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In the end, she decided to leave

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She stood in front of the mirror and fluffed out her hair.

She looked at her outfit and tried to decide if a jean and shirt were too casual for the occasion and whether or not she cared enough to change.

She decided that she didn’t. 

It was only family anyway, they didn’t care. 

 

She watched in the mirror as Nick came out of her bathroom, stopping his stride to smile at her. 

“You look adorable.”

She let out a huff. “Adorable? I think the last time someone called me ‘adorable’ was when I was sixteen.”

His smile remained as he walked up behind her, wrapping his arms around her middle. “Well, then, you should’ve had me around when you were seventeen.”

“I’m pretty sure,” she leaned back against his chest. “you weren’t even on your parents’ agenda when I was seventeen.” 

“True.” He nodded. “but the bottom line is,” he dragged his nose down the side of her neck. “you’re adorable.” He kissed the spot where her neck met her shoulder. 

“You’re not too bad yourself.” She leaned her head to the side, giving him more access. “For a guy your age.”

He laughed against her skin. “Funny.”

“Hm, I think so.”

His hands splayed across her stomach, pulling her in. “When’s Frankie coming in?” He wondered as he began to nibble on her ear.

She opened her eyes. “What?”

“Frankie.” He said again. “When’s she coming in?”

She pulled out of his embrace and turned around to look at him. “Why?” 

He looked at her for a moment, curiosity in his eyes despite his smile. “I just wanted to know how much longer I had you for.”

“What makes you think you won’t have me once she gets here?”

“I just… I’ve been warned about your dynamic -”

“Warned? By who?”

“Your daughters. Her sons. Your ex-husbands. I mean, the list goes on.”

She didn’t say anything. 

“I just wanted to know how much time I had left before I had to share you. I thought maybe we could get in a quickie.” He wiggled his eyebrows. 

“Oh, such a romantic.” 

He laughed and pulled her in by the waist again. “Are you okay? Did something happen with Frankie?”

“No.” She said a little too quickly. “I just - we haven’t spoken in a while. So there’s that. And the fact that there are people in my home."

“Your family.”

“What’s your point? They’re still in my home, aren’t they?” 

“Yes.” He nodded. “Damn them!” He threw his fist in the air dramatically, making her laugh. And then he looked back down at her. “So no quickie?”

She leaned up for a kiss and then tapped his arm. “No quickie.” She moved out of his embrace. She walked towards the door, turning around before leaving the room. “Find me later. Maybe I’ll have changed my mind.” 





\

 

By the time she made her way downstairs, the kitchen island was already filled with different kinds of dishes, a large cake sitting in the middle. 

She looked out onto the patio and noticed that the table was already set, making her momentarily wonder how long she had been upstairs. 

 

Mallory suddenly came through the back door, almost flying past her with a bouquet in her hand. “Mal, I didn’t know you were helping.”

She stopped. “I wasn’t.” She rolled her eyes and then stepped forward, lowering her voice. “But everything was such a fucking mess, it would have been cruel of me not to help.” 

She smiled. “A mess by whose standards? Yours? Because, sweetheart, what’s a mess to us isn’t necessarily a mess to everyone else.”

“Does it matter?”

“I guess not.” 

Mallory walked off with the flowers. 

Grace watched as she placed it on the patio table. 

She remembered being as uptight as her daughter, she still was. But she liked to think that she wasn’t as bad as she used to be. Although, is there really anything wrong with wanting things to be perfect? 

 

The front door opened and Bud came through, a suitcase in his hand. “I’m sorry I was gone for so long, the airport was complete chaos.”

“As opposed to when it's not complete chaos?”

He looked at her. “Good point.”

Jacob came through the door next, a suitcase of his own in his hand. “I’ll take a chaotic airport over the twelve hour drive any day.” He stated as he dropped the bag on the floor. He then walked over to her. “Hi, Grace.” He leaned in and gave her a one-armed hug. “How are you?”

She nodded, clasped her hands together in front of her. “I’m good. You?”

Before he could answer, a more than familiar voice came through the doorway, stealing her attention. 

Frankie walked in with her arm around Allison, her face as close to her belly as she could manage. “And that’s how g-ma’s yurt exploded. Of course, the authorities would have a different tale to tell but when have they ever been known to tell the truth?” 

