Tonight, is Franky and Bridget’s first night out alone after the birth of their youngest child. A boy, they decided to name Adam. Franky had been dealing with another bout of postpartum anxiety similar to what she had with the twins and while they had been out to dinner, they had always brought the baby with them. But now Adam was 3 almost 4 months old, and it was time to start cutting the cord and start leaving him if Franky wanted to feel comfortable going back to work in only a few months’ time. They were going out for drinks for a coworker of Bridget’s birthday. Ben had invited them and they had decided it would be a good first step since they were free to leave at any time if Franky was feeling overwhelmed.
Alan had come over to watch Adam for a few hours and they dropped the twins off to have a sleepover with Vera and Grace. The twins had just turned 3 and they really enjoyed getting to spend time with their Aunt Vera and Grace. The kids got along great for the most part which meant there were lots of play dates and trips that the 3 women got to do together.
“Are you sure he’s going to be alright?” Franky asks. She’s currently driving them both to the agreed upon bar.
“Adam we’ll be fine. He’s with your dad and we’re only 15 minutes away if there’s an issue.” Bridget responds moving a hand over to Franky’s knee and giving it a comforting squeeze.
“What if he won’t take the bottle?” Franky was nursing Adam like she did the twins. Adam, however, did not take to a bottle as quickly as the twins did, often refusing to eat from it if Franky was in the room.
“If you’re not ready you don’t have to go. I told Ben I’d be there. You can drop me off and go hang out with your dad for the night. I don’t want you doing anything you’re not comfortable with, Honey.”
“Nuh, I wanna go and spend some time with you. I’ve missed ya, Gidge” She reaches down and covers Bridget’s hand in her own squeezing it and then turning it over so they can hold hands.
The adjustment from 2 to 3 kids had been hard. The twins were toddlers and demanded so much attention and with the addition of a newborn, life had been hectic while they learned the best way to meet the needs for all 3 kids. It also meant that they really had no time together, just the two of them. Even at night, there was usually a crying baby or Parker and Ellie wanting to sleep in their bed at night. The lack of quality time had caused some minor strains in their relationship. Nothing major, just the similar growing pains that every relationship goes through when there is a big change. They had both been craving a few hours without crying or diapers or temper tantrums. They loved their kids, but sometimes they needed a break from them.
Erica Davidson had thought about what she might do if she ever saw Franky again. There had been hundreds of scenarios but nothing prepared her for seeing the brunette right in front of her.
She’s older of course. It had been nearly 10 years since she had seen her and her arms were covered in even more tattoos than she had before. Visible because of the sleeveless top that she wore. Her hair was longer and she no longer wore the dark circles of make up around her eyes, but it was her. She was with a group of people laughing and having fun. Erica watches her from a distance, unsure if she’s even going to talk to her.
Then, Franky excused herself and moved towards the bar to order another drink. She’s leaning up against the bar scanning the crowd when she spots her. Green eyes go wide with surprise and Erica knows its too late to walk away now that she’s been spotted.
“Erica, hi.” Franky says trying to process this whole situation. She hadn’t seen Erica since they kissed in her office. At the time, it had felt like she had been abandoned by her. But after being with Bridget, she understood just how unhealthy and one sided that relationship had been. “Its nice to see you.”
“Its nice to see you too.” Erica looks around and doesn’t notice anyone looking like they’re waiting for the brunette. “Are you here by yourself?”
“Nuh, my wife’s talking to her friends and I was sent to get drinks. We’re here for her coworker's birthday.”
Erica lets her gaze drop down to Franky’s finger and sure enough there’s a ring. “So, how have you been?” This situation feels incredibly awkward to them both.
“Well, I got that law degree we were working on. I work over at Legal Relief now.”
“That’s great, Franky. What kind of cases are you working on?”
“We do a lot of work for people who can’t really afford proper representation, but I’m not currently working on any cases. I just had my son 3 months ago and I’m still on maternity leave.”
“You have a son?” The surprise is written all over Erica’s face. In all those scenarios she imagined, none of them included Franky being a wife or a mother.
“Two actually and a daughter.” The smile on Franky’s face is radiant at the mention of her children. “Parker and Elizabeth, they’re twins and they just turned 3 and our youngest is called Adam.”
“Well, congratulations.” Erica says.
Franky turns to look to her right and that smile is back on her face. She pushes away from the bar so she’s standing up straight. “There she is.” She says. Erica can barely hear it, but she does.
A blonde woman walks over and Franky wraps her arm around her shoulders. She’s shorter than Franky by an inch or two even though she’s wearing some pretty high heels. Her hair falls in waves its length just below her chin and she appears to be a bit older than Franky.
“Erica, this is my wife Bridget. Gidge, this is Erica Davidson. She was the governor at Wentworth for a couple of months.” Bridget knew about Erica. Its not like it had been some secret because it had been included in Franky’s file and the brunette hadn’t hidden anything when a couple of months into their relationship, Bridget asked about her.
“Its nice to meet you.” Bridget says, reaching out her hand to shake Erica’s, then she moves her arm back around Franky’s waist. They aren’t trying to show off or make Erica uncomfortable. This is just how they would normally stand together.
“Nice to meet you too.” Regardless of their intention, it does make the other woman uncomfortable and jealous to see them together. Bridget picks up on this.
“Is that my wine, Darling?” Indicating the glass sitting in the bar. Franky says yes. “Thank you, baby. I’ll leave you two to talk, then.” She says removing herself from an awkward situation.
“I’ll be over in a couple of minutes.” Franky presses a kiss against her wife’s temple and then removes her arm from Bridget’s shoulders.
