Chapter Six — Utter confusion
The inevitable happens four days later. Kennedy and Frankie are left alone when David and Noor head out for drinks with the big shots of the music label. Dancer friends aren’t optional. So the girls go out for dinner at a local restaurant and remind themselves this is certainly not a date. Kennedy explains that it’s hard to maintain a relationship when you tour a lot. She’s been Noor’s loyal sidekick for four years now. Her last girlfriend dumped her after not hearing from her in two weeks. But the dancer acknowledges that a busy tour scheduling wasn’t a very good excuse to just disappear from said girlfriend’s life.
“I just don’t think I’m a hundred percent relationship material.”
“Why is that?”
“I like to leave whenever I can. I love this life with Noor. She calls me up for some unexpected event and it doesn’t even cross my mind once to consider it. It won’t matter if I have a girlfriend. Right now, my career is everything. Dancing is everything.”
Frankie nods: “I feel the same way.”
Her dinner-companion throws her a shady look. It takes a second before she even dares to comment.
“I don’t think you are the same, Frankie. See, you and Noor – that’s weird. Everyone’s talking about it.”
Frankie instantly turns nervous.
“Yeah, how you hang out all the time. It’s cute, she’s a lot nicer now. And we all know what’s going on.”
Frankie nearly chokes in her piece of meat and coughs: “What?”
“Aiden. They are pretty close to a divorce, aren’t they? She needs a friend. So you pack your bags and follow her around the world to help her out.”
The panicking feelings rushing through Frankie’s nerves fade out. She can’t help but feeling caught and Kennedy notices. A curious smile lights up the mood and the brunette takes her hand.
“And obviously, you have this little crush on her. But we all know you’re not stupid enough to have any straight-girl plans, right?”
Frankie can’t do anything but shake her head awkwardly. Her throat feels dryer than ever and she just had a sip of her glass of wine.
“That’s why I’m here,” Kennedy elaborates. “I’ll keep you entertained.”
The blonde’s cheeks turn red from blushing and she likes it. Kennedy is heavenly straightforward. And carelessly candid. She likes that a lot about her. After splitting the check, the girls go back to the hotel. They don’t even talk a lot before immediately ending up in a heated make out session. Their hands are everywhere, touching everything. With one smooth pull, Kennedy lifts Frankie’s shirt over her head. It’s not romantic, it’s not even intimate. The girls have been on this playful quest for sex since they met. During rehearsals, they keep connected for just a little bit too long. After performances, they hug with the desire to get a more satisfying relief of excitement. When they talk, their words suggest the things their eyes go searching for. This has been a long time coming. In all honesty, Frankie’s happy to get this distraction, because she knows — she feels in her bones — that her relationship with Noor isn’t just platonic. Though she loves to deny it and tell herself it’s just a phase, she can’t help but dream of Noor’s pressing eyes, the way she’s snuggled up against her when they wake up in the same bed, how her body moves when she’s on that stage. It’s not healthy. It’s not smart — to say the least. Because obviously, Noor’s straight. And married. Worst thing ever, a straight-girl crush. They fuck you up big time.
Kennedy takes off her own shirt and lowers her pants. Frankie’s breath chokes momentarily. But after that, she’s confident to take the lead. She playfully pushes Kennedy on the bed and straddles her. The next couple of minutes are enough to clear her mind. They kiss, they grab boobs and ass, they enter each other’s lady parts and listen to each other’s pleasureful gasps. They pant and moan until Kennedy follows Frankie’s lead of reaching her orgasm after a couple of minutes. The release works wonders. For the first time in weeks, both of them feel relaxed and freed of frustration. The room smells like sex, the atmosphere is hot and thick.
“God,” Kennedy pants, lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. “We should do this more often.”
Frankie licks her lower lip while wiping some sweat from her forehead. She nods and swallows.
They face each other and chuckle. The blonde’s evil smile says it all. She had fun.