Grace didn’t move, didn’t say a word, wasn’t sure what words there were to say. 

She hadn’t spoken to Frankie since the phone call that ended in a semi-fight, hadn’t seen her since Frankie and her boyfriend dropped her off at the airport and they shared a quick kiss in the bathroom before she had to board for her flight. 

She still held a little resentment from their last phone call but she supposed she would have to swallow it for the day, for the weekend, as to not spoil the vibe for everyone. 

Before she could say anything, Mallory came in from the patio again and walked straight into Frankie’s arms, holding on for dear life. You’d swear they hadn’t seen one another for a decade. 

“I’m so happy you’re here. I’ve missed you!” She squeezed Frankie. 

“I’ve missed you too, sweet girl!” 

Brianna suddenly came through the door and joined in on the hug, sandwiching Frankie between her and Mallory.

Grace tried not to think about the fact that her daughters had never been so enthusiastic to see her that they were willing to rather crush her into a hug than wait their turn. 

Frankie cackled and reached one hand back to hold onto Brianna. “When did you get here?”

Brianna was still holding on. “Five minutes ago.” 

“Mom, get in here, join in on this goodness.” Mallory waved her in.

“No thank you, I’m good.” She said it as politely as she could. 

At the sound of her voice, Frankie pulled back and looked at her, her smile fading a little. “Grace. I didn’t see you there.”

“How could you? My daughters were obstructing your vision.”

Frankie laughed. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

Everyone looked between them.

“What’s going on with the two of you?” Mallory questioned.

Bud stepped forward. “I thought you guys would be running into one another’s arms and we’d all witness a tearful reunion or whatever.”

Grace shook her hair back and looked at him. “Oh, when have I ever run into anyone’s arms?”

“Yeah,” Frankie spoke up. “With those knees?” 

“My knees are perfectly fine, thank you very much.”

Mallory looked at the two of them and then at Jacob. “Okay, what’s the matter with them?”

“Uh, hello,” Frankie stepped in front of him. “‘Them’ are right here, address us directly.” 

Everyone, except Grace, turned towards the stairs as footsteps suddenly came down them. 

“Kooky!” Nick exclaimed as he came into view. 

Frankie looked at Grace. “Seriously?”

“What?” She feigned nonchalance as Nick came to stand behind her, his hands going to her hips.

Frankie shook her head and then gave him  a quick wave. “Hey.” 

Jacob looked down at Frankie and then stepped forward, offering his hand. “Jacob.”

Nick moved around Grace. “Nick. Nice to meet ya.”

“Same here.” 

Jacob stepped out of the way again. 

It was quiet. 

Brianna looked at Bud, a smile on her face. “Fun party.”

Mallory clasped her hands together. “Who wants a drink?”

 

\

 

Eventually, Robert and Sol arrived, Coyote following closely behind. 

They were all seated around the patio table. And because Mallory was in charge, they each had name cards in front of them. 

Grace wanted to remind her that she was way past seventy years old and would sit wherever the hell she wanted but she decided against it. 

A consequence of this decision was that Frankie was sitting straight across from her. 

Nick was next to her, Brianna on his other side, Mallory on hers and Jacob beside his girlfriend. Obviously. 

Frankie had Sol on her other side and Grace momentarily wondered if she felt as caged in as she did. Then again, Frankie was probably enjoying being surrounded by the people she loved.

Grace watched her as she told a story about the goat she rescued back in Santa Fe and decided to keep. 

Her eyes were sparkling and her hands were flailing about, she kept nudging Jacob to get him to validate what she was saying, but as soon as he began to speak, she would excitedly take over from him. He didn’t look annoyed or mad though, just smiled gently, the love evident in his eyes. 

Grace was pretty sure she looked at Frankie the exact same way. 

She recognised that smile, those eyes filled with wonderment. She had felt them on herself many times over their three years of living together.

She envied the way Jacob could openly show it, the way he freely got it from Frankie in return. 

 

Robert suddenly leaned over her shoulder, placed a martini down in front of her and gave her a look she couldn’t decipher.

She sometimes wondered if he wasn’t as oblivious as he seemed to be.

