having changed her clothes and carrying the book she wanted to show Franky.

“Em, love, Franky says you asked about staying with her and Auntie Bridge tonight. It’s okay with me if you still want to go.”

The girl’s face lit up, and she nodded excitedly.

“Put your shoes on and wait in the car. I’ll bring your bag and be out in a minute.” Franky waited while Emily put her shoes back on and went outside.

“I’ve just been under a lot of stress at work…” Tim began.

“Tim.” Franky stopped him. “It’s getting late, and she’s had a long day. I just want to get her settled somewhere. I know everything that’s happened isn’t easy, but you’ve got to think about her. One of us will be in touch tomorrow, okay? I hope you’re feeling better by then.” She picked up Emily’s school bag, and headed back to the car.

It was only a five minute drive to their house, and Emily never said a word the whole way there. Franky walked into the house, and could smell the food that Bridget had put into the oven. The brunette had made some meals ahead that they could cook quickly on days when they both worked late. She dropped her bag on the end of the couch.

“Hey, baby! How was your da-“ Bridget stopped short when she saw the look on Franky’s face, and saw Emily come around the corner behind her. “What happened? I thought you said…” She trailed off when she saw Franky shake her head.

“Auntie Bridge!” Emily gave her aunt a hug. “Franky said I could stay here tonight.”

Bridget looked at Franky. She didn’t know what exactly had happened, but she knew that the brunette must have had her reasons for changing their plans. “Yeah, of course! Dinner’s almost ready.”

Emily took her bag and went down to the room she always stayed in.

“Franky, what’s going on?” Bridget searched her girlfriend’s face for clues.

“I can’t really get into it now. We need to talk after she goes to bed though.” Franky lowered her voice even more. “I did take her to Tim’s first. He knows she’s here. I’ll tell you the rest later, okay?”

The blonde nodded and gave Franky a quick kiss. “Okay, baby. Okay.”

Franky changed her clothes, and came back to the kitchen. Emily was happily colouring at the coffee table. The brunette poured herself a glass of water, and leaned back against the counter in the kitchen. She watched the young girl as she drank. She knew the situation was different from hers as a child, but she couldn’t help but feel protective of her anyway.

Bridget knew that the brunette was troubled tonight. In some ways, she wanted the evening to pass by quickly so that her and Franky could talk. In other ways though, she was dreading to know what had happened. The blonde walked over to lean against the counter beside Franky, and reached behind her to rub the younger woman’s back. The timer on the oven beeped, signalling that their meal was ready.

Franky went to grab the oven mitt, but Bridget stopped her. “I got this. You and Em go sit down.” She gave the brunette a small kiss.

Emily ate two plates of dinner, even after eating the grilled cheese sandwich that Franky had made for her earlier.

“You want some dessert?” Franky asked, clearing away the plates. The small blonde nodded her head.

The brunette took a bowl from the cabinet and the ice cream from the freezer. When she turned back to the counter, Bridget was looking at her with a look that told Franky she was surprised that the girl had said yes after eating two servings of her meal.

"No lunch again today," Franky said quietly as she dipped the ice cream.

The blonde didn't say anything, but just gave a slight frown and went back to loading the dishwasher.

Franky paced back and forth in front of the kitchen island. She could hear the sound of the kettle starting to boil in the background. When Emily had finished eating she'd asked Bridget to read from the book she'd brought with her. She knew that when the blonde came out of that room, it would be time for them to talk. It was a delicate subject, and if she was wrong, she worried that Bridget would be upset that she would accuse her brother of such things. She heard the door open at the end of the hall, and took a deep breath. She was standing facing the large windows overlooking the backyard when she felt Bridget come up behind her and wrap her arms around her.

The blonde rested her head against the back of Franky's shoulder. "Whatever is it, it'll be okay. We'll make it okay."

Franky nodded in response. "Is she asleep?" she asked.

"Almost, but she said she wanted to talk to you first." Bridget sighed. "Let's have the tea in bed. I feel like this could be a long talk. I'll make it and meet you in there."

Franky took one of the blonde's hands, and brought it to her lips, giving the back of it a small kiss. "Yep." The brunette went to talk to Emily while Bridget made their tea in the kitchen.

The brunette opened the door quietly, in case the child had fallen asleep already. There was just enough light coming in from the hallway for her to see Emily's head turn towards the door to look at her.

"Hey, bub. Auntie said you wanted to talk to me." Franky sat down on the floor beside the girl's bed.

"Will my Dad be okay?" Her voice was small.

Franky thought for a moment before she answered. “Yeah, your Dad just wasn’t feeling so great tonight. So we thought you could stay with us and he could get some rest so he feels better. We’re going to check on him in the morning, okay?” She wished Bridget was here now.

Emily nodded. Franky got up and gave her a kiss on the head before leaving to go talk with Bridget.

Franky changed into her sleepwear and joined Bridget, who was already in bed. She'd left the brunette's mug of tea on her bedside table. She left it there for the time being, judging by the steam coming off it that it was too hot to drink right now.

"So what happened today, baby?" The blonde took one of her girlfriend's hands, and held it between hers.

Franky decided she'd started from the beginning. "She came to the centre today, and said she was hungry. Just like she did the day we were at my apartment. So I asked if she'd had lunch, and she said that Tim didn't pack her one today. I made her a grilled cheese sandwich. So she's eaten that, two helpings of supper, and ice cream since she finished school this afternoon. She's hungry, Gidge. After class, I checked my phone and Tim had texted me and said he was home and to bring her there. When I told her that's where she was going she asked to stay here. I said 'no', it was her Dad's call. She didn't want to go. She took her time packing up, never said a word in the car, then when we got there she wouldn't get out until I went around and opened her door. I knocked on the door, no answer, so I knocked again, hard, and then finally he answered. He said he was taking a nap, and maybe he was actually asleep, but he was drunk. I could smell it on him, and Emily knew. The look she gave me, I just knew it was something she'd seen before. I asked her to go to her room and get changed so I could have a minute with him. I asked if he was alright, he said he was fine, but..." she shook her head. "I said Em had asked to stay with us tonight and I thought it was a good idea, he agreed. So when she came back, I sent her to the car. He said he was under a lot of stress at work. I couldn't listen to it, Gidge, I couldn't. I said he needed to think about Em, and that one of us would talk to him tomorrow." She turned to look at Bridget. "I'm sorry, I just couldn't leave her there."

"It's okay." The blonde was quiet, and Franky could tell that she was lost in thought. After a moment, she spoke again. "You're sure he was drunk?"

Franky nodded. "He was stumbling a bit and I could smell it on him. I'd know that smell anywhere."

Bridget let out a long breath, and the brunette could see that there were tears in her eyes. "He, uh, had a drinking problem years ago. It was really bad. He really wanted to change though. He'd met Sarah, he wanted to be a dad, he wanted to be a good one. He went through the whole rehab thing. He, I thought he was okay. He hadn't touched it in years." She wiped away the tears falling down her cheeks. "How did I miss it? I should have known. I should have known this would all be too much for him."

"Gidge, how could you have known?" Franky reached out, gently turning Bridget's head so she had to look at her.

"There's stuff that makes sense now. I wrote it off, and I shouldn't have."

Franky wasn’t sure she wanted to know. “Like what?”

“She asked to stay the first two weekends that she was back, and Tim never stuck around. He’d just drop her off and go, saying he wasn’t feeling well. She always ate a bit more than she used to when she lived here too. I just figured she was having a growth spurt or something. I didn’t think much of it. The day she was sick, when I picked her up, the principal said that she was more withdrawn than she had been, and that she only talked about me and you. I thought she was just missing her mom and adjusting to the move. God, I had an excuse for everything. That day she didn’t bring her lunch bag with her, I thought she’d forgotten it at school. She asked if I was sad one night because I was going to have a glass of wine. She said Tim told her that’s what people drink when they’re sad. Fuck! I should have at least gotten that one.”

The brunette pulled her closer. “It’s not your fault. There’s a lot going on with her lately. I could see myself making those same assumptions. I didn’t think anything was off until I went to drop her off today. If that had been you, the roles would be reversed right now.” She gave Bridget a kiss on the temple. “When I went in to talk to her just now, she asked if he was going to be okay.”

“What did you say?”

“I said he wasn’t feeling well, that he needed to rest, and that we’d check on him in the morning.” She felt Bridget nod. “But Gidge, that means she’s aware of what’s going on, and I can tell you that messes with a kid.”

“I know, baby, I know.” The blonde was quiet.

“What are you thinking?” Franky spoke softly.

“I think she should stay with us while he gets help.” Bridget wiped away another tear.

“I think she should, too.”

“I’ll go talk to Tim in the morning. I’ll tell Vera I’ll be in a bit late. Family emergency.” She let out a long breath.

"What if he says 'no'? What if he doesn't want Emily to stay with us? Or doesn't think there's a problem?" Franky suddenly had a million thoughts running through her head.

"I don't think he'll say 'no'. He knows he has a problem with drinking. The first time he was a bit reluctant to admit it, but this time I think it'll be okay." Bridget looked over at the brunette. "If he was okay with her coming here tonight, he's not going to make her come back until he's got this all figured out. He loves her a lot, and he'll want what's best. You know I'd fight for her. I won't have to, but I would."

"I know. That's the difference between her and me. I didn't have that, and when I realized what was going on with him today, I felt like I was a little kid again, and all those feelings came back." It was Franky's turn to shed some tears.

"Shh, you did good today, baby." Bridget reached over, and wiped the brunette's cheek with her fingers. "We'll get her to school in the morning then I'll go over to his house."

"You'll tell me what happens? What he says?" Franky looked at her expectantly.

"Yes, I promise. I will tell you as soon as I know anything." The blonde knew that she could tell Franky over and over that everything would be alright, but she wouldn't settle until she knew the outcome of that conversation tomorrow. "Do you want to try to get some sleep? It's been a long day."

"Do you think she's asleep?" Franky glanced in the direction of the room where Emily was sleeping.

"She was almost asleep when I left earlier, and she hasn't come looking for us, so I'd say she is, yeah." Bridget said, moving down from her half-sitting position in the bed, hoping the brunette would follow.

"I'm just going to make sure that she's not laying there awake." Franky started to get out of bed.

"Franky," Bridget said, half yawning. "If she is, bring her in here with us. No need of her laying there alone all night if she's worried."

The brunette nodded, and quietly opened their bedroom door. She walked the few steps down the hallway, and listened outside the young girl's door. She didn't hear anything, so she gently opened it just enough that she could look in. Emily was fast asleep, so she quietly closed it and went back to get in bed again.

"Was she asleep, baby?" Bridget asked.

"Yeah, it looked like she was. She didn't move when I opened the door." Franky climbed in, facing the blonde. "Are you going to be able to sleep?"

Bridget sighed. "I don't know. Probably not."

Franky pulled her close, and wrapped her arms around her tightly. Bridget knew the brunette held her a little closer whenever something was really bothering her. She loved that her girlfriend got that extra bit of comfort from being near her, but tonight she was thankful because she needed it as well. Franky lazily moved her fingers over the blonde's back where her hand rested.

"I like that." Bridget smiled.

Franky gave her a small kiss. 'I love you'.

Bridget gave her one in return. 'I love you, too.'.

They both knew that probably neither of them would get much sleep that night, but at least they had each other, and they'd get through it together.

Chapter Text

The next morning Franky awoke to find the bed empty. She didn't remember even falling asleep. She wondered if Bridget had gotten any rest, or if she was already gone because she got tired of laying there awake. The brunette got out of bed and made her way out of the room. She saw that Emily's door was open already, and she could hear her and Bridget quietly talking in the kitchen.

"Hey, baby," Bridget said, looking up from where she was sitting at the kitchen table. "Want some breakfast?"

"I'm not really feeling it this morning, Gidge. I think I'll just grab something at work if I'm hungry later." Franky had one thing on her mind today, and it wasn't breakfast. She wanted the day to get moving so she knew what was going to happen with Tim and Emily.

The blonde got up and walked over to her, putting an arm around her waist. "Skipping breakfast won't help anything." She raised her eyebrow.

Franky knew she was right. "Okay, I just want cereal though."

"That's fine." Bridget smiled. "Then come sit with us, okay?"

Franky nodded, and went to get a bowl and the box of cereal out of the cabinet. "How did you sleep?" She asked Emily as she sat down at the table.

"Good." The girl went on eating her breakfast. "Am I going back to Dad's tonight?"

"I'm going to go talk to your dad this morning while you're at school. After that we'll know, okay?" Bridget wanted to tell her that no, she was coming back here, but she wouldn't do that until she'd talked to Tim. "You'll go meet Franky after school though like usual."

Emily finished eating and went back to her room to get dressed.

"How about you? How did you sleep?" Bridget asked the brunette.

"I didn't think I would sleep at all but I must have at some point."

"You fell asleep fairly quickly I think. I felt your hand stop moving not long after we were done talking." The blonde sipped her coffee.

"Did you sleep?" Franky asked looking up from her cereal.

"Not really. This is my third cup," she said, picking up her mug from the table to have another drink. "I'll take Em to school, then go right to Tim's. Depending on how that goes, I'll head to work. I've already talked to Vera, so everything is cleared there. I'll let you know what's going on as soon as I know."

Franky nodded as she got up to put her bowl and spoon in the dishwasher. "Did you pack lunches yet?"

"Not yet, I was just about to start." Bridget added her mug to the dishes.

"I got it. You go and get ready for work." Franky gave her a quick kiss.

Franky had their lunches ready by the time they had both gotten dressed. She gave Bridget a kiss on the cheek as she handed hers to her, then gave Emily hers. Bridget started to walk to the car, but the girl didn't follow. Instead, she reached her arms up to Franky, and waited for a goodbye hug before she'd leave.

********

When they arrived at the school, Bridget walked Emily from the car to the entrance. "I'll see you tonight." She gave her a hug, and turned to leave again.

"Good morning, Bridget" A cheery voice called from a few feet ahead of her on the walkway.

"Hello, Cynthia." The blonde hadn't forgotten how this woman had treated Franky.

"No Franky today?" The woman asked, looking around.

"She's at home." Bridget kept walking. She didn't have the time or patience to deal with her today.

As she drove to her brother's house, she thought about what would be the best way to start the conversation. She hoped he had stopped drinking after Franky left last night, so that he would be completely sobered up by now. There was still a small part of her, deep down, that wanted to believe that the brunette had misinterpreted what she had seen. Bridget knew though about the past she had with her mother, and that clearly something had been triggered inside her.

When she pulled into Tim's drive, she could see a light on in the kitchen. She could do this, she'd done it before. She took a deep breath as she approached the door. The blonde raised her hand to knock, then decided to just go in. She found him sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee.

"Want one?" he asked her, raising his mug.

"No thanks, I already had three this morning." She pulled out a chair, and sat down with him.

"How's Em?" he asked, not taking his eyes off the table.

"She's alright. I dropped her off at school on my way here." Bridget decided she'd give him a few minutes of small talk before she got to the point of her visit.

"And Franky?" He finally looked up, meeting her eyes.

"To be honest she's probably more upset than Em." The blonde leaned back in the chair, and crossed her legs. "What happened yesterday, Tim?"

"Bridge," he began, diverting his eyes back towards the floor. "I don't even know." She waited for him to continue. "There's just been so much lately. Everything just...after I lost Sarah, I just didn't know what to do anymore. Em wasn't herself, and I didn't know how to make her feel better. I know she misses her mother just like I do, probably more, and every time I look at her, I see Sarah. She looks more and more like her every day. Then all this stuff with work started. This project is way more than what they had first proposed. I thought the move here would be good for both of us. You know, a bit of a fresh start, and we'd be close to you. She loves you, Bridge. And Franky, too. I just don't know what to do." He covered his eyes with one hand, and started to sob.

Bridget reached out, taking the hand that was still around his coffee mug. "It's alright."

He shook his head. "I convinced myself I could control it this time. I'd just have one drink after work to unwind. That's what I told myself I could handle. Then one day, I thought I could have two, because it had been a really stressful day. Some nights now I lose count. I always make sure Em is in bed though."

"It's still affecting her." Bridget said quietly. Tim lowered his hand and looked at his sister. "You've forgotten to pack lunches for her. She's always hungry when she gets to my house, or Franky's class. I didn't think much of it before, but now I know why. She didn't want me to have a glass of wine one night when she was at my house. So she has at least some idea of what's going on. She's a smart girl."

"I didn't realize." He wiped his face.

"Tim," the blonde waited until he made eye contact with her. "You need to get help. Em needs you." He nodded. "And while you're doing that, I think it's best that she stays with us."

"Us?"

"Franky moved in with me a couple of weeks ago." Bridget smiled despite the current situation.

"Oh, hey, I didn't know, that's great though! I'm happy for you guys, really. And yeah, I think that would be really good. She loves staying with you guys, but just until I’m back on my feet. I want to be a good father for her." Bridget thought she could literally see the relief on his face.

"Of course. So I think today we should get you into an outpatient rehab. Then later on this evening, I'll bring Em over to get whatever things she wants to have while she’s staying with us. Or I can not bring her if you'd prefer?" Bridget wasn't sure if Tim was ready to talk to Emily yet. Either way she knew her and Franky would be having a talk with her niece later.

"You can bring her tonight to get her stuff, but I think I'd like to be out while you're here. I'll come drop by your place and have a talk with her, just not tonight. I'm not ready. I'd like to talk to Franky too. I think I made a bad impression on her." He got up and refilled his coffee.

"Em is going to want to know what's going on. Are you okay with me explaining things?" Bridget was more than willing to do it. She just needed to know that he was okay with her saying what needed to be said.

"Yeah. You'll do it better than I would. I've messed up enough with her already."

"It's nothing you can't fix. Do you want me to stay with you today and help you find a place to get some help?" Bridget asked.

"I think this is something I need to deal with on my own. You taking care of Em is plenty." He reached out and took her hand.

"Okay, I'm going to go to work then, and I'll let Em go with Franky after school like normal. The class tonight is over at five thirty, so we'll come by after that, okay?" She waited until he acknowledged her question with a nod. "If you need anything at all, call me." She gave him a hug and left for work.

She knew Franky would be anxious to know what was going on, so she decided to give her a quick call while she was driving to the prison. The brunette answered on the first ring.

“Gidge? What did he say?” Franky got straight to the point.

“He’s going to check into an outpatient rehab, and he’s agreed to let us look after Em until he’s back on his feet.” Bridget could hear the brunette let out the breath she was holding. “He said to bring her over tonight to get whatever she needs, but he’s not ready to talk to her. He wants to get some help first. So we have a long evening ahead. I’m just on my way to work now.”

“I was so scared he was just going to say he could handle this and want her back there. I want to come with you when you take her over there. I don’t care how late it is or anything.” Franky was committed, and she didn’t want Bridget or Emily to feel like they had to do this alone.

“I think I’ll meet up with you guys when your class is done and then we can all go over there. That way once we’re back at our house we can just settle in for the evening. I think she’s going to have some questions about everything.” The brunette was quiet on the other end of the line. “You alright, baby?”

“Yeah, yeah I’m good. I guess I’m just thinking about everything.” She had a million things running through her mind. “My class is about to start, but I’ll check in later, okay?”

“Sounds good. I love you.” Bridget knew the situation was messy, but she was glad Franky was there to help her.

“I love you too, babe.” The brunette said, hanging up the phone.

********

Franky just wanted her classes for the day to be over. She wanted to be home with Bridget and Emily, and know that they had gotten some things figured out today. The morning and early afternoon were the worst, and seemed to drag on forever. She only had a couple classes most mornings, and used the rest of that time to do prep work and things like inventory and ordering supplies. The majority of her classes were in the afternoon or early evening when everyone else was done work for the day. She and Liz were currently trying to come up with ideas for new classes to offer over the summer. It was her favourite semester to teach because the fact that kids were on school holidays, and most people had some time off work, meant that she could provide some class options that weren’t possible other times of the year.

She felt her mood lift when Emily showed up after school, and began to help her with the set-up for her final class of the day. After that, they’d meet Bridget, and pick up some things from Tim’s place.

“Am I staying with you and Auntie Bridge again tonight?” The young girl asked as her and Franky worked to get the food ready for the next class’s demo.

“Yeah, you are. Is that alright?” The brunette knew that, in reality, Emily didn’t have a choice right now, but she didn’t want to make her feel that way. The young girl nodded. “After this class, we’re going to meet Auntie at your house, so you can get some more clothes. All that was at her house were the ones you’re wearing today.”

“Can I get my teddy bear too? And my doll?” She asked, slicing a carrot.

“Sure, you can bring whatever you want.” Franky had a feeling the girl would be wanting to bring a lot of things with her as comfort once she found out she’d be staying with them for awhile.

After her last class for the day was over, the brunette texted Bridget so she could meet her and Emily at Tim’s house. When they arrived, the blonde’s car was already in the drive.

“Hey, love,” Bridget greeted Emily with a hug. “Hey, baby,” she stood up, giving Franky a short kiss.

Emily giggled.

“What’re you laughing at?” Franky asked with mock seriousness. The young girl shook her head. “Get in there.” The brunette playfully nudged the girl’s shoulder, laughing.

Once they were all in Emily’s room, Bridget sat on the bed, and motioned for the girl to come sit beside her. “ So Franky told you we were coming to get some more clothes for you, yeah?” Emily nodded. “I talked to your Dad this morning, and he asked if you could come stay with us again for a bit. Like you did when he was away for work.”

“Is he going away again?” She asked quietly.

Something about the way the girl asked the question got to Franky, and she could feel a tightness in her throat. She shifted her weight from where she had been leaning against the doorframe and cleared her throat, making Bridget look over at her. She shook her head and held up a hand, indicating to the blonde not to draw attention to her.

“No, he’ll be here, but he thinks it’ll be better if you’re with us, just for awhile.” Bridget didn’t want to get into the whole story just yet, but she wanted Emily to understand why she was going to pack so many clothes. “Would you like to help pick out some clothes to take with you?”

Emily just shrugged, so Franky walked over and sat beside her. “Would you rather pick out some fun stuff with Auntie to bring with you and I’ll look after the clothes part? You mentioned your teddy bear and doll earlier. Maybe bring some games for us to all play too?”

“Okay,” she hopped off the bed, and went over to the shelves that held her toys.

Franky grabbed a suitcase from the closet and set it on the bed. She wasn’t sure if Emily had favourite outfits or anything like that, so she just grabbed a variety of clothes and packed them neatly into the bag. They could always come back and pick up anything she’d missed. A few minutes later, the girl returned to the bed with two board games, a couple books, and her doll. The teddy bear she wanted was already on the bed. Franky placed the items into the suitcase along with the clothes.

“All ready?” she asked, looking at Bridget and Emily. They both nodded, so the brunette picked up the suitcase and they all headed for the door.

When they got to their house, Bridget helped Emily unpack her clothes. She felt like doing that right away would help her get settled in instead of her living out of her suitcase and always wondering which place she would be sleeping at each night. Franky went to work in the kitchen. She wanted to get supper over with so that they could all sit down and talk. She wasn’t looking forward to it, but it had to be done.

Emily returned from unpacking in the bedroom. “You want to help me grate the cheese?” Franky had opted for something she knew was one of the girl’s favorites, and was also quick and easy; mac and cheese.

“Okay,” she stepped up on the stool and took the block of cheese from the brunette.

Normally they chatted while they cooked together. Tonight though, they were both quiet. Franky knew that while Emily loved staying with them, and loved to help her cook, she was smart enough to have realized that something big was going on with her Dad.

********

After they had finished eating, Bridget and Franky were cleaning up in the kitchen.

“You ready?” The blonde asked quietly, rubbing her hand across Franky’s shoulders. The brunette nodded. “Em? Come sit with us for a minute, love.” Bridget sat down on the couch, and waited for Emily to come sit with her. The brunette waited until the girl had chosen her spot before she sat down beside her.

“Are we going to talk about my Dad?” she asked, settling further into the couch between the two women.

“Yeah, he wanted you to know what was going on.” Bridget reached out and moved a strand of hair out of the young girl’s face. “Your Dad hasn’t been feeling well for the last while. You probably noticed he’s been acting a bit different sometimes?”

Emily nodded, “He drinks stuff then sleeps a lot and gets sad.” Her eyes flicked over to the bottles in the small wine rack on Bridget’s counter.

“He’s decided that he doesn’t want to do that anymore. He wants to get better, because he loves you. So he’s going to see a special kind of doctor that helps people with that kind of problem.” The blonde didn’t want to go into too many details.

“But he’s still going to be here?” She looked to Franky, then Bridget.

“Yeah he’s still going to be here,” Franky reassured her. “He’ll come visit you.”

“If he wants to get better, that means he’s sick?” Bridget could see tears starting in the young girl’s eyes.

“In a way, but he’s going to get help.” Bridget reached out and rubbed the small blonde’s back, trying to comfort her before she got too upset.

“That’s what happened with my mom, but she didn’t come back.”

“Fu-“ Franky caught herself before the whole word came out in front of the girl, and wiped a tear off her own cheek.

“Franky?” The young girl pulled on Franky’s sleeve.

“I’m okay, bub,” she said, taking a deep breath.

“Is my Dad going to be okay?”

Franky didn't know how to answer. She didn't want to promise her that everything would be okay. She knew that was an impossible thing to predict. She also didn't want to upset her any more, and make her think something bad was going to happen to her father, especially after what had happened with her mother.

"Um, he's got people who love him very much, and who will help him as best they can. And you’ve got us. Okay?" She looked to Bridget for confirmation that she’d said the right thing. The blonde gave her a small nod.

“We’re going to make sure he gets what he needs.” Bridget added.

Emily nodded, and climbed into the blonde’s lap, resting her head on Bridget’s shoulder.

They sat in silence for a while until the blonde realized that Emily had fallen asleep. She caught Franky’s eye and pointed to the child, then down the hall, signalling that she was going to put her in bed. Franky nodded and went back to the kitchen to finish cleaning up from earlier.

When Bridget returned, she was carrying a cardboard box from her office. She sat it on the counter and began putting the bottles of wine inside, along with the few bottles of beer that were in the fridge. Franky didn’t need to ask what she was doing. When she was finished, the blonde carried the box into the bedroom and placed it in the back of the closet.

Franky was wiping the counter down when she came back.

“You alright, baby?” she asked, wrapping her arms around the brunette’s waist. Franky gave a quick nod. “Hey,” Bridget waited until Franky looked at her. “It’s been a long day, let’s go to bed.”

“Okay,” Franky said quietly, giving her a small kiss.

As they laid in bed, Franky felt Bridget move in closer to her, and nuzzle her cheek with her nose. The brunette opened her eyes. “I know this is hard for you, baby, but you’re doing exactly the right things with her.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing, Gidge.” Franky sighed. “I just keep remembering how I felt as a kid.”

“Mmm, but you do know. Whether you know it or not, you do. What you went through is guiding your actions with her now.”

“I never really told you.” The brunette whispered quietly.

“No, you didn’t other than what you said to Vera in my office that day. Aside from that, you’ve been vague.” She looked into the brunette’s green eyes. “But if or when you’re ready, I’ll listen.”

“I haven’t seen my dad since I was about Em’s age. He couldn’t handle my mom so he left, and left me with her. I always wondered why he never took me with him. Every time I heard a car drive by in the night, I’d get out of bed and run to the window to see if it was him coming back. It never was. Mom said he didn’t want me. She’d get mad and hit me, or burn me when she caught me looking for him. So when Em asked if Tim was leaving again, fuck, I don’t know, it just brought back all those feelings I had watching out the window for my own dad to come home.” She closed her eyes. “I know it’s not the same situation for her, but…” She trailed off.

“It’s close enough though, yeah?” Bridget said softly.

“Yeah.”

“We’ll get her through it.” The blonde gave her a small kiss and ran her fingers back and forth across the back of Franky’s shoulders. She felt the brunette sigh and start to relax. It wasn’t long before her breathing evened out and Bridget knew she was asleep. She watched her for a moment. The thought of someone doing to the brunette the things her mother did, made Bridget angry. She was glad Franky had made it through all of that to become the person she is today, and that she was here in Bridget’s life now. She felt her eyes get heavy, so she moved closer, into the crook of the brunette’s neck and let sleep come over her.

Chapter Text

It was Friday morning, and Franky was going over the list of summer courses with Liz.

“So you’re doing the kid’s one again?” Liz asked, making sure everything was accurate so they could list them in the local paper.

“Yep, loved that one.” Franky smiled, chewing on the end of her pen.

“I’ve also got a pastry and desserts one, flavours of the world, a parent and child class, a couple’s class.” She flipped through the pages. “We should probably offer the safe food handling course again too. I’ve been getting requests for it, and it’s been awhile since we’ve had that one. You up for that?”

“Sure. We could probably fit in two groups for that. There’s no prep work, just teaching, so it doesn’t take as much extra time from me.” Franky added it to her notes.

“Alright. I’ll get this ready then and send it off to the paper. They’ll probably run it the first of the week.” Liz gathered up her papers. “How are things with the little one?”

“They’re okay I think. She’s staying with us while Tim does his rehab. She’s quieter than normal, but I think she’s just concerned about her dad.” Franky laid down her pen and leaned back in the chair. “She hasn’t come and got in bed with us this time yet though, which is usually what she does when she can’t sleep. So I assume she’s at least not waking up through the night.”

“You’re doing good, love. You both are.” She gave Franky a pat on the shoulder before she headed back to her office.

Fridays were Franky’s day to finish up early. She checked her watch, and figured she just had enough time to get home, then walk to the school to pick up Emily.

********

Franky arrived at the school about ten minutes early. As she stood waiting for Emily, she noticed a woman come out of the building, walking towards her with the young girl in tow.

“You must be Franky,” the woman said, extending her hand.

“I am.” The brunette shook the other woman’s hand.

“I’m Lisa Johns, the principal here at Newport Gardens.” She gave Franky a smile.

“Good to meet you.” The brunette looked down at Emily. “Uh, is she in trouble or something?”

Lisa gave a small laugh, “Oh, no. Em, can you play in the playground for a minute? I just want to have a quick chat with Franky.”

Franky took Emily’s school bag from her and the girl went over to sit on the swing set.

“I actually just wanted to introduce myself and say hello. Tim contacted me and said Em would be staying with Bridget and yourself again. I’ve met Bridget of course, and Em talks about you and her aunt a lot. I wanted to put a face to the name, so I thought it would be a good opportunity since she said you were picking her up today.” Lisa glanced over to where Emily was playing. “She said you’ve been teaching her how to cook. That you look after her after school most days.”

“Yeah, that’s actually how I met Bridget. She enrolled Em in one of my classes. My boss is really understanding and she’s a great kid, loves to help out, so she comes to the Centre after school and hangs out until I go home.”

“Excellent! I’ll let you two get going. It was nice to meet you.” Lisa gave her a pat on the arm and turned to go back into the school.

“Yeah, likewise.” Franky walked to the swing set. “You ready, bub?” She reached out to take the girl’s hand.

“Am I in trouble?” Emily asked as they walked home.

“No.”

“Why did Ms. Johns want to talk to you?” She looked up at Franky.

