As a general rule, Frankie had never been a huge fan of fireworks. Honestly she just wasn't a fan of big, loud explosions shot out of any type of phallic shaped cylinder. And the older she got the less she wanted to deal with the overcompensating immaturity of it all.
But there was something to be said for tofu dogs, fried cheese curds, potato salad, and finally being able to hug Faith in person, as long as she wore her mask. That and the Government had finally gotten their "stuff" together and ruled that Grace was legally entitled to the penthouse and the "couch cash" as they were both wedding presents to her and therefore not technically under Nick's seizable assets.
Which was how she found herself standing in a penthouse suite watching fireworks explode at eye level almost, but with no sound, and debating if she should push her luck any further and make Grace watch Rocky Horror with her in the theater room that had been partially converted into a guest room for her for those times, like tonight, when the idea of staying in the same house with Robert and Sol over a holiday evening was colored by a new awareness she hadn't really wanted to see so openly for the past 25 years.
Thanks to the twin miracles of hearing aids and soundproof glass, Frankie actually heard Grace's footsteps as she came up to join her by the window.
"You know Grace, I was just thinking this is probably one of the only times I've actually enjoyed watching a fireworks display…"
" Good, maybe that means I can sleep in my own bed for once on the 4th."
" Oh, what's the fun in that? Especially when you could sleep in my bed and watch Rocky Horror at midnight, complete with props and a script?"
" I told you Francis, I am not buying it that watching Rocky Horror is some sort of sleepover right of passage or whatever…"
" Well maybe not for you, Miss I never attended a sleepover until college because communism…and then you watched Grease and kissed your roommate on a dare...Sandra Dee…"
" So do you really want to go there? Do you want to make this an official sleepover complete with our version of Truth or Dare...a say yes night maybe?" asked Grace mischievously.
" Well before I say hell yes, I just have to ask, how drunk are you Grace? And are you sure about this, before say yes night makes your answer compulsory?"
" I would say I'm not drunk. And I have actually used the whole quarantine thing as an excuse to attend the occasional AA meeting online. But if you're gonna be a bitch about all this, I can easily go in and go to bed...alone"
" Hey now, there's no need to be rude, or hasty about this Grace...plus I could tell you all about the unofficial 13th step if you really wanted me too… Gracie" At the quizzical look on Grace's face, Frankie just smiled.
"Nevermind...so, which are you feeling? Full on say yes night, or a more autonomous game of Truth or Dare?"
" What about a combination of if we choose dare, the answer has to be yes to whatever is requested?"
"I like how your mind works Hanson...Truth or Dare?"
" Hey, who decided you got to go first?" smiled Grace ever so serenely.
Frankie crossed her arms and thought oh I see how it is, two can play obviously, as she said…"The only caveat I have before we start is, don't dare me to fold a fitted sheet, ain't nobody got time for that... otherwise, I'm at your mercy for one night only…"
"I guess I could just go in there and fold my own fitted sheet, to put on my own bed, where I'm sleeping alone…"
Grace burst out laughing at the look on Frankie's face, " Oh, Francis, I love you for that reaction...so, truth or dare?"
" Hmm … truth."
" How many times have you actually seen Rocky Horror before tonight's convoluted scheme to make me watch it with you?"
" Oh goodness...are we talking, watching it from the audience or acting it out on the stage? *Waves a hand* nevermind...I'd ballpark it at around 100 that I remember or was sober enough to count…" said Frankie with a major shit eating grin. "What? Not the answer you were expecting? Then let's just say trust me, I'm definitely not a Rocky Horror virgin, although you always remember your first time, with great ant-ici-pation...when the crowd chants, bring out the virgins…"
Okay, okay...calm down Sandra Dee..."
At Grace's soft gasp, Frankie turned around to follow Grace's gaze just as the final fireworks display lit up the entire night sky….leaning her head into Grace's collarbone and taking a hold of Grace's hand, Frankie said quietly, "I think this is my favorite Independence Day ever".
"Mine too", said Grace, lifting their linked hands to her lips and planting a gentle kiss on Frankie's knuckles. "It's your turn to ask me, truth or dare?"
Between the fireworks and the feeling of Grace's lips on her skin, it took Frankie a moment to find her voice, she finally said "Truth or Dare Grace"
With a second kiss to their joined hands, Grace stared directly into Frankie's eyes as she whispered, "Dare"
"Oh, umm, dare...okay, I got this...I … I dare you to wear 3 articles of clothing only. One red, one white, and one blue...as you go into the kitchen and make popcorn for movie night."