“You make a funny noise when you orgasm,” Kennedy bluntly tells her.
But it doesn’t surprise Frankie. All she does is smirk and poke Kennedy with her left elbow.
“My ex informed me about that. So I am aware.”
“It’s cute,” Kennedy crawls on her side and supports her head with a fist. “You’re cute.”
“She told me that too,” Frankie softly utters. “She told me a lot.”
“Want to talk about it?”
Frankie shakes her head and sighs.
“Okay. Well, I’m going to get some sleep now. We have to get up early tomorrow morning. You can stay, you can go. Your choice. As long as you don’t snore,” Kennedy jokes.
But she shouldn’t have said that. See, Noor used the same words when she first spend the night in her bed. And the reminder of her face is something she didn’t need right now.
“I’m going to go. That way we won’t have to share the shower in a few hours.”
She tries really hard to jump on the comical train, but something holds her back. It’s late. She should get some sleep and definitely not think about what all of this means. Kennedy pushes back some hairs that are lost on Frankie’s forehead and smirks.
“Something tells me that could be fun. But okay, I’ll see you tomorrow at breakfast.”
Frankie nods and gets up on her feet. She doesn’t even kiss Kennedy goodbye. They’ve done plenty of that a couple of minutes ago. The dancer grabs her clothes and leaves the room after waving one last time. The road to her hotel room seems longer than usual. It’s one floor higher, but it might have been ten. The key card jams three times before the door opens. After that, her body drops on the perfectly made bed. It feels cold. Kennedy’s bed was a lot warmer. She turns on her back and stares at the ceiling.
Noor calls her twenty minutes later. But she declines the call. Noor calls her again. She lets it ring until the sound fades out again. She cannot be lying next to that gorgeous person in bed right now. She’d feel gross about it.
“You don’t seem gay.”
Frankie sighs and concentrates on the reasons why she shouldn’t obviously roll her eyes over that comment. She also concentrates on not punching the guy in the face. Could there be a more stereotypical conversation?
“Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot my rainbow shirt at home, together with my unicorn hat,” she apologizes with a frustrated sigh.
The guy works at the radio studio they just performed at. He looks like the poster child for an overweight, antisocial computer geek. Luckily, Frankie has met a lot of geeks: they were all awesome and funny. He’s not. The incredible media-trained Noor was amazing during her live performance, but then again, Frankie always thinks she’s amazing. Now she’s waiting for her.
“Do you actually have a rainbow shirt?” the guy wonders after a moment of silence.
For a second, Frankie considers answering yes. It’d be a lie, but she’s dying to see his face. Noor is talking to David and the producer of the show in a distance. They seem occupied with the detailed review of the event. As a dancer, Frankie is left standing aside, waiting with a bag over her shoulder, while Kennedy is peeing in the nearest bathroom. And then this guy came along.
“I mean,” the guy with green eyes and dark hair, elaborates, “you don’t seem butch or anything.”
That’s it. The shit has hit the fan and Frankie’s level of tolerance reaches its highest level.
“Do you know why they randomly call us butch?” she asks, mysteriously calm and pissed off at the same time. “Do you know why we are considered handy or manly or independent? It’s because when a girl falls in love with a girl, we don’t run to some random guy to help us put up shelfs or take out the trash. We feel perfectly capable of doing things ourselves. We don’t pout or offer sex to make the other one do something for us.”
She hesitates for a while, because somewhere in that last sentence, she recognizes familiar behavior.
“Well, maybe we do, but not so we won’t have to get our hands dirty. You know what? I like putting things together. I am good at it. You see this body? I build it. I went to the gym and gained some muscles so I’d never ever have to ask someone for help. Not a girl, not a guy. And boys like you feel utterly, utterly threatened the second we realize what we’re capable of. And that is your problem, not ours.”
The guy holds up his arms in defense after he turned red the second her first phrase reached his ears.
“Ho — ho! Relax. Gee — why do you hate men?”