Or maybe he just finally had the capacity to see her without his blinders, without his tunnel vision pushing him towards his freedom. 

She watched him walk over to his seat beside Sol and she lifted her glass towards him, giving him a smile. 

 

When Frankie carried on about her life in Santa Fe, as a result of both of their children asking their millionth question, Grace took a big gulp of her martini, already dreading the fact that she will soon be without it. 

Nick took her hand that was resting on the table and leaned in, his lips next to her ear, as he asked her if she was okay. He tried to keep his voice as quiet as possible. 

She looked up and gave him her most convincing smile, hoping it would trick him into believing that she didn’t want to run out of her house, hop into her car and drive as far away from her best friend as she possibly could for many, many reasons. One of them being her horny brain.

When she looked at Frankie, her eyes were on her and Nicks’s hands, her speech slowing down ever so slightly that the untrained ear would certainly miss it. 

Frankie’s eyes floated up to hers and she held them there for a moment before moving on, her smile brightening once more like she was completely unaffected. 

For some reason, it infuriated her. 

Two could play at that game.

She leaned her head on her hand and used the other to reach up and lovingly play with the hair at the back of Nick’s head.

He turned to her, obviously surprised at the open display of affection but she just gave him her best smile again. 

As a result, he leaned in and kissed her cheek. She tried really hard not to shy away from the PDA, tried not to think about her children and ex-husband being in viewing distance.

“And how about you, Grace?” Her name was suddenly coming out of Frankie’s mouth.

She turned to her, her head still resting on her hand. “What?”

“What have you been up to since the last time I saw you?” Her gaze alternated between Grace and Nick, her eyes and her smile telling different tales. 

Grace straightened her spine, the hand that was playing with Nick’s hair fell to his thigh instead. She watched as Frankie’s eyes followed its path. “Oh, you know, this and that. The usual. Sell a vibrator here, have a brunch there.” She shrugged. “Just… taking things easy.”

“You?” Frankie laughed. “Taking things easy?”

“Yeah.” She nodded, made a point of not laughing along with her. “Me.” 

Frankie’s smile faded a little. 

Nick cleared his throat. “Grace and I have actually been thinking about taking a trip.” 

“Oh, that’s exciting.” Sol spoke up. “Where to?”

“It’s not decided yet but we’re thinking the Maldives.” 

“Are you now?” Frankie wondered, her eyes on Grace. 

“Yes, we’ve been talking about it.” Grace smiled up at Nick. 

“It’s all about schedules at this point. I keep telling her -”

“Jacob and I are thinking about taking a trip too.” Frankie cut him off. 

“We are?” Jacob looked down at her.

“Yes,” she smiled at him. “we spoke about it.”

Jacob was quiet for a moment before he started nodding. “Right.” He looked at the rest of the table and did a half laugh. “I just… forgot.”

Grace brought her martini up to her lips. “Where are you going?”

“Oh, Grace, you know me. I go wherever the wind takes me.”

She took a sip and swallowed before speaking again. “Right.” 

“I can’t fly.” Allison suddenly said. Grace had been so focused on Nick, Frankie and Jacob that she had almost forgotten that everyone else was there too.

“Well, yeah, you’re like thirteen months pregnant.” Coyote pointed out.

“No, not that. I’m allergic to the material they use for airplane seats, makes my throat close up.” She gestured at the area.

“Isn’t that… the same material they use for car seats?” Mallory asked carefully.

“Yes.” She said simply before taking a sip of water. 

“So then - You know what?” Mallory cut herself off. “Never mind. Who wants another drink?”

Everyone’s hands, besides Allison, Bud and Coyote’s, went up.

Before Mallory could move, Grace put a hand on her shoulder and stood up. “I’ll get it, sweetheart.”

“Mom, it’s okay, I’ll -”

“You sit. You’ve been busy all morning.” She tapped Mallory’s shoulder before walking off. 

 

As soon as she got to the kitchen, she downed her drink that she had brought with her and slid the glass across the table. 

She stood at the counter, both palms on the surface, the wall with the fridge blocking her from being seen by the visitors on the patio. 

She took a deep breath in and then dropped her forehead onto the table. 

She had no idea how she was going to get through the day, let alone the weekend. 