" Oh, is that all? Okay then, I'll be back"
And with that Frankie absentmindedly rubbed her hand over her knuckles while Grace walked into her bedroom contemplating her strategy to attack Frankie's dare.
Oh...I know, thought Grace, as she picked out a sheer white lace thong and a red silk calf length nightgown with a slit that stopped just above her hip bone. She laid the two articles of clothing requested out on the bed and undressed to take a quick shower. Stepping out of the bathroom, she noticed Nick's blue oversized bathrobe, and grabbed it off the hook with an evil grin.
For her part Frankie didn't really know what to expect from Grace over this dare. She had kinda figured Grace would put on a full suit red jacket, blue pants, white shirt, popped collar of course. But then again Grace was full of surprises tonight, what with attending AA online, kisses on knuckles, and actually asking for a dare, so…
Again, thanks to the hearing aids, Frankie actually heard Grace's footsteps before she turned around to see Grace's interpretation of the date outfit. Which is why her first thought was really? Nick's blue bathrobe?
Grace chuckled inwardly as Frankie's face did nothing to hide her reaction to the blue bathrobe Grace had tightly swaddled her thin frame in.
"You didn't specify that it had to be my clothing..."
" Patience is a virtue, Francis, said Grace. Now are you joining me in the kitchen or what?"
" As much as I'm tempted to say, or what? It's your show, this I will follow you into the kitchen"
" So...Truth or Dare", asked Grace.
" I dare you to...make a pepper jack cheese grilled cheese sandwich…"
" Random, but okay... only if you agree to eat some with me though…"
" Okay...yes, maybe two bites…"
" That works. So truth or dare?"
" Are you ever going to show me the other two articles of clothing hidden under that hideous blue robe that super probably the laundry service will mistakenly lose forever after the next pick up?"
Grace just smiled, " yes. Eventually. Patience."
" Fuck a bunch of patience"
" You do know I have always had better hearing than you, right? Plus the longer you procrastinate and complain, the longer until snacks are ready and I can take off this blue robe, that Nick probably will never see again, thanks to a laundry mix up."
" Well...why didn't you lead with that?" Said Frankie gathering the ingredients to make sandwiches.
The two women are sitting in the media room enjoying grilled cheese sandwiches.
"Thank you for suggesting this Grace, it's surprisingly tasty. Actually, thank you for this whole night, best 4th of July ever."
" What do you want, Francis? You're killing me with compliments here…"
" Rude. Although, you're right. Technically it's not my turn. But...the truth is, you can say no if you wish, because consent is super important. And the dare is, can I help you take off this horrible blue bathrobe, because truth again, I'm not feeling very virtuous, or patient right now…"
" You're right, technically it isn't your turn, but in the spirit of the rule change...the truth is, I thought you'd never ask. And the date is...ummm...I dare you to sit on your hands...while I take the robe off…"
" Okay...again random...should I be scared?"
" Maybe a little. Although you did say the truth was you weren't feeling virtuous so…" and with that Grace slowly stood up while saying a silent thank you prayer Nick had let her tag along when he picked out the furniture in this room.
"Here goes nothing.. ".
Grace slowly untied the belt and slid the robe down her shoulders.
"It's definitely not, nothing...whispered Frankie hoarsely. Now I know why you dared me to sit on my hands, but how long does that dare last exactly?"
" Until I do this…."
Grace dropped the robe to the floor and tilted her hip slightly toward Frankie giving her a full view of the white lace string on her hip and a suggested view of what other body parts may or may not have been covered in white lace.
"Does this fulfill the dare challenge?"
Frankie suddenly found herself thinking a whole lotta things, but out loud she said, "Ummm...truth is, consent is still paramount, so I'm sitting on my hands…dare is, I dare you to do a pirouette."
Frankie just arched her brows.
Frankie felt her chest, and her thighs tighten as she watched Grace literally dance in front of her. Unable to sit still any longer Frankie stood up and linked her hands in Grace's, but very consciously kept them at an arms length apart.
At the sound of her name and the way Frankie said it, Grace pulled them into a full body hug.
Frankie put her finger to Grace's lips...shhh, it's my turn. "The truth is we don't have to watch Rocky Horror because it's after midnight. And the dare is...will you flip the script and sleep in here with me tonight? And the double dare is would you be willing to kiss your roommate on a dare?"
" You're correct, Frankie, consent is paramount, so the truth is can I kiss you?"
" Yes, and the truth is I thought you'd never ask..."
As Grace's lips ghosted over Frankie's she whispered, "somehow I don't think either of us is going to do much sleeping in here…"
" And that's the truth." whispered Frankie as she leaned back in to kiss Grace again.