“Your dad told her you were staying with us. She knows Auntie Bridge, but not me, so she just wanted to say hi. Okay?” Franky looked down at her and she nodded, seemingly satisfied with the brunette’s answer.

When they got back to the house, the brunette changed into a pair of trackies and an old t-shirt.

“Why do you always change your clothes when you come home?” Emily asked, sitting on a stool in the kitchen.

“It’s more comfortable.” Franky grabbed a glass from the cabinet and turned on the tap.

“Can I wear my pyjamas?” The girl’s eyes lit up.

“Sure!” Franky sat down on the couch with her water.

When Emily returned, she had a book with her. “I’m supposed to read this to someone this weekend. Then you have to sign this.” She handed Franky a workbook that contained a log where the girl was supposed to keep track of when she read to someone.

“Okay, bub. Come sit and you can read it to me.” The brunette patted the spot beside her on the couch. “Maybe you can read it to Auntie Bridge later tonight too?” The girl nodded excitedly.

As Emily read, Franky helped her when she came to a word she wasn’t sure of. Overall though, she didn’t need much help, and the brunette could feel herself relaxing into the couch and her eyelids felt heavier by the second. She fought it though, not wanting to make Emily feel like she wasn’t listening to her. When the young girl came to the end of the story, she handed Franky the workbook and a pen, then picked up the remote for the TV, and turned on the cartoon channel. Franky signed the book, then placed it on the coffee table. Emily settled in beside her, and it wasn’t long before she felt her eyes start to close again.

When Bridget arrived home, she could hear the tv in the living room, but other than that, the house was quiet. No one greeted her, so she quietly walked down the hall and glanced around the corner. She couldn’t help but smile. Franky was sitting on the couch, feet on the coffee table, with Emily laying against her, and both were fast asleep.

She tried not to make too much noise as she discarded her shoes, and went down to the bedroom to change. On her way back to the kitchen, as she walked past Emily’s door, she saw her lunch bag on her bed along with her school bag. She knew there were probably dirty dishes in there, so she went in to grab it. It looked as though the young girl had gone through her bag to find something because there were some papers beside it on the bed. Most were notices from the school or newsletters, but one caught Bridget’s eye. It was the instruction sheet for the volcano project she had seen a couple of weeks ago. Emily must have either not told Tim or he’d forgotten about it. She looked at the date on it. It was due on Monday. She took the paper, along with the lunch bag, with her to the kitchen.

As she sat at the table looking through the list of things that were needed, she figured she had everything except the paint, and that should be easy enough to get. It was getting close to the time to start making dinner. She didn’t want to wake Franky, so she decided to look through one of the recipe books she had to see if there was something easy she could make for them. Worst case scenario, she’d use one of the meals from the freezer. She found a recipe for Spag Bol. It was one of her favourites, looked fairly easy, and she thought she had all the ingredients already.

She set to work, frying the ground beef and chopping the onions. Franky had been showing her a few things, and she was hoping this would be a nice surprise to have ready when the brunette woke up. The beauty of it was that she could let the sauce simmer until they woke up, then cook the spaghetti. She had the sauce almost done when she heard Franky stir on the couch.

The brunette carefully slid away from Emily, trying not to wake her. As soon as she woke up, she could smell something delicious, and hear Bridget in the kitchen. “Hey, babe,” she walked up behind the blonde, who was stirring the sauce on the stove, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “This smells really good. Can I try?” she asked, reaching for the spoon.

“Be gentle, baby,” Bridget said as Franky carefully blew on the sauce she had gathered on the spoon.

“Gidge! This is really good! You’re going to steal my job!” The brunette laughed as she stirred the sauce for the blonde.

Bridget shrugged, “It was easy, and you looked comfortable over there. You’ve been working hard lately, and looking after Em a lot. I wanted to help out.” She wrapped her arms around Franky’s neck.

“You know none of that is really work, right?” She smiled down at the blonde. “I love to cook and I love spending time with Em. My students call her ‘the little sous-chef’ now.”

“That’s adorable.” Bridget stretched up to give her a slow kiss. “I’ve missed this.”

“Making out in the kitchen?” Franky gave a small laugh.

“Mmm, just being able to take a minute and stop. I feel like there’s been so much going on lately.” She moved her fingers in the hair at the nape of the brunette’s neck.

“Maybe we can get her to sleep early tonight, and we can have some time, just you and me,” Franky said, glancing over towards the couch where Emily was still sleeping. Bridget gave her another kiss. The brunette smiled. “I’ll take that as a ‘yes’.”

The blonde gave her a quick nod, and started filling the pot with water to cook the spaghetti.

“What’s this, babe?” Franky picked up the paper about Emily’s school project.

“That’s Em’s project that’s due on Monday. I don’t know if Tim forgot about it or what, but either way it needs to be done. I just have to go get the paint for it in the morning. It looks kind of fun though.”

“I can run out and get that now. It’s not that far and I’ll be back by the time everything is ready. Then we can get an early start on it in the morning.” Franky was already on her way to get her wallet and keys.

“Sure, if you don’t mind.”

“Nah, it’s all good. I’ll be back in a few.” She gave Bridget a quick kiss, then headed out the door.

********

“Tim called while you were gone to the store to say he was planning to drop by tomorrow evening.” Bridget said, as she sat down on the couch beside Franky with the bowl of popcorn she’d made. They had been successful in getting Emily to bed at a fairly early hour after the blonde let her read her new book.

“He’s doing okay?” Franky asked, taking a few pieces from the bowl.

“I think so. He doesn’t talk about it a lot, but he’s sounding a little more happy. This one okay?” Bridget had found a movie she thought would be good.

“Yeah, sure.” The brunette had barely glanced up. She honestly didn’t care what they watched.

After a few minutes, Franky noticed that Bridget was trying to move in even closer. She reached out and touched the blonde’s hand. “You’re cold.”

“A little bit.”

“Just a minute.” The brunette got up and went to the other spare bedroom. She returned with the comforter from the bed.

Bridget smiled, and stood up. “Lay down on your back.”

Franky did as Bridget said, and after she was settled, with her head on the pillows that the blonde had placed at the end of the couch, Bridget laid down on top of her. She covered them with the comforter, and rested her head on Franky’s chest.

“You know, if you want to sleep, we can just go to bed.” The brunette gave a small laugh.

“Mmm, no, I just want to be close to you.” Bridget placed a small kiss on Franky’s collarbone, then laid her head down again.

The brunette wrapped her arms around the older woman, and trailed her fingers up and down the middle of her back. Every so often, she felt the blonde’s muscles twitch.

“Does that tickle?” Franky asked quietly.

“No. It feels nice.”

The brunette thought that Bridget may have fallen asleep until she felt the blonde’s hand creep down and then up under her shirt a few minutes later. She felt lips press against her collarbone, then the side of her neck. Bridget’s fingers traced over lines she now knew by memory.

“Gidge.”

Bridget slipped her hand under the waistband of Franky’s pants and let her fingertips brush over the younger woman’s clit through the thin fabric of her underwear. She felt the brunette’s pulse quicken under her lips. Franky turned her head and connected her lips with the blonde’s in a deep, long kiss. She felt Bridget shift a bit on top of her, and move her hand so it was now inside her underwear as well.

The blonde felt Franky’s leg quiver underneath her as she gathered wetness from her folds, and ran her fingers up and down over the younger woman’s clit. “Does that feel good?” Bridget whispered in her ear.

“Mmm, yes.” Franky squeezed her eyes shut as the blonde entered her with two fingers. “Fuck.”

Bridget knew the brunette’s neck was sensitive, so she let her lips trail up and down it as Franky threw back her head to allow the other woman more access. The blonde felt the tension building in the woman’s body beneath her. Franky was moving her hips to meet Bridget’s fingers, and each time they hit the deepest spot inside her, she let out a small moan. The blonde cupped her hand a bit so that every time the younger woman pushed her hips forward, her clit came into contact with Bridget’s palm.

Franky grabbed onto the back of Bridget’s shirt with one hand, and moved the other to cup the blonde’s butt, pulling her closer and encouraging her to push her fingers in harder. She felt Bridget nip at her neck then soothe it with her tongue as she thrust her fingers in a final time before her orgasm washed over her. She managed to stay quiet, save for one small moan right at the beginning.

After her body relaxed, she felt Bridget’s lips lightly brush against hers, and she opened her eyes. “Fuck, Gidge, you’re too good at that.” She gave a small laugh and pulled the blonde in for another kiss as the older woman slowly removed her fingers.

Bridget smiled. “I assume that’s a compliment.”

“Mmm, it definitely is.” Franky held onto the blonde as she turned them both over, switching their positions on the couch. She pulled the comforter back over them, and ran her hand down Bridget’s side. She continued down past her butt and around her thigh to the back of her knee, causing the blonde to hook her leg over Franky’s lower back. The brunette felt her push her hips upwards. “I was about to ask how you were doing, but I think I got the picture,” Franky said with a smirk on her face.

She placed a kiss on Bridget’s lips, then down the side of her neck, and on her chest until she got to the top of the blonde’s singlet. She raised herself up slightly and moved down, disappearing under the comforter. Bridget felt a hand on either side push her shirt up, and Franky’s warm lips leaving kisses all over her stomach. The brunette’s thumb brushed back and forth over the newly-healed tattoo, and she felt Bridget let out a shaky breath.

Franky hooked her fingers in either side of Bridget’s pants and underwear, and pulled them down to her knees. She wanted to give them at least a chance of being able to look like nothing was going on if Emily suddenly showed up. Above the comforter Bridget smiled. It reminded her of being back in high school, trying not to get caught by someone’s parents. That’s as far as the similarities went however, because her partners back then couldn’t compare to how Franky was currently making her feel. The brunette had wrapped her arm around Bridget’s left thigh, and moved her fingers over the skin where her leg met her hip.

The younger woman ran her tongue over Bridget’s folds a couple times before settling her lips in a wide circle around her clit. She flattened out her tongue and licked slowly up and down, occasionally flicking the tip of it across the small bundle of nerves. After only a moment, Bridget knew she wouldn’t last long. She tried to slow her body down a bit so she could enjoy a few extra moments of what Franky was doing to her. The muscles in her legs twitched, and she felt the brunette slow her pace a little bit. “Yes, baby,” she breathed out, and reached down to find Franky’s free hand, and laced their fingers together.

It wasn’t long before Bridget felt her muscles start to tighten again, and she knew this time it wouldn’t matter how slow Franky went. “Fuck,” she whispered, holding onto the brunette’s hand a bit tighter. She felt Franky’s fingers flex against hers in response. After a moment, Bridget was on the edge, and all it took was a few final movements of the brunette’s tongue to release all the tension in her body that had been building up. She wasn’t as successful as Franky had been at being quiet, but she heard no movement from the end of the hallway. When her body stilled, she felt the brunette pull her pants back up. Bridget raised her hips slightly to allow her to slide them back up around her waist. Franky emerged from under the covers with a big grin on her face and gave the blonde a kiss.

“Mmm, I tried to draw that one out a bit, baby, sorry.” Bridget gave a small laugh.

Franky smiled. “I know. Why do you think I slowed down? You weren’t the only one who was enjoying it.” She saw the blonde’s eyes starting to close. “We should go to bed, babe. Before we end up spending the night out here.”

“Mmm I’m sleepy.”

“I know, babe. That’s wh-“ Franky realized there was no use in trying to convince Bridget to get up.

The brunette stood up from the couch, and covered the older woman with the comforter. She walked down to the master bedroom and pulled down the covers. When she returned to the living room, she could tell that Bridget was already asleep. She placed the comforter on the other part of the L-shaped couch, and carefully picked up the blonde. She walked down the hall as quietly as she could and placed her in the bed before crawling in beside her.

“See, we can sleep out here, it’s comfortable.” Bridget mumbled as Franky moved in behind her, and put her arms around the blonde.

“Yep, sounds good.” The brunette smiled and closed her eyes.

********

Emily woke early the next morning thanks to the fact she'd slept for most of the previous afternoon and all night. Bridget heard the young girl's bedroom door open. The blonde listened as she heard her niece walk down the hall, and out into the living area. She assumed Emily was looking for either her or Franky. A moment later, Bridget heard footsteps returning, and heard the sound of their own bedroom door being opened. She knew they needed to get a start on the girl's project, but she also felt like another hour of sleep wouldn't hurt. She kept her eyes closed, and hoped that maybe Emily, thinking that they were both still asleep, would just climb into the bed and lay down with them.

"Auntie Bridge," Emily reached out and touched Bridget's hand. The blonde tried to stay still and not react. “Auntie Bridge?” Emily pulled on her hand a bit harder this time.

Bridget knew the girl wouldn’t give up easily, and she didn’t want her to wake Franky, so she opened her eyes. “Good morning, love,” she whispered, and saw Emily looking back at her. “You want to lay down here for a bit? It’s pretty early.”

“Is Franky asleep too?” The girl stretched to look behind Bridget.

“Yeah, she is.” The blonde lifted the comforter a bit.

Emily thought for a second then climbed in. “I’m not sleepy.”

“I know.” Bridget put her arm around her niece.

The blonde was almost back to sleep when Emily spoke again. “When are we having breakfast?”

Bridget sighed. She knew there was no way she was getting any more sleep this morning. “Let’s get up and get some now.”

Franky had woken up while Bridget was making eggs and toast for breakfast. "Morning, babe," she said, giving Bridget a kiss on the cheek as the blonde stirred the eggs in the pan. "Em." She ruffled the girl's hair as she took a seat with her at the table.

"Auntie Bridge said she and I are going to make this after breakfast." Emily handed Franky the instruction sheet for the volcano project.

"Looks like fun, bub! We can test it out when it's all done!" Franky threw her hands open and mimicked an explosion sound as Emily giggled. She caught Bridget's look from the kitchen. "Outside, we'll test it outside."

********

Just as Franky was clearing the table, there was a knock at the door.

"Tim, hey you're early!" Bridget greeted him with a hug.

"Yeah, I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. I figured you wouldn't mind."

"Not at all. It's actually perfect. I was just about to help Em with something for school, but I think it would be nice if the three of us could do it." She wanted Tim to be able to still be involved in Emily's life even though she was living with them at the moment. She knew that an important part of recovery was making amends and rebuilding relationships with loved ones.

"Sounds good. Is Franky around though? I'd really like to talk to her first." He took off his sunglasses and put them in his shirt pocket. Bridget noticed that he still looked tired.

"Yeah, she's in the kitchen." The blonde closed the door and followed him into the house.

"Dad!" Emily ran to give her father a hug.

Franky glanced behind her. She said hello to Tim, then went back to putting the dishes in the dishwasher. It wasn't that she didn't like him, she did, but right now he was reminding her of everything bad about her childhood.

Tim walked to the end of the counter, and waited a minute before he cleared his throat and spoke. "Franky, um, I was wondering if we could talk for a minute? Maybe out on the patio?"

The brunette looked to him then to Bridget. "Yeah, sure." She closed the dishwasher, and followed him outside.

"I just wanted to apologize for the other night, for the state I was in when you got there. I knew you were bringing Em back that night, and I shouldn't have been drinking. I put you in an awkward position. You made the right call, bringing her back here, so I also wanted to say thank you. I'm glad that Em has another person who cares about her, and Bridge too." He looked to the ground, then out across the small backyard.

"I'm just glad you're getting help. My mother was a drinker, so it kind of hit close to home for me." She crossed her arms. She didn't like talking about her past, especially to someone she didn't know that well, but she felt like she needed to tell Tim that she knew what Emily was experiencing.

"Your mother, she got through it? Got some help and got better?" he asked.

"Dunno." she shrugged and looked back into the house, then at the fence behind Tim.

"Okay, uh, I'll let you get back to whatever I interrupted." He slid the door open, and waited for her to go back inside before he followed.

"So what's this project?" Tim looked at the table where Bridget had gathered the supplies they'd need to make the volcano with Emily, and the two of them were waiting for him to return so they could start.

"Volcano!" Emily said excitedly.

"I made one of these when I wasn't much older than you." He picked up the info sheet. "How come you didn't tell me about this? It says it's due Monday and you had two weeks to do it."

"I did," Emily said quietly. "You were sad that day. You said we'd do it later, but we never did."

Bridget saw Franky, out of the corner of her eye, stop what she was doing in the kitchen and look over. The blonde rubbed Emily's shoulder soothingly, "It's okay, we'll get it done now, love."

********

An hour later and the volcano was sitting out on the patio table, drying in the late morning sun. Tim had said he needed to talk with Bridget, so Franky decided that her and Emily could go to the store and pick up some things she needed for a recipe she wanted to try that night.

"So how have you been?" Bridget asked, sitting down on the couch.

"Good. Yeah, I'm feeling a bit better, more like myself. I've got a ways to go through for sure. How about you?"

"I'm good. Great, actually. I'm really happy." She couldn't help the smile that came across her face. "I love having Franky here."

"Great." Tim smiled back. "I actually have something kind of important that I want to talk to you about." He took a deep breath.

"Is everything okay?" Bridget sat up and turned a bit so she was facing him.

"Yeah, everything's good. I just don't really know how this type of conversation is supposed to go." He let out a nervous laugh. "You remember how Sarah and I had a bit of trouble getting pregnant when we decided to have Em?" Bridget nodded. "When we were going through that process, we looked into doing in-vitro. In the end, we didn't have to go that route, but we were prepared to. I was going over some paperwork the other day, you know, with having the new house and everything, and I found papers we got from the sperm bank. We have the option every couple years to renew the storage contract and it was coming due so I paid it for another two years. It's not something I'll be needing anymore. Actually, I kind of forgot that it was even still there. But anyway, what I was thinking is that if someday you wanted to have kids, and your partner was going to be the one to carry the baby, then maybe it would be something you'd like to use. It would be a way for you to both be genetically related to the child." Tim held up his hands. "I know that's not important, there's more to being a parent than genetics, but if it's something you'd like, then I'd like to offer that to you."

Bridget just sat and looked at him. She didn't know what she felt. So many thoughts were in her head at that moment. She had never really thought about whether she wanted to have kids or not. It had never seemed like the right time, or that she was with the right person for that.

"Bridge?" Tim reached out and took her hand, pulling her from her thoughts. "You don't have to say anything right now, okay? That’s why I just went ahead and renewed it, so you wouldn’t feel any pressure. You’ve got at least two years now. Think about it when you're ready. The offer will be there."

She nodded slowly. "Okay. Are you sure though? This is a big thing. I'm not saying yes or no. I just need to know that you've fully thought about this, because I definitely need time to think about it."

"I've thought about it. I think you'd be a great mom if it's something you want."

"That means a lot." She smiled at him.

They talked for a few more minutes before they heard the front door open, and Franky and Emily returned from the store.

"Can we have the ice cream now?" Emily asked.

"No, it's for dessert after supper." Franky sat the bag of groceries on the kitchen island.

"I just want to try a bit." The young girl stepped in front of the brunette as she was putting away the items they had bought.

"Em.' Franky stopped and looked at her. "We agreed it was for after supper, yeah?" The small blonde nodded. "Okay, let me finish putting this away, then we'll check and see how the volcano is drying."

Tim caught Bridget's eye and smiled as he stood up. "I should be going. It was good to see everyone." He nodded to Franky, and said goodbye to Emily before he left.

********

Bridget laid in bed that night watching Franky sleep. The brunette had drifted off quickly. Bridget studied her face, thinking about Tim's offer. Would Franky make a good wife? A good mother? She smiled thinking back to that night at Wentworth...'I promise I'm going to marry you someday'. She found it ironic that such a happy memory could come from a place like that. And finally, she thought of all the times she had watched Franky spend with her niece.

Chapter Text

It was Monday morning, and Franky had just arrived at the Centre. She was in the process of unpacking her bag when Liz showed up at her office door.

“Good morning, love. How was your weekend?” she asked, placing a copy of the local paper down on the brunette’s desk.

“Uh, it was good. Em had a school project to do, and Tim dropped by on Saturday.” Franky picked up the paper and flipped through the first few pages. “What’s this?”

“That is this morning’s copy of the newspaper. Our listing for the summer classes made it in already. Thought you might want to have a look.” Liz sat down on the couch.

Franky flipped through until she came to the community section. “Liz! Why did you do that??” The brunette turned the paper around and pointed to the picture of herself beside the class listings.

The other woman shrugged. “Listings with pictures get more attention.”

“I don’t want attention. I like quiet. Peace and quiet.” Franky dropped the paper back onto her desk.

“Ah, don’t worry, love. It’ll be fine.” Liz got up off the couch and gave her a playful smack on the arm on her way out.

Franky looked down at the paper laying on her desk. “At least she picked a good picture,” she mumbled to herself.

********

Vera sat the newspaper down on the lunch table as she sat down to eat with Bridget.

“Did you see this?” she asked, turning the paper so it was facing the right way for the blonde to read it.

Bridget gave a small laugh. “Oh she’s going to be so happy there’s a picture with it. Liz must have snuck that in there.” She quickly scanned down through the list of classes. She and Franky had discussed some ideas, but she wasn’t sure which ones she and Liz had ended up choosing aside from the kids one, and the parent and child one. The brunette had been pretty set on those two. “I was thinking of asking Tim if he wanted to do the parents and kids one with Em. I think it would be good for them.”

Vera nodded as she chewed. “How is he doing?”

“Good, I think. He doesn’t like to talk about it much. He came by on the weekend and talked to Franky for a minute then helped Em with a school project. He didn’t stay for long after that though.” Bridget sighed. “He still looked really tired. He said he’s in a rehab program though, and I’ve made it very clear that he can come to me for anything. Now I think the rest of it will just take time.”

“Of course. Him visiting and spending time with Em has to be a good sign though.”

“Yeah, she really enjoyed it, I think.” Bridget let her eyes scan over the article again, and a small smile came to her face.

“What’s the smile for?” Vera asked.

Bridget shook her head. “She looks good in the jacket. Reminds me of the first time I met her.”

“Love at first sight,” Vera said half jokingly, and gave a small laugh.

Bridget was silent for a moment and her friend thought maybe she had said something wrong until the blonde spoke. “Yeah, I think maybe it was.”

Vera watched her for a moment, and sensed that she was getting a bit emotional. “Are you alright?” she asked quietly.

“Yeah, yeah I’m good,” Bridget took a deep breath. “There’s just been a lot going on, a lot on my mind lately.”

“If there’s anything I can do, or if you need to talk, let me know.” Vera reached out, covering her friend’s hand with her own.

“Thanks, Vera. I really do appreciate it.” Bridget smiled warmly. “I should be getting back to my office though. I have an appointment scheduled in ten minutes.” She gave Vera’s shoulder a squeeze on the way by.

********

Franky’s last class of the day had been focused on putting the finishing touches on pastries and cakes. She had the students practice making flowers with icing, and decorations out of melted chocolate. That was the class that Emily had been there for, and the brunette was pretty sure that the young girl had eaten more of the demo icing and chocolate she’d been given than she had actually used trying to make her own decorations. Needless to say, by the time they had arrived back at the house, Emily was almost literally bouncing from one end of it to the other.

“Hey Em.” Franky put her arm out to catch the girl as she ran by. “No running in the house. You’ll get hurt or something will get broken. Hey, how about we go to the Lakes Reserve and have a bit of a walk?”

The Newport Lakes Reserve was almost directly behind the house. A few times while Franky was recovering from her injuries, she liked to go and walk along some of the trails. She found that once she was a couple minutes walk into the woods, it felt like she was miles outside the city. Right now she thought it would be a good place for Emily to run around a bit and burn off some energy before supper.

The young girl nodded enthusiastically. “Okay, go change out of your school clothes, and then we can go.” Franky let her go and she ran down the hall to her room to change. The brunette sighed and went to the master bedroom to change her own clothes.

When they got to the trails, Franky walked while Emily would run ahead and then back to the brunette. Franky figured the girl had to be running at least 4 times further than she was walking with all the trips she was making back and forth.

Emily ran back to her. “Let’s have a race.”

“A race to where?” Franky wasn’t sure she was up for it.

“Around to that bench on the other side of the pond.” The young girl pointed across the small body of water.

The brunette scanned the path that led there, and decided it was probably something that she could manage. “Alright. Ready?” Emily nodded. “Set….go!”

Franky decided to pace herself. In all honesty, she wasn’t trying to win, but she did at least want to be able to finish and not collapse in a gasping mess somewhere along the way. When she worked out she didn’t usually focus on cardio, but more on strength, and she was definitely feeling it now. Emily was ahead of her and they were coming around the final corner of the path. The brunette decided to try to catch up and at least make the girl think she was in danger of losing. Franky picked up her pace, and a few meters from the finish line, realized her mistake.

She hadn’t been breathing too hard for most of the way, but she certainly was when she tried to catch Emily. Her ribs may have seemed fully healed if she was only doing everyday things, but after a few deep breaths, she felt a sharp pain in her side. She slowed down, walking the last few steps, and sitting down in the grassy area beside the pond.

“Franky.” Emily sat down beside her. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, bub. I think I just pulled a muscle. I just need a minute to catch my breath.” She laid back on the cool grass, and Emily laid down beside her. They spent a few minutes picking out shapes in the clouds, until the pain in Franky’s side had gone away. She checked her watch. It was almost time for supper. “We should go home now. Gidge will be there soon.” The brunette said, getting up off the ground.

“Why do you call her ‘Gidge’? That’s not her name.” Emily asked as they made their way around the rest of the pond, finishing the loop of the trail they were on.

“It’s a nickname. It rhymes with Bridget. You know, like ‘Gidget’, ‘Bridget’, ‘Gidge’, ‘Bridge’, like that.”

She thought for a minute, “Do I have a nickname?”

“Kind of. People call you ‘Em’ instead of ‘Emily’.”

Emily was quiet for a couple of minutes. “So what do people call you instead of ‘Franky’? She never remembered anyone calling the brunette by anything else.

“Nothing. ‘Franky’ is already the short version of my name.” She was hoping the girl wouldn’t ask what her full name was, because she wasn’t fond of it.

“What is it short for?”

Franky sighed, “Francesca.”

“That’s pretty.” Emily said with a smile.

“I don’t like it. Let’s stick to ‘Franky’, okay?”

“Can I give you a nickname?”

“Like what?” Franky narrowed her eyes at the young girl, and Emily giggled.

“Frank?”

“That’s just a shorter version of the already short version.” The brunette gave a small laugh.

“Hank?” Emily looked up at her.

“ ‘Hank’? Seriously? Where did you come up with that?” They had come to the last intersection before the house, and Franky stopped to check for traffic before they continued.

“It rhymes with ‘Frank’.” The young girl laughed.

Franky couldn’t help but laugh as well. “No. Get going.” She playfully shoved Emily’s shoulder, and the girl ran the final few meters to the house.

Bridget heard the door open and Emily, then Franky come in.

“Hey, guys! Where were you?” Bridget greeted them, giving Emily a hug and Franky a quick kiss.

“We went to the park!” Emily still seemed to have some energy left, but Franky figured she’d crash soon after the sugar overload wore off.

“The Lakes Reserve.” Franky nodded in the direction of the reserve. “What are you thinking for supper, babe?”

Bridget opened the fridge and looked over the contents. “There’s some leftovers from the other night. Does that sound okay?”

“Works for me.” Franky took off her shoes and carried them back out to the hallway.

Emily took off towards her room, and Bridget gave Franky a questioning look when she came back into the kitchen. “Where’s all that energy coming from?”

“Uh, she may have had a lot of sugar at the class today. I tried to tire her out at the reserve, but I think that worked on me, not her.” The brunette gave a small laugh. “She’s gonna crash hard though when it wears off.”

Bridget smiled and looked around the corner, down the hall. “Em?” The girl stuck her head out the door of her room. “Why don’t you shower and put your pjs on before we eat?” Emily disappeared into her room again, and a few minutes later the blonde heard the water running in the bathroom.

“How was your day, babe?” Franky asked, taking the stack of plates out of the cabinet, and placing them on the table.

“It was alright. I saw your picture in the paper.” She walked over to Franky, and put her arms around the brunette’s neck.

“That picture was all Liz’s idea.”

“It’s a good picture.” Bridget gave her a kiss.

“You like it? Maybe it’ll boost enrolment.” Franky laughed.

“Yeah I like it. Every time I see you in your jacket, I think of the first time we met.” The blonde gave her another kiss on the side of her neck.

“Be warned, Gidge. Em isn’t the only one who needs a shower.”

Bridget laughed. “It’s fine, baby.”

They stood there for a few moments, sharing small kisses and talking about their days, until they heard the water turn off in the shower.

“I should shower.” Franky gave the brunette a final kiss. “If she’s really tired, you guys can eat, and I’ll have mine when I get out.”

“I’m sure we can wait a few minutes. It’s not even warmed up yet.”

“Okay, I won’t be long.”

********

Franky was right, Emily was asleep not long after they’d eaten supper. One minute she was sitting on the couch with them watching TV, and the next she was laying down asleep, so Bridget carried her to bed.

The brunette was laying in bed, answering an email from Liz, while she waited for Bridget to finish in the bathroom and come to bed. She was just finishing up when the blonde came in and laid down beside her. Franky reached over and put her phone on the bedside table as Bridget snuggled into her side. She wrapped an arm around the older woman.

Bridget was quiet for a minute. “I think this is my favourite time of the day.”

“Mine too, babe. It’s when we usually talk.”

The blonde lifted herself, and moved up the bed a bit so that she was more face to face with Franky. “Speaking of that, Tim kind of brought up something weird when he was over the other day.”

“What was that?” Franky looked at the blonde, concerned.

“Nothing bad. It just kind of caught me off guard. Um.” Bridget wasn’t sure how to begin, so she just decided to start at the first like Tim had. “Okay, so when he and Sarah wanted to have Em, they found out that Sarah had a condition that was going to make it hard for her to conceive naturally. They thought they were going to have to do in-vitro, and they had started that process then found out that she was pregnant with Em. Tim had already had his sperm frozen as the first part of the procedure.” She paused and took a deep breath. She wasn’t sure how Franky was going to react to the next part. “He said that it’s still there, at the clinic, frozen. He’s offered it to me if my partner and I ever want to have kids someday, and she’s going to carry the baby.” Franky was quiet, and the blonde couldn’t read her expression. “Are you okay, baby? I know it’s a lot, I just didn’t feel right not talking to you about it.”

“Yeah, I am. I mean, I think I just had a million thoughts all come into my mind at once, but I’m okay.” Franky let out a sigh.

“I know we’re nowhere near the point of thinking about anything like this, but I didn’t feel like it was a decision I should make on my own since I’m with someone it could potentially affect.” Bridget pushed some hair back from the brunette’s face.

“You’d want to have kids with me?” Franky looked over at her.

“I mean, not tomorrow.” she gave a small laugh and the brunette smiled. “But maybe in the future, yeah.”

“I never thought about having kids. I’ve never been in a relationship that was even close to something that serious. I don’t even know if you could call them relationships. They were more like three or four night stands.” Franky was quiet for another minute. “I don’t know if I’d be a good mother. I never had one to teach me those things.”