All Frankie can do is smirk and shake her head with disbelief. So suddenly, she’s a man-ophobe?
“Such a stereotypical thing to say. All the lesbians hate men,” she scoffs while twitching her nose. “That’s ridiculous. Everyone hates men.”
The guy shakes his head, obviously annoyed by her spot-on rambling, and scoffs in a way that makes her heartbeat go faster and faster.
“You are all the same. You should just try and be normal, you know?” he smirks.
“There’s nothing fun about being normal. How can someone stand out by being normal? I won’t sit straight when people tell me to, I’ll sit as gay as I want to. I won’t cheer the place up, I’ll queer it up. I won’t ever have a boyfriend because I’ll be too busy stealing girlfriends. And we don’t get things straight … we get things lesbian as hell. And people love that. So you can go straight to hell, I’ll go gay.”
Noor is watching the scene and is impressed. Clearly, Frankie is drawing attention, though she doesn’t seem to notice it. Kennedy is exiting the bathroom when she runs into the spectacle. A calm hand on Frankie’s shoulder seems to snap her out of her fury. She has that effect on the dancer. Though they are playful friends with benefits, their characters match and Kennedy seems to work wonders around Frankie whenever she’s annoyed or angry. It doesn’t happen often, at least it didn’t in the past. But now there’s this busy touring schedule, there’s the amount of weird feelings for Noor she cannot act on — not ever. And it’s driving her insane. It’s like a little bacteria has nested itself in her body and it’s slowly starting to spread. It became a virus. It’s taken total control of her heart, of her mind, of her reason. Kennedy is a nice getaway from that, a temporary painkiller.
“So, you’re gay?” Kennedy teasingly whispers in her ear after the guy ran off so fast that he nearly tripped down the hallway.
It makes Frankie smirk, while she’s starting to realize what an asshole she’s been.
“Yes, I’m a lesbian,” she spills the beans confidently. “But don’t worry: I’m only attracted to pretty girls.”
She walks away toward the front door and leaves her favorite dancer standing with her mouth agape. Did that little brat just insult her? She turns her head to look at her boos, Noor, and learns that the singer witnessed everything. Frankie’s long gone by now, but Noor can’t seem to stop staring at the doorway she walked through. Kennedy sighs and for a second, she might get the wrong idea. After that, she tells herself she’s crazy.
As a way to celebrate the end of the improvised, unexpected tour around the country, Noor invites her team to a barbecue at her place. Of course nor she, nor Aiden did any cooking. They hired a chef, turned their backyard into a fairytale decor and asked a befriended DJ to give them a mix to entertain the guests. Frankie asks if Noor ever does anything normal and Noor says no.
Kennedy decides to leave and suggestively nudges at Frankie right before she does, so they can make out in the hallway on her way out. It’s their thing now — sex without questions. Friends with benefits, or something like that. They won’t see each other for a whole month and something about that saddens them. Because they genuinely like each other, they like each other a lot. If this were another situation, they’d make a perfect couple. Except Kennedy wants no restrictions. And Frankie doesn’t want to fool herself into believing that Kennedy is the one for her. She did that once and that girl broke her heart.
After returning to the party, she notices that the stylists Teddy and Iris, Noor’s loyal team, have jumped into the pool. Those girls are crazy. One has pink, short hair with a massive undercut. She’s alternative, but funny. The other one, Iris, is currently rocking a 50s style with a black pony and oversized glasses. She’s more uptight. They all got to know each other while traveling around. And the girls accept the fact that Noor can’t seem to go anywhere without her new friend.
Aiden walks up to Frankie and offers her a beer. She accepts, right before remembering she doesn’t even like beer. But who says no to a movie star?
She has a sip and her face turns to a little pile of disgust, which makes Aiden chuckle.
“Had fun on the other side of the country?”
She nods after wiping her face clean. Something tells her to jump into that pool with her mouth open. That’ll clear the awful taste of this drink.