 

Before she could drown in her sorrows some more, she heard footsteps approaching the kitchen and she straightened back up. 

She walked over to the freezer and got out a bottle of vodka. 

As she closed the door, she suddenly found Frankie looking at her. She didn’t bat an eye.

She placed the bottle on the counter and walked over to the fridge again.

“Hey.” Frankie said.

She eyed the other woman. “Hi.” She pulled the door open. 

“We haven’t… had some time to talk. You know, since I arrived?”

Grace reached inside and got out the pitcher of margarita’s Mallory had left in there. “Not a coincidence.”

“What’s with the attitude?” Frankie walked over to the counter. 

“What’s with the -” She placed the pitcher on the table. “Have you forgotten that we haven’t spoken in a month?” 

“Of course not. I just thought -”

“What? That I’d magically get over everything the minute you walked through the door with your boyfriend?”

“Oh, don’t do that.” Frankie’s tone became more serious. “Don’t use Jacob as a weapon against me.” 

“Is he not your boyfriend?”

“You’re one to talk. You’re basically fucking your boyfriend in front of us.”

Grace scoffed. “What are you talking about?”

“The touching and the hand holding and the ‘oh, we’re going on a trip to the Maldives’.” Frankie fluttered her eyelashes dramatically.

“I think I’m allowed to touch the man I’m sleeping with, thank you very much.” 

“No one said you can’t touch him.” Frankie stepped closer. “It’s the fact that you’re doing it to get under my skin.” Her voice was suddenly calm, low. 

Grace was thrown off by the change. “Well, aren’t we self involved.”

“Don’t pretend, sweetheart. We both know what you’re doing.” 

Grace leaned her hip against the counter, crossed her arms. “If it’s simply enjoying my proximity to the man I’m seeing then yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing.” 

Frankie took another step closer. 

Grace eyed the disappearing space between them. 

“Is that what you’re doing?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re enjoying it?” 

“Yes.” She said again, trying to seem unaffected by the way Frankie was looking at her. 

“As much as when I touch you?” Frankie was closer.

Grace looked at her. “I don’t know. You haven’t been around that much for me to remember the difference.”

There was a moment of silence before Frankie reached out and touched her hip. When Grace didn’t swat her away, Frankie encircled her waist, bringing her flush against herself and then turned Grace around so that her ass pushed into the counter. 

Grace gasped. 

Frankie ran her hands over her hips, up her back, down her arms, all while Grace struggled to keep her eyes open, to keep her breathing even. She needed to stop her, needed to get some distance between them.

“Does he make you feel like this?” Frankie asked softly. 

“He doesn’t feel guilty when he does.” 

Frankie’s hands stilled and Grace panicked, kicked herself for letting the sentence slip out. 

But then Frankie brought her hand up and ran her index finger along her jaw. “Is he good to you?”

They were inches apart. 

“Yes.” Her eyes were on the lips in front of her. 

“As good as me?”

Grace breathed in. “No.” She shook her head. “No. Never.”

And then they were kissing.

Grace kept her eyes open, watched as Frankie’s fluttered closed, and then finally closed hers. 

Frankie stepped even closer, pushing her further into the counter. 

In the back of her mind, Grace knew that at any moment, someone could walk in on them and everything would go to shit. 

But as Frankie slipped her tongue past her lips and teased her own, she could not have given a single fuck even if she tried. 

Right there, in her kitchen, with Frankie whimpering as Grace nibbled on her lip, she felt like she was finally home after months of being on the road. 

The kisses became sloppy and urgent and so, so good. 

Grace could feel every nerve buzzing inside her body, could hear her heart beating in her ears, could feel her insides becoming slick. 

She didn’t want to stop.

Frankie wouldn’t be that cruel, would she?

Her question was answered when Frankie took her by the waist and started walking backwards, their lips never breaking apart.

The other woman blindly felt for the handle of the pantry, pulled the doors open and stepped inside, finally releasing Grace. 

She looked at her, silently asking if she wanted to join her and as an answer, Grace leaped forward to kiss her again. 

Frankie pulled the door closed just in time before Grace pushed her back against one of the shelves. 

Frankie reached down and cupped her ass with both hands, pulling her in further, making Grace whimper into her mouth. 