“Baby, you’re so good with Em. It was one of the things that attracted me to you.” The brunette raised her eyebrows. “No, really, it was. It showed what kind of person you were.” Bridget gave her a small kiss.

“I was just cooking with her while we waited for you.”

“You didn’t see the shy, quiet Em, did you?” Bridget leaned on her elbow.

“A little, yeah, when she first came in. That’s why I put her with Liz for the class. I figured that was pretty normal for some kids.” Franky shrugged.

“It is, but what you didn’t know is that I figured she wouldn’t even make it through the first class, and she’d be so upset that you’d be calling me to come pick her up. So I was surprised when you agreed to keep her for the extra time. When I walked in and saw you joking with her, and laughing, I knew you were someone special. It took her years worth of visits before she’d even talk to Vera.”

“She’s a good kid though. What if we end up with one like me?” The brunette picked at a piece of lint on her shirt.

“One like you?” Bridget asked, tilting her head.

“Yeah, a bad one.”

“You weren’t a bad kid, Franky. You had an abusive mother, and when you left home to get away from her, you did what you had to do.” She reached out and placed her hand on the brunette’s cheek and gave her a soft kiss. “Okay?”

Franky nodded. “Like I said, it’s just something I haven’t thought about before, and these are all the things that came into my head when you said that.”

“You know, I’ve never really thought about having kids either. It never seemed like the right time, or the right place, to bring it up, or that I was with the right person. It’s definitely not something to decide now, or overnight, or even in a few weeks or months. There’s no pressure, alright? I just didn’t want to keep it from you. Hell, I’m not even sure if it’s something I’d want. Looking after Em is one thing. She’s a bit older and somewhat independent. It’s a whole different situation with a baby.” Bridget let herself fall back down on the bed and let out a long breath.

“You’d be a good mum, Gidge.”

“Yeah that’s what people keep telling me.” She gave a small laugh. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Franky wipe a tear from her face. She turned to face the brunette again. “Baby, you alright?”

“Yeah.”

“If either of us decide we don’t want to do this for any reason, I’m okay with that. You can say no right now if you want, either because you don’t want to do it at all or you don’t want Tim involved, and it’ll be okay.” Bridget rubbed her hand back and forth across the brunette’s stomach to try to soothe her a bit.

“I’m not saying no.” Franky turned her head to look Bridget in the eye. “I’m not saying ‘yes’ either right now, but I’m not saying ‘no’. I think that’s part of what’s overwhelming to me, the fact that my brain didn’t immediately scream ‘no’ when you brought it up. I wouldn’t really care who the father was, so it wouldn’t bother me if it was Tim. It would be our kid either way. The idea of having a kid with you doesn’t freak me out, and that’s kind of scary in a way to me, if that makes sense.”

“Yeah it does, baby. It’s a bit scary to me too.”

Franky took Bridget’s hand, that was on her stomach, and brought it to her lips, giving it a small kiss before lacing their fingers together. They must have drifted off not long after that because the next thing they knew, they were woken up by someone pounding on the door.

“Ms. Westfall, this is the police, please open the door! We need to speak with you!”

Chapter Text

“What the fuck?” Franky sat up in bed.

Bridget was already up and halfway to the bedroom door. “You check on Em. I’ll see what’s going on.”

Franky walked to the girl’s bedroom, and quietly opened the door just enough that she could see her lying in the bed still asleep. She heard Bridget open the front door. It sounded like there were two cops. The brunette quietly closed Emily’s door again, and made her way to the front entrance.

When Bridget opened the door, she was met with two uniformed police officers. “Good evening, are you Bridget Westfall?” one of them asked.

“Yes.” She found herself wishing she had put on her robe. It wasn’t cold out, but she suddenly felt chilly.

“Do you mind if we come in for a minute?”

“Yeah, sure.” The blonde stepped aside, and allowed the two officers to enter the house.

“She’s still asleep,” Franky said, coming up behind Bridget.

“Ma’am,” the officer acknowledged the brunette then shifted his attention back to Bridget. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Ms. Westfall, but your brother, Tim, was in a car accident earlier tonight. When the ambos arrived they freed him from the car, but were unable to revive him. I’m so sorry.”

Bridget just stood there. Franky couldn’t see her face. She put her arm around the blonde. “I’m here, babe,” she said quietly.

“Are, uh, are you sure it’s him?” Bridget’s voice was a bit shaky. The brunette rubbed her hand up and down the other woman’s arm.

“Yes ma’am. We found his wallet with ID in it.” The officer reached into his pocket and pulled out Tim’s wallet in a plastic evidence bag. It was open to show his driver’s license.

Bridget nodded her head as she looked at the ID, and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “Um, do you know what happened?”

“It was a single vehicle accident. It’s possible he just lost control of the car. We’ll know more once the forensics people are done at the scene.” The officer shifted uncomfortably. “There is one other thing.” He took a notebook from his pocket and flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for. “Our database shows that he has a daughter, Emily, age five. We have no other adult listed at the residence and she wasn’t in the car. Do you know where she is?”

“She’s here. She’s…” The blonde said quietly, trailing off. The realization hit her that she was going to have to tell her niece that her father was gone. That she’d lost both of her parents in less than a year. She started to cry.

The brunette pulled Bridget closer. After a moment, she realized that the officer was still waiting for the rest of the blonde’s sentence. “She’s been staying here with us for the past few weeks. Her dad was having some problems so he asked us to look after her for a while.”

“What kind of problems?”

Bridget took a deep breath. “Alcohol. He was in a rehab program.”

The officer wrote something in his notebook. “You’re okay with her staying here for the time being?” Franky and Bridget both nodded their heads. “Okay. Here’s my card if you have any questions. We’ll be in touch for follow-up in a couple of days. Again, I’m really sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you.” Bridget took the card from him, and closed the door after he left. She turned back towards Franky, staring at the card in her hand.

“Babe?” The brunette reached out and touched her hand that was holding the card. She got no response. “Gidge?” Bridget reached up and covered her eyes as the tears started again. “Hey, come here.” Franky wrapped her arms around her and held her tight. “Come on, let's go sit on the couch.”

The blonde allowed Franky to lead her into the living room. The brunette took the officer’s card from her hand and placed it on the kitchen island on the way by. She grabbed a blanket off the end of the couch and put it around Bridget’s shoulders as she sat down beside her.

“Do you need anything, babe?” Franky asked, sitting down beside her.

“No.” Bridget shook her head. “Just come here.” The blonde lifted one side of the blanket, and Franky moved in closer taking Bridget in her arms again. “Do you think he was drinking?”

“Uh.” The brunette knew there was a possibility that he was, but she didn’t want to assume the worst. “He was doing good in rehab, yeah? He seemed okay when he was here the other day. As shitty as it is, sometimes accidents just happen. We can’t know anything for sure until the cops finish with their investigation.”

“Yeah, you’re right. I just keep thinking over everything and wondering if I missed something.” When she turned to Franky again there were more tears running down her face. “I don’t know how to tell her. How do you tell a five year old that now she’s lost both parents?”

Franky reached out and wiped away the tears on both of Bridget’s cheeks with her thumb. “I don’t know, Gidge, but we’ll figure it out, okay? I’ll be right there with you if that’s what you want.”

“Yeah. I do. I don’t want to do it alone.”

“She’s staying with us, right?” Franky asked suddenly.

“Of course, baby.” Bridget took the brunette’s hand between both of hers.

“I don’t want her to go anywhere or in foster care or something, even for a short while.” Franky knew she was being irrational. Bridget was here, so of course Emily wouldn’t have to go anywhere, but she needed reassurance.

“She’s not going anywhere. I promise. It’s in his will. Even before Sarah passed away, they had it put in there that if something happened to both of them while she was still a minor then I would get full custody of her.”

“Okay, I just, I don’t know, my mind went there.” The brunette wiped her face.

“It’s okay, baby. You love her and you want her to be safe and protected. I get it.” She gave Franky a small kiss. “I promise she’ll stay here with us.” Franky nodded. “We should let her sleep for now. It’s going to be a long day once she wakes up, and I need some time to digest everything before we talk to her.”

“Yeah, good idea.” The blonde snuggled into her more. “Do you want to stay out here or go back and lay in bed? I know you’re not going to sleep, but you should rest while you can.” Franky knew as soon as they were dealing with Emily, they’d both feel emotionally exhausted.

“You’ll come lay with me?” Bridget asked.

“Absolutely.” Franky kissed her head.

“Okay, yeah, let’s go lay down. I’ll need to call Vera in a few hours and let her know I won’t be in. I should let the school know too. Are you going to work?” Bridget’s mind was wide awake as she walked back to the bedroom.

“Definitely not. I’ll call Liz in the morning.” Franky pulled back the covers for them for the second time that night.

Bridget laid down and the brunette went to the other side and got in behind her. She moved in close behind the blonde, and wrapped her arms around her. She gave her a small kiss on the back of the shoulder.

“Tighter.” Bridget said, so quietly that Franky wasn’t sure she heard her.

“Hmm?”

“Hold me tighter.” The blonde said a bit louder.

Franky tightened her arms around the smaller woman. “Is this okay?”

“Yeah.” They laid in silence for a moment before Bridget spoke. “I love you.”

“I love you too, babe.”

********

Bridget felt like she had laid there awake all night, but in reality she must have been drifting in and out of sleep because the next thing she knew she saw the sky start to come light with the morning sun.

“You awake?” she whispered softly. If Franky was asleep, she didn’t want to wake her.

“Yeah.” Came the soft reply from behind her.

“I’m going to call Vera. Have you talked to Liz?” The blonde reached for her phone.

“Yeah, I texted her earlier. I didn’t want to wake you by getting up or being noisy, so I just told her we were alright but there was a family emergency and I’d call her later.” Franky rubbed her eyes, and stretched as Bridget sat up on her side of the bed. She watched the blonde’s back as Bridget sat looking at the screen on her phone, not clicking on Vera’s number. “Do you want me to call her?”

She took a deep breath. “I can do it, but thank you.” Bridget clicked on Vera’s number, and waited while it rang.

“Hello?”

The blonde was glad that it didn’t sound like she had woken up her friend. “Uh, Vera, I uh…” She trailed off, and immediately felt Franky’s hand on her back, thumb moving back and forth.

“Are you alright?” Vera’s voice held concern for Bridget.

“Yeah.” The blonde took a deep breath. “The cops came here last night, and said that Tim had been in an accident. They said they got him out of the car, but they weren’t able to revive him.” She had said it all at once, afraid that if she stopped, she wouldn’t be able to start again.

“Oh. Oh my god, Bridget.” She could hear Vera trying to figure out what to say next. “Do you need anything? Is there anything I can do? Is Em…is she okay?”

“She’s fine, she was here with us. She’s still sleeping actually. We haven’t told her yet.” She took another breath. “I think we’re okay here for now. I just wanted to let you know that I won’t be in for the next few days.”

“Yes, of course. If you think of anything you need, or if you just need someone to talk to, call me.”

“I will. Thanks, Vera. I need to go, Em will be waking up soon.” They said goodbye, and Bridget dropped her phone onto the bed.

Franky came over to sit beside her on the edge of the bed. “Should we go get her?”

Bridget nodded. “I’ll do it.”

As she stood up and headed to Emily’s room, Franky went out into the kitchen. She put on a pot of coffee, thinking to herself that it would probably be one of many that would get made over the next few days.

“Em, love,” Bridget said, running her hand over the girl’s shoulder. “It’s time to wake up.”

“It’s time for school?” Emily asked, sleepily.

“You’re not going to school today. I need you to come out to the living room with me and Franky, okay?” Bridget gave her a kiss on the head, and left her to get up and come join them.

“Here, babe.” Franky handed her a mug of coffee when she got to the kitchen.

“Thanks,” she said, taking a sip.

They sat on the couch waiting for Emily. The brunette reached out and put her arm around Bridget. It was only a couple of minutes before they heard the girl’s bedroom door open.

“We got this,” she whispered, giving the blonde a squeeze and a kiss on the temple.

“Come here, love.” Bridget sat her mug on the coffee table and held open her arms, signalling for Emily to come sit on her lap. The girl sat down, and the blonde put her arm around her, pulling her closer. “We need to tell you something, and it’s serious, okay? And if you have any questions, you can ask us whenever you want.” Emily nodded. “Last night a police officer came, and he told us that your dad had been in an accident in his car. He was hurt, and a lot of people tried to help him, but they couldn’t. Love, I’m so sorry, but he passed away.”

“Like my mom?” The tears were starting to form in the young girl’s eyes, and Bridget saw her lip quiver.

“Yeah, love.” The blonde waited for a moment while Emily let that fully sink in. After a few seconds, the tears started, and she buried her face against Bridget’s neck and chest. She wrapped her arms around her niece.

Franky reached over and wiped Bridget’s cheeks before swiping her hand across her own. She didn’t know what to say. This was all new to her, and quite frankly, it was a situation she never would have imagined she’d ever be in. She was heartbroken for both of them.

Bridget ran her hand through Emily’s hair, moving it back out of her face. “Is there anything you want to ask us, love?”

“Why?”

“You mean why did it happen?” The blonde felt Emily nod. She glanced over at Franky. “It was just an accident.”

“Am I going to live here now?” The girl asked quietly.

Out of the corner of her eye, Bridget could see Franky nodding her head. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re going to stay right here,” the blonde said, hugging her niece a bit tighter.

“Promise?” Emily asked, lifting her head to look at Bridget

“Yeah, I promise. We’re family.” The blonde wiped the young girl’s cheeks with the back of her fingers.

“You and me and Franky?” Emily asked, looking at the brunette.

Franky opened her mouth then realized she wasn’t really sure how Bridget wanted her to answer. In her mind, and based on the conversation they had had the night before when they went to bed, it was a resounding ‘yes’. This was new territory for her though, dealing with the emotions of a child, and she didn’t want to say something wrong, or too early. She looked to Bridget, who gave a quick nod.

“Yeah, bub. You, me and Gidge.” A whole new bunch of tears rolled down Franky’s cheeks.

They sat in silence for a while.

“Anyone want some breakfast?” Franky asked. She saw Emily shake her head, which was the answer she’d expected. “Come on, how about I make chocolate chip waffles?” The young girl buried her face against Bridget’s shoulder again.

“Why don’t you go ahead and make them? Maybe she’ll change her mind when they’re ready,” the blonde said quietly.

Franky gave Bridget a kiss on the cheek, and Emily one on the head as she got up and went into the kitchen. She began finding the ingredients she needed, and turned on the waffle maker.

“Do you want to help, bub?” Again, she expected, and got, a ‘no’, but she thought it was worth trying anything to keep the young girl’s mind off things even for a few minutes.

Franky could see Emily watching her from her spot on Bridget’s lap. After a few minutes, the young girl got up, and came to stand beside the tall brunette.

“Can I just put the batter in?” Emily asked, stepping up onto the stool beside Franky at the counter.

“Yeah, sure.” The brunette handed her the ladle, and watched as she carefully added the batter.

Bridget excused herself to the patio while Emily was distracted for a few minutes. She needed to call the school and let them know what had happened. There would be so much to do over the next few days. There would be funeral arrangements, she'd probably have to meet with a lawyer and go through Tim's will, considering other than her getting custody of Emily, she had no idea what was in there, and she was sure there'd be paperwork to be done for that as well. As soon as things settled down a bit, they'd have to go get the rest of Emily's belongings from the house, and completely clean out the spare room she was staying in so they could make it permanently hers. Right now though, she had to speak with the school.

"You want this one?" Franky asked the young girl when the first waffle was ready. Emily shook her head. "How about you, Gidge?" Bridget had just come back in from outside.

She was about to say no when she saw Franky give her a look. "Uh, yeah sure."

"This next one is yours, okay bub?" Franky said as Emily put the next scoop of batter in to cook.

"I'm not hungry."

"I want you to try, okay? Just a few bites then see how you feel." The brunette had chosen the waffles because she knew they were one of Emily's favorites. When it was ready, she put it on the plate for the girl. "One sec," she said when Emily went to take it to the table. Franky reached into the fridge and grabbed the can of whipped cream. She put some in the centre of the waffle, and Emily smiled a bit.

********

Around mid-afternoon, Emily had said she was tired, so Bridget put her to bed and laid with her until she fell asleep. When she went back to the living room, she joined Franky on the couch.

"How are you doing?" the brunette asked, as she put an arm around Bridget's shoulders, and pulled her close.

"Honestly, I don't know. I think right now I'm just more concerned with making sure she's okay. I haven't really thought about myself yet." The blonde took Franky's hand and traced patterns on her palm with her thumb. "I called the school earlier while you two were making breakfast. They said that I'll need to come in sometime over the next few days and fill out some paperwork. I'd like for you to come with me. I want to make it so that they can contact you if I'm not available."

"Yeah, for sure. I already talked to the principal one day when I picked her up."

"You did?" Bridget asked.

"I did. Just last Friday. She said Em talked about how I was teaching her to cook." Bridget gave Franky a small kiss. "What was that for?"

"Just because." Bridget's lips showed a hint of a smile.

"Auntie Bridge! Auntie Bridge!" They both jumped, hearing Emily yelling from her bedroom. "Franky!"

The two women hurried down the hall to see what was wrong with the young girl. When they got there, Emily was standing in the middle of the room, tears streaming down her face.

"What's wrong, love?" Bridget knelt down in front of her, and wiped the tears from her face.

Emily wrapped her arms around her aunt's neck. "I woke up and you were gone."

Bridget sighed. "I stayed until you were asleep." She rubbed Emily's back in an effort to calm her down.

"I was scared." The young girl's tears had begun to slow.

"We're right here. We wouldn't leave you alone in the house," Franky said quietly, crouching down beside Bridget.

"Come back out in the living room with us and you can lay down on the couch instead." The blonde stood up and took Emily's hand.

Within a few minutes, she was asleep again as Bridget made more phone calls from the kitchen table, and Franky cleaned up in the kitchen. The brunette heard the front door open and quickly went to the hallway to make sure whoever it was didn't wake Emily.

"Hey Vera," she said quietly. "Come on in. Em's just asleep on the couch."

"Oh, sure. I just came by to drop this off." She held up bags filled with take out food. "I thought you guys might be busy or not feel like cooking so I picked up some stuff. There should be lots of leftovers for a couple of days."

"Thanks," Franky said, taking the bags from Vera. "Gidge is just at the table."

Vera gave a little wave to Bridget when she entered the living room, and her friend got up and joined the other two women. Franky was currently unpacking all the food Vera had brought with her. It looked to be enough to feed an army.

"Vera brought us a few meals."

"Aw, thank you, that was really thoughtful." The blonde gave her friend a hug.

"I feel like I should be the one hugging you," Vera said. "How are you guys doing?"

"As good as can be expected I think. Em has been asleep for the last hour or so." Bridget's gaze drifted over to the small girl on the couch.

Vera sensed that there were probably some things that weren't being said, and that it had been a draining day for everyone at the house. "I should go and let you guys rest. If you need anything at all, just let me know."

"Actually, why don't you stay and eat with us?" Franky said, looking to Bridget for confirmation.

"Yeah, stay and have dinner with us."

Vera looked back and forth between the two of them. "Okay," she reluctantly agreed.

********

They had woken Emily when it came time for dinner, and actually managed to get her to eat some food without too much convincing. Vera didn't have to work until ten the next morning, so she agreed to watch the girl for an hour or so, so that Franky and Bridget could go speak with the principal at the school. The blonde knew that after the way Emily had woken up crying that afternoon that she would have to prepare her for being left with Vera the next morning.

"Em, love, we need to talk to you for a minute before you go to bed." Bridget said, sitting down beside the girl on the couch. Franky joined them, and sat on the opposite side of the girl. "Tomorrow morning, Franky and I have to go to your school and talk to Ms. Johns, so we might not be here when you wake up." The blonde could see the tears starting in Emily's eyes. "Shh, no, listen," she said, brushing her thumb over the girl's cheek. "We're only going to be out for a little bit, and Vera will be here with you, okay? You won't be alone."

Emily looked to Franky. "We won't be gone long. Promise." The brunette said.

“How long?” The young girl asked quietly.

“An hour, maybe a bit more.” Franky knew they probably wouldn’t even be an hour, but she figured it would be better to be back sooner than expected than to be running late. “And Vera will be here. You’ve stayed the whole night with her before.” Emily gave a small nod.

“Alright, time for bed then. Go get your pyjamas on then we’ll be in to say goodnight.” Bridget patted her on the back and tipped her head in the direction of Emily’s bedroom.

The girl hesitated to get up off the couch. “Can I sleep in your bed tonight?”

Bridget looked to Franky, who gave a small shrug as if to say it was up to the blonde. “We’re not going to bed yet though, love.”

“Please?” Emily looked to Franky.

“It’s been a long day, and we have to get up early tomorrow. Maybe we could all use the extra hour or so?” Franky suggested. In all honesty, the brunette wasn’t that tired, but she knew that Emily, and especially Bridget, probably were, and she was willing to lay in bed awake if it meant they’d get some sleep.

“Alright, let’s go then.” Bridget knew that Franky was right, and that even if she insisted that Emily go to sleep in her own bed, she’d probably end up in theirs before the night was over anyway.

It wasn’t long before Franky was the only one left awake. Emily had insisted on sleeping between them again, and now Franky laid on her side looking at the young girl and Bridget, studying the peaceful expressions on their faces. She couldn’t believe how much her life had changed in just a matter of months. She’d gone from someone who mostly just had one night stands, to someone who was living with her girlfriend, and now as of today, would be potentially helping to raise a child. She let her thoughts overwhelm her for a moment before she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She was sure of her feelings for Bridget, and she was sure that she cared very much for Emily. They were all in this together now. She closed her eyes. Yeah, she could do this, she thought as she drifted off to sleep.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Bridget, Franky, and Emily, were all eating breakfast when Vera arrived.

“Hey, you want an omelette? I made an extra one. It’s just in the pan staying warm.” Franky got up to get Vera a plate.

“Oh, uh, thank you, that wasn’t necessary.” Vera hung her bag on the chair, and sat down at the table with them.

“Ah, it’s no trouble.” The brunette sat the plate down in front of their guest.

Once they had finished eating, Bridget sat back down at the table beside Emily, who was currently working on colouring a picture. “Franky and I are going to leave in a minute, and Vera is going to stay until we get back just like we talked about yesterday, okay?”

“How do I know you’re coming back?” The young girl didn’t look up at Bridget, but the blonde saw her wipe a tear from her face.

“Because we promised you that we would.” Bridget reached over and tucked a strand of hair behind Emily’s ear so that she could see her face better.

“What if there’s an accident like what happened with my Dad?” She had stopped colouring now, but her eyes were still focused on the picture in front of her.

“We’re going to walk, love. We’re not driving the car,” the blonde quietly explained.

Franky came out of the bedroom, where she had been changing her clothes. She had heard most of the conversation between Bridget and her niece. Her heart ached for the young girl. She knew she was shy and didn’t take to people easily, so she couldn’t imagine how it must feel for her to have both of her parents taken away from her. Right now, her and Bridget were the people who gave her comfort, and now they were saying they were both leaving. Even though it was only for a short time, she understood why Emily didn’t want them to leave.

“You could get hit by a car crossing the road. That would be an accident.”

Bridget stroked Emily’s hair and let out a quiet sigh.

“But we’re going to be really careful, like we tell you when you cross the street, so we’ll be okay,” Franky explained. She had come to stand on the opposite side of Emily. She could see the small girl shake her head. The brunette pulled out the chair in front of her and sat down so she could look Emily in the eye. “Hold out your hand.” The girl slowly put out her hand. “This,” Franky said, placing one of her silver rings in the palm of Emily’s hand, “is my favourite ring. If I leave it with you, you’ll know I’m coming back to get it since it’s something that means a lot to me, okay?”

Emily looked at Franky, then Bridget. The blonde silently took off one of her own rings and placed it along with Franky’s in the young girl’s hand. Emily closed her fingers around the items and gave a small nod. They both gave Emily a kiss on the cheek and headed for the door.

On their way past Vera, Bridget noticed that her friend wiped a tear from her eye. The blonde placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “If you need anything, call us.”

Franky took Bridget’s hand as they walked down the street towards Emily’s school.

“That was really good, what you did with Em,” the blonde said, leaning into Franky as they walked.

“Yeah? I don’t know, it’s just something I thought might work.” She glanced over and gave Bridget a small smile.

When they got to the school, they went straight into the principal’s office and were greeted by her secretary. “Hi, I’m Bridget Westfall. I’m hoping to meet with Ms. Johns to discuss my niece, Emily. I was speaking with her yesterday on the phone and she asked me to come in.”

“Oh yes, I’ll let her know you’re here. She just got in, so it may be a minute before she’s ready. You can have a seat if you like.” She motioned toward the small couch in the office as she picked up the phone.

Bridget and Franky sat down and waited. The brunette looked around, and saw all the kids coming in ready for their day. She’d picked up Emily at school many times, but actually being inside one again was bringing back a lot of memories, and not good ones. She wondered if any of them were going through what she did as a child. She reached to play with the ring that she always did when she was anxious or nervous, only to find that it wasn’t there. It took a second for her to register that it was the one she’d left with Emily. Bridget caught Franky out of the corner of her eye. She could tell just by the brunette’s body language that she was feeling a bit uncomfortable.

After about five minutes, Ms. Johns came out of her office. “Ms. Westfall.” She shook Bridget’s hand.

“Bridget, please.” Being called by her last name always made her feel like she was at work.

“Bridget,” Ms. Johns smiled and turned to Franky. “And Ms…” She suddenly realized that she hadn’t caught her last name when they had spoken a few days earlier.

“Doyle, but you can just call me Franky,” the brunette said, shaking the other woman’s hand.

“Right, come in, please.” She led the way into her office, and Franky and Bridget sat in the two chairs facing the desk as the principal took her seat behind it. “First of all, I just want to say that I’m very sorry for your loss. It is always hard to lose a family member, especially for a child, and probably even more so for Emily. If it’s any consolation, having heard the way she speaks of both of you, I feel like she’ll settle into your home nicely.” She reached into the drawer of her desk and pulled out a folder. “This is Emily’s student file. There are some forms I’ll need you to fill out. We received a fax from your late brother’s lawyer at some point overnight with the custody paperwork.”

“That was fast,” Franky said, more to herself than anyone else, but the principal picked up on it.

“Child custody issues are usually the top priority in these cases. They like to get that sorted out so the child can begin to get settled, and so that paperwork like this can move ahead.” Ms. Johns gave Franky a weak smile. This was truly part of her job she didn’t like, and she was thankful that she rarely had to deal with situations like this.

Bridget flipped through the papers. “I’d like to have Franky added to these as well. In case there’s an emergency, I want her to be a contact.”

“Of course. There’s a section at the bottom of the last page where you can list another contact, and then you’ll both need to sign it.” She handed Franky another packet of papers. “These are the memos that went out to parents over the past month. There are some upcoming dates to keep in mind, and a registration package for next year. Now, those haven’t even gone out to the students yet, but we weren’t sure when Emily would be feeling up to coming back. One thing to note is there’s a career day coming up next week. You’re both welcome to attend if you’re able. Even if she isn’t back in class yet, it might be something fun for her.”

“We both have the rest of the week off, so we’re hoping to have her back here by the time we go back to work,” Bridget said, handing her file to Franky so she could sign the form. “And career day sounds lovely, although I’m not sure how many kids will be interested in what a prison psychologist does.” The blonde gave a small laugh.

“There’s always the possibility that you’ll be inspiring a young mind.” Ms. Johns smiled warmly. “I have to say she’s very lucky to have both of you.” The principal shifted in her chair. “Maybe it isn’t my place to say this, but she seems much happier when she’s in your care.”

“You had mentioned the day I picked her up when she wasn’t feeling well that she liked talking about staying at our place.”

“It was more than just that though after we spoke that time. She was...almost depressed.” She looked between the two women. “The important thing now though is getting her through what’s happened with her Dad, and I’m confident she’ll have all the support she needs at home.”

“We’re going to do our best and I’m waiting to hear back from a child psychologist I contacted yesterday. I think she’ll benefit from a few sessions, just to make sure she’s processing everything okay.” Bridget glanced at Franky. “And we’ll both be there for career day.” The brunette gave a nod.

“There is one more thing that her teacher wanted me to mention to you. The final project for the year that she’ll be doing with them in a couple of weeks is a family tree. She wanted you to know because she thought it might be a sensitive topic for Emily.” Ms. Johns gave Bridget a final piece of paper outlining the details of the project.

“Thank you for letting us know. We’ll see how she’s doing by then.”

Franky sat the file she had signed back on the desk. She noticed Bridget silently looking at the paper she was holding. The brunette reached over and placed a comforting hand on her girlfriend’s back. “We’ll talk to her.” The blonde gave a small nod.

“I think that’s really all we had to cover unless you two have any questions,” the principal said as she placed Emily’s file back into the drawer.

Bridget shook her head. “I can’t think of anything right now. We’ll let you know when we think she’s coming back.” The blonde gave a small, polite smile as she stood up and headed for the door.

Franky stood up quickly. She had been unprepared for Bridget’s sudden exit. “Thanks, for everything. We’ll be in touch.” She reached over the desk and shook Ms. Johns’s hand one last time before turning to follow the blonde.

It took her a few quick steps to catch up with her girlfriend. “Gidge, you alright?” She put a hand on the older woman’s shoulder in an effort to get her to stop walking and talk for a minute.

“I don’t know…” She trailed off as she looked around the lobby. The morning rush seemed to be over; there were only a few parents on their way out the door from dropping off their kids.

Franky knew that while Bridget was open with her feelings most of the time, she wasn’t someone who would want to stand in public and have an emotional conversation. “Why don’t we talk when we get home?” She felt the blonde take her hand and give it a small squeeze.

They walked most of the way home in silence. When they reached the front door, Bridget said she was going to go change into something more comfortable, and Franky took this as her cue that the blonde wanted to talk in the bedroom.

As soon as the door opened Emily came running. “Auntie Bridge! Franky!” The girl tried to hug both of them at the same time.

“Hey, love,” Bridget said, as she reached down to return Emily’s half hug. “I’ll be right back, okay?” The blonde carefully stepped out of the young girl’s arms and made her way to the bedroom.

“Where’s Auntie going? I have to give her ring back.” Emily looked towards the door Bridget had just closed behind her.

“She’ll be right back, bub. I’m going to go talk to her for a minute then you can give them back to us.” The brunette caught Vera’s eye.

“Hey, Em, come on back and we’ll finish our game before I have to leave for work.” Vera was still sitting on the floor by the coffee table, where it looked like her and Emily had been playing a card game. The girl reluctantly went back with Vera, and Franky went to the bedroom.

When she got there, she saw Bridget standing, looking out the window. She quietly closed the door, walked up behind the blonde, and wrapped her arms around her. “Hey, babe.” She heard Bridget sigh, as she turned in her arms to face her.

“What if I don’t know how to have some of those conversations with her?” The blonde’s voice was muffled as she rested her head against Franky’s shoulder and neck.