“Did Noor have fun?”
She nods again. It’s not like they had a blast. All Noor ever did was work. It was pretty hectic. Even Frankie didn’t see her a lot. Only at night, in bed. But a little voice inside her head tells her to keep quiet about that.
“I bought her a new car yesterday. She liked it. I feel like I did good,” he explains, like Frankie’s the main negotiator in their relationship now.
The girl isn’t interested in listening to any of it, but it’s not like she can just tell him to shut up. Then again, how is buying a car for someone going to fix a trust issue? Do all boys think like that, or is it just alcoholic superstars?
“Let’s go back to the group,” she suggest before he starts rambling about their sex life.
She might puke if he does. They head back over to Noor and some friends when the singer pats her hand on the seat next to her. Frankie feels pretty special about it and she shouldn’t. Aiden sits down across from her and amusingly smiles. He thinks that Frankie’s presence will work wonders for his marriage. Frankie thinks it won’t.
They talk and laugh for hours, like they are the most ordinary people in the world. Every now and then, Noor throws some funny anecdote of Shakira or Beyoncé into the conversation, but nobody seems to care about the level of fame of her friends. Aiden and Noor even talk in an amicable way, much to everyone’s delight. There’s no snarky comments, no evil glares. At some point, Frankie even catches them staring at each other with a soft smile. Her heart aches.
As night is falling, the dancer starts to rub the sides of her bare arms. Iris and Teddy left the pool and have themselves wrapped in thick, warm towels.
“Why the hell does it have to be this cold?” Frankie complains, pouting her lips and leaning back in her seat.
Noor seems to be the person that likes to take action when it comes to keeping her friends comfortable and wraps her arms around the trembling body.
“So we could cuddle?” the singer teases.
When their eyes meet, Frankie can’t keep herself from dreaming out loud: “You’re right. It’s meant to be.”
Aiden raises his eye suggestively and smiles. He likes Frankie a lot. She feels like he shouldn’t.
“So this is what girls do when they hang out?” he jokes.
Apart from David, he’s the only man around. Of course the manager thinks it’s funny.
“What about boys?” Frankie wonders, with a curious smile and Noor still very close to her.
Forget about cold. She’s flaming hot right now.
“What about them?”
“When they have sleepovers, do they sleep in the same bed? Or is that too gay, even when you’re little.”
All the girls giggle over Frankie’s blunt comment. David and Aiden just share a meaningful look.
“Boys don’t do sleepovers,” David explains.
Teddy sits up straight to grab another bottle of beer from the table in front of her. She snorts and wiggles her eyes to express her level of understanding after that revelation.
“Wow, no wonder you guys are unexperienced by the time you have sex.”
Both Noor and Frankie flash their heads her way and explode with laughter.
Bored with the teasing, Aiden starts talking about sports. Only David and Frankie seem interested enough to join the conversation. The others just chitchat about upcoming events and fashion. Sometimes Frankie can’t help but liking the husband of her boss. She likes his interest in sports and the world. She likes that he knows something about decorating and fashion. And he’s genuinely nice to her. But after the topic fades out and she turns her head toward the others again, the corners of her eyes allow her to catch him staring at Iris’ breasts. Her blood starts to boil. It’s like the ultimate betrayal when Noor is sitting right across from him. He doesn’t deserve her, but something tells her he doesn’t realize that. Noor notices the secretive glare as well, but puts her hand on Frankie’s leg to calm her down, like it doesn’t matter — like she’s seen worse. He’s had a few drinks, he’s acting all playful and relaxed. Maybe she simply doesn’t care anymore and maybe taking care of Frankie makes more sense at this point. She lets her hand stay on Frankie’s lap under the blanket and Frankie starts to heat up like crazy. Because that hand does things to her. The way it sneakily crawled up along her jeans. How the touch is noticeable on the skin underneath the fabric of the pants. When she turns around, the dark eyes of Noor are staring at her, analyzing her behavior and noticing something’s different. But both of them know Frankie can’t move a muscle or it’ll be too obvious. Her worked up body will reveal its secrets, it’ll be clear to the world just how Frankie feels about her, what her presence does to the dancer’s sexual awakening. She doesn’t want Noor to move her hand at all, because it feels so natural for it to be there. At the same time, she know she should move it. But in the end, Noor doesn’t. No, on the contrary, she lays her head down on Frankie’s shoulder and heaves a tired sigh that crosses Frankie’s neck and tingles her nerves. Her hand slips across the thigh a bit further, probably due to her position against Frankie’s body. This is torture.