She then used what strength she had to push away from the shelf and walk Grace further into the pantry, only to push her into a shelf of her own. 

Her back hit it pretty hard and Frankie momentarily worried about bruising but Grace didn’t seem to care. She had both hands in Frankie’s hair, her mouth on her neck. 

The combined pressure of Grace’s tongue on her skin and her fingers on her scalp made her want to moan in ecstasy. But she couldn’t. So she busied herself instead. 

She began unbuttoning Grace’s shirt, the awareness of how little time they had frustrating her. “Why do you have so many fucking buttons?” She hissed. 

Grace didn’t answer her, just pulled a little on her hair, making her hiss again but in a different way. 

When Frankie finally got enough buttons open, she realised it was too dark to see anything so she had to rely on her other senses instead. That wasn’t a problem. She immediately cupped Grace, making her release her neck, her head falling back against the shelf behind her. 

Frankie didn’t waste any more time. 

She pulled back the left bra cup and took the breast into her mouth. 

Grace’s grip in her hair tightened again. 

Frankie took the tip between her teeth and bit gently before sucking it in.

Grace almost let out a moan above her. “Harder.” She whispered. 

So she did, the request making her groan. 

They didn’t have time, they didn’t have time. 

Frankie pulled back the other cup and gave that breast the same attention, making the other woman squirm. 

Grace’s brain felt like it was nothing but mush. The only thoughts it could produce were about how good Frankie’s tongue had felt in her mouth, how good it felt on her chest and how great it would probably feel somewhere else. 

Frankie released her breast with a pop and then came up to kiss her again. 

Grace took her in eagerly. 

Frankie’s hands then went down to her jeans, popping the button. When she slid down the zip, Grace decided that it was the most erotic sound she had ever heard. 

Frankie waited, wanting to ask for permission but not being able to tear her mouth away from her for long enough. 

Finally, Grace pulled away and gave a pleading “Frankie”.

That was enough.

Frankie went in for a kiss again before shoving her hand inside her jeans and cupping her through her underwear, making Grace moan into her mouth. 

She then ran the side of her index finger up the length of her and her hips bucked. 

They didn’t have time.

Frankie pulled back the waistband of her underwear and slid her fingers down to the place where Grace ached for her the most. 

As she ran her digits through the wonderful wetness she found there, it brought a stop to their kissing, turning it into heavy breathing instead, their mouths remaining open and attached as they just breathed into one another. 

She couldn’t believe she was touching Grace.

Grace couldn’t believe she was being touched by Frankie. 

Finally, when she had familiarised herself enough, she brought her hand out, pulled away slightly and then shoved the two fingers into her mouth before audibly releasing them. 

Grace could barely see her in the dark but she gasped anyway. “Please.” She pleaded. 

Frankie pushed against her again, their breasts touching. 

Grace could feel Frankie’s warm stomach against hers. 

“What do you want?”

“You.” She whispered. 

Frankie groaned and then kissed her, making Grace taste herself, her hand slipping down her stomach as it moved past the delicate waistband again. But this time, she entered her. 

Grace pulled away, her head falling to Frankie’s shoulder. She held onto her as tightly as she could as she tried to stifle a moan. 

They didn’t have time.

Frankie pulled out and added another finger as she entered her again. 

She immediately began to move, bending her digits so that she kept hitting the right spot over and over again. 

Grace was losing her mind.

She felt light-headed, her body was on fire, every nerve she had was alive. 

But it wasn’t enough.

She needed more. 

So that’s what she asked for. “Another.” She breathed, her head falling back against the shelf again. “Please.” Her chest was heaving. “More.” 

“Are you sure?” Frankie questioned, the concern evident in her voice. 

“Please.” She said again. 

How could she deny the ice queen who was melting just for her?

Frankie pulled out, tucked her index finger and ring finger in front of her middle finger, and then entered her again. She went as slow as she could, letting Grace take her all the way in. 

Grace hissed at the feeling of being stretched, of being full. 

And then Frankie began to move again. 

Faster and harder than before. 

She leaned down and took Grace’s nipple into her mouth again, sucking hard until she heard her groan. 

Grace lifted her leg slightly, putting her weight on her good knee, and took Frankie in further. 

She grabbed the shelf behind her, the other in Frankie’s hair as she held her to her chest. 