“I don’t think anyone knows how to talk about those types of things. I think they just do their best, and you won’t have to do it alone.” The brunette rubbed her hand up and down the other woman’s back.

“It’s my job to know how though,” Bridget said as she felt Franky’s arm tighten around her a bit more.

“It's different when you’re involved in the situation though, yeah? You mentioned that once when I was in Wentworth. You can’t look at this as a therapist. That’s why you’re sending her to see that other guy. It might be messy, but we’ll get through it.” The brunette gave her a small kiss on the side of her head.

“There’s still so much to do.” Bridget reached up and touched the kite necklace that Franky always wore. “We should go get Em’s things from the house, and clear the rest of my stuff out of her closet.”

“And let her decide how she wants to decorate her room.”

Bridget pulled back and looked at Franky. “I didn’t think of that.”

“I mean, I guess it’s not technically necessary, but it was just something I always wanted to do as a kid and I never got to. My mom never offered, and I never stayed in any of the foster homes long enough to bother. It might help her feel more settled, like she has a space that’s hers.” When the brunette finished, she saw there were tears in Bridget’s eyes, and she thought maybe she’d said something wrong. “We don’t have to.”

“No, it’s a good idea. A really good idea actually.” The blonde gave her a small kiss.

“Okay. So we’ll just take one thing at a time, and we’ll figure out the hard stuff together, alright?” Franky said, and Bridget gave a small nod. “We should get changed and go back out so that Vera can get to work.” Franky wiped the tears that had fallen down the blonde’s cheeks, and they both proceeded to change into more comfortable clothes.

When they left the bedroom, Emily waited until they had made it to the living room, before she approached them with the rings.

“Vera said I had to wait until you were out here to give these back.” She handed one ring to Franky and the other to Bridget.

“I just wanted you to have whatever time you needed.” Vera said, getting up off the floor.

“Thanks.” Bridget gave her a hug. “And thank you for watching her this morning.”

“Oh, no problem. Everything okay at the school?”

“Yeah, it’s all good, just a bit overwhelming.” The blonde gave her a small smile.

“Okay,” Vera returned the smile, and headed for the door. As she put her hand on the handle, she turned back to face Bridget. “If you need someone to watch Em while you go take care of something, I don’t mind. Or if you just need a break for a bit.”

“Thanks, I think we’re okay for now, but I’m sure we’ll take you up on that offer at some point in the future.” She gave Vera another hug and a kiss on the cheek before she left.

********

After Vera left, Bridget’s day filled up quickly. She had gotten a call from both Tim’s lawyer, and the officer handling the accident investigation, asking if they could come by the house to meet with her. She didn’t know if she was ready for either of those things, but she knew they needed to be done, and Franky would be there with her.

It was early afternoon when James, Tim’s lawyer, showed up. Bridget greeted him at the door while Franky told Emily that they’d be in the office for a bit having a meeting if she needed anything.

“This is my girlfriend, Franky.” Bridget had introduced herself at the door, but the brunette had been talking with Emily, so she took the opportunity as they settled into their seats in the office.

“Nice to meet you. I’m James, Tim’s lawyer.” He shook Franky’s hand as he sat.

“To begin with, I’d like to offer my condolences. I didn’t know your brother for very long, but he seemed like a nice man.” James placed a file in front of Bridget. “As we go through, I’ll get you to sign where I’ve marked, and then I’ll give you another copy to keep for your records.”

Bridget took a deep breath, and Franky placed a hand on the blonde’s back.

James continued. “Your brother actually made his will very straightforward. As you already know, he has given full custody of Emily to you. Any financial investments and money will be placed in an account, which you will oversee, to be used for any necessary expenses relating to the care of his daughter and her post-secondary education. This will eventually include money from the sale of the house and belongings. Anything in the house that you, or Emily, wish to keep is yours, and you’ll have one month to remove whatever items you want. Is that something you’re able to do in that time frame?”

“Yeah. We were thinking of going to get Emily’s things in the next day or so. Other than that, I can’t think of anything we’d want. Maybe some family pictures for her to have.” The blonde glanced over to Franky who gave a small nod of agreement.

“There’s also something he mentioned about a…sample at a sperm bank?” James looked up at Bridget and she nodded, indicating that she knew what he was talking about. “He said you would know the details of that, and this is the paperwork for it.” He handed her another large envelope.

“Wait,” the blonde said, looking at what had just been handed to her. “He only talked to me about this two days before he died. How is it already in his will?”

“He may have only just spoken with you about it, but he added it to his will a couple of weeks ago when he came to see me. He added some details about financial items as well. Mostly things to make sure that Emily was taken care of in that way. Speaking of which.” he handed Bridget another envelope. “This is information on her medical insurance, which is set up to be paid from the account that holds her money, as well as her medical records and birth certificate. And this is all of the banking information you’ll need to manage that account.” He sat a final stack of paper in front of her. “I sent some paperwork to the school yesterday, so that will be ready when you arrive.”

“We were actually there this morning and signed everything.” Bridget felt like her mind was spinning.

“Ah, very good. So if you’ll just go through and sign where I’ve marked. It’s all things we’ve discussed, but take your time and read it, and ask if you have any questions.” He leaned back in his chair and waited while the blonde went through the pages.

Franky was quiet for a few minutes before she spoke up. “I do have a question, actually.”

“Yes?” James had been watching Bridget sign the papers, but looked to Franky when she spoke.

“Bridget’s custody of Em, that’s like full, one hundred percent custody, right?” She’d heard it from Bridget, but she needed to make sure.

“Oh yes, absolutely. The only way it wouldn’t be would be if Ms. Westfall herself declined to accept the arrangement. Once she signs those papers,” he motioned to the file that Bridget was currently working her way through, “everything will be finalized.”

Franky nodded, satisfied with his answer. “Okay, good, thank you.”

The blonde closed the file and handed it back to James.

“Perfect. Here’s your copy for your records.” He handed her another copy of what she’d just looked through. “If there’s nothing more then I think we’re done.”

“I can’t think of anything right now. It’s all a bit overwhelming to be honest.” Bridget stacked the papers he had given her.

“I understand. Here’s my card if you think of anything later.” James gave her a card, then gathered his things.

Franky showed him out, and seeing that Emily was still content with drawing and watching cartoons, she returned to the office to be with Bridget.

“Does this seem weird to you?” the blonde asked, flipping through some of the pages.

“Weird how?” Franky asked, sitting down beside her.

“Like just very organized. He’d thought of everything. I mean, I know with his job he’s used to dealing with the fine details of things and he has to be very organized, but this….” She trailed off as she looked through more documents.

The brunette shrugged. “Maybe he just wanted to make sure she was looked after. Especially since her mom has passed away too. Maybe when that happened he realized a few things.”

“Yeah, maybe.”

It was only a few minutes before the officer arrived, and while Bridget was already tired, she was thankful that they’d be getting both meetings out of the way. When the doorbell rang, Franky said she’d go bring him in.

“Ms. Westfall,” he greeted her as he entered the office, and sat down. “I have the final report here from forensics. I can give you the key points if you’d like or just leave it for you to read.”

“Honestly, I don’t really want to read it so you go ahead.” Bridget readied herself for what the officer was about to tell her.

“At approximately eleven thirty Monday night, we were called to a single vehicle accident. Your brother was the sole occupant of the car, and after twenty minutes of attempting to resuscitate him, was pronounced dead at the scene. They didn’t find anything mechanically wrong with the car, and the weather at the time didn’t play a factor. The car was travelling approximately twenty kilometres per hour over the speed limit, but it isn’t believed that speed alone was the cause of the accident.” He flipped over to the next page in his notes.

“What does that mean? That speed alone wasn’t the cause.” The blonde sat forward in her chair.

“Uh, yes, well that brings me to the toxicology report. They found that your brother had a high level of alcohol in his system at the time of the crash. He would have been well over the legal limit. Now, twenty kilometres over the speed limit on that road, while illegal, probably wouldn’t have caused a sober person to have an accident. With the level of alcohol in your brother’s system though, it would have been a contributing factor. It’s our belief that, because of those two things, he simply lost control of the car, and went off the road.” He closed his notebook.

“He, ah, he was in rehab though.” Bridget hadn’t quite let it sink in yet, but her fears were being confirmed.

“You mentioned that when we were here the other night, so as part of the investigation, we looked into it. We couldn’t find him registered with any facility in the city. It would appear that he never actually went.”

Bridget lowered her head, staring at the floor, and Franky could see the tears coming from her eyes. The brunette put her arm around her and pulled her in close to her side.

“I’m very sorry, ma’am.” The blonde just nodded her head. “That was everything we know from the report, so I won’t take any more of your time. If there’s anything else you need, or any questions, you can contact myself or the department.” He stood up, and Franky started to stand, to walk him out. He put his hand on her shoulder to stop her. “I can see myself out, stay with her.”

A few seconds later the brunette heard the front door open and close. “Gidge?”

“I believed him,” the blonde said quietly. “He said he was getting help, and I believed him. Even though he still looked tired, and never wanted to hang around much. I should have checked; I should have known.”

“Gidge, you can’t blame yourself for this. You did what you thought was right, and it was, but…” She didn’t know how to finish that sentence so she just shrugged her shoulders. The cliché of saying ‘sometimes things just happen’ didn’t seem like a good enough reason right now.

“That’s why he did all that planning.” She motioned to the stack of papers the lawyer had left earlier. “He never intended to get better.”

“Maybe he just knew that this time it wasn’t something he could beat. I’ve seen a lot of addicts in my life, probably you have too, and we both know it’s not always a battle that can be won. Gidge.” When Bridget refused to lift her head, Franky got on her knees in front of her to force her to meet her stare. “I know you don’t want to hear this right now, but you need to realize that you can’t blame yourself. There is one positive thing here in all this mess.”

“What could possibly be positive in this?” Bridget wiped her fingers across her cheeks.

“He made sure Emily was looked after, and safe. That’s huge, Gidge. He looked after her by letting us take her, and he looked after her in his will, both financially, and by giving you custody.” Franky waited as the blonde slowly nodded and let that sink in. “Come here,” the brunette said, moving closer to her girlfriend and wrapping her arms around her. She felt Bridget hang on to handfuls of her shirt as the brunette rubbed her back. “You should go lay down for a bit, and I’ll get some things done around the house. I’ll start moving the rest of the stuff out of the closet in Em’s room, and put it in the other bedroom for you to go through later, okay?”

Bridget nodded, and made her way from the office to her bedroom. Franky went out to the living room and sat beside Emily. She wanted to spend a few minutes with her before she started on her work.

“Is Auntie Bridge okay?” the young girl asked as Franky sat down beside her.

“Yeah, bub, she’s just sad. We’ve been talking with those men about your dad. She’s gone to lay down for a bit.” The brunette put her arm around Emily, and the young girl leaned into her.

“Should I go be with her because she’s sad?” Emily asked, looking up at Franky.

“Sometimes when people are sad they need some time alone. Why don’t we give her a bit of time by herself? Then if you still want to see how she is, you can go in and ask if she’d like you to stay with her.” As much as Franky knew that Bridget loved her niece, she also knew that it had been an emotionally exhausting morning for the blonde, and she wanted her to get some rest.

“Okay, can you sit with me for a while?” Emily curled herself up against Franky even more.

The brunette couldn’t say no, especially with everything that was going on with the young girl. “Yeah, sure. Are you doing okay? You can talk to me or Auntie if you need to.”

“I’m okay,” Emily said, still watching the cartoon. After a few minutes, Franky felt a soft touch on the inside of her left forearm. “What does this mean?” The girl was pointing to the brunette’s nautical star tattoo.

“It’s a nautical star. It represents guidance.” Franky didn’t normally like people asking about her tattoos, but the star didn’t hold a big personal meaning for her, and she knew Emily was just curious.

“I like stars, they’re pretty.”

“Mmhmm, like the night sky?” An idea was forming in the brunette’s mind.

“Yeah!” Emily smiled.

They sat and watched the cartoons in silence for a while.

“Can I go check on her now?”

Franky looked at the clock. It had been about half an hour. “Okay. Don’t wake her if she’s sleeping though. If she is, come back out with me.” The brunette watched as Emily disappeared down the hallway. When she hadn’t returned after a couple of minutes, Franky assumed Bridget had said it was okay for her to stay.

She turned off the tv and got up from the couch. It was time to start cleaning out Emily’s room like she had told Bridget she’d do. The blonde had gone through a lot of her clothing when Franky moved in, and had donated the items she didn’t wear anymore to make space for the brunette’s things. The other stuff got put in the closets in the other two rooms. Now Franky had the job of moving everything out of the room that would be Emily’s, and into the third bedroom.

The clothes she just laid carefully on the bed. There was no more room to hang up anything, so Bridget would have to downsize her wardrobe a bit more. Next, she started on the boxes. None of them had anything written on them, and she had no idea as to what their contents might be.

It didn’t take her long to move them all. As she was stacking the last few in the closet, she accidentally knocked one off the edge of the dresser when she turned around. The brunette held her breath, hoping there was nothing breakable in it. She was relieved when she didn’t hear a smash, but when she opened her eyes, she saw that the contents had spilled out onto the floor.

It looked to be things from Bridget’s university days. There were copies of the psychology society’s newspapers that contained articles that the blonde had written, a couple of awards she had gotten, and some pictures of her and her friends at various social functions.

Franky flipped through the pictures. Bridget looked to be quite young, maybe twenty years old, but she still had the same sparkling blue eyes and bright smile. The brunette stopped when she came to a photo that looked like it had been taken at a Halloween party. Bridget was dressed as a cop, in a complete uniform, including the hat and sunglasses. Franky smiled, her girlfriend looked hot.

She picked up the box, and opened it to repack the things that had fallen out. As she opened the flaps, she saw that it wasn’t empty. In the bottom was something made from a light blue fabric, and a pair of sunglasses. An even bigger smile formed on the brunette’s face as she pulled out the cop shirt that Bridget had been wearing in the picture.

She pulled her t-shirt off, and stepped in front of the mirror. Bridget was a bit smaller than her but it looked like the shirt had fit her loosely in the picture. Franky buttoned it up, and checked how it looked on her. It was tight, not too tight but enough that it turned Bridget’s normal cop costume into a hot cop costume. The brunette nodded as she changed back into her own shirt. She carefully folded the cop shirt and set it aside. When she had finished putting the boxes away, she tucked the shirt neatly into one of the empty dresser drawers until she could move it to her own once Bridget woke up.

Chapter Text

Bridget woke up with Emily’s arm laid across her face. Her niece had slept in their bed again that night. The blonde knew that eventually this had to come to an end, but she didn’t have the heart to make the girl sleep on her own just yet. She carefully moved Emily’s arm, and slid out of the bed. She walked quietly to the other side, and bent down, giving the brunette a soft kiss on the temple.

“Baby,” Bridget whispered softly.

“Mmm?” Franky started to stir.

“Shh, don’t wake Em.” She placed a soft kiss next to her girlfriend’s ear. “Come shower with me.” Franky smiled, and slowly moved away from Emily.

Bridget turned on the water in the shower, letting it warm up while she took off her clothes. She stepped in and let the water run down over her back. A minute later, she heard the shower door slide open behind her, and felt a rush of cooler air as Franky joined her. The blonde felt the warmth of the water on her back replaced by the warmth of her girlfriend pressed against her.

Franky placed soft kisses on the back of Bridget’s neck and shoulders as she wrapped her arms around the blonde. She ended with a gentle bite, which made Bridget let out a small laugh.

The brunette smiled against her girlfriend’s skin. “What’s funny, babe?” she asked, placing a small kiss below the other woman’s ear.

“Mmm, you like to bite me.” Bridget turned so that she was facing Franky. She draped one arm over the brunette’s shoulder, and reached up with her other hand to cup the taller woman’s cheek. She brushed her thumb lightly across Franky’s lips.

The brunette smiled. “I never really thought about it, but yeah. Has no one else done that to you?” Bridget shrugged, and Franky tried to read her expression. “Do you not like it?”

“No, I like it.” She pulled Franky down for a long, deep kiss.

When their lips parted, the brunette reached back to the shelf and picked up the bottle of shampoo. She motioned for Bridget to turn around as she squeezed some into her own hand. They took their time washing each other, and when they had finished, they stood together once more under the warm water, sharing small kisses.

Franky pulled the blonde close again. “I’ve missed holding you at night.”

“I’ve missed it too, baby. We’ll try to get her back to her own bed soon.” Bridget nuzzled into the crook of the brunette’s neck.

“We don’t have to rush anything. I know she needs us right now.” Franky ran her hand over the blonde’s back.

“Mmm, I know.” Bridget closed her eyes. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

The quiet was soon interrupted by Emily knocking loudly on the bathroom door. “Franky!? Auntie Bridge!?”

Franky thought it sounded like the young girl was crying. “It’s okay. We’re both here, bub. Everything’s alright, we’ll be out in a minute.”

Bridget turned off the water, and grabbed her towel as she stepped out. Franky followed. The blonde wrapped her towel around herself and opened the door a crack so she could talk to Emily.

“Are you okay, love?” Bridget asked as she glanced behind her to make sure that Franky was covered before she opened the door the rest of the way.

“You were both gone when I woke up.” Emily wiped her face dry with the sleeve of her pyjamas.

“We wanted to let you sleep a bit longer.” It wasn’t really a lie, but it also wasn’t the only reason they’d left her there. “Give us a minute and we’ll be out for breakfast, okay?” Emily nodded, and went to wait for them in the kitchen.

Franky walked into the kitchen, leaned on the island, and looked into the living room, where Emily was looking through one of her books. “What do you think of pizza for breakfast?” she asked with a big smile on her face.

“Yeah!” The young girl left her book on the couch and came over to help Franky. “Auntie Bridge! We’re having pizza for breakfast!”

“Are we?” Bridget smiled when she saw how excited her niece was.

“I made coffee,” the brunette said, handing Bridget a mug.

“Mmm, thanks babe.” The blonde took a sip as she sat down on the stool on the opposite side of the island.

Emily was carefully chopping the veggies to use for toppings. “Why do you shower together?”

Franky and Bridget’s eyes met across the island. The brunette gave a smirk and went back to preparing the food. Bridget realized she was clearly left to answer this on her own.

“Ah, it um, it saves time.” She took another sip of her coffee.

“Not usually,” Franky said under her breath with a small smile.

“Franky,” Bridget warned.

Emily looked between the two of them, shrugged, and went back to cutting up the vegetables.

“We have some things we have to do today, Em,” Bridget said. She glanced up at Franky. The two of them had talked about this last night after Emily had fallen asleep, and they weren’t sure how the girl would react. “We need to go to the house and get the rest of your things. We’d like for you to come with us.” The girl didn’t say anything, but just nodded. Bridget had more that she wanted to talk about, but she decided to wait until the pizza was in the oven. She didn’t want to distract Emily any more while she was using the knife.

Once Emily and Franky had made what they declared to be the perfect pizza, Bridget asked them to join her on the couch. “There’s one other thing I wanted to talk to you about, but I think it’s actually something fun.” The blonde waited until she knew she had the young girl’s attention. “Since you live here now, we thought it would be nice if we helped you decorate your room however you want, so it feels more like your own space.”

“Anything I want?” Emily looked up at her aunt.

“Within reason, yeah. What were you thinking of?” Bridget waited for her niece’s answer.

When Emily stayed quiet, Franky spoke up. “Remember what you told me you liked the other day? When we were sitting on the couch.”

“The stars,” Emily said quietly.

“Yeah, the stars. You said you thought they were pretty. How about something like that?” Franky glanced at Bridget, who nodded her agreement. “We can paint the ceiling maybe a dark navy blue, and the walls a lighter blue. Then we can get some of those glow-in-the-dark stars and put them on the ceiling so you can lay in bed and look up at them.”

“Really?” The small blonde looked excitedly at her aunt, then Franky.

“Yeah! You want to do that?” Bridget was happy to see her niece excited about something. Emily nodded her head. “Okay, we’ll go after we eat.”

********

The first stop was at Tim’s house to get Emily’s things.

“Gidge, I think we didn’t think this through,” Franky said, as they walked up to the house.

“What do you mean?” Bridget thought that maybe the brunette was sensing that it wasn’t a good idea to bring Emily along.

“She has furniture, right? She’ll probably want her own bed and stuff, and we have a car with three people riding in it.”

Bridget stopped and looked back at the car. “Oh. Well, um, we can take the small stuff today, then I’ll see if someone I know has a truck and would help us with the bigger stuff.”

“It’s actually probably better if there’s nothing in there while we’re painting anyway.” Franky waited while the blonde unlocked the door.

“Go ahead, love.” Bridget put her hand on Emily’s shoulder and guided her into the house.

They made their way to the young girl’s bedroom and sat the boxes they’d brought in the middle of the floor.

“Alright, everything you want in the boxes. I’ll start packing the clothes.” Franky placed the suitcases on the girl’s bed, and opened them while Bridget and Emily packed up the boxes.

Bridget noticed, after a few minutes, that Emily had disappeared. The blonde told Franky that she’d be back, and set out to look for the young girl. She found her in Tim’s bedroom, sitting on the bed, looking at a picture of her with her parents.

“We can take this, and the other pictures too if you want,” the blonde said, sitting down beside her. “Is there something of your Dad’s that you’d like to have?” Emily shrugged. Bridget decided to leave the girl, to give her some time alone, and went back to help Franky.

“She okay?” the brunette asked when Bridget returned to the bedroom.

“Yeah, she’s looking at family pictures in Tim’s room.” She took a seat on the bed and leaned forward, resting her head in her hands.

Franky zipped up the suitcases, having packed the last of Emily’s clothes, and sat them on the ground. The brunette sat down beside her girlfriend. She reached over and rubbed her hand up and down the blonde’s back.

“Are you okay, baby?” Bridget turned her head to look at Franky.

“I think I should be the one asking you that.” The brunette gave her a weak smile.

“No, I mean, you’re making sure that Em and I are okay, but no one’s asking you if you are.” The blonde reached out and took Franky’s hand in hers.

“It’s not easy watching what you guys are going through, and I’ll admit sometimes I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing or if it’s enough. But yes, I’m okay.”

“You’re doing great with us.” Bridget gave Franky a small kiss.

“I want to keep this.” Emily had returned carrying what looked to be a footy jersey.

“The Sydney Swans,” Bridget read, as she held up the jersey. “Your Dad always did love footy.”

“My favourite player is Josh.” Emily sat down beside her aunt on the bed.

“Did you watch the games with your Dad?” the blonde asked, as she folded the jersey to take with them. Emily nodded. “Ah, okay, maybe we can watch some of their games on tv.” Just then her phone rang. She took it out of her pocket and looked at the caller ID. “I’ll be right back.” She went into the hallway to take the call.

“There’s footy teams here in Melbourne too. Maybe we can actually go to a game sometime.” Franky started closing up some of the boxes that were full. “I think we’ve got everything from in here. When your Auntie comes back, you guys can find the pictures you want, alright?”

“Franky.” Bridget stood in the doorway and called for the brunette to come talk with her for a minute.

“Yeah, babe?”

The blonde checked to make sure that Emily had stayed behind in the bedroom. “That was the secretary from the psychologist office, they have an appointment for her with Brad Crosby first thing tomorrow morning.”

“Do you know him? Is he good?” Franky knew that Emily needed to talk to someone, but she was nervous for her too.

“I don’t know him, but this office has a good reputation and they specialize in treating children. Besides, if Emily doesn’t get along with him, we can try someone else if we have to, okay?” Bridget reached up, cupping the brunette’s face as she ran her thumb back and forth over her cheek.

“Okay.” Franky let out a sigh.

While Bridget and Emily gathered the family photo albums and took the pictures off the walls, Franky disassembled the furniture in the young girl’s room as much as she could. She wanted everything to be ready so it would be a quick trip when they came back to get it. Once she was done, they loaded the boxes into the car, and headed to the home improvement store.

********

“Alright, so you want a really dark blue for the ceiling, right?” Bridget asked as she stood with Franky and Emily in front of the selection of paint chips.

“That one.” Emily pointed to a dark navy blue chip, and Bridget picked up the small card.

“Now something a bit lighter for the walls. Here, hold this next to the ones you think you’d like and see how they look together.” The blonde handed her niece the colour chip she’d just picked up.

“I like this.” The second colour she’d picked was a light sky blue.

“Ooo, that’ll be nice, love.” Bridget took the two color cards. “I’ll get these mixed while you guys go pick out the decor stuff if you want.”

“Sure. Come on, bub.” Franky held out her hand for Emily to hang on to. “I think I saw the aisle we need on our way in.” They walked a few rows before they came to what the brunette was looking for. “Here we are. Which one of these do you like?”

They had a few kits for turning your bedroom ceiling into a night sky. Everything from the whimsical glow in the dark stars and moons, to the kits that actually had templates that you projected on the ceiling to show you where to paint so you’d have an exact replica of the night sky. The brunette had to admit that while the real-life replicas looked really cool, she was hoping that Emily would pick one that maybe didn’t take so much patience.

“This one.” Emily held out one of the boxes.

“Paint a perfect replica of the night sky in your very own bedroom.” Franky smiled to herself. “Looks great, bub. There’s one more thing I think would be really cool.” They walked down to the other end of the aisle, and the brunette picked up a string of fairy lights. “I think these will look pretty around your bed. Kind of like a nightlight.”

They met up with Bridget, who had the mixed paint ready, along with some supplies, and headed for the checkout.

********

When they got back home, they brought all the boxes into the garage. Franky and Bridget took apart the bed that was in the formerly spare room and moved the pieces, along with the dresser, out to the garage as well.

Franky laid down the plastic sheets to cover the carpet and begin to paint, starting with the ceiling. Once that was done, she and Bridget moved on to painting the walls. Next came the templates for the ceiling.

“Okay, so it says we need a light source, like a torch.” Bridget read the sheet of instructions from the box.

“Got it.” Franky held up the torch she’d found in the utility closet.

They continued to read through the set up, and follow the directions to create the perfect night sky for Emily. It had taken way longer than expected, but they both had to admit that it looked beautiful.

“The paint is supposed to be glow-in-the-dark. Turn off the light and let’s see.” the brunette said as she pulled the curtains to darken the room.

When Bridget flipped the light switch all the little white dots they’d painted glowed green. “Aw, it’s beautiful, baby. She’s going to love it.”

********

They had decided to wait until they were all laying in bed to tell Emily about her visit to the psychologist the next morning. They wanted her to be prepared, but they didn’t want to give her too much time to think and worry about it.

“Love, we need to talk to you about something.” Bridget ran her fingers through Emily’s hair. At first just to move it away from her face but then because she knew that it was soothing to the young girl. “You know how my job is to help people by talking to them?” Emily nodded. “Well, in my job, I only talk to adults, but there are people who talk to kids too. I think that it’s a good idea for you to talk to one of those people, and you can tell him how you feel about what happened with your Dad, and coming to live with us, and whatever else you want to talk to him about. So tomorrow morning we’re going to take you to see a really nice man, and he’s going to ask you some questions, and all you have to do is answer with the truth, okay?”

“Are you coming with me?” Emily looked from Bridget to Franky.

“Yeah, bub, we’re going to take you there. When you talk to the man though, you have to go in by yourself, but we’ll be waiting right outside the room the whole time. You can see us again as soon as your session is over.” The brunette tried to remember everything that her and Bridget had talked about when they were deciding how to explain this to the young girl.

“I want you to come in with me.” Emily grabbed her aunt’s hand.

“No, love. You have to go alone. It’s just like if we’re here in the house, but just in different rooms. Like today, how you played in the living room while we painted your bedroom. We won’t be any further away than that tomorrow.” Bridget gave Emily’s hand a small squeeze.

“But I’m scared.” The young girl turned onto her side, facing Bridget, and moved close to her aunt so that she could bury her face against her shoulder.

“Why are you scared?” Bridget asked softly.

Emily reached behind her. “Where’s Franky?”

“I’m still here, bub.” The brunette moved in closer behind the girl, and draped her arm over both Emily and Bridget. “Tell us why you’re scared.”

“I want you to come in with me so I know you’re okay.” The girl spoke softly and they had to listen carefully to hear what she had said.

“I know, love. You’re worried about us because of what happened with your Mom and Dad, right?” The blonde asked, and felt Emily nod. “That’s one of the reasons you have to go talk to this man tomorrow. He’s going to help you so you don’t feel scared or worry about that.”

“I don’t want to be alone.” Emily started to cry.

All the emotions of Franky’s childhood hit her. Waiting for her Dad to come back, feeling alone and unwanted, unloved, never really having a place where she belonged once she’d finally gotten away from her mother. She wiped the tears from her face and saw Bridget do the same.

The blonde took a deep breath. “It’s okay, love. Shhh, it’s okay. You won’t be alone. Let’s all try and get some sleep now, alright? We can talk more in the morning. Maybe we’ll all feel better after we get some rest.”

It wasn’t long before she heard Emily’s breathing even out, then Franky’s followed shortly after, leaving her as the last one still awake. She wished she could be the one to give Emily the help she needed, but it wasn’t possible. She was doing what was best for the young girl. It may be hard to see that at first, she would be upset again tomorrow when they made her go with the counsellor, but in the end it would be for the better.

Chapter Text

The first thing that Emily had asked that morning when they woke her up to get ready for her appointment with the therapist was if she really had to go in by herself. Both Franky and Bridget patiently explained again, as they had the night before, that yes, she did, but they would only be in the next room, and would be waiting for her when her session was done.

When they arrived, Emily insisted on holding Franky's hand while Bridget filled out paperwork, and checked in at the reception desk. "Remember what we talked about this morning, okay? He's just going to ask you some questions, you'll talk for a bit, and then you can come back out to us."

"I want you to come in with me." The tears had started to form in her eyes.

"No, bub. We talked about this too, okay?" Franky wiped a tear from the young girl's face. "Would it help if I told you I've done this before?"

"You have? Because you were sad?" Emily seemed to be a bit less anxious and more curious now.

"Kind of, yeah. That was part of it. But I had to go to a therapist, and go into their office by myself and talk to them." The brunette felt the girl's grip on her hand loosen a bit. "I was nervous too, but you know what?" Emily shook her head. "It was okay, and it helped me a lot. So it's okay that you're nervous about it, but you need to be brave too. Can you do that for me and Auntie?" Emily slowly nodded.

Bridget returned, and took her seat beside Emily. "Hey, love, Mr. Crosby is going to come get you in a couple of minutes."

"Did you know Franky had to do this too?" the young girl asked her Aunt.

"Mmm, I did." The blonde gave Franky a small smile.

"Hello, you must be Emily." The therapist stood a few feet in front of where Emily was sitting as he greeted her. She gave a shy nod. "My name is Brad. How are you today?" The girl shrugged. "I see you brought some friends with you. Can you tell me who they are?"

"My Auntie and Franky." Brad had to lean in a bit closer to hear her.

"Auntie...?" He looked from Bridget to Franky.

"Bridget," the blonde said, reaching out to shake his hand.

"Ah, Bridget, nice to meet you," he said, returning her handshake. "So you must be Franky then." He held out his hand to the brunette.

"That's me."