In an expected way of events, Frankie wakes up in one of the many spare bedrooms. Driving home would’ve taken way too long. The party lasted until late after midnight and it was filled with alcohol. Noor won’t need her professional help for the next couple of weeks, which saddens them both. The singer is focussing on finishing her album right now. It has to be perfect, according to her. Frankie has no doubt it will be. And while the dancing girls will be left with the task of rehearsing the next choreography at a local dance studio, Noor will be distanced from the world in a dark room, sitting behind a microphone.
Frankie yawns with relief once she realizes there’s no hangover to haunt her. A squeak of the door makes her look up, and it’s a curious Noor that’s sticking her head through the doorway.
“Hey. Did I wake you up?”
Frankie just buries her head in the pillow again without answering. That doesn’t stop Noor from walking over to her and getting under the sheets with her. Frankie sighs with frustration. She does not need this so early in the morning.
“Aiden and I slept in the same bed last night.”
Hidden from plain sight, Frankie rolls her eyes after hearing Noor’s little confession. Guess there are different kinds of hangovers. She doesn’t respond, hoping it’ll stop Noor from explaining any further. It doesn’t.
“It’s not like we had sex or something. He kissed me, yeah. But it didn’t mean anything. We’ve been married for a while, so it’s pretty obvious we kiss once in a while.”
“He was sweet, though. Did I tell you that he said I was beautiful last night? And he bought me a car last week.”
Frankie’s stomach is turning from the words that are reaching her ears and it’s annoying the singer how crazy silent she is for once. For a second, Noor wonders if she’s fallen back asleep.
“Hey, are you okay? Do you need some aspirin?” she quietly asks while running some fingers through Frankie’s hair.
The touch makes the dancer close her eyes, as if she’s in pain. Maybe this is some kind of pain, an emotional one. She’d rather have a hangover.
“I just need to sleep some more.”
Her voice is low and fragile. Noor mistakes it for tiredness. Her elegant body spreads across the mattress, before it turns on its side. Her left arm slides over Frankie’s waist. The fact that her shirt has crawled up during the night doesn’t seem to bother the married woman. Frankie’s skin feels soft and perfect, it actually makes her heartbeat go faster. It confuses Noor. She buries her head in the pit of Frankie’s neck and lets out a long and warm breath. It only makes the blonde more emotional and frustrated.
“I’m here,” she hears her favorite singer whisper in her ear.
Fingers caress the side of her waist. It tickles and enlightens the blonde at the same time.
“Just fall asleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Her words are soothing and sound like a promise. Frankie closes her eyes tightly, as if she’s trying to escape this reality. She wants nothing more than to fall asleep. Because this situation, this feeling inside her chest whenever Noor touches her, it’s not healthy.
It takes an hour before Frankie wakes up again, Noor pressed against her to the point where there’s no room for air to pass between their bodies. The dancer’s in a better mood, that’s obvious. The second Frankie turns around, Noor is dreamingly staring at her.
Frankie softly smiles: “Hey, good morning.”
The blonde nods and stretches her arms, allowing Noor to witness the rising of her chest.
“I had the best dream ever,” Frankie starts to explain in a low voice. “It included Rachel Evan Wood and a baseball game.”
Noor chuckles and frowns her eyebrows briefly.