“Look, I don’t want to intrude on your evening, but maybe we could meet for lunch or coffee sometime next week.”
“Um, yeah that would be good.”
Erica reaches in her purse and pulls out a business card and hands it to Franky. “Here, give me a call and will set something up when you’re free.”
They say their goodbyes and Franky goes and enjoys the rest of their evening. The pair don’t stay for too long after their encounter with Erica. The paralegal is anxious to get home to Adam.
“You’re quiet, everything okay?” Bridget asks once they get home. Franky is sitting on their couch cuddling with Adam and staring off into space.
“Yeah, yeah I’m good. That was just really fucking weird. Erica invited me for lunch and I don’t know how I feel about that or if I even want to go. I don’t want Erica fucking Davidson back in my life. Gidge, can you put your therapist hat on for a minute, please?” This was something Franky asked for occasionally when she was struggling with something. For Bridget to provide her with an unbiased opinion on whatever was troubling her.
“Sometimes, we need closure. Even though you're over Erica and this all happened a long time ago and you’ve moved on, you never got the chance to talk about things and its okay to feel like you need that. If you’re worried about me having an issue with it, I don’t. I trust you and I know you wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize our relationship or our family.” While jealousy had been an issue early in their relationship, its not something they really dealt with anymore because they had a solid relationship. It was incredibly important to Franky that her children had a safe, happy home to grow up in which meant that they both prioritized working on their relationship
Franky had been worried initially that because of her own childhood experiences, maybe that meant that she wasn’t built to be a good mum. But her own experiences had actually shown her what I child needed because they were the things that she craved as a child. The most important being that she never wanted her own children to have to wonder if they were wanted or loved.
“I can’t decide for you. It all depends on if you think talking to her is going to be beneficial to you then go. If its not going to be then don’t go.” Bridget tells her.
Erica had been pleasantly surprised when Franky agreed to meet her and now on Monday, they were meeting during Erica’s lunch break.
When she arrives at the restaurant, Franky is already there sitting at a table with a stroller facing her on one side of the table. She’s leaning down looking as if she is talking to her son. Hearing that Franky is a mum was one thing, but actually seeing her with her child was different. More real.
“Hi, thank you for agreeing to do this.” Erica says as she sits down across from Franky.
“I wanted to. Sorry for the crasher.” Franky says, referring to Adam. “I didn’t have anyone to watch him. “Adam who chooses that moment to start fussing in the stroller. She leans over and lifts him and settles him onto her lap. Reaching over into his diaper bag to get a toy from him to play with giving Erica her first glimpse of him.
Adam was the child who looked most like Franky with his dark brown hair and bright green eyes and dimples. At 3 and a half months old, parts of his personality were starting to shine through as he was becoming more social now that he was babbling, smiling, and laughing.
“This is Adam. He insists on being held as much as possible.” Franky jokes as she tickles him smiling once he starts laughing.
They order their meals and then Franky asks the question that has been on her mind since she first saw the other woman. “So, did you marry him?”
“I did, but it only lasted a year before we split. I couldn’t keep lying to myself. How long have you and your wife been together?”
“We’ve been together for 6 years and married for 4 and I’m happy for you. You deserve a chance to live as yourself.”
“I wanted to apologize to you Franky. I know that I didn’t treat you right and I’m sorry. I used you and I took advantage of my position of power and you didn’t deserve that. I want you to know that I did have feelings for you. I didn’t know how to handle it at the time. I know you didn’t give Toni those drugs and I’m sorry for blaming that on you.”
“Thank you. It means a lot to me to hear that. I tried to write to ya. After you left, but they wouldn’t send’em.” She had let her anger towards Erica go a long time ago. Still, she remembers how hurt she had been when she was slotted for 5 fucking weeks
. She hadn’t realized that Erica knew who had actually done it.
My dad and I reconnected.” Franky says. Erica had tried so hard to get Franky to talk to her dad when he had attempted get in contact her during Erica’s tenure at Wentworth, but she hadn’t been ready.
“Really? That’s great Franky.”
“Yeah, he tracked me down after I was released from Wentworth and this time, I was ready. I have a little sister too.”
They talk about where they are now for the rest of their lunch. Erica talks about the work she’s doing as a solicitor and Franky shows her pictures of her kids and the life that she had built for herself. They talked about what had happened to the rest of the H1 girls as Erica had been unaware that Liz had died or that Boomer had been released. Talking about Liz was easier for Franky, but still not her favorite subject. She was happy to inform Erica that Boomer was doing well and was still out of prison.
Erica leaves that lunch surprised and sad. Franky is so much more than she expected her to be and she realizes that she grossly underestimated who Franky would grow to be. There’s an air of maturity around her that wasn’t there before and she’s happy. The smile on her face much more genuine than she had ever seen. No longer predatory or a smirk, her face lit up at every smile or giggle Adam gave her. She’s still cheeky and sarcastic and charming, but Erica had never imagined her as a wife or a mother or being good friends with Vera Bennet.
That had slipped out while looking at pictures when Erica had asked who the other little girl who was featured in most of her pictures was and Franky told her that it was Grace Bennet, Vera’s daughter. Erica had never imagined that a relationship between her and Franky would have lasted outside of Wentworth. Hadn’t thought that Franky was capable, but it turns out Franky was much more capable than she ever expected her to be.
Franky had felt better, lighter. They were never going to be friends, and they probably wouldn’t talk again, but their relationship had ended so abruptly and it felt good to talk those grievances out. So, she no longer had to wonder about any of it. Now, she just wanted to get the twins from daycare and spend some time with them. She loved her life with Bridget who always believed in her. Even when she didn’t believe in herself. Erica had been a necessary step on the journey that led her to Bridget