"Right, well, I'm going to ask you to come with me, Emily, and we'll have a chat in my office." Emily reluctantly stood up and began to follow him.

Bridget noticed Franky playing with her silver ring, and reached over to take her hand. "She'll be okay, baby."

"I know, it's just the whole therapy thing brings back some memories." Franky didn't like to admit that some things still bothered her as much as they did, but she knew Bridget could read her well, and there was no point in trying to hide it.

The blonde gave Franky's hand a gentle squeeze. "After he's done talking to her, he's going to want us to go in and talk with him for a few minutes. Are you okay with coming in?"

"Yeah I'm okay with it, but what are we going to talk about? Is he going to tell us what she said? I thought that was confidential." The brunette shifted in her chair.

"Yeah, of course it is. He'll just make recommendations for strategies we can use when she's upset, like when she doesn't want to leave us, or things we can do to help her."

********

Forty-five minutes later, they heard a door open down the hall, and Brad returned to the waiting room.

"I've left Emily in the counselling room. If you'd like to come to my office, we can talk for a minute." He led them back down the hallway, and held the door open to his office.

They sat down in the chairs in front of his desk. He took his seat, and typed something into his computer.

"Now as you can see," he said, turning his monitor around so they could all see what was displayed. It showed Emily sitting at a small table, playing with some blocks. "She made it through the session very well. She was a bit upset at first. You had mentioned that she's quite shy, and that she's having some separation anxiety at the moment, so I suspect that's what it was. I asked if she was okay with me sharing with you some of the things she and I had talked about, and she said that was okay." He leaned forward on his desk. "She talked about losing her mother some months ago, and her father just a few days ago. I have to say I think she's handling those two events quite well. She says you've both talked to her a bit about what happened with her Dad, and that she's comfortable talking to either of you about her feelings concerning that if she wants. I have no concerns that she's perfectly happy living with both of you. Now, I do have a couple of suggestions. She mentioned that since her father passed away, she's been sleeping with you in your bed at night. I would say that has to stop. Moving her back to her own room is a way to start to get her used to not being with you all of the time. I would say start this tonight as it will probably take a night or two before she's accepted that she has to stay in her own bed. If she gets up and comes to your room, just take her right back to her own bed."

Bridget knew that the therapist was probably sensing her hesitation. She knew he was right, but she also hated when Emily was upset, and she knew this would definitely upset her. As much as she missed talking with Franky while they were falling asleep, she was willing to give that up for a while if it made her niece feel more comfortable to be close to them.

"Now, I'm not saying that it can't happen once in awhile. There will be times when she's sick or has a nightmare, and it's perfectly fine to let her stay with you then, but as a regular thing, no. She won't get over her anxiety of being away from you if she's never made to be away from you." He waited, and getting no questions from either of them, continued. "The second thing is she needs to go back to school. It's important for her to get into a normal routine as soon as possible. My suggestion would be to start tonight with getting her to sleep in her own bed. That way, on Monday, she should be ready to go back to school. Do either of you have any questions right now?"

"No, I think we'll see how we do with those things for now." Bridget looked to Franky for confirmation, and the brunette gave a barely perceptible nod.

"Okay, good." Brad gave them a smile as he stood up to show them out. "I'd like to see her again in a week's time, but if there are any issues before that, just give us a call."

"Thank you," Bridget said, shaking his hand on her way out.

"I'll take you to get Emily." He led them a couple doors down the hallway.

********

Will had agreed to help them bring Emily's furniture to their house that afternoon. He offered to help put it back together as well, but Franky refused, saying that she needed something to keep her busy. Bridget knew that the brunette had been agitated since Emily's therapy appointment, and keeping busy was her way of dealing with it. She also knew that they needed to discuss how they were going to handle things before it was actually bedtime for the young girl.

"Baby." Bridget had just tucked Emily into their bed for a nap, and thought it would be a good chance to talk with Franky. "We need to talk about what the therapist said so we're ready when it's time to talk to Em tonight."

"I just know she's going to be upset when we tell her she's sleeping in here tonight." Franky moved the newly assembled bed into place and began putting on the sheets.

"I know. I don't like to see her upset either, but we need to get through this. I mean, everything he said was stuff I knew he was going to say, but it doesn't make it any easier to put it into practice." Bridget reached out and took the brunette's arm, making her stop what she was doing and look at her. "She'll be okay. She may not like it right now, and neither will we, but it'll work out. Besides, this room already looks amazing and you're not even done yet, so maybe she'll want to spend the night in here anyway."

"It does look pretty nice, huh?" Franky looked around, taking in all the changes they'd made. "The finishing touch will be these." She held up the fairy lights she'd bought.

The brunette wrapped them around the headboard of Emily's bed. When she finished, Bridget turned off the light, leaving just the glow of the painted stars and the single strand of small lights.

"It's beautiful." Bridget turned in a full circle as she took it all in.

Franky flopped down onto the bed. "Actually, I like it so much, maybe I'll make this my room and Em can take the other one."

"You mean make this our room," Bridget corrected.

"I don't know, Gidge, it's a pretty small bed." The brunette looked to either side of herself. "I don't think there's room for another person."

"There's not?" Bridget asked, and Franky shook her head. "Are you sure?" The blonde knelt on the bed, straddling her girlfriend's hips.

"I stand corrected." Franky let out a small laugh. "Come here." She reached up and gently pulled on Bridget's shirt to get the blonde to lay down on top of her.

Bridget gave the brunette a look, warning her to behave, but put up no resistance. She felt Franky's lips against the side of her neck, then felt her hands travel the length of her back and slip under her pants, coming to rest on her butt.

"Mmm." Bridget's small murmur turned into a giggle. "Franky."

"Mmhmm?" The brunette was still slowly working her way along the older woman's neck.

"We are not having sex on her bed."

"I know, babe," Franky said as she nipped at Bridget's earlobe.

"Do you?" The blonde pulled back, giving Franky a big smile.

"Yeah." The brunette gave her a quick kiss on the lips.

Bridget moved to lay on her side against Franky, arm draped across the younger woman's stomach. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

"Can we just stay here like this for awhile?" The blonde hadn't realized until just now how much she was missing being held, and how safe and protected it made her feel.

"Sure, babe. She'll come find us when she wakes up." Franky ran her fingers over the arm Bridget had rested on her. "Are you tired? Do you want to sleep?"

"No, I just want to lie here with you." The blonde was quiet for a moment. "I'm pretty sure I fell in love with you the very first time I saw you."

Franky didn’t say anything for a moment, but just looked into Bridget’s blue eyes. “I knew you were different from everyone else right away. If I had to pick the moment I knew I was in love with you though, it would be when I opened the door and saw you standing there the night you came over for dinner.”

The blonde gave her a kiss, and rested her head back down on the younger woman’s shoulder. “Tonight is going to be hard.” Bridget said quietly. “For both us, and her.”

“I know. I’m not looking forward to it.”

********

The next thing Bridget remembered was looking at her watch, and realizing that they must have fallen asleep, because over an hour had passed. She glanced up, and saw that Franky was still sleeping peacefully, so she moved away from her slowly so as not to wake her. Her first thought was to check to see if Emily was still asleep. She peeked in their bedroom door, and saw that the bed was empty. She eventually found Emily colouring in the living room.

“Hey, love, when did you wake up?” Bridget sat down on the couch. She had hoped that the fact Emily had gotten up and came out here on her own meant that she was starting to feel more relaxed.

“Not very long ago. I saw you sleeping. Franky said not to wake you up the other day, so I didn’t today.”

“That was nice of you to let us sleep. You know if you ever need one of us, or if you’re sick or need help, you can wake us, right?” The blonde knew what Franky had meant when she had told Emily that, but she didn’t want the girl to think that she was never allowed to wake them anymore. Emily nodded, indicating that she understood.

“Hey guys.” Franky walked into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes.

“Em woke up before us and came out here on her own,” Bridget said, as the brunette sat down beside her.

“Oh, that’s great! What are you working on?” Franky leaned over to see the picture that the young girl was colouring. “That’s pretty. I’m going to start cooking supper, if you’d like to help.”

Emily put her things away and joined the brunette in the kitchen. Franky and Bridget had decided that they would talk to the young girl while they were eating supper about her sleeping in her own room that night. They didn’t want to just surprise her with the idea at bedtime and have to put her to bed upset. The blonde thought that maybe by giving her time to let it sink in and talk to them about it, it might make it easier on everyone.

The three of them had just started eating when Bridget decided it was time to start the conversation. “Em, Franky and I want to talk to you about something.” The blonde looked at her girlfriend, who gave her a nod of encouragement. “How did you like talking to Brad this morning?”

“It was okay,” Emily shrugged.

“Remember how you said last night you were scared, and we said that was one of the things he was going to help you with?” Bridget waited until Emily gave her a small nod. “Did you talk about that with him?”

“Yeah, a bit.” Emily had stopped eating, and was pushing the food around on her plate.

“Did he tell you anything that made you feel better?” The blonde waited again while Emily just nodded. She wasn’t going to make the young girl go into details if she didn’t want to. “Okay. So tonight, we want you to sleep in your own room. Franky finished everything in there this afternoon, so it’s all nice and pretty.”

“I want to sleep in your bed, with you.” Bridget could see the tears forming in her niece’s eyes.

“Hey, bub, you can do this. It’s just like how we were asleep in your room earlier and you were in ours, and everything was okay.” Franky knew that logic probably wasn’t going to help in this situation but she figured it was worth a try.

“But at night I want to sleep with you.” The tears were fully streaming down her face now.

“Love, listen.” Bridget reached across beside her and put her hand on the young girl’s. “I know you want to sleep with us, but you have to go back to sleeping in your own bed. One of us will still come in and read you a story if you want, and we’ll both say goodnight. We’ll be right across the hall, I promise we would never leave you here in the house alone.”

“I’m scared.”

Franky spoke up. “Remember this morning how I said that it was okay to be scared or nervous about going to see the therapist? It’s the same thing with this. It’s okay to feel that way, but you have to trust us when we tell you it’ll be alright.”

“Okay, how about you finish your supper, and then we can talk about it more if you want?” Bridget felt like they had pushed her enough for now.

“I’m not hungry.” Emily pushed her plate away.

“Em, you’re going to be hungry later if you don’t eat.” Franky got no response.

“Okay, if you’re done eating then I want you to go shower.” Bridget went back to eating her meal.

“I don’t want to go to bed early.” Emily’s tears started all over again.

Bridget pushed out her chair, and turned to sit sideways. “Come here, love.” She pointed to the spot on the floor in front of her. When the young girl stood there, the blonde reached up and wiped her tears. “I didn’t say you had to go to bed early. If you want to finish your supper then you can stay and do that, then shower after. If you’re not going to eat then I want you to go shower now. You can come back out with us after that until your normal bedtime. Okay?” Emily sighed. “Would you like a hug?” The young girl nodded, and Bridget reached out and hugged her. “Now, which is it? Are you going to finish eating, or go shower?”

“Eating,” the young girl said quietly.

“Okay.” Bridget rubbed her back one last time as Emily went back to her seat.

Once they had all finished eating, Emily had quietly gone to the shower, and Bridget and Franky were cleaning up the dishes in the kitchen.

“This is going to be harder than I thought, Gidge.” Franky said, placing the dirty plates into the dishwasher. “And what was with the mini-breakdown at the table? She’s never done that before.”

“It’s the first time we’ve told her she couldn’t have something she really wanted. We’re not all fun for her anymore.” Bridget sighed as she put the last of the leftovers away. “Do you want me to read her the story tonight or do you want to?”

“I’m fine with either. Let’s let her choose.” Bridget nodded her agreement, and the brunette gave her a quick kiss just as Emily was returning from her shower.

“Hey, do you want to play a game or something before bed?” the blonde asked.

“Monopoly?” Emily suggested quietly.

“Sure. Set it up and we’ll be right over.”

“I’m not paying for that damn movie this time until I know which one it is,” Franky said with so much seriousness it made Bridget laugh.

“Franky!”

“What?! I think it should be a new house rule.” She pushed start on the dishwasher and went to take her spot on the floor by the coffee table.

After a half hour the game had come to an end, with Bridget actually winning this time.

“It’s ‘cause you owned all the expensive stores.” Franky gave her a hard time as they packed up the game.

“Maybe if you’re nice I’ll let you shop there for free.” Bridget gave her a small wink. She glanced at the clock. “Em, it’s time for bed. Who do you want to read your story tonight?”

“No,” she said quietly.

“No, what?” Bridget asked.

“I want both.”

“Okay, but still just one story, alright? Go brush your teeth and we’ll be in.” Bridget watched her walk down the hall.

“You alright?” Franky put her arm around the blonde.

“Yeah.”

Franky and Bridget each took one of the small chairs from Emily’s miniature table and chairs set, and sat beside her bed.

“Auntie Bridge, can you lay with me while you read the story?” Emily looked up at her with tears already in her eyes.

“No, love, we’re going to sit right here.” Bridget picked up the book of short stories for kids that Emily had brought with her that first night that Franky had brought her home.

“Franky?” The young girl reached out towards the brunette.

“No, bub. I’m going to sit right here though, okay?” The brunette picked up the teddy bear that was sitting on the bed behind the girl, and gave it to her to hold onto.

They took turns reading the story, and by the time they were finished, it looked like Emily had fallen asleep. They carefully stood up, and returned the chairs back to their spots by the small table. They closed her door, and went to the living room to watch some tv before they went to bed themselves.

Almost an hour into their show, they heard Emily’s bedroom door open.

“Remember, we just take her back to bed.” Bridget whispered.

“Can I sit with you?” Emily gave them her best version of puppy dog eyes.

“No, love, go back to bed.” When the girl didn’t move, Bridget calmly got up, took her hand, and led her back to her bed.

The next time they heard from her was when they were in the bathroom brushing their teeth. Franky had just turned off the water when she heard the bedroom door open again.

“Are you going to bed now?” Emily asked.

“Yeah, bub. Go on back to bed. We’ll see you for breakfast.” The brunette wiped her face with the towel. Once again, Emily had to be taken by the hand and led back to her bed.

“Mmm,” Bridget sighed as Franky laid down behind her, and wrapped her in her arms.

“Feels good?” The brunette gave her a small kiss on the shoulder.

“Mmhmm.” Bridget loved falling asleep in Franky’s arms, with those small kisses. Even though it had only been a few nights without them, she had missed them more than she thought.

The blonde was almost asleep when she heard the door across the hall open. She hoped that if Emily came in and saw them asleep, then maybe she would go back to her own room. Maybe she just needed confirmation that they were still there and okay.

“Auntie Bridge?” Emily whispered quietly. Getting no reaction from the blonde, the young girl started to climb onto the bed.

Bridget couldn’t ignore it any longer. “Em, baby, go back to your own bed.” She felt Emily stop moving, but could feel that she was still on the bed. “Come on.” Bridget sat up, got out of bed, and walked her back to her own bed for the third time that night. When she laid down again beside the brunette, Franky pulled her close and gave her a small kiss.

Franky was normally a fairly deep sleeper, but the next time when Emily came into their room, it was her who woke when their door opened.

“Franky?” The brunette felt a small hand tug at the back of her shirt. “Franky?!” This time the girl spoke a little louder, and tugged a bit harder.

The brunette turned over onto her back. “You have to go back to bed Em.”

“No!” She started to climb onto the bed, looking to take advantage of the space between Franky and her aunt that the brunette had created when she turned over.

She was about to climb over Franky when the brunette put her arm up gently to stop her.

“No, bub. You have to go back to your own bed.” Emily started to cry.

Franky didn’t say anything more, but just got up out of bed, picked Emily up, and took her back across the hall.

“Stay here the rest of the night, okay?” She gave her a kiss on the forehead as she laid her in bed and covered her with a blanket.

As soon as Franky shut the door, Emily began yelling. “Franky! Franky, don’t go!”

The brunette stood in the hallway outside the door. She’d never heard Emily that upset. When she looked up, she saw that Bridget had gotten out of bed and was standing in their doorway.

“Auntie Bridge! Franky!” Emily was in a full on hysterical cry by this point.

It was breaking Franky’s heart, and when she met Bridget’s eyes, she knew the blonde was feeling the same way.

“Gidge, I don’t like this. Listen to her.” Franky sniffed and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

“Me either, baby. He said it might be hard though. We have to at least try, or we’re for sure not going to get anywhere.”

Franky let out a long breath, as she placed both her hands on the top of her head, and paced up and down the hallway.

“Auntie Bridge!!” Emily yelled so loud that her voice cracked, then turned to sobs. “Franky?” It was quiet compared to how she had been yelling just a moment before, but the brunette heard her loud and clear.

“Come on, baby, let’s at least go back in here so she doesn’t keep hearing us in the hallway.” Bridget reached out and took Franky’s hand, leading her back to the bed.

They laid there awake in silence, except for the occasional sound of crying from Emily’s room. It wasn’t long before Franky noticed the first rays of sunlight outside the window. She thought she must have drifted off for a bit without realizing it. She looked to her left, and saw only Bridget in the bed beside her. The brunette decided that she needed to check on Emily, or at least listen at her door to see if she was still upset.

She heard no noise in the hallway, and nothing when she moved her ear close to the door. Quietly she turned the knob and peeked into the room. Emily had turned on the strip of fairy lights around her bed, and surrounded herself with all of her stuffed animals, but she was most definitely asleep now. Franky quietly closed the door and went back to their bedroom.

“She asleep?” Bridget asked as she felt the brunette lay down beside her again. She knew as soon as she felt Franky get up that she was going to check on Emily.

“Yeah, babe, she’s asleep.” Franky pulled the blonde close, and wrapped the blankets around them. Tonight might be another long night, so they needed to take advantage of sleep whenever they could get it, and it looked like Emily was settled in for at least another hour or so.

Chapter Text

Monday morning came far too early for both Franky and Bridget. Friday night had been a complete write off as far as anything sleep-related was concerned. Saturday night had seen some protest from the young girl at bedtime, and one attempt to sneak into their room in the middle of the night. Last night went pretty well, but after two nights of being woken up, then laying awake listening to see if Emily was doing okay, had left them both groggy, and dreading the early morning and their return to work.

Franky heard the alarm go off, and felt Bridget stir beside her. As soon as the alarm was quiet, she pulled Bridget back in close to her.

“Let’s call in sick today,” the brunette mumbled against the back of her girlfriend’s neck.

“Baby, we can’t.” The blonde let out a small laugh. “Besides, we have the career day thing at Em’s school.”

“That’s not until the afternoon. We can have like a four-hour flu,” Franky said, finally opening her eyes as Bridget turned over to face her.

In one swift movement, the blonde pushed Franky onto her back, and moved to straddle her. She grabbed both of the brunette’s hands, and pinned them above her head on the pillow as she leaned forward and captured her mouth in a deep kiss. She nipped lightly at Franky’s bottom lip as she pulled back.

“You awake now, baby?” she whispered beside the brunette’s ear.

“Yep, I’m awake. Very, very awake.” Franky exhaled slowly as Bridget got off the bed, and went to wake up her niece to get ready for school.

********

“How are you feeling about going back to school today?” Franky asked Emily as they were all sitting around the table having breakfast.

“A little nervous.”

“That’s understandable. Today is a bit of a special day though, right?” The brunette had to admit that she was a bit excited herself about career day. She loved talking about her passion, and she always hoped that at least one person in the group might be inspired.

“Yeah, it’s job day.” Emily ate another spoonful of cereal.

Bridget gave a small smile. “Yeah, so we’ll both be there for the afternoon.”

“The whole afternoon?” the young girl asked, still eating.

“I think so.” Bridget got up to look at the notice she had hung on the fridge door. “It just says ‘afternoon’, so I assume…” she scanned further down the page. “Oh, Franky, it says you should wear any uniforms or job-related items if you’re able, so don’t forget to bring your chef’s jacket with you.”

“Are we all coming home after?” Emily looked between the two women.

“I have one more class to teach after that, one that you usually come to. Gidge?” Franky wasn’t sure what Bridget had arranged as far as work went.

“I’ll need to go back for a couple of hours. I did some stuff from home last week that couldn’t wait, but I imagine there’s a mountain of paperwork, and a backlog of appointments to get through.”

“So we won’t be coming home, but you’ll be coming to class with me like you usually do after school.” Franky gathered up the dishes.

“Go get your things, love, and I’ll drop you off at school on my way to work.” Bridget was putting the last few items into hers and Emily’s lunch bags.

“Still time for that sick day.” Franky stood behind her girlfriend, and her lips easily found all the right spots on Bridget’s neck.

“Mmm, stop using your powers for evil,” the blonde laughed as she turned to face the younger woman. “Be patient, baby. I promise you’ll get what you want.”

Franky smiled, and gave her one last kiss before she went to make sure that she had everything in her bag that she needed for the day. She didn’t have her first class for over an hour, but she wanted to make something to take in for Emily’s class and the other parents who were going to be there.

Emily returned to the kitchen, and took her lunch bag from Bridget. On the way to the door, she stopped in front of Franky. The brunette could tell that the young girl was a bit hesitant to leave her. She’d done well with sleeping on her own, but this was the first time she hadn’t been with both of them since the morning they’d left her with Vera to visit the school.

Franky knelt down in front of her, and Emily immediately put her arms around her neck. “I know you’re nervous, but you’ve been very brave so far,” the brunette said, rubbing her back. “You can do this, and I’ll see you in a few hours, I promise.”

“I love you,” Emily said softly.

“I love you too, bub,” Franky said, as she gave the young girl a kiss on the cheek, and stood up.

Emily continued on to get into Bridget’s car, and the blonde came to stand beside Franky. “I’ll see you this afternoon, baby. I love you.” The blonde gave her girlfriend a kiss.

“I love you too.”

The brunette watched the silver car disappear around the corner before she locked the front door and headed for her own car. It felt weird not to be around anyone, and she thought for a moment that maybe it wouldn’t just be Emily who would be having a hard time today.

********

Bridget pulled up to the curb, and parked the car.

“Can you walk me to my classroom?” Emily asked, as Bridget held the car door open for her.

“Just for today because I want to talk to Ms. Williams and let Ms. Johns know that you’re back.” The blonde reached down, and took Emily’s hand as they walked into the school.

“Good morning, Bridget, Emily.” Ms Johns happened to be not far inside of the main doors, and greeted them both. “How is everything?”

“Oh, good morning, everything’s good, I think.” Bridget looked down at the small girl, who was now leaning against her leg. “I said I’d walk her to her classroom today. I’d like to talk to her teacher for a minute.”

“Of course. Good to see you back Emily.” She smiled warmly at the girl.

Bridget felt Emily hold her hand a bit tighter as they approached the classroom. When they got to the door, she crouched down to talk to her. “I know this seems a bit scary right now, but remember what Franky told you this morning. I think she gave some pretty good advice, yeah?” Emily gave a small smile and a nod. “Okay, I’ll be back this afternoon. I love you.” She gave the girl a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“I love you, too.” Emily said before she let go, and went into the classroom.

“Ah, Bridget, good to see you again.” Ms. Williams reached out to shake hands with the blonde. “I’m so sorry to hear about your brother.”

“Thank you, it was….unexpected.” Bridget cleared her throat.

“I’m so glad to see Emily back. How has she been doing?”

“She’s doing okay right now. She’s had some anxiety about being away from me and Franky. It’s understandable given what she’s been through in the last year. Today is going to be a big test though in that way. She stayed with a friend of mine for about an hour a few days ago but that’s all. If there’s any problem, just let me or Franky know. We’ll both be here for career day this afternoon, so I think that kind of made her feel better about coming back today.” Bridget watched as Emily took her seat, and looked around quietly.

“I’m sure everything will be fine.” Ms Williams gave her a reassuring smile. “It’ll be great to have you guys here this afternoon. I think it’ll be fun for the kids.”

“Definitely. I’ll see you this afternoon then.” Bridget waved goodbye to Emily and made her way back out to her car.

********

Franky had set to work as soon as she got to the Centre making the first part of the treats she was planning to take to the school. It wasn’t long before she heard Liz come into the classroom.

“Hey, love, good to see you back. What’s this you’re making?” Liz sat a stack of papers down on the end of the counter.

“Just something to take to Em’s school for Career Day this afternoon. Lemon tarts with a cookie crust. Nothing complicated, I just need to get these baked so they can cool before I put the filling in.” She glanced over at the papers Liz had brought with her. “What are those?”

“Oh, most of that is just stuff for me. I do have something I wanted to talk to you about though. I got a media request.” Liz looked at Franky, trying to gauge her reaction.

“A media request?” The brunette shook her head. She wasn’t quite sure why that would be something Liz needed to talk to her about.

“Someone from the paper where I advertised the summer classes. I guess they do profiles on figures in the community, and they thought that some of your class offerings were unique, so they wanted to feature you in an issue…” Liz trailed off, seeing the look she was getting from Franky.

“I told you that picture was a bad idea.” The brunette finished measuring out the ingredients, and turned on the mixer.

“I mean, we can’t say for sure that’s the reason…” Liz caught Franky’s look again. “Just think about it, love. It would be good for you, and for the Centre. I know you love your job, but you don’t want to be here forever, right? You’ve got your restaurant dreams, and you’re good enough to do that. They just want to do a short interview, and I can fill them in on the details of what you do here. They’ll snap a picture or two and that’s all. It’ll only take an hour.” Franky was quiet. “Just think about it. They don’t need an answer right away.”

Franky sighed. “Okay.”

“Oh, and love, I wouldn’t mind if a couple of those ended up on my desk on your way out later.” The older woman winked, gathered her papers, and headed back to her work.

********

The afternoon had arrived, and Franky carefully carried her tray of tarts into the school. When she got in the main doors, she realized that she didn’t know where Emily’s classroom was.

“Hey, baby, this way.” Bridget put a hand on her back, and guided her down the hall.

“Thanks, Gidge, I didn’t see you out there.”

“I saw you coming in just as I pulled up, and I hurried because I knew you didn’t know where to go in here.” Bridget smiled up at Franky, and wiggled her fingers against her back. “Right here,” the blonde said as they approached Emily’s classroom.

“Hi Bridget, and…..Franky.” Ms. Williams hesitated slightly, but the smile never left her face. Bridget tried to read her and decided she sounded more surprised than anything.

“Hey.” The brunette smiled at the teacher. “I brought these for everyone. I hope that’s okay.”

“Oh, yes, of course. I can just set them aside until it’s your turn if you’d like,” she said, reaching for the tray. “You can both have a seat by Emily’s spot there, I’ve put out chairs for everyone. The kids are just outside finishing their lunch break.”

Bridget looked around the room. “And we’re early,” she said, seeing that they were the first ones there.

“Oh, it’s fine,” Ms. Williams smiled again.

After they sat down, Franky subconsciously reached over and took Bridget’s hand. It wasn’t even something she realized she did anymore. “How was your morning?” she asked the blonde.

“It was good, baby. Just really busy.” Bridget sighed, and Franky gave her a quick kiss on the temple.

“I’ll, uh, be back in just a minute.” The teacher gave them a quick smile as she left the room.

“Do you know her?” Bridget asked, giving Franky a playful nudge with her elbow.

“I slept with her,” the brunette said in a quiet voice. She glanced over at Bridget, unable to tell if the blonde was upset or about to laugh. “It was just once. Over a year ago. We kept running into each other at the coffee shop by my apartment. One night we got talking and ended up at her place. That was all.”

“Baby, you don’t have to tell me everyone you’ve slept with,” Bridget said with a small laugh.

“You asked.” Franky looked at her, confused.

“No.” The blonde shook her head, still smiling. “I only asked if you knew her.”

“Oh. Right. She won’t cause any problems. She’s a nice girl.” The brunette knew Bridget didn’t ask this either, but after what had happened with Kim, she felt like she needed to reassure her.

“Baby, just stop, it’s okay.” The blonde gave her a quick kiss. “You look good in the jacket by the way.” Franky smiled at her.

A few parents had started to come in, and they heard the kids coming down the hall. Franky saw some parents that she recognized from the times she’d picked up Emily, and of course, Cynthia was there. The brunette smiled politely at her when she caught her eye, hoping to annoy her by not giving her any kind of reaction. It only took Emily a second to spot them both, and she came running over. She gave Bridget a hug, then Franky.

“Hey, bub. Did you have a good morning?” the brunette asked the young girl.

“Yeah! We went on a nature walk.” Emily went on to explain everything she’d seen and learned about on the walk.

“Okay, everyone here?” Ms. Williams looked around the room, to make sure all the kids and adults had settled in. “Good, alright, so we’ll start on this side,” she said, motioning to the first seat in Emily’s row. “The kids can get up and introduce the people they’ve brought with them, if they’d like. Let’s get started.”

Emily sat beside Bridget, and listened while the other parents talked. The man before Bridget was just on his way back to his seat.

“Do you want to say who we are, or do you want us to introduce ourselves?” the blonde whispered quietly in Emily’s ear.

“I can do it.”

“Okay.” Bridget gave her a small squeeze on the shoulder.

“Emily, would you like to tell us about the first person you’ve brought?” Ms. Williams prompted from her seat at the side of the room.

Emily walked up to the front of the room. “This is my Auntie Bridge, Bridget. She talks to people in prison.”

The young girl returned to her seat with Franky while Bridget got up and talked about her work at Wentworth. The kids all seemed interested and even the parents had some questions for her. Franky admired the ease with which Bridget handled herself in front of a group of mostly strangers. The brunette had to admit to herself that she was nervous. Even though she was used to talking in front of her classes, she didn’t have her demos to fall back on, or to distract the attention away from herself. At least in her classes, she could convince herself that her students were watching what she was doing, and not watching her.

“Thank you, Bridget.” Ms. Williams said when the blonde had finished answering the last question. “Emily, you’ve brought someone else with you?”

Emily walked up to the front of the classroom once again. “This is my…” She trailed off. “My…” She stopped again, and Franky and Bridget exchanged a glance. “This is my Franky. She’s a chef.”

Franky walked up to the front. Bridget pointed to the tray of food she’d brought, and the brunette gave a small nod, indicating that she wanted Bridget to hand them out while she talked. Maybe she did unknowingly bring a distraction after all.

She talked about how she met her mentor, Liz, as a teenager, and how the older woman inspired her to learn as much as she could. She talked about her jobs in diners while she worked her way through culinary school, and eventually her job teaching at the Centre. When she was done she answered questions. A couple of the parents seemed interested in which classes she taught, and she thought she may have recruited some students for the Summer.

The brunette took her seat again with Emily and Bridget. The blonde gave her hand a quick squeeze. She knew Franky had been nervous, but she’d done really well, and gotten through it.

“Can I sit on your lap?” Emily asked quietly.

“Sure, bub.” Franky moved back in her chair to make room for the young girl. “You alright?” She felt Emily nod against her shoulder where she had rested her head. “Do you want your tart?” She had just noticed the two tarts that Bridget had sat on the desk for them. She felt Emily nod again, and handed her one. They listened to the rest of the parents speak.

When it was over, Bridget said goodbye to her niece and Franky. “I’m sorry I have to take off right away, but the sooner I get back, the sooner I can come home tonight and spend time with you guys.”