She could feel her release building inside of her, she was getting close. 

She didn’t want it to end but she also knew that they were gone for a suspiciously long time already. 

Her slight worry immediately went away as soon as Frankie’s thumb pressed down on her clit. 

One minute she was trying not to moan and the next her back was arching, all of the air leaving her lungs and then getting stuck as she tried to take another breath in. 

Her mouth hung open and her eyes remained closed as complete ecstasy overtook her body.

It felt like her brain was floating for a good minute. 

She climbed and she climbed and Frankie kept going, kept applying pressure, until Grace finally let out a big breath that doubled as a moan and then sagged against the shelves, her leg coming down from Frankie’s hip. 

Frankie’s fingers stopped.

They stayed like that for a moment.

Eventually, she pulled out and Grace whimpered. 

Frankie cleaned her fingers on her underwear as they slipped out, her hands coming to rest on Grace’s hips.

She kissed Grace softly, bringing her back down to the earth. 

The kisses migrated to the side of her mouth as she zipped her jeans back up and fastened the button. 

She pulled away enough to button Grace’s shirt again, her hands shaky. 

When she was done, she stepped back completely.

The two women looked at one another in the dark. 

There was silence for a beat or two until Grace took two large strides forward, cupping Frankie’s face in both hands as soon as she reached her. 

She kissed her with as much ferocity as she had moments before, her hands falling to her hips, her fingers clawing at her dress. 

Frankie managed to move her mouth to the side. Grace immediately began nipping at her skin. “Grace.” She breathed. She felt her hands moving up her sides, bunching the material. Grace began walking them backwards. “Sweetheart.” She said again. 

Her back hit another shelf. 

Grace’s tongue was dragging itself up the length of her neck and Frankie’s eyes fluttered close as that very mouth let out a moan. 

Frankie gathered what strength she had. “We should go.” She said softly, her voice rough. “We’ve been gone a really long time.”

“Just a second.” Grace said against her skin. “Give me a second.”

Frankie felt Grace’s knee slowly make its way between her legs. “We can’t.”

“I’ll be quick.” She bit at her earlobe.

Before Grace could go in for another kiss, Frankie moved her head. 

She could see the shock and confusion on her face even in the dark. 

She gathered Grace’s hands and brought them between their two chests. “We can’t.”

Grace looked taken back. She maneuvered her hands until they were free and dropped them to her sides. She nodded. 

“I’m not -”

“It’s fine.” Grace cut her off. “Let’s just go.”

Frankie looked at her one last time before pushing the doors open, momentarily blinding both of them with the sudden light. 

As soon as they stepped out, Brianna walked into the kitchen.

All three of them froze. 

“I was just…” Frankie started. “showing your mom where I kept the emergency supplies.” She tried.

“Oh, right, of course.” She nodded. “You never know when you’ll -”

“Have an emergency.” Frankie finished for her.

Brianna nodded.

Frankie looked back at Grace and then walked off quickly. 

Grace decided that she needed to do the same but before she could make her escape, Brianna reached out, her hand almost touching her arm.

“Mom,” she wasn’t looking her in the eye. “your…” she gestured at her mother’s shirt.

Grace looked down and saw that they weren’t buttoned properly. 

She looked up at Brianna and then walked away, making her way up the stairs without even glancing out onto the patio. She had no idea where Frankie had gone.

She hurried into her room and shut the door. 

She walked into her bathroom and made her way over to the sink, turning on the tap so that she could wash her hands. 

She caught her reflection in the mirror. 

She turned off the tap again and shook her hands dry as she noted the redness in her cheeks and neck, the glow on her skin, the sparkle in her eye; typical post-orgasmic bliss. 

Except, it wasn’t typical, was it?

She dried her hands on her jeans and looked around. 

She didn’t want to go back down yet. 

So, she walked over to her bathtub and got in, scooting down and letting her heels hang over the edge. 

She couldn’t believe what had just happened to her, what she had done. 

She got fucked. In a pantry. By her best friend. With their families and boyfriends basically in the next room. 

And it was probably the hottest sex she’d ever had. 

Her skin heated again as her mind decided to start playing a highlight reel. 

“Are you okay?”