“It’s okay, babe. I’ll see you tonight.” Franky gave her a quick kiss as she hurried out the door then waited while Emily packed up her things.

“Here’s your tray back.” Ms. Williams came up beside the brunette and handed her the empty tray.

“Thanks.” Franky smiled at her, not really knowing what else to say.

“It’s good to see you again. I was kind of worried when I stopped running into you at the shop.” She sat down on the small desk beside the brunette.

“Yeah, I, uh, moved.” Franky motioned towards Emily as if that explained everything.

The teacher let out a small laugh. “Yeah I figured that out now. I’m glad you’re happy.”

Franky looked over and gave her a nod. “Thanks. I am.”

“I’m ready.” Emily had finished gathering her stuff, and came to find Franky.

“Alright, bub, let’s go.” The brunette reached down, and took the young girl’s hand as they walked out to her car.

********

Franky laid in bed. She could hear the water running in the bathroom; Bridget was getting ready for bed. They had put Emily to bed that night with relative ease, and she hadn't woken up yet at all.

The brunette heard the water turn off, then a few seconds later their bedroom door shut. When she heard the lock click, she picked up her head and looked at Bridget.

The blonde walked to the bed, and slipped in under the covers next to Franky. She moved to straddle her again like she had done that morning. The brunette smiled up at her. Bridget lowered herself to meet her girlfriend's lips, and kissed her slowly.

"I believe I promised you something this morning." The blonde pulled back and looked into Franky's green eyes. "If you're still up for it." She smiled, knowing full well that the brunette wasn't going to say no.

"Mmhmm." Franky stretched up to meet her lips once more.

Bridget nipped at the brunette's lip as she felt the younger woman's hands working their way down her sides, searching for the hem of her t-shirt. Franky quickly found what she was looking for, and let her hands glide under the fabric and up the blonde's back. Bridget pushed her hips into the brunette, needing to feel more contact.

Franky quickly moved them to a sitting position with Bridget in her lap, and rid the blonde of her shirt. Bridget watched quietly as Franky's eyes slid up and down her body. She felt the brunette's hands once more moving down her sides, thumbs trailing over her few freckles.

Franky's lips found Bridget's neck, and the blonde let her head fall back as Franky worked her way from just below her jaw, down her neck, and then started down her chest. Bridget tangled her fingers in the brunette's hair, and gently pulled her head back, so she could lean down and capture Franky's lips again.

She felt the brunette's fingers trail down her stomach then brush lightly over her clit through the thin layer of fabric. The blonde separated their lips, and held Franky's gaze as the younger woman let her fingers move farther, and felt the wetness that had soaked through her underwear. A small smile appeared on Franky's lips, as she let her finger brush over the blonde's clit one more time. Bridget let out a shaky breath, never breaking their eye contact.

"What?" the blonde asked, matching Franky's grin. The brunette shook her head. "Tell me, baby. What are you thinking?"

"That I want to fuck you."

Bridget had to admit to herself that the brunette's flat out admission wasn't something that she was expecting, and it turned her on even more. She reminded herself though that she had started this, and she couldn't give in to Franky just yet, no matter how much she wanted to.

"Not yet, baby." The blonde reached down and rid Franky of her shirt before pushing her back down on the bed.

Bridget moved herself off the brunette and reached down, hooking her fingers on her girlfriend's underwear, pulling them off over her feet, and discarding them somewhere in the dark behind her. She placed small kisses on the cherry blossoms that ran over Franky's hip as she ran two fingers over the brunette's wet folds. The younger woman raised her hips slightly and pushed herself forward, causing Bridget's fingers to barely dip inside her.

The blonde wasn't in a teasing mood tonight. She might be making Franky wait to fuck her, but she wasn't going to make her wait for her orgasm. Bridget let her fingers slide inside the brunette and set a slow, steady pace.

She continued her way up Franky's stomach, feeling the muscles move under her lips. When she got to the brunette's left nipple, she took it in her mouth, and let her tongue swirl around it. She looked up to see Franky watching her through half-closed eyes. The blonde let her teeth graze lightly over the younger woman's nipple as she pulled away, and felt the muscles around her fingers flutter.

"Fuck." Franky sighed, and let her head fall back on the pillow.

Bridget repeated her actions again, and again felt a flutter around her fingers. She continued her way up, nipping at Franky's neck. She felt the brunette's hand on the back of her head, halting her progress, and keeping her exactly where she wanted her. She curled her fingers inside of Franky, as she sucked gently on her neck. She heard the brunette let out a small moan. The blonde tried to continue towards Franky's jaw, but the other woman's hand held her in place.

"Do that again," Franky said, meeting Bridget's fingers with a bit more force each time now.

The blonde nipped and sucked at the sensitive skin again. When she tried to move this time, Franky let out a small whimper.

"Baby, if I keep doing that, it's going to leave a mark," Bridget said, leaving a small kiss just under the brunette's jaw.

"I don't care," Franky said quietly.

The blonde went back to the spot, as she sped up the pace a bit with her fingers. She knew Franky would probably regret it in the morning when she was trying to cover the hickey with makeup before she went to work, but she wasn't going to deny the brunette something she asked for and was enjoying.

When Franky untangled her fingers from Bridget's hair, the blonde left a trail of kisses along her jaw, ending with a small one on her lips. Bridget saw the brunette open her eyes for a second then snap them shut again as she felt another flutter around her fingers.

"Does that feel good, baby?" she whispered next to Franky's ear.

"Mmm, yes."

Bridget could tell that the brunette was getting close, so she started her way back down her body. This time she kissed straight down her stomach, and settled herself between the brunette's legs. She lowered her head and wrapped her lips around Franky's clit, as she picked up the pace with her fingers once again.

"Oh fuck," Franky reached down, and Bridget took the brunette's hand in hers, feeling her muscles start to tighen.

It only took a few more seconds, and a final flick of Bridget's tongue to make Franky clamp down as the waves of pleasure washed over her. The brunette drew in a breath as the second wave hit, and Bridget gradually slowed her pace to bring her down.

"Shit, Gidge." When Bridget made her way back up, Franky was still catching her breath with her arm resting over her eyes.

The blonde reached up and took Franky's hand, making the brunette move her arm so she could see her face. When she turned to face Bridget, and opened her eyes, she looked up and down the blonde's body once again like she had done earlier in the night, and Bridget knew that she wasn't going to wait any longer.

Franky reached out and pulled her close, kissing her hard and slow. She turned the blonde onto her back and began to work her way down the older woman's body. She let her hand slide down Bridget's side, and inside her underwear.

"These need to go," the brunette murmured against her girlfriend's skin, and the blonde raised her hips slightly to let Franky pull them down and off over her feet.

Franky was about to lower her head again and resume her path down Bridget's body when the blonde reached out for her.

"Come here," Bridget said, pulling her into a kiss.

When they broke apart, Franky pulled back and looked into the blonde's eyes. She felt Bridget move her hips against her. She let her fingers trail down the older woman's side, and felt her shiver. The brunette lowered her head again and brushed her lips over the sensitive spot below Bridget's ear.

The blonde pushed her hips against her again. "I want you to fuck me with the strap-on."

Franky pulled back and gave Bridget one of those cocky smirks that would be annoying to her if it was anyone except the brunette. She didn't say anything, just gave the blonde another kiss, got up off the bed, and retrieved the harness. Bridget watched as Franky tightened the straps around her hips and crawled back into bed.

"Tell me what you like," she said, settling herself between the blonde's legs, and giving her a small kiss. They had only used this the night of Bridget's birthday, and the blonde, not Franky, had been very much in control then.

"Just start slow. I trust you." Bridget wrapped her arms around the brunette's neck and connected their lips.

Franky reached down between them, and ran her fingers over the blonde's wet folds. She let her thumb brush back and forth over Bridget's clit, as the older woman whimpered into her mouth.

After a minute or two, Franky wrapped her hand around the dildo, and guided it to Bridget's entrance. She held it there, and pushed slowly forward with her hips, watching the blonde's face for any indication of discomfort. She continued until she was all the way in. The brunette stilled for a moment, letting Bridget get used to the feeling.

She placed a kiss on the blonde's jaw. "You okay, babe?"

"Yeah," Bridget breathed out.

Franky reached down and hooked the blonde's left leg around her hip, and Bridget quickly did the same with her right one. The brunette started to move, and Bridget easily matched her rhythm.

Franky ran her right hand over Bridget's body, over where she knew the kite tattoo was, and down her side. Everytime the brunette pushed forward, the older woman let out a quiet moan.

"Faster, baby." Bridget urged the brunette.

Franky sped up, as she took note of what made the blonde's breath hitch a bit. She could tell Bridget was getting wetter by the second, and the brunette loved knowing the effect she was having on the other woman. Franky raised herself up on her elbows a bit to get more leverage, and felt Bridget's nails dig into her back.

"That feels good, doesn't it, babe?" Franky lowered her head and placed a kiss on the side of the blonde's neck.

"Yes, fuck." Bridget's hand flew to the back of Franky's head and gently pulled at her hair, as the brunette's lips continued their work on her neck. "Don't stop."

Franky could feel the blonde's legs start to tighten around her hips, and the muscles tremor. "You're close aren't you?"

"Y-....ah! Yes."

The brunette smiled against Bridget's neck. She picked her head up. "Look at me, babe." When the blonde didn't open her eyes, Franky brushed the other woman's cheek with the tip of her nose. "Babe." The blonde forced her eyes open. "I love you."

"Ah...fuck...I lo-...I love you too." Bridget pulled Franky in for a kiss, but after a few seconds she couldn't concentrate on anything besides the feeling building in her stomach.

The blonde felt Franky's lips beside her ear. "I've got you."

The brunette always knew exactly what Bridget needed to hear. With a few final thrusts from the younger woman, the blonde's orgasm came over her, and Franky held on to her tightly.

As Bridget's body calmed, the brunette loosened her arms from around her, and placed a kiss next to her ear, then on her cheek, and finally, her lips. Franky slowly pulled the strap-on out of the blonde, and moved to lay by her side. She quickly unfastened the buckles and dropped it over the side of the bed onto the floor.

When Bridget opened her eyes again, Franky was looking at her with a look on her face that said she was very pleased with herself.

"You're pretty good at that, you know." Bridget gave a small laugh.

"Mmm, I don't know. I might need more practice," Franky said as she pulled the blonde close.

Bridget smiled and shook her head, then buried her face against the brunette's chest. Franky was about to suggest that they should put some clothes back on before they fell asleep, then remembered that the bedroom door was locked. She traced patterns with her fingertips on the blonde's back until she felt her breathing even out. It wasn't long before she felt herself slipping away into sleep as well.

Chapter Text

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.

Chapter Text

It was finally Halloween night. Emily had been eagerly awaiting the holiday ever since Franky and Bridget had asked her if she'd like to go to Liz's party and have a sleepover. The young girl was inspired by her bedroom design and said that she wanted to be an astronaut. Franky and Bridget had decided to keep their costumes a secret until that night.

Bridget had decided to be a pirate. She had tight black pants, a white shirt with gold buttons, and black boots that came almost up to her knees. She had gone to a used clothing shop and found a long black jacket with large metal buttons and decorations on it that she thought would work for the look she wanted. She had also found a red silk scarf at the same store that she tied around her waist. She’d had to go to the costume shop though to get a toy sword and belt, but she thought the outfit wouldn't be complete without it.

Franky, of course, had the cop shirt that she planned on wearing, but she didn't think that it would be appropriate for the party at the Centre. She had packed that costume into a bag and put it in the car earlier that day when Bridget had left to go to the grocery store. She had been browsing around online for ideas a few days ago when she saw one that made her laugh a bit. For the first party, she was going to be a burglar. She had black pants and shoes, and a black and white striped shirt. She had even found a black eye mask to go with it.

Franky had spent the morning helping Liz decorate while Bridget helped Emily put some finishing touches on her costume. Now that it was almost time to go, the two had decided to get dressed in separate rooms then show each other what they had for their own costumes. Franky had taken her clothes to the bathroom while Bridget was in their bedroom. Emily was already dressed and waiting for both of them in the living room.

"Ready babe?" Franky stuck her head out the door and called out to the blonde.

"Almost! You go out first and I'll be there in a minute." Bridget yelled from the bedroom.

Franky opened the door the rest of the way and went to the living room. When Emily saw her, she had a big smile on her face. The brunette held up one finger to her lips to tell her not to say anything that would give away her costume.

A minute later the bedroom door opened, and they could hear Bridget walking down the hallway. Franky saw the smile grow on Emily's face, and she turned around to see the blonde's costume.

"Gidge, you look good!" Franky gave her a quick kiss.

"You too, baby. The mask makes you look mysterious." She reached up and touched the soft fabric.

Franky gave her a wink. "You guys ready to go?"

"Yeah!" Emily jumped up off the couch, and ran to the front door.

The brunette put her arm around Bridget as they walked out of the house, and turned to whisper in her ear. "And by 'you look good', I meant you look really fucking hot." Out of the corner of her eye, Franky caught a bit of a blush in the blonde's cheeks. She thought it was cute that she still had that effect on her girlfriend.

********

"Liz! This place looks amazing!" Bridget looked around the large room at all the decorations.

"Thanks, Franky was a big help this morning." Liz was setting out the last of the food.

"She paid me in candy," Franky said, throwing miniature chocolate bars at Emily and Bridget before taking one for herself.

Liz looked at her for a moment, confused. "No, I didn't."

"You may not know it, but you did," Franky laughed, as Liz smiled and shook her head.

It wasn't long before the kids started to come in, along with some of their parents. Franky didn't recognize most of them, but she did catch one familiar face in the crowd. Cynthia had brought Owen, and it looked like she was planning on staying.

It wasn't long before the party was in full swing. Bridget and Franky were standing by the refreshment table, watching all the kids play the games that Liz had set up for them, when Cynthia came over to get a glass of punch.

"Franky, haven't seen you in awhile." Cynthia looked her up and down, taking in her costume. "Nice costume. Very appropriate."

"What's that supposed to mean?" The brunette felt Bridget's hand on her back.

"Oh nothing, I just mean it looks good on you." The woman took a sip of her punch with a smirk on her face.

"We both know that's not what you meant." Franky wasn't going to lose her cool, but she wasn't just going to stand there and let someone insult her.

"Well, it really is good to see you again. Seemed like you were gone for a while. I thought maybe there was trouble in paradise."

"Oh there's no trouble." Bridget spoke up. "She's still banging me." Franky looked at the blonde, surprised. "Quite often in fact. This morning in the shower, last night, and the night before, and the night before that, and well pretty much every night this week, and probably tonight as well."

Cynthia just stood there with her mouth hanging open, while the brunette stared at Bridget wide-eyed. Franky knew that there was no way anyone else had heard what the blonde had said, but she still couldn't believe what had come out of her girlfriend's mouth.

"Well...I...uh." Cynthia soon gave up trying to find a comeback, and simply turned and walked away.

"What?" Bridget looked at Franky and simply shrugged. "Got her to shut up, didn't it?"

"Well, yeah, but I think you exaggerated a little bit." Franky gave a small laugh.

"Not much." Bridget gave her a sly smile. "Unless I'm not getting any tonight?"

"Oh you definitely are." The brunette laughed, and gave her a quick kiss.

They walked around and talked with some of the other parents, and played some of the games with Emily. Before they knew it, it was time for the party to wind down, and for them to head over to Allie's.

"You sure you're still okay with keeping her for the night?" Bridget asked as she helped Liz tidy up some of the games that the kids were already done playing.

"Of course, love! I've got everything ready to go when we get there. We had such a good time last time you let me look after her."

"Aww, okay. If you need anything though, we both have our mobiles, so just give one of us a call." The blonde gave her a hug, and a kiss on the cheek.

"Are you excited to spend the night with Liz?" Franky asked Emily as they played another round of a bean bag toss game.

"Yeah she said we were going to watch Hocus Pocus. I don't know what that is though," the young girl said, tossing another bean bag.

"It's a classic. I watched it with her when I was younger too." Franky loved that Liz had always treated her like she was her own kid. She'd wished many times that she'd met her sooner.

"When you were my age?"

"No, I was older than you when I met her." Franky was worried that if this line of questioning continued, it might lead to a conversation with the young girl that she didn't want to have just yet. Luckily, she was saved by Bridget.

"We should get going," the blonde said, putting her arm around Franky. "Liz said everything is under control here. I told her we'd meet her back here in the morning to help clean up."

"You're going home now?" Emily asked the two women.

"No, love. We're going to meet some of our friends first, but then we're going home for the night." Bridget thought at first that Emily looked upset, but then the young girl simply nodded. She knelt down in front of her, "Be good for Liz, okay? I love you." The blonde gave her niece a hug.

After she had said her goodbyes to Bridget and Franky, Emily happily stayed behind with Liz.

"I just need to grab something out of the car before we go." Franky told the blonde as they exited the building.

"Sure. I'll call the cab while you do that." Bridget pulled her phone out of her pocket. They were going to pick up Vera on their way to Allie's house.

When Franky rejoined her, the blonde didn't say anything at first, but just looked at the bag. She couldn't imagine what the brunette would have needed to bring with her. They were planning to spend the night back at the house so it wasn't like they needed extra clothes or anything. After a minute, she couldn't stand her curiosity any longer.

"What's in the bag?" She tried to sound casual.

"A surprise." Franky gave a small smile as she looked up at the night sky.

"For who?" Bridget narrowed her eyes.

"Everyone except me I guess." The brunette was having fun leaving her girlfriend to wonder. "Are we going into Vera's place before we go to Allie's?"

"Yeah, I think we will. We're a bit ahead of schedule," Bridget said, checking the time on her phone.

"Perfect. You'll find out then." Franky gave her a mischievous smile as the cab pulled up.

“Vera! We’re here!” Bridget called out as she opened the front door of her friend’s house.

“I’m in the bedroom! Almost ready.”

“No rush, we’re early anyway,” Bridget said, sitting down on the couch.

“I’ll be right back, babe,” The brunette gave her girlfriend a wink and a quick kiss before heading to the bathroom to put on her second costume of the night.

Bridget looked around the living room. Vera had inherited the house from her mother, who had passed away not long after she and the blonde had met. The governor had never spoken much about her, but Bridget got the impression that their relationship had been strained at best.

Franky sat her bag on the small counter in the bathroom, unzipped it, and unpacked the contents. She had brought Bridget’s shirt that she had found, a pair of military-style boots, aviator sunglasses, a black leather belt, a toy gun with a holster, and of course, handcuffs. She took off her shirt, shoes, and mask, and placed them into the bag.

First she put on the shirt, leaving a couple of the top buttons undone. As she tucked it into her pants, she looked in the mirror and smiled, remembering the picture of Bridget wearing it all those years ago. Next came the belt with the holster. She buckled the belt, then fastened the straps for the holster around her thigh to keep it snug against her leg. She knew the gun didn’t look realistic since it was just a piece of brightly coloured plastic, but she wasn’t looking to go back to prison anytime soon. She put on the boots, and grabbed the sunglasses and handcuffs. After one last look in the mirror, she was ready to reveal her costume to Bridget and Vera.

“I don’t know, it just seems like some-“ Bridget stopped mid-sentence when Franky came around the corner. Vera turned to follow her gaze.

“What do ya think?” The brunette held out her arms to either side.

The blonde stood up and walked over to her. She reached out and touched the fabric covering Franky’s bicep. “Is this mine?”

The younger woman smirked, picking up the unintentional double meaning in Bridget’s question. “Yep. I found it when I was cleaning out the closet in Em’s room.” She watched the blonde’s eyes roam up and down her body.

Bridget cleared her throat and shook her head. “Yeah, looks…really good.”

Franky laughed, as she put her arm around Bridget’s shoulder and turned them to face Vera. “How about you?”

Vera nodded, and Franky noticed a bit of a blush in the other woman’s cheeks. “You look nice.”

“We should head out now. I’ll call us a cab.”

While Bridget made the call, The brunette put her arm around Vera. “You look nice too.” Franky gave her a genuine smile. The smaller brunette had chosen to dress as a black cat, and Franky thought she looked cute.

“Thanks.” Vera gave her a small smile.

********

When they arrived at the party, Allie greeted them with a tray of purple-coloured shots. They each grabbed one.

Franky felt the burn go down her throat. “Those are good, but strong, Al.”

“You know me, go big or go home. You look hot by the way, Franks!” Allie gave them a wink, and continued making her way around the room.

Allie had pushed all the furniture to the edges of the large living room, to make space for people to dance and mingle. Franky grabbed Bridget and Vera by the hands, and led them into the middle of the crowd.

“I’m just going to hang out here, I think,” Vera said, as they passed by one of the couches.

“Nah uh. Come on!” The brunette tugged on her hand.

“It’s okay, I’m good. You guys go and have fun. You don’t need a third wheel.” She gave a small smile.

“It’s all good.” Franky pulled on her hand again, and Vera reluctantly followed her. “Besides, wouldn’t be my first threesome,” she said with a smirk, as Bridget giggled seeing the look on her friend’s face.

Vera seemed a bit more at ease after a few songs, and another one of the purple shots. “I’m going to find the bathroom,” she told them.

Bridget wrapped her arms around Franky’s neck, and pulled her down for a long kiss. “I’ve been wanting to do that ever since you walked out in that outfit.”

“Is that so?” The brunette had that cocky grin on her face again. “Gidge, I think you have a thing for women in uniform.”

“Mmm, maybe.” Bridget smiled and pulled her in for another kiss. Franky let her hand roam under the blonde’s jacket, and felt her press her body into her.

“I’m going to go get us more shots.” Franky said in Bridget’s ear, before giving her a small kiss.

When the brunette got to the kitchen, Allie was just making a fresh batch.

“Here, I’ll help.” Franky grabbed the tray and started filling it with plastic shot glasses.

“Thanks, Franks!” Allie giggled at her own rhyme, and Franky figured she’d probably sampled a few of the drinks herself before the party. “I’m glad you guys came.”

“Ah, well thanks for having us!”

Bridget scanned the crowd, waiting for Vera to return when she felt someone walk up beside her.

“Hey, I like your costume.” The blonde turned to see a woman probably about Franky’s age, dressed as a cowgirl.

“Oh, thanks.” Bridget smiled politely. “I like yours too.”

“You wanna dance?” The cowgirl took a step closer.

“Actually, I’m here with someone, but thank you.” The blonde shifted her weight a bit to discreetly put some space between her and the other woman.

“Someone?” The cowgirl gave a flirty smile.

“My girlfriend.”

“I don’t see her anywhere.” The woman gave a quick glance around the room.

Bridget felt something touch her hip, and took a step back, looking down to see the other woman’s hand there.

“Relax, it’s just my number,” she said, slipping a small piece of paper into the pocket of the blonde’s pants. “You know, in case your girlfriend doesn’t come back.”

“Hey Franks, someone’s hitting on your girl.” Allie nodded towards the living room as she started to pour the shots.

Franky saw the woman slip something into Bridget’s pocket.

“No worries, Al.” She picked up three shots and headed back towards the blonde. “Hey, Gidge. Made a new friend?” She looked at the cowgirl with an obviously unimpressed smile on her face.

“Candace.” The woman smiled at Franky.

“Candace? Well, Candace, one of these is for you.” The brunette handed a shot to the cowgirl. “Consider it a parting gift.”

The smile on the woman’s face disappeared.

“Candace, this is my girlfriend,” Bridget said, barely holding in her laughter.

“Oh. Right then. Thanks for this.” She held up her shot, then turned and went back into the crowd.

Franky handed Bridget the other shot, and they tipped them back.

“God, what is in those?” the blonde asked, placing their empty glasses on the coffee table.

“Vodka, raspberry liqueur, lime juice and food colouring.” Franky looked around the room. “Hey, where did Vera go?”

“Over there.” Bridget nodded towards the opposite side of the room.

Vera was talking with a tall, good-looking guy with short dark hair and blue eyes. Franky hadn’t seen him before, but figured that he must be one of Allie’s friends. She guessed it didn’t really matter who had invited him, she was just glad to see Vera enjoying herself.

“Guess we’re on our own then,” Franky said as she wrapped the blonde in her arms.

They spent the night dancing, and talking with friends, but mostly dancing, and had lost track of time. They’d each had a third and fourth shot at some point through the night, and while neither of them would say they were drunk, they were definitely not sober.

A slower song came on, and Bridget moved in closer to the brunette. Franky remembered from their night at the bar that after a couple of drinks, the blonde was pretty open with her affections, and tonight was no different. She nuzzled her nose against the brunette’s cheek, urging her to turn her head to the side, leaving her neck exposed.

Bridget began to work her way slowly down one side of Franky’s neck, starting just below her ear. The brunette let her eyes close as she felt her girlfriend’s lips on her. The blonde took her time, letting her teeth scrape lightly across a patch of skin, then soothing it with her lips and tongue. A few times, she found a spot that made the younger woman shiver. When she had made it down to Franky’s collarbone, the brunette tilted her head back and turned in the opposite direction, allowing Bridget to continue on the other side. At one point, the brunette opened her eyes to see Candace sitting on the couch at the side of the room watching them. When the cowgirl realized she’d been caught, Franky gave her a wink, and she quickly looked away.

“Fuck, Gidge.” Franky let out a slow breath when the blonde had made it all the way up to her ear. “You need to take a break from that.” The brunette smiled at her.

“Mmm, why?” Bridget gave a small laugh.

“Because otherwise we’ll end up fucking in one of the bedrooms or the bathroom.” The brunette gave her a small kiss.

“I wouldn’t say no.” Bridget looked up at her.

Franky laughed. “I know, babe, but I’d rather have you at home later.”

“Then take me home.” The blonde gave her a lazy smile.

The brunette scanned the room, and saw that Vera was still talking to the guy from earlier. “Okay. We should see if Vera’s ready to leave though. We can’t just abandon her here.”

Bridget nodded. “I’ll go talk to her.”

The blonde wound her way through the crowd until she got to where Vera and the tall man were sitting on the couch. “Vera!” Bridget let herself fall onto the couch beside her friend.

“Bridget, this is Jake. He’s a friend of a friend of Allie’s.” Vera had a big smile on her face.

“Nice to meet you Jake.” Bridget reached out to shake his hand. “Listen, Vera, I think we’re ready to take off. Did you want to come with us, or are you good here?” The blonde gave her a wiggle of her eyebrow.

“Uh,” Vera looked between Jake and her friend. Part of her wanted to stay and talk longer, but she didn’t want to be left here at the end of the night to make her way home alone.

“It’s okay if you have to go. I can give you my number, and we can have coffee or lunch sometime if you’d like.” Jake had noticed her hesitation, and decided to offer her a way out.

“Yes, sure, I’d like that.” Vera found her phone in her pocket, and handed it to Jake.

“It was really great to meet you,” He handed it back after he had put in his number, giving her a smile.

“Who was the tall, dark, and handsome?” Franky asked Vera as they waited outside for their cab.

“Jake.” Vera smiled.

“She got his number,” Bridget said, putting her phone back in her pocket.

“Nice!” The brunette playfully nudged the smaller woman with her elbow, and Vera blushed.

“Yes, well, we’ll see.” She avoided eye contact with Franky and her friend.

“You’d better call him.” The cab had just pulled up, and Bridget opened the door for the other two, then climbed in after them. She gave the driver Vera’s address and then her own.

Franky had ended up in the middle, and put an arm around each of their shoulders. “What? So no threesome then?” When she saw the look on Vera’s face, she burst out laughing. “Relax, I’m joking!”

After they had dropped Vera off, Bridget stayed close to Franky. She played with the straps of the holster that were fastened around the brunette’s thigh while Franky did her best to ignore where her hand was.

When they arrived at the house, Bridget made her way to unlock the door while Franky paid the driver. “Keep the change.” The brunette climbed out of the cab, and joined her girlfriend on the front porch.

When they got inside, Franky closed the door behind them and turned the lock. She smiled, thinking of what she had planned for the rest of the night, then shook her head and took a deep breath to get into character. Bridget turned, and raised herself up slightly on her toes to give the brunette a kiss. Instead of lowering her head to meet her, Franky stood still.

“Babe?” Bridget searched her face, thinking something was wrong.

“I’m going to need you to stand and face that wall.” Franky nodded towards the wall at the end of the hallway.

“What? I-”

The brunette took Bridget’s shoulders and turned her around, holding the blonde’s hands behind her back. “I said I’m going to need you to stand against the wall.” Franky started walking her forward.

The brunette stopped just a few inches from the wall. “Put your hands flat against the wall and move your feet apart.” When Bridget didn’t move right away, Franky took the blonde’s hands and placed them on the wall above her head to each side. “Spread your feet.” Bridget moved her feet a few inches apart. “Further!” The brunette took the toe of her boot and tapped the inside of Bridget’s feet, making her move them apart more. “Now, I have reason to believe you’re carrying contraband on your person.” Franky leaned in over Bridget’s shoulder so she could see the blonde’s face. “You think this is funny?” she asked, seeing the small smile playing on Bridget’s lips.

“No, baby.” The blonde was more than willing to play along.

“That’s ‘officer’ to you.” Franky stood up straight again.

“No, officer.” Bridget could feel the anticipation running through her. This whole scenario was definitely working for her.

“As I was saying, I believe you have contraband on you, so I’m going to have to search you.” Franky leaned in close. “Okay?” She broke character just for a second to check in with the blonde. Bridget gave a small nod.

Franky started at the blonde’s arms and worked her way slowly down the left, then the right one from her wrist to her shoulder. She moved in closer behind Bridget and pushed her jacket open a bit more so she could run her hands down each side of her girlfriend’s body. She felt the blonde take in a deep, shaky breath.

When she reached Bridget’s waist, she untucked her shirt, slowly pulling the material free. Franky let her hands slide up and over the blonde’s stomach. She flattened her left hand against the older woman’s hip, and slid her fingers into the pocket of the tight pants. The brunette made sure to let her fingertips glide over the blonde’s hipbone since she knew that was a sensitive area. Bridget let out a small moan.

“Quiet!” Franky’s voice was close to her ear.

The brunette repeated the action, this time dipping into the right-hand pocket, where her fingers were met with a small piece of paper. She pulled it out and held it up in front of the blonde’s face.

“What’s this?” Franky asked. Bridget shrugged. “I think you do know. You could get into a lot of trouble lying to a police officer. Let’s try again. What’s this?”

“A number?” It was taking all of the blonde’s control to stay standing against the wall. Franky was playing her role very well, and it was turning her on.

“Whose number?” Franky stepped a fraction of an inch closer to Bridget’s back, and she felt the blonde try to push her body against her. “I didn’t tell you to move! Whose number is it?”

“I don’t know.” The blonde decided to at least pretend to put up some resistance.

“Yes you do. I know you do.” Franky moved her lips next to the blonde’s ear. “I know who’s it is. I rarely ask a question I don’t already know the answer to, so you’d better tell me the truth. You got one more chance.”

“Candace.” Bridget’s voice was barely audible.

“Mhm, the cowgirl. I saw her put it in there.” Franky let her lips lightly brush over the edge of the blonde’s ear.

“Fuck,” the older woman sighed.

“Sorry? What was that? I don’t recall asking you anything.” Bridget breathed out slowly, and shook her head, and Franky let a small grin appear on her lips. The brunette flicked the small piece of paper to the side. “You won’t be needing that, right?”

“No,” the blonde answered.

“I think you forgot something there.”

“No, officer,” Bridget repeated.

“That’s better. Now, I’ll need to continue my search to make sure you don’t have anything else on you.” Franky let her hands move under Bridget’s shirt, and up her stomach again. She let her fingers run over the fabric covering the blonde’s breasts, and felt her hardened nipples beneath it.

She moved both hands back down to Bridget’s waist, and around to her belt buckle. She undid the belt and the button on her pants, and slowly pulled down the zipper. At first, she let her hand slide in between the blonde’s pants and underwear, touching as lightly as she could to tease the older woman. Bridget let out another small moan, but this time Franky didn’t silence her. She moved her hand back up and this time when she went back down, she slid it under the fabric of the blonde’s underwear as well.

Bridget knew she was wet. She could feel it ever since Franky had started her search. She hadn’t realized how much though until she felt Franky’s fingers glide easily over her folds. The brunette smiled to herself, pleased that the blonde was enjoying this.

“Has my search gotten you all worked up?” Franky’s lips brushed against Bridget’s ear again.

“Yes, officer.” Bridget shifted her weight, trying to encourage the brunette to move her fingers.

“What do you think I should do about that?” Franky whispered. “Let you off with a warning? Or finish what I started?” Bridget didn’t respond so the brunette let the tip of her finger slide over the other woman’s clit. “It’s your choice. Tell me.”

“Finish it.” Bridget knew what she wanted, and she wanted it now.

Franky let her fingers sink deep into the blonde, and she felt the older woman move against her. The brunette quickly realized that Bridget needed more support so she turned her around to face her, and planted her knee against the wall between her girlfriend’s legs. It gave her more leverage, and it let the blonde hang onto her.

Franky thrust her fingers inside Bridget, curling them every so often. The blonde had a grip on Franky’s bicep with her left hand, and had wrapped her right arm around the brunette’s neck.

“Ahh, fuck.” Bridget buried her face against Franky’s shoulder, and the brunette could feel her warm breath against her neck. With each thrust, Franky could feel the blonde’s grip on her arm tighten. “Harder, baby.”

Franky obliged and it wasn’t long before Bridget was moaning against the brunette’s neck. Franky loved listening to her and knowing that she was making her girlfriend feel good. She felt a shiver run through her body, and a warmth in her stomach. Maybe this was the mental component of an orgasm that Bridget had been talking about that time. She pushed it from her mind, and focused her attention back on the blonde. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to come, but it wasn’t about her right now.

“Fuck, baby.” Bridget had felt the shiver run through the brunette, and knew she was enjoying this as well. “Oh god.” She felt Franky’s fingers curl inside her. “You’re close too, baby.” It wasn’t a question, Bridget could tell, but Franky answered with a small moan anyway.

A few more thrusts, and Bridget felt her muscles contract and release around the brunette’s fingers as her orgasm ran through her. Franky took a deep breath and tried to focus on the blonde, rather than her own body.

Bridget picked her head up from Franky’s shoulder and kissed her deeply, massaging her tongue with her own. The brunette took her hand out of her girlfriend’s pants, and reached down, placing her hands on the backs of Bridget’s thighs. The blonde gave a small jump, as Franky lifted her, and she wrapped her legs around the younger woman’s hips.

Franky managed to walk them both down the hallway and placed Bridget on the bed without ever breaking their kiss. The blonde could sense that the younger woman was getting ready to go for round two, but Bridget was ready to have her fun with the brunette. She tightened her legs around Franky’s hips and quickly flipped them over so that she was on top. She reached down, unbuttoning the brunette’s shirt and pulling her up so she could remove it along with her bra.

She threw them into the corner of the room, and pushed Franky back down on the bed. She leaned down, and captured one of the brunette’s nipples with her mouth.

“Fuck, Gidge.”

She didn’t linger for long, because she knew it probably wouldn’t take much to make Franky come, considering how aroused she was already. She felt the brunette’s hands on her jacket and shirt, so she sat up and discarded them both as well as her bra. Bridget pulled the red scarf out of her belt loops. She leaned down once more, connecting her lips with Franky’s. She felt the younger woman lift her hips, trying to create some friction where she needed it.

Bridget pulled back slightly and took each of Franky’s hands in hers. She moved them up above the brunette’s head and wrapped the scarf around one, then looped it through the headboard and wrapped it around the other, securing it with a knot. Franky hadn’t realized what she’d done until she tried to reach out and touch the blonde. When she couldn’t move her arm she looked confused for a second, then looked up and saw the scarf. She looked back at the blonde.

“My turn,” Bridget said with a smirk on her face.

“Oh fuck.” Franky let her head fall back onto the pillows.

Bridget straddled the brunette’s thighs and felt the younger woman trying to raise her hips again. The blonde reached for her toy sword. Franky watched as she let the tip of it come to rest on the brunette’s shoulder. Even though it was plastic, it still felt a bit cold against her warm skin. Bridget let it trail over Franky’s collarbone, and then slowly down between her breasts, and down the middle of her stomach.

When she reached the brunette’s belt buckle she tapped the tip of it against the metal, and Franky looked down. “Not yet,” the blonde said teasingly.

Bridget took the sword and ran it along Franky’s tattoos. The brunette felt a flutter in her core. When the blonde once again reached Franky’s pants, she sat the sword aside. She leaned down and connected their lips briefly, before turning the brunette’s head to the side, and going back to her neck, kissing, licking and biting like she had been doing at the party.

She let her hand trail down and undo Franky’s belt and the button on her pants. She didn’t plan on teasing her much more, so she flattened her hand against the brunette’s stomach and let her fingers slide all the way down to where Franky’s wetness had pooled.

“You’re so wet, baby.” Bridget murmured against the brunette’s ear.

The blonde heard Franky’s breathing pick up. She placed a final kiss on the brunette’s lips before she raised herself up and moved off the younger woman.

“Gidge?” Franky lifted her head.

“Relax, baby. I’m just getting rid of these.” Bridget moved to the end of the bed and untied Franky’s boots, letting them drop onto the floor. Next, she unclipped the holster from around the brunette’s thigh and pulled her pants and underwear off over her feet. Franky was now laying completely naked except for the scarf tied around her wrists. Bridget removed her own boots, pants, and underwear before settling back on top of the brunette’s thighs.

She saw Franky’s eyes travel over her body. “I love how you look at me.” Bridget smiled down at her. She leaned forward, and took one of the brunette’s nipples in her mouth again. She let her tongue run over the hardened bud and felt the muscles in Franky’s legs twitch beneath her.

Bridget moved to place her knee in between the brunette’s thighs, allowing her to open her legs. She moved to the other breast as she reached down and found Franky’s wetness once more. She let her finger’s slide inside as she brushed her thumb over the younger woman’s clit. She set a steady pace and curled her fingers.

“Fuck, babe.” Franky pushed herself onto the blonde’s hand. She could already tell it wouldn’t take long. “I’m really close.”

“I know. You almost came when we were out in the hallway. It was really fucking hot.” She let her teeth scrape gently over the brunette’s earlobe.

“Mmm.” Franky’s hands tightened around the scarf, and she strained against it. She could feel every muscle in her body coil up tightly. “Oh fuck.” Her body shook as Bridget continued to move her fingers inside her. Waves of pleasure washed over her as she felt the blonde’s lips on her neck and jaw.

When she finally opened her eyes, she was met with Bridget’s bright blue ones staring back at her.

“Hey, baby.” The blonde leaned down and gave her a kiss on the lips. “Let’s get this off you.” She reached up and untied the scarf.

Franky immediately wrapped her arms around the older woman, and ran her hands up and down her back. “Happy Halloween, Gidge.”

The blonde laughed, “You silly goof.” She gave her another kiss before she settled in against her side.

********

The next morning Franky awoke with Bridget still close beside her. They needed to get up and meet Liz and Emily at the Centre, but the brunette didn’t want to wake the sleeping woman next to her. She brushed a strand of hair back from the older woman’s face and tucked it behind her ear. Bridget sighed, but didn’t move.

She laid there and watched her sleep for a few more minutes before placing a barely there kiss on her lips.

“Babe.” Franky ran her fingers across the back of Bridget’s shoulders. “We need to get up.”

“Mmm, I want to stay here with you.” The blonde buried her face in Franky’s neck.

The brunette let out a small laugh. “Come on, babe.” She placed a small kiss on Bridget’s shoulder. “We have to go help Liz and pick up Em. I’ll go turn the shower on so it’s nice and warm for us when you get there.”

The blonde sighed as she felt Franky move away from her and get out of the bed. A minute later she heard the water in the shower turn on. As much as she wanted to stay in bed, she had to admit there were worse ways to start the day than a shower with your girlfriend.

********

They arrived at the Centre just as Liz and Emily were going inside. Franky’s car was still there from the night before, so they had taken a cab.

“Good morning, darling!” Bridget picked Emily up and gave her a hug. “How was your night with Liz?”

“It was good! We had popcorn and watched Hocus Pocus and she let me stay up late!” Emily told the blonde with a big smile on her face.

“Sounds like a big night!” Bridget said, as Emily ran off to say good morning to Franky. “Everything go okay, Liz?” The blonde asked, as she helped the other woman fold up a large tablecloth.

“Oh yeah, it was all good. I couldn’t get her to eat any breakfast though. She said her tummy was a bit upset.” Liz gave her an apologetic look.

“Probably just all the excitement and candy from yesterday. We’ll find something for her when we get home.”

It didn’t take them long to get everything cleaned up, and they were just about to head out the door when Liz stopped them.

“I almost forgot about these. I meant to give them to you on Friday.” She handed Franky a few copies of the local paper that had her interview in it. The brunette flipped through the pages. Liz put her hand on the younger woman’s arm. “I’m proud of you.”

“I know.” A big smile lit up Franky’s face. “Thank you.” The brunette gave her a kiss on the cheek before leaving with Bridget and Emily.

********

That evening, Franky was laying on the couch flipping through the TV channels while Bridget finished some work on her laptop at the table, and Emily was in the shower. The brunette heard Bridget close her laptop and walk softly toward her. Franky smiled and moved to a half sitting position, to allow the blonde to sit between her legs and lean back against her. The younger woman wrapped her arm around Bridget’s waist.

“I read your article earlier while you were making supper.” The blonde broke the comfortable silence between them.

“Oh yeah?” Franky rested her chin on her girlfriend’s shoulder.

“I thought it was nice. You spoke really well in your interview. It reminded me of something too.”

“What’s that, babe?” The brunette kissed her shoulder.

“I was going to sign Em and Tim up for your class this summer.” The blonde picked a piece of lint off her pants. “I’d still like her to do the class, so I thought maybe I could sign up with her instead.”

“Sure, but if you want to learn stuff, I can just show you here.”

“I think it would be fun to do the class, and she’ll get to meet some more kids her age.” Bridget turned so she could look at her girlfriend.

“Okay,” Franky had a big smile on her face. “I’ll put you guys on the list tomorrow.” She gave the blonde another kiss.

Chapter Text

The past few days had flown by, and summer was quickly approaching. Emily only had a couple weeks of school left, and most of Franky’s classes would be finishing around that time as well. She’d then spend a week prepping for her next set of courses before the Summer session started.

“I love my job, but I have to admit I’m a bit jealous that you get to switch things up at yours every few months,” Bridget said, applying her makeup in the bathroom mirror alongside Franky.

“You get new clients though right? People get released, people get arrested.” The brunette gathered her hair, and tied it back with an elastic.

“I suppose that’s one way to look at it.” The blonde put her makeup back in the drawer, and turned to face Franky. “You look nice today, baby.”

A big smile came across the younger woman’s face. “Aww thanks, Gidge. You look beautiful, too.”

Bridget reached up and touched the phoenix tattoo on Franky’s left arm. “Are you going to get more?”

“I don’t know. No plans as of right now, but maybe someday.”

“I like them.” Bridget smiled up at her.

“I know.” The brunette gave her a slow kiss.

“Alright, I need to go and drop Em off at school. I’ll see you tonight.” The blonde gave her another kiss, and went to gather hers and Emily’s things.

Ten minutes later, Franky went back to the kitchen to see Emily’s book that she needed for today still sitting on the counter. Each student had to talk about their favourite book in class today, and she had picked one that Franky and Bridget often read to her at night.

“Shit.” She took the book and put it into her bag. She’d have to drop it off on her way to the Centre.

********

Franky parked in the parking lot at the school, grabbed the book from her bag, and made her way to the main doors. When she got inside, she met the principal in the lobby.

“Good morning, Franky.” Ms. Johns smiled at her.

“Hey, good morning. Em forgot this,” she said, holding up the book. “Is it okay if I run it down to her?”

“Of course. I’m sure she’ll be glad you brought it.”

Franky walked down the hall, and knocked on the door to Emily’s classroom. She stood to the side so that the girl wouldn’t see that it was her and want to come out and talk to her. She didn’t want to disrupt the class, she just wanted to drop off the book and leave again.

Ms. Williams opened the door. It took her a second to notice the brunette standing off to the side. “Oh! Hi, Franky.” She gave her a smile.

“Hey. I just came to drop this off. Em forgot it this morning.” She held out the book.

“Did you want to give it to her yourself?” The teacher glanced back into the room.

“Oh, uh, I didn’t want to disturb- are you sure it’s okay?” Ms. Williams nodded. “Okay, sure.”

Franky waited while the teacher called Emily to the door.

“Franky!” Emily’s face lit up.

“Shh, indoor voice, bub.” She crouched down and gave the girl a hug.

“You came to visit me?”

“I came to bring your book. You forgot it.” Franky handed her the book.

“Thanks! Will you read it to me tonight?” she asked quietly.

“Sure.” The brunette smiled at her. “You should get back to class now though, okay?”

“Okay.” Emily gave her a kiss on the cheek, and went back into the classroom.

Franky stood up to see the teacher still standing in the doorway with a smile on her face.

“What?” the brunette asked, feeling a bit self-conscious.

“I always knew you were a softie deep down.” Franky simply shrugged her shoulders, not really knowing what to say. Ms. Williams continued. “Since you’re here, there was something I wanted to mention to either you or Bridget. I know Ms. Johns told you guys about it, but I just wanted to remind you that on Friday we’re doing the family tree stuff. I don’t know if you think Emily will be okay with that or if you wanted to talk to her a bit about it first. If it’s something you guys want to do with her on your own instead, I can give you the worksheets and it’s perfectly fine if you want to take her out of class for that afternoon. Whatever you think will keep her from being too upset.”

“I’ll talk to Gidge tonight, but I think we’ll probably just go through it with her ourselves. I can pick her up at lunchtime on Friday.” Franky felt that Bridget would agree that it was better if they did it with her. She was worried that Emily might have questions or get upset, and she would rather they were there to help her instead of her teacher.

“Okay, I’ll grab the worksheets for you.” Ms. Williams went inside and was back a few seconds later with a packet of papers which she handed to the brunette.

“Thanks, I gotta run now, see you later!” Franky took the papers and went back to her car. She put them into her bag so that she wouldn’t forget to ask Bridget about it later that night.

********

“I don’t know who was putting who to bed just then.” Franky came back into the living room, yawning and rubbing her eyes.

“You laid down with her, didn’t you?” Bridget asked, looking up from her laptop with a small smile on her face.

“Maybe.” The brunette let herself drop onto the couch beside the older woman.

“The trick is you have to stay sitting up, or else some night you will fall asleep, and I’d leave you there if you did.” The blonde went back to her work.

“No you wouldn’t.” A small smirk played on Franky’s lips.

“Yep. I would.” Bridget kept a straight face, watching the brunette’s reaction out of the corner of her eye. “I’d have the bed all to myself. I could sleep in the middle and spread out like a starfish.”

“Nah, you’d wake me up.” Franky shifted closer to her. “And ask me to come to bed with you.” She leaned in so that her lips were next to the blonde’s ear. “Because if I wasn’t there, you’d miss me.” She was close enough that her lips brushed the older woman’s ear on the last two words.

Bridget’s eyes fluttered closed for a second, and when she opened them, she turned to face Franky. “How do you do that?” she asked with a smile on her lips.

“Do what?” The brunette looked from her eyes to her lips then back again.

“Make ‘annoyingly cocky’ so fucking hot.” She held the younger woman’s gaze.

“Guess it’s just my natural charm.” Franky placed a soft kiss on her lips, and Bridget just shook her head. “On a serious note though, Gidge, I do have something we need to talk about.”

“Okay.” Bridget closed her laptop and put it on the coffee table. “Nothing bad I hope.”

“I don’t think so. Just something we have to figure out.” The brunette got up, found the worksheets in her bag, and brought them back with her as she sat down by the older woman again. “Beth gave these to me when I went to drop off the book that Em forgot today.”

“Beth?” Bridget thought for a moment. “How did I not know her first name?”

Franky shrugged. “I haven’t seen it on anything Em has brought home so far.” She handed the papers to the blonde. “It’s the family tree thing. They’re doing it in class on Friday afternoon.” The brunette had prepared her reasoning for why she thought they should keep Emily home and talk to her about it. She had just opened her mouth to give her side when Bridget spoke.

“I think we should do this with her. One of us can pick her up at noon and then we’ll have the weekend.” The blonde looked over at Franky, who still had her mouth half open. “What?”

“Nothing. I was just going to say the same thing, and you beat me to it.” The brunette smiled, relieved.

“I think she’s been through enough. I know it seems like something small, but she’s going to hear the other kids talking about their parents, and I don’t want that bringing up things for her. Even the happy memories can make someone sad in certain situations. She’s only got about a week and a half left anyway so one afternoon won’t matter. Let’s just ease her through the rest of this term then she’ll have the summer, and hopefully she can have a more stable, settled year next year.”

Franky let out a long breath, and nodded her head.

“Baby.” Bridget put a hand on the brunette’s cheek. She knew what the younger woman was thinking. “I know you love her, and that you’re protective of her, and I get why that is. We’re on the same page though, okay?”

Franky nodded again. “I’m sorry.”

“Nope, no sorries, everything’s fine. I’m so glad that Em has someone else who cares about her now, too.” The blonde gave her a quick kiss. “Okay?”

“Yeah.” Franky’s voice was quiet, and Bridget put an arm around her. “Gidge?”

“Mm?” The blonde was still reading through the papers Franky had given her.

“I was thinking about the summer. The Centre has some day camp stuff.”

“Yeah, I was just looking at that the other day actually. There’s an art one on Mondays and Wednesdays I thought she might like, and a science one on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then of course you’ll have both of us on Thursday evenings.” Bridget smiled and squeezed the brunette’s shoulder. “Plus they all end about the same time as her school day did, so you’ll still get to spend some time with her each afternoon.”

“That sounds great! Bea is teaching the art one. She’ll love it!” Franky knew her friend would be happy to have the young girl in her class, and Emily loved to draw already.

“That would just leave Fridays.”

“Fridays are my short days again anyway so she can just come with me for the morning.” Franky’s mood was already lifting.

“Okay, good, it’s settled then.” Bridget set the papers aside on the coffee table. “I can leave early this Friday and pick her up from school.”

“I can do it. It’s kind of silly for you to take time off when I’m available anyway.” Franky ran her hand along the top of the blonde’s thigh.

“I know, it’s just…” Bridget trailed off.

“It’s just what?” the brunette asked, giving her leg a small squeeze.

“I literally don’t know how I would do all of this without you,” the blonde sighed.

“Good thing you don’t have to then, huh?” Franky leaned into her and smiled. “But even if you did, you’d figure it out, you’d make it work.”

“Yeah.” Bridget returned her smile. “You don’t mind picking her up?”

“Of course not!”

“Okay, I’ll call the school tomorrow and let them know.” The blonde picked up the remote. “Want to watch an episode of this show I found before bed?”

“Sure. What’s it called?” Franky got up to get them each something to drink before they settled in to watch it.

“Rush. There’s this really hot cop named Stella.” The blonde navigated through the screens.

“You and cops, Gidge.” The brunette laughed, as she sat down beside her.

********

It was lunchtime on Friday, and Franky had just pulled into the parking lot at Emily’s school. They had told her that the brunette would be picking her up early today, but they hadn’t said why.

She walked through the hallways until she came to Emily’s classroom. Ms. Williams was just finishing up the morning’s lessons, so Franky leaned against the wall with her arms crossed, and waited. After a few minutes, kids began leaving the classroom. She was lost in thought when she felt a tap on her elbow. She looked down to see a small boy standing there.

“I’m taking your class this summer,” he said quietly.

Franky crouched down. “That’s awesome! So you like cooking?”

The boy nodded. “I don’t know much yet.”

“That’s okay. That’s why you take classes, right?” He nodded again.

“I’m taking your class, too. With my mom.” A girl from Emily’s class had joined the boy.

Franky saw Emily making her way out of the room. “That’s great! I’ll see you both in a couple weeks then, okay?” They both nodded, and the brunette stood up. “Hey, bub, you ready to go?”

“Yeah!” The young girl reached up and took Franky’s hand.

When they got home, the brunette was restless. It would be another few hours until Bridget got home, and she was worried about how their talk with Emily would go tonight. She decided to distract herself the best way she knew how; cooking.

She and Emily were just finishing up their lunch. “So I was thinking, would you like to make a special dessert to have after supper?” The brunette knew that part of the reason she was making the offer because she was worried that what they were going to talk about afterwards would upset the young girl. On the other hand though, she reasoned that it wasn’t that far out of the ordinary either.

“The one you made with fire.” Emily had a big smile on her face.

“The one I made with fire?” Franky thought for a moment before it came to her. “Crème brûlée?”

“Yeah!”

“Okay, help me clean up then we’ll get started. It has to sit in the fridge for awhile before we can eat it, so we’ll start early.” The brunette did a quick check of the fridge and cabinets to make sure they had everything they needed.

Franky watched while Emily carefully followed the recipe, letting her do as much as possible on her own. The brunette remembered when she had made this same dessert for Bridget the first time.

“You know, I made this for your auntie on our first date.” Franky helped her turn on the stove.

“You did?”

“Yep, I did. I cooked supper for her, and this is what we had for dessert.” The brunette thought back to the moment she opened the door and saw Bridget standing there in her little black dress.

“And then what?” Emily carefully stirred the cream and vanilla in the saucepan.

“Then we talked and played a board game.” Franky was beginning to think she had started a bad conversation.

“Then you came here,” the young girl stated.

“The next morning, yes. Remember we made breakfast for Auntie and Vera?” The girl looked at her for a long moment, nodded, then went back to stirring the contents of the saucepan.

After they had baked and cooled the desserts, they set the pan in the fridge to chill until it was time to use the ‘fire’ as Emily called it to brown the tops just before they were ready to eat them.

********

Bridget had left work about an hour early, and was greeted by the smell of baked goods when she arrived home. She dropped her bag at the end of the couch where Franky was flipping through a magazine.

“Hey, babe.” The brunette let her head fall backwards.

“Hey.” Bridget leaned over from behind and gave her an upside-down kiss. “It smells great in here. Where’s Em?”

“We made something special for dessert, and she’s in her room playing.” Franky put the magazine down beside her.

“Okay. I’ll be right back, I need to get out of these clothes.” The blonde gave her another kiss.

“Need any help?”

Bridget just shook her head and smiled. “Maybe later.”

When the blonde returned, she sat with Franky, and leaned into her. The brunette wrapped an arm around her.

“What do you think is the best way to talk to her about it?” Franky had been thinking about it for days, and she finally needed to talk about it.

“I think we should just go through what the teacher was going to talk about and then do the tree. It might not even be an issue for her. This whole thing with us doing it with her instead is kind of just a precautionary thing. She might not have a problem with it at all.” Bridget was hoping if they approached it like it wasn’t a big deal, then maybe Emily wouldn’t think too much about it.

“Okay. I’m going to start supper.”

********

Once they had eaten, Franky and Emily went to work on the final step of making the dessert. They sprinkled the last of the sugar and vanilla on the three dishes, and the brunette got out her chef’s blowtorch.

“Now, a few very important things,” Franky began, still holding the blowtorch. “I let you do a lot of things on your own today, and I’m going to let you do most of this part too, but the rule is that you don’t cook, or use sharp knives, or anything hot, or any of the appliances without an adult in the kitchen with you. Either myself, Gidge, or Liz, okay?” She waited for Emily to agree. “Okay, so the trick to this part is to get the sugar on top brown and crispy without burning it.”

She moved to stand directly behind the young girl, who was on the small step stool to give her enough height to comfortably work on the counter. She set the blowtorch on the counter. “Pick it up with whichever hand feels most comfortable.” Emily reached out and took it with her right hand. “I’m going to help at first, okay?” The young girl nodded, and Franky reached out from behind and covered Emily’s hand with her own. “So this button turns it on, and the same one turns it off when we’re done.” The brunette clicked the button with her thumb, and the blowtorch lit. “So you don’t want to be too close or it’ll burn really fast.” Franky guided her hand until the first dessert was a golden brown on top. “Now move on to the next one, and do it just like I showed you and try to make them all the same colour.”

The brunette loosened her grip and allowed Emily to do most of the work on the final two.

“Okay, good. Turn it off. We have to wait for a few minutes while they cool a bit.” She waited while Emily clicked the button and the blowtorch turned off. “So after you use that, it’ll be really hot for awhile. You need to leave it upright, don’t lay it down on anything, and don’t touch the end where the flame was.”

Emily nodded and hopped down off the stool.

“What was the rule about that that I said before we started?” Franky asked, pointing to it on the counter.

“Don’t use it unless you’re in the kitchen too.” She started back to the table.

“Right. And Em,” the brunette waited for her to turn around. “You did really well with that.” A large smile appeared on the young girl’s face.

********

"That was delicious, Em." Bridget gave the young girl a small squeeze of the shoulder as the blonde passed by her on her way to the kitchen. "Don't go too far, we have something we want to do with you in a minute."

"I'm really hoping she just thinks it's fun and interesting," Franky said, wiping off the stovetop as Bridget put the dishes in the dishwasher.

"I know, baby," the blonde sighed.

Franky grabbed the worksheets, and sat on the floor in front of the coffee table.

"Em, love, can you come back out here?" Bridget called down the hallway.

When Emily came back into the living room, Franky patted the space on the rug beside her. "Come sit with me."

Bridget followed, putting the young girl between them. "Ms. Williams sent home a little project for us to do together. Do you know what a family tree is?" the blonde asked, as Franky spread out the sheets on the table. Emily shook her head, so Bridget started to explain. "A family tree is kind of like a map of your family, the people you're related to. So people like parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins."

The brunette slid one of the sheets in front of the young girl. "So on this sheet, we're going to write the names of the people in your family. Auntie will tell you their names if you don't know them and I'll help with the spelling. So this first box here is for your name."

The blonde waited while Emily wrote her name in the box. "In the next boxes would be your mom and dad. Do you know their names?" Bridget held her breath.

"Dad is Tim. Mom is Sarah." Emily began to write the names in the boxes.

"Good. Did your mom have any brothers or sisters?" Franky asked her. Emily shook her head. "Did your dad have any?"

"Auntie Bridge." Emily laughed, clearly thinking it was funny that Franky would ask that with Bridget sitting right there with them. The two adults smiled as well. Things were going better than they had anticipated.

They worked their way through her grandparents and great-grandparents. The project only went back to great-great-grandparents, which Bridget knew all but one of their names.

"There, you're all done, love. You should go put it in your bag so you don't forget it on Monday." The blonde moved to the side so that Emily could get out from between them.

"It's not done yet. I need to put Franky with you." The young girl touched her pencil to the paper.

"No, bub. I'm not on there," Franky said as she gathered the rest of the papers.

"Yeah, you're with Auntie Bridge." She started to draw a line from Bridget's name.

"That's not how this kind of a family tree works." Bridget said gently.

"What do you mean? You said we were a family." Emily looked from her aunt to Franky.

The brunette looked over the top of the young girl's head at Bridget. "Yeah we are," she said, lowering her head so her face was next to Emily's. "But there are different kinds of families."

Bridget decided to try to help explain. "The people on this tree are related to you in some way. Some of them are your blood relatives. That means that part of them has helped to physically make you. That's why maybe you look a bit like some of them."

"Like how you and your dad and Auntie all have blue eyes, and you and her have blonde hair." That was one of the first things that Franky had noticed when she'd met Bridget; how much the little girl looked like her with her blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

Bridget nodded. "Or they would be on there if they married one of your relatives and had kids. Sometimes though, you meet people and you become really good friends, or you're in a relationship but you aren't married, and they become like your family too. They aren't a relative though, or married to one, so they wouldn't be included in something like this." The blonde pointed to Emily's family tree. "They would be on their own tree with their family. It doesn't mean that you care about them any less, sometimes maybe you're even closer to them."

"But I love her like I love you and Mom and Dad, and I want her to be family." Emily looked to her aunt again.

The blonde looked at Franky, who was wiping tears from her cheeks. "I know you do, love, and whether or not her name is on this paper doesn't change that," she said, focusing her attention back on the young girl.

Franky put her arm around Emily. "I'll always be here for you."

"Olivia in my class said that her Mom and Dad stopped loving each other and now she doesn't get to see her dad."

The brunette looked at Bridget. She certainly wasn't planning on leaving the blonde. She loved her more than she had loved anyone before. She often thought back to their night in Wentworth, and the promise she had made to her girlfriend. It didn't matter to her that Bridget hadn't heard it, she intended to follow through. Initially, she had thought that she'd ask her not long after she'd gotten out of prison, but things with Emily and Tim had become the priority. It didn't seem right proposing to the blonde when she had so much else on her mind. Things were starting to fall into some sense of normalcy the past couple of weeks though, and it was playing on her mind again.

"Love, even if for some reason Franky wasn't my girlfriend anymore, you would still be able to spend time with her if you wanted to," Bridget said, rubbing Emily's back. The blonde looked up and made eye contact with the younger woman.

“Yeah, yeah definitely. I’m not planning on ever going anywhere, but no matter what, you’re always welcome with me.”

“Em, why don’t you go have your shower now?” Bridget sensed that Franky needed a minute to gather her thoughts.

The young girl looked at Franky, then back to her aunt. Bridget tilted her head towards the bathroom, and Emily quietly got up and started down the hallway.

The blonde moved to sit beside Franky. “You okay, baby?” She asked, rubbing her back.

“Yeah, they were happy tears. It was just a bit overwhelming, you know?” The brunette took a deep breath.

"I know. She has a way of getting to you, doesn't she?"

"Oh yeah." Franky looked off into the kitchen.

Bridget could practically see the wheels turning in the brunette's head, and knew that she needed time to process. She figured the younger woman would probably be ready to talk when they went to bed. That had always seemed like her time to open up and decompress.

********

They had spent the evening playing card games, most of which Emily had won. Now, Franky and Bridget were laying in bed. The brunette pulled the older woman close against her, leaving no room between her front and Bridget's back.