She jumped at Nick’s voice. 

She looked over at him standing in the doorway.

She suddenly felt a wave of guilt. 

“You’re in a bathtub.” He observed. “Fully clothed.”

“I’m fine.” She said as gently as she could. “I just need a minute.”

“With or without me?”

“Without you, if that’s okay?”

He nodded. “I’ll see you downstairs?”

She smiled. 

Nick left her again.

She stayed like that for ten more minutes before Bud called for both her and his mother, yelling about it being time for them to cut the cake.

Grace groaned and sank further into the tub.

For the hundredth time that week, she deeply regretted having the party at her house. 





\

 

When she made her way downstairs again, everyone was gathered around the island in the kitchen.

The scene of the crime. 

She went to join them, briefly making eye contact with Frankie as she went to stand in between her daughters.

Brianna wordlessly put an arm around her shoulder. 

Bud was holding a large knife, excitement in his eyes as he looked at the cake and then at Allison. “You ready?”

She grinned, nodded. “Ready.”

Grace watched as the knife descended and then smoothly cut into the dessert.

She looked around and noted how everyone was visibly holding their breaths, especially grandma-to-be. 

She thought back to her own experience of finding out the genders of her babies. With Brianna, she had been alone. Robert had a work thing and couldn’t make it to the appointment. With Mallory, she didn’t find out until she was coming out of her. Still, no one made such a big deal about it. She couldn’t decide which case was the abnormal one. 

 

Bud picked up the cake lifter and moved it beneath the slice. 

He looked up at everyone, his smile the biggest Grace had ever seen on him. “Ready?” 

“Sweet baby Jesus, just do it already!” Frankie yelled, making Grace smile.

Bud did as he was told before his mother attacked him.

He lifted the slice and revealed a pink filling.

Everyone cheered in response. 

“It’s a girl!” Bud announced. 

“Oh, a girl! A baby girl!” Frankie cooed as she pulled her son and the mother of his child into a hug.

When she was done, everyone else followed her lead, offering their congratulations.

Once Grace had her turn, she walked up to Frankie. 

They eyed one another for a moment.

“So,” she started. “are you happy, grandma?” 

Frankie giggled. “I would’ve been happy even if my future grandchild turned out to be an extra-terrestrial being.”

“Somehow,” Grace nodded. “I believe you.”

They were quiet, a contrast to the excited buzz that surrounded them.

“I’m happy for you.”

Frankie took her hand, swaying it back and forth for a moment before bringing it up to her lips. “Thank you.”

 

\

 

Once she had seen Nick off and finished her glass of wine on the patio, she decided to call it a night. 

She made her way inside, locked the doors and turned off the lights.

As she ascended the stairs, she thought about what a day it had been.

So much had happened in such a short time. 

She prepared herself to toss and turn about it for most of the night. 

But when she entered her room, she found three people asleep in her bed. Two of them she made and the other she was hoping to avoid at least until the next morning.

She looked at them.

Frankie was on her back, Brianna’s arm over her stomach and Mallory’s arm over Brianna.

The image reminded her of when the kids were little and she’d walk into their room to check on them during a party, only to find Frankie asleep with her daughters in a pile of blankets on the floor. 

Grace reached for her phone in her back pocket and snapped a picture before grabbing her pyjamas and making her way into the bathroom to get ready for bed.

 

When she reemerged, she stood on her side of the bed and assessed the scene. 

She decided that she didn’t want to risk her life by sleeping on the edge. Mallory, however, was young enough. Her hips could survive a tumble. 

So she nudged her daughter gently until she turned around and opened one eye. “Move over, Mal.” She instructed softly.

Mallory grumbled but did as she was told. 

Once there was enough space, Grace pulled back the blankets and gently crawled in between her daughters. The movement made Frankie turn on her side and Brianna move up, freeing up some more space for Grace. 

As soon as she was settled, Mallory turned again and cuddled into her, making Grace put her arm around her. 

Brianna reached back and took her other arm, bringing it around herself and laying her head on Grace’s bicep. 

She looked down at the two of them, her arms full.

She couldn’t remember the last time she had both of them in her bed. 

But things were changing. Relationships were mending. And a lot of it had to do with the woman who was softly snoring on the other side of the bed.