"I never thought I'd have anything like this." Franky said quietly.

Bridget smiled. She knew her girlfriend too well. "You didn't?"

"No. I knew Liz would always be there for me, but I never expected something like this. Coming home to the same person every night, and being completely happy with it. A kid that I'd care about so much. Those were things I never even thought about, and if someone had asked me if I wanted them, I would have said I was doing okay without them."

"Maybe you were." Bridget said turning over.

"What?" Franky didn't understand what she was saying. She definitely didn't think her life before Bridget was better.

"Maybe you were doing okay without them. You didn't know at the time what you were missing, or how much you'd enjoy what we have now." She smiled at the brunette.

"I love you."

Franky's admission had caught the blonde off guard. "I know you do, baby. I love you, too."

"Gidge, can we.." The younger woman trailed off.

Bridget looked at her for a moment before pulling her close. She leaned in and brushed her lips against the brunette's. "Baby, if you want something, just ask for it." She trailed her fingers over Franky's back. She didn't think she was asking for sex; that was something neither of them were shy about, and they were pretty much past the point of having to ask.

"Can we sleep without our clothes? Just for tonight?" Franky asked quietly.

"Yeah," Bridget replied, giving her another light kiss.

Franky got out of bed and locked their bedroom door. Emily had been sleeping well lately, but she didn't want to take the chance. When she turned to come back to the bed, the blonde got up and met her. Bridget reached down and took the hem of Franky's shirt, pulling it off over her head. She then slid her hands in either side of the brunette's shorts and underwear, and slid them down over her legs. Franky quickly repeated the blonde's actions so they were both standing there in front of each other naked.

Bridget reached up and wrapped her arms around the brunette's neck. Franky smiled and walked them backwards to the bed, keeping her hands on the blonde's hips to make sure she didn't stumble over their discarded clothes. When they reached the edge of the bed, the brunette reached down, and with a hand on the back of each of Bridget's thighs, lifted her up and placed her on the bed. The blonde never let go of Franky's neck, so she followed her onto the bed, ending up on top of her. She gave her a quick kiss, and moved to lay on her side, pulling Bridget along with her.

"I've never slept naked with someone just because before. I've, you know, passed out after sex without getting dressed, but never just slept." Franky moved closer, and Bridget intertwined their legs.

"I like that I get to be the first for some things with you." The blonde gave her a warm smile.

"You were a lot of firsts for me. First serious relationship, first time showering with someone, first time saying 'I love you'." Franky let her fingers move along Bridget's side.

"First time letting someone fuck you with a strap-on." The blonde smiled seeing the look of surprise on her girlfriend's face.

"Did I tell you that?" Franky asked, her face turning a bit red.

"You did. During one of our phone sex nights when you were in Wentworth." Bridget smiled. Obviously the brunette hadn't realized what she was saying at the time.

"I never trusted anyone else enough to let them." Franky saw the smile leave the blonde's face. "I spent so much of my life not having any kind of control over what happened to me, the abuse from my mom, all the shit that happened on the streets, that when I finally got it, there was no way I was letting anyone else have any of it back."

"You should have told me that night." Bridget rested her hand on the brunette's cheek.

"I didn't need to, Gidge. It didn't bother me to let you do it." She saw a bit of the smile return to the blonde's face.

Franky leaned in and connected their lips. She took her time, she'd always loved kissing Bridget much more than any of her previous partners. She felt the blonde shift closer to her. When she broke the kiss, Bridget moved forward, following her, wanting more. The brunette connected their lips again.

"You're really good at that." Bridget said when they finally had to break apart for air.

"At kissing?" Franky grinned, and the blonde gave a small nod. "You did that same thing that night at my apartment when I kissed you. You didn't want it to end."

"Ugh, that whole night, I just wanted to fuck you. Ever since that kiss in the classroom I knew I was in trouble, but that night was torture." Bridget saw a flicker in Franky's eyes. "You looked so good when you answered the door, and you had cooked an amazing meal. Then you surprised me with the boardgame thing. Very few people surprise me, so it was nice. And well, afterwards, if you hadn't stopped, I think we know what would have happened."

"You looked amazing in that dress." The brunette's eyes scanned over Bridget's face as her fingers ran the length of the older woman's back.

"I've always liked how you look at me," the blonde whispered.

"And how's that?" It wasn't something that Franky had ever thought about before.

"Like you want me. Like you love me."

"Because I do." The brunette gave her a kiss. "I think you're beautiful."

Bridget looked at her for a minute. "It doesn't bother you that I'm older than you?" Franky shook her head. "Because the other two women I've seen who you've been with have been a lot younger."

"I don't care about age, Gidge. Besides, you're not old, you're making yourself sound like some old grandmother." The brunette gave a small laugh then got serious again. "If you're worried about that, stop. I love you so much."

"I love you too, baby." Bridget leaned in and connected their lips again.

"Did you mean what you said earlier when we were talking to Em?"

"Which part?" Bridget had meant everything she'd said, but she wanted to make sure which thing specifically the brunette was talking about.

"That if we ever weren't together she could still see me." The comment had surprised Franky at the time.

"Of course. If for some reason things fell apart for us, she shouldn't suffer because of it. I would never keep her from someone who was a good, loving, caring influence on her. I don't really want to think about it though." Bridget looked down.

"Me either." The brunette pulled her closer and connected their lips. She let her hand slide from the older woman's shoulder, down her back, and over her butt, then all the way back up to let her fingers tangle in her hair.

"Mmm, you're making this really hard." Bridget giggled against the other woman's lips.

"Making what hard?" Franky asked, kissing her softly again.

"To just sleep naked." They both laughed.

The brunette shifted a bit, allowing Bridget to bury her head in the crook of her neck. Franky drew lazy circles with her fingers between the blonde's shoulders and felt her immediately start to relax. A couple of times she felt Bridget's hand, that was resting on her lower back, twitch, and she knew this meant that she was falling asleep. It wasn't long after that that Franky felt herself drift off.

Chapter Text

It was now almost the end of November, and school had finished for the summer. Franky was having her week off between sessions, and Emily's day camps hadn't started yet, so she and the brunette got to spend their week off together. Bridget had to admit that she'd much rather be sharing the week with them than going to work, but unfortunately the correctional system didn't care how nice the weather was, or what your other family members were doing.

It was Monday morning, and Bridget's alarm rang bright and early. She quickly reached over and turned it off, not wanting it to wake Franky, who got to sleep in the next few mornings. She watched the brunette for a minute. She always looked so peaceful when she slept.

The blonde felt herself drifting off to sleep again. She sighed and forced herself to get out of the bed, and into the shower.

She was just getting her breakfast ready when she heard Emily's bedroom door open. She stepped around the corner to see the young girl walking away from her, down the hall still half asleep and rubbing her eyes. "Em, love, do you want some breakfast?"

Bridget heard her mumble something, but the only words she could pick out were "bed" and "Franky" as Emily made her way to their bedroom. She went back to her food and cup of coffee.

Before she left, she decided to check in on her niece and girlfriend. She quietly opened the door and saw Franky curled on her side, and Emily snuggled under the blankets on Bridget's half of the bed.

"So jealous of you both right now," she said, closing the door gently, and heading to gather her things for work.

********

Franky was vaguely aware of someone's hand on her shoulder, trying to wake her. When she opened her eyes, she was met with Emily’s face just an inch from hers.

“Fucking hell!” Seeing someone so close to her when she wasn’t expecting it had startled her. Emily giggled. “Not cool Em.” Franky reached over and tickled her, causing the young girl to squirm with laughter. “When did you come in here?”

“Just before Auntie Bridge left.” Emily snuggled down into the blankets again.

“Oh no no, you woke me up, you’re not going back to sleep.” Franky got out of bed, and pulled the blanket off her.

The girl giggled again. “I wanted breakfast,” she said, reaching out for the brunette.

Franky leaned down, and picked her up out of the bed. “How about brunch? We slept in really late.” It was almost ten-thirty, which was way past when Emily normally woke up. “Actually, I have an even better idea: what do you think about having it as a picnic at the Lakes Reserve?”

“Yeah!”

“Alright, go get dressed.” The brunette set her down on the floor, and the young girl took off to her bedroom.

Franky found a small tote bag, and packed a blanket, sunscreen, a frisbee, and a couple of Emily’s card games. She figured the girl would probably want to run around and play, but it was a hot day, and she wanted to have something that would make her sit for a minute, have something to drink, and take a break. The brunette made them sandwiches, and grabbed a container of mixed berries along with some water.

Franky had always loved this place. It was just across the road behind the house, but it felt like you were in the middle of nowhere once you walked a few feet. She and Emily walked to the pond where they had had their race the last time they were there. Franky remembered the stabbing pain in her side all too well. There were a few other people there, but they were able to get a spot all to themselves in the shade under a large tree. The brunette spread out the blanket and unpacked their food.

“Are you excited for Christmas?” Emily asked as she ate her sandwich.

“I’m excited to spend it with you and Auntie.” Franky had never really been big on the holiday. Her parents had never made much of it, and her mother even less so after her dad had left. If she happened to be with a foster family at the time, they didn’t usually include her in their celebrations. She did enjoy her Christmases with Liz. They never had many presents, but she liked having someone to spend the day with and have a special meal. This year though she was already thinking of how she could decorate the house, and special dishes that she and Emily could make for everyone.

“What about your family?” the young girl asked as she took another bite of her sandwich.

“My family is you, Auntie and Liz.” She saw the confused look on the girl’s face. She knew she’d meant her family besides them, but she was hoping to avoid the topic.

“I mean your mom and dad.”

“My dad left when I was around your age, then a few years later, I left my mom.” Franky looked out across the lake.

“Why did you leave your mom?”

“She wasn’t a good mom.” The brunette didn’t see any point in sugarcoating it since they’d come this far already. “She didn’t do the things that moms, or someone who loves you are supposed to do.”

“She didn’t love you.” It wasn’t a question from the young girl, but Franky shook her head anyway. “But I love you, and Auntie Bridge loves you.”

“I know, bub. I love you guys too. That’s why I’m spending Christmas with you.” The brunette also wanted to ask Bridget if Liz could join them.

Franky and Emily finished their food, put on some sunscreen, and ventured out of the shade to play with the frisbee they’d brought with them. In the midday heat, it wasn’t long before the brunette thought they should take a break.

“Come here and sit for a minute. Have some water.” Franky called Emily back over to their blanket in the shade.

After a quick card game and a drink, she asked the young girl if she wanted to play some more frisbee. Emily shook her head and dealt the cards for another game. They spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out in the shade of the tree, playing games. By mid-afternoon, the young girl looked like she was getting tired, so Franky suggested that they go back to the house.

When they got there, Emily changed into her pyjamas, and laid down on the couch.

“You feeling okay?” Franky asked, sitting on the edge of the couch beside her.

“I’m tired and my head hurts,” she said quietly.

“Okay, I’ll be right back.” Franky thought that maybe she just wasn’t feeling well because of the heat, even though she made sure to give her lots to drink. She had finished her whole bottle of water and a juice box while they were at the park.

The brunette grabbed a cold washcloth and refilled Emily’s water bottle. She went back and sat on the couch beside her again.

“I want you to keep drinking while you’re awake, okay?” she asked, laying the washcloth across the girl’s forehead. Emily nodded.

“Will you stay with me?” the young girl asked when Franky went to get up.

“I need to tidy up a bit and do some laundry, but I promise I won’t leave the house, and you can just call out if you need me, alright?” The brunette handed her the TV remote. “I’ll come sit with you in a bit when I’m done.”

Franky kept glancing over each time she passed by the couch to see how Emily was doing. By the time the brunette had finished the few things she needed to do, and was gathering up her final load of laundry, the young girl was fast asleep. Franky kept her promise though, and when she was finished, stretched out on the other section of the L-shaped couch.

The movie that Emily had picked was almost done when the brunette heard Bridget’s car drive into the yard. She quietly got up off the couch, and went to meet her at the door.

“Hey, babe.” She gave the blonde a quick kiss.

“Hey,” Bridget smiled at her. “Why are you whispering?”

“Em’s on the couch asleep. She says she’s not feeling well.”

“Aw, okay, well hopefully she just needs a nap,” Bridget said, taking off her shoes.

“I took her to the park. We played frisbee for a bit, then we sat in the shade and played her card games. I made sure she had sunscreen and that she drank something.” Franky said following behind the blonde.

Bridget stopped, and turned to face the brunette. “Baby, relax. Do you think this is your fault?” Franky shrugged. “Why would you think that?” The younger woman shrugged again. “You were out for how long?”

“About three and a half hours by the time we got there. We ate lunch, then played frisbee for maybe thirty minutes or so. After that we sat on the blanket in the shade.” Franky glanced at the girl still sleeping on the couch. “She drank all her water while we were there, and a juice box, and she’s drunk almost half of her water again since we’ve gotten home. She said she had a headache and was tired, so I got her the cold cloth.”

Bridget put her hand on Franky’s cheek and gave her a small kiss. “If she ate, and drank that much, and still doesn’t feel well, then I don’t think it has anything to do with you taking her out. It’s probably just a virus.” The blonde walked over to the couch and gently touched the girl’s cheek with the backs of her fingers. “She might be a bit warm. We should check her temp when she wakes up.”

Franky and Bridget went about getting supper ready. When it was time to eat, the blonde went over to wake her niece.

“Love, it’s time for supper, and I want to check your temperature.” Bridget held up a digital thermometer, and Emily opened her mouth. They waited the few seconds for it to take a reading. “Thirty-eight. Yeah, you’ve got a fever. Do you want to eat?” The young girl shook her head. “Okay, I want you to drink some more of your water though.”

Franky was just getting ready to serve their meal when she saw Bridget signal to her to wait a moment, then head towards her office. She set the pan back on the stove and went to see what was going on. She found the blonde sitting at her desk, reading something on the screen of her laptop.

“Everything okay?” she asked standing behind Bridget and resting her hands on the older woman’s shoulders.

“Yeah, well, I’m not sure.” She gave a weak laugh. “She’s got a fever, and, uh well, I’ve never looked after a sick child before. I mean, if it was you or me, I know kind of the basics, but kids are different, yeah?”

“You’re asking the wrong person, babe, but I would assume they are, yeah.” Franky watched as the blonde scrolled through a page all about treating fevers in young children.

“I’ll need to pick up a couple things at the pharmacy,” she said, writing them down on a small piece of paper.

“I can go. You eat supper while it’s warm.” Franky reached for the piece of paper.

“I got it, baby, but thank you for offering. It won’t take long.” The blonde gave her a quick kiss.

********

Franky sat with Emily while she waited for Bridget to return from the pharmacy. It was only about twenty minutes before she was back, carrying a bag of items. The blonde tilted her head, indicating for Franky to follow her over to the kitchen.

“I talked to the pharmacist,” she said, unpacking the bag. “He said to try paracetamol first for the fever. He also recommended these drinks instead of just water all the time. They’ve got some electrolytes in them, and they’re made for young kids. I wrote down a list of foods he suggested that would be easy on her stomach in case that becomes an issue. We have to check her fever every few hours when she’s awake. If it lasts more than three days, goes above thirty-nine, or if the paracetamol doesn’t work, then we should take her to the doctor. If it goes above forty-one then she needs to go to the emergency department right away.” Bridget exhaled, looking over the items on the counter.

“Okay, so we’ll try the meds first, then see if we can get her to drink some of this?” Franky asked, holding up one of the bottles. Bridget nodded as she read how to calculate the amount of medicine to give the young girl. The brunette put her arm around the older woman and gave her a kiss on the temple.

Bridget measured out the medication, and sat down on the couch with Emily. “Here, love, I need you to take this. It’ll help you feel better. You have to sit up while you take it.” The blonde put her hand behind the young girl’s back and helped her into a more upright position.

“What is it?” Emily looked at the pink liquid.

“It’s paracetamol, a medication,” Bridget explained. “Please, love. I promise it’ll help.” Emily took another look at the medication then drank it. “Okay, good.” The blonde moved her hand to let the girl lay down on the couch again. “We’re going to have supper. Do you want anything to eat?” Emily shook her head. “Does your stomach hurt, or you’re just not hungry?”

“I’m not hungry,” Emily said, pulling the blanket higher.

“Okay.” Bridget gave her a kiss on the side of her head.

While Franky and Bridget ate, the brunette kept looking over at the couch. Bridget knew that she was checking on Emily, even though she couldn’t really see her over the back of the couch.

The blonde reached over and covered the younger woman’s hand with her own. “I’m going to call Vera and let her know I won’t be in tomorrow.”

“It’s okay, Gidge. I’m off anyway.”

“Franky, I can’t ask you to look after her all day alone when she’s sick.” Bridget knew that Franky was perfectly capable of looking after Emily, but she didn’t want to leave her.

“I’ll be fine.” Franky smiled at her. “Look, if you want to stay home just because you want to or you think you should, then that’s your call, but I don’t mind doing it, at all. You’ve got everything the pharmacist told you written out, and I’ll text you to let you know how she’s doing, and you can call and talk to her whenever you have a chance.”

Bridget thought for a moment. “Okay. I mean, I do want to stay and be with her, but I also know that you guys will be okay. Just keep me updated.”

“Promise.” The brunette squeezed her hand.

After supper, Bridget got Emily to drink one of the electrolyte drinks she had bought. When she checked her temperature again, it was down slightly. She had hoped the medicine would bring it down a bit more than it had. Franky offered the girl something to eat again, and again she refused, saying she wasn’t hungry. They decided to let her lay on the couch with them until they went to bed since she just wanted to be near them and she could sleep in in the morning.

When they were ready to go to bed, Bridget carried her into her room. She knew that if the young girl needed anything during the night that she would come into their room and wake them.

The blonde slid easily into Franky’s arms as soon as she laid down in their bed. She felt the younger woman pull her closer, and place a kiss on the back of her shoulder.

“Did she stay asleep?” Franky asked, taking Bridget’s hand in hers.

“Yeah, she did.” The blonde moved back to press herself closer to the younger woman.

Franky laid there thinking about the conversation she and Emily had in the park earlier that day. She was more excited for this Christmas than she could ever remember. She already had ideas for some gifts that she wanted to get for her. She was less sure what she was going to get for Bridget though, but she knew something she wanted to do. Christmas was a time for family, and for once, she was going to have her own little family all celebrating together. She had decided that she was going to ask Bridget to marry her. She knew the traditional proposal of going out on a date somewhere fancy first, but she couldn’t think of anything better than to have Emily and Liz there when she popped the question. She wanted to let Emily help her pick the ring out. She knew from the surprise birthday party that the young girl could keep a secret if she had to, so she trusted her this time too. This was something that was going to affect her as well, so Franky wanted her to feel like she was a part of it.

********

Bridget woke in the night to Emily pulling on her hand. She slowly opened her eyes. “What’s wrong, love?”

“I don’t feel good,” Emily said quietly.

“I know, baby. Is it still your head that hurts?” The blonde brushed a strand of hair out of the young girl’s face and noticed that she still felt warm.

“And my stomach.”

“Your stomach?” Bridget asked. “Do you feel like you’re going to be sick?” Emily nodded.

The blonde was up and out of bed, and leading the young girl to the bathroom. She gathered Emily’s hair, and held it for her while she vomited into the toilet.

Franky woke up to an empty bed. When she looked around, she saw that the bedroom door was open, and the light was on in the hallway. She could faintly hear Bridget talking, she assumed, to Emily. She got out of bed, and when she made it to the hallway, she saw that the bathroom light was on as well.

Bridget saw Franky lean against the doorframe out of the corner of her eye.

“Upset stomach now, too?” the brunette asked, giving a look that said she felt bad for the young girl.

“Yeah, she came and woke me up.” Bridget rubbed Emily’s back. “All done, love?” The young girl nodded. “Okay, go wash your face and hands then we’ll go back to bed.”

Bridget waited, and washed her hands when Emily was done at the sink. “I think I’ll bring her into our bed for the night.”

“Gidge, I can go sleep in her bed with her. That way you can get some rest since you’re the one who has to go to work tomorrow.” Franky stood in front of the blonde, who looked half asleep, and rubbed her arms. “Okay?”

“I should…” Bridget trailed off.

“Shh, babe.” The brunette gave her a quick kiss. “I don’t mind. I offered, okay?”

Bridget gave a nod, and Franky sent her back to their room. She grabbed the bucket from the utility closet, and went back down the hall to Emily’s room.

“Is it okay if I sleep here with you for the rest of the night? I’ll keep you company since you’re not feeling well?” Franky asked, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Okay.” Emily was already drifting back to sleep.

Franky climbed over the young girl, putting herself on the inside next to the wall so that Emily would be able to get out of the bed quickly if she needed to get to the bathroom again. “There’s a bucket on the floor beside you in case you feel sick again and you don’t think you’ll make it to the bathroom.”

“Okay.” Emily turned over to face the brunette. “Rub my back?”

“Sure, bub.” The young girl moved in closer, and snuggled against her. She ran her hand lightly up and down Emily’s back and it wasn’t long before she was back to sleep. Franky smiled, seeing that the teddy bear she had won that day at the park, was held tightly in Emily’s arms. After a few minutes, she felt herself drifting off again as well.

Emily slept through the rest of the night. Franky, however, found herself waking up whenever the young girl moved. That didn’t happen with Bridget, or when Emily slept in their bed with them, so the brunette figured it was her subconscious waking her to make sure the child was okay.

The next thing she knew, she woke to hear Bridget in the kitchen making herself breakfast. Franky wanted to see her before she left for work, so she carefully moved her arm from under Emily, and waited a few seconds to make sure she was still asleep before leaving the young girl’s bed.

“Hey, Gidge.” Franky gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“Morning, baby. I thought you were going to sleep in today,” Bridget said as she took a sip of her coffee.

“I heard you out here, and I wanted to see you before you went to work.” Franky sat on one of the stools by the kitchen island.

The blonde smiled at her. “How did she sleep?”

“Good, I don’t think she woke up again. She still feels warm though.”

“Okay, well at least she slept and wasn’t sick again. Are you sure you don’t want me to stay home too?” Bridget felt bad leaving the brunette with a sick kid on what was supposed to be her week off.

“I’m sure, babe.” Franky took the mug of coffee Bridget had poured for her.

“I left her medicine on the counter, and put more of the drink stuff in the fridge to get cold. The list of foods she can have and the things the pharmacist told me are on the counter as well. He said eating wasn’t too important, but she really needs to drink. Especially if she gets sick any more.” The blonde looked around the kitchen like she thought she was forgetting something.

Franky stood and walked around the island. She wrapped her arms around Bridget. “I’ll keep you updated all day. Promise.”

“I just feel bad leaving her. And for making you look after her.”

“Babe.” Franky pulled back so she could look at the blonde. “This is what it’s all about, yeah? The whole family thing?” Bridget nodded. “So stop saying that you feel bad about leaving or ‘making’ me look after her. You’re not ‘making’ me do anything. Maybe next time I’ll be working and you’ll be the one with time off.”

“You’re right. Okay. I should get going.” She gave the brunette a quick kiss.

********

Emily woke up not long after Bridget had left for work. Franky was sitting on the couch finishing her coffee, when the young girl made her way out to the living room.

“Hey sleepyhead, how are you feeling?” Franky put her arm out so that Emily would come sit beside her.

“Not good,” the young girl said, crawling up on the couch beside the brunette.

Franky placed her hand on Emily’s forehead. “You still feel warm. Here, let’s check your temp.” She held up the thermometer, and the young girl let her put it under her tongue. A few seconds later, it beeped. “Thirty-nine. No wonder you don’t feel well. You need to take some more medicine, okay?” The brunette knew that Bridget had said thirty-nine was the cutoff before she had to see the doctor, so she was hoping it didn’t go any higher.

Emily shook her head.

“We have to get that fever down, bub.” Franky got the bucket from the bedroom just in case. She read the note where Bridget had written how much medication to give her when she figured it out last night. The brunette poured it into the small cup, and sat back down on the couch.

“My stomach hurts,” Emily said when Franky passed her the small cup.

“I know. Just try to take it for me?” Emily looked at her again, and the brunette wanted to tell her she didn’t have to do it, but she knew the young girl needed to take it. “Come on.” Franky rubbed her shoulder.

Emily drank the pink liquid, but the brunette could tell she was already fighting to get it down.

“Okay?” Franky asked her, and the young girl slowly nodded.

The brunette grabbed a blanket from the back of the couch, and put it over Emily. The girl leaned against her, watching the morning kids cartoons that Franky had put on the TV. Franky figured she’d give the medication a little while to work, then try to get her to drink something.

When they had watched one more episode, the brunette paused the show. She wanted Emily to drink some of the stuff that Bridget had gotten the night before. She measured out about half a serving. She figured better to start small than to give her too much and make her sick again.

She sat back down on the couch and gave Emily the glass. “It’s the same stuff Auntie gave you last night. Since you have a fever, and you’re not eating, you need to drink some.”

She sipped on the drink, and Franky saw that she had finished about half of what she’d given her. It was a start. The brunette waited a few minutes, then encouraged her to finish the rest of it, which she did.

It wasn’t long after that that Emily was sick again. Franky held the bucket for her. She felt bad that she had made her drink when she wasn’t feeling well to start with. When Emily was done, she checked her temp again, and it was still thirty-nine.

She texted Bridget with an update:

To: Gidge
Gave her meds when she woke up, then waited about a half hour and gave her some
of the drink. She was sick again after that and her temp is up to 39 this morning.

The reply was almost immediate:

To: Franky
Poor thing :( If she can’t at least keep her meds down, she may need to see the doctor. Let me know how it goes after the next dose. xo

Franky sat with her for the rest of the morning. She had gotten sick after the brunette tried to get her to drink some more, so when it came time for her medicine again, Franky wasn’t feeling too hopeful that it would go well. Emily drank the medication, but this time it only stayed down for about fifteen minutes. When the brunette checked the young girl’s temp, it was up to thirty nine point five.

“Shit.” Franky picked up her phone, but this time she called the blonde instead of texting.

“Hey, baby, what’s going on?” Bridget knew that the brunette wouldn’t have called just to give her an update.

“Her temp is up to thirty-nine point five, and she’s not keeping anything down. No meds, no drinks, nothing. I think she needs to go to the doctor.” Franky tried to sound calm for Emily, but inside she was freaking out a bit.

“Fuck. Okay, yes for sure take her to the doctor. There’s a file in my office with all of her medical stuff in it, and the address of the clinic where she’s registered. Same doctor as me. I’ll call ahead to let them know she’s coming in.” Bridget wanted to do nothing other than run to meet them at the clinic, but she told herself again, as she had that morning, that Franky was more than capable of handling things. She knew she was being illogical, but chalked it up to her parenting instinct making her want to be with the sick girl. “And baby, please let me know anything as soon as you do.”

“I will, Gidge. I gotta go, I’m going to get her ready so we can leave.”

Franky helped Emily wash her face and change into a clean pair of pyjamas. The brunette then grabbed a shopping bag and threw in another pair of pyjamas for the young girl, just in case, a blanket, and some water for them both. Finally, she grabbed the file from Bridget’s office.

“Okay, bub, let’s go to the doctor and see what’s going on.” Franky carried her out to the car.

She was quiet for most of the ride there, and the brunette was happy to see that there weren’t too many people in the waiting room when they got there. She got Emily to sit in one of the chairs while she approached the registration window.

“Good afternoon, how can I help you?” The receptionist looked up from her computer.

“I’ve brought Emily Westfall in to see the doctor.” Franky waited while the woman typed something into the computer.

“Ah, yes, and you are?” The receptionist looked up at her.

“Franky Doyle.” The brunette looked at her, wondering why it mattered who she was.

“I don’t have you on file.”

“No, I’m not a patient here. I’ve just brought Em in. She’s really sick.” Franky put the file up on the counter. “I have all her paperwork here, and Bridget should have called to let you know she was coming.”

“Yes, Ms. Westfall called us, but we assumed that she would be the one coming in with the child. We don’t have you on file as someone who can authorize treatment.”

“She’s at work, I stayed home with Em today.” Franky looked behind her to check on the young girl.

“I understand that, but if you’re not a parent or legal guardian, there’s not a lot we can do. Are you a parent or legal guardian?” The receptionist looked up at Franky and the brunette had a moment where she pictured her fist landing square on the woman’s face.

Franky took a deep breath, and leaned forward so she could speak more quietly. “Both of her parents have died. Bridget is her legal guardian and my girlfriend. We’re caring for Em now.”

“But legally, you are….?”

Franky hated how calm the woman looked.

“Nothing,” the brunette said quietly.

“Then I’m afraid Ms. Westfall will have to come down here herself before the doctor is able to see the patient.” The receptionist turned back to her computer, and Franky knew she wasn’t going to get any further with her.

The brunette stepped away from the window, and took her phone out of her pocket. She dialled Bridget’s number.

“Hey, everything alright?” Franky could hear the concern in the blonde’s voice.

“Actually, no. They won’t let her see the doctor because I’m not her legal guardian.” The brunette kept her voice low even though inside she was upset.

“What do you mean? I told them she was coming in.” Bridget began to gather her things.

“They said that I’m not in her file as someone who can authorize care since I’m not related or legally anything to her, so you have to be here.” Franky took a deep breath, and tried not to pace too much.

“Fuck. Okay baby, I’m on my way, just do your best to keep her as comfortable as you can until I get there.” Bridget threw the last few things into her bag. She texted Vera on her way out, not even bothering to stop by her office to let the governor know that she was leaving.

Franky went back to where Emily was sitting, and sat down beside her. “We have to wait a little bit before the doctor can see you, okay?”

“I’m cold.” Emily looked so pale that Franky was even more concerned now.

“Okay, bub, here, I brought a blanket. Stand up.” She unfolded the blanket from the bag and wrapped it around the young girl. “You want to sit on my lap?” Emily nodded, so Franky sat back in the chair and helped the young girl onto her lap. She leaned back, letting her head rest against the wall behind her so that Emily could lie against her.

“Why do we have to wait? I don’t feel well.” Emily’s voice was quiet.

“I know you don’t, bub. We have to wait for Auntie, she’s leaving work now. Why don’t you close your eyes and try to rest? I’ll be right here.” Emily turned her head into Franky’s shoulder, and the brunette held her close.

After a few minutes, Emily spoke. “Franky, I don’t feel good again.”

“Your stomach?” The brunette felt the young girl nod. “Okay, let’s go to the washroom.”

She took her into the washroom in the waiting area, and Emily was sick again. When they exited, she told Emily to sit back in the chair, she needed to talk to the receptionist again. She had just gotten a text from Bridget saying she was stuck in traffic, and would probably be at least another half hour.

“Hi,” Franky gave her best smile, trying not to look too fake about it. The woman behind the desk looked up at her. “I just got a text from Bridget. She’s stuck in traffic and could be awhile. Em was just sick again, and she’s miserable. Is there no way that the doctor can at least assess her while we wait? Any treatments can wait until Bridget gets here if they have to. Her fever was quite high when we left the house, and she hasn’t been able to eat or drink for almost twenty-four hours now.”

“Just have a seat. There’s