“Rachel Evan Wood is sort of my hero. She’s so badass. Style icon, hot, powerful, smart, great actress, …”
Noor seems impressed, maybe even a bit jealous. It’s amazing how Frankie can geek out over someone she never met before. She knows that kind of person: a fangirl.
“You are the coolest nerd I’ve ever met,” Noor randomly tells her before wiggling her nose. “You put the sexy in smart.”
“You’re not that bad yourself.”
They share a moment where all they do is glance at each other’s lips. Frankie is dying to move her head just a little bit, just that small distance that’ll take her to taste Noor’s lips for the first time. They seem delicious — pouty and full. Just thinking about it drives her crazy. For some reason, Noor is doing the same thing. Her eyes are fixated on Frankie’s cute face, on her eyes and mouth, on her perfect cheekbones and the way her eyebrows curve elegantly. She has her left hand on Frankie’s hips, under the sheets. Somehow, she likes touching her. Their energy is electric.
“Promise you’ll be my hero?” Frankie asks her, before cursing herself over saying it out loud.
Again, she didn’t think before opening her mouth. Being captivated by Noor did the trick. Her boss seems flattered by her request, but shakes her head immediately.
“I am nobody’s hero. I’m just a silly girl on a silly stage, singing my heart out and enjoying the ride.”
But Frankie disagrees. She has seen the magic of Noor on stage, the way people cry or light up over her lyrics and voice. She walks into the room and the room shuts up. She stares into the sun and the sun puts on sunglasses. When she wants to slap someone, that person bashes her face against Noor’s palm.
“You could be my hero,” Frankie whispers.
Neither of them noticed, but they are even closer now. Noor flashes a shy smile. Frankie’s so damn charming, it completely embarrasses her. She’d love to be Frankie’s hero. She’d love to be around her all the time, protect her, hold her like this in bed until the world ends. But that feeling scares her tremendously. It’s the most scary thing she’s ever felt. But the thought, the thought of Frankie thinking she’s capable of being the world to her, that’s enough for now. It’s enough to chase away the confusion and the fear.
“Maybe one day, I will be.”
June rolls her eyes the way she always does whenever Frankie tells her something she doesn’t want to hear. At times, Frankie would give everything in the world to decently punch her in the face. But her mom always said sisters can’t do that to each other.
“A holiday? Really? You just got back.”
Frankie shrugs: “It was hard. I had to work every day — so much that I got muscle cramps. I never get cramps. So Miguel and I are taking a break.”
But June is the kid that takes after her father the most. She doesn’t see dancing as a job, she thinks it’s a hobby — a foolish way to be expressive and chase dreams that are unreal. She believes artists are weird and alternative. That is, until Noor herself stands in front of her in this very house, of course. That’s the only time she thinks an artist is successful.
“And what about the restaurant?” June growls.
“I agreed to help you out, June, it’s not like I’m actually employed. I’m Noor’s dancer now. Wherever she goes, I go with her.”
It sounds a lot more dramatic than intended and June picks up on it. She crosses her arms defensively and leans against the kitchen counter.
“You are in love with that girl, you know that right?”
It’s Frankie’s time to roll her eyes: “Shut up. You know nothing about it.”
She makes a run toward her bedroom, but June pulls her arm so she won’t get very far.
“You go on that holiday. And you think about what you’re doing. Whether or not you’re in love with her, or adore her, or just have a crush on her. And remember she has a husband. She’s married, she has this entire public life with him. Their world is so very different from yours, Frankie. People like us, we don’t fit in. We’re fun, for when they get bored.”
Her voice is softer now, more caring and sister-like. She’s trying to protect her, that much is obvious. Frankie can’t respond, her heart is slowly wrenching and shrinking to the point that it physically starts to hurt. Her mind shuts out everything her sister just said, her ears are actually refusing to absorb more words — but her heart, oh, it knows better. And it’s telling her to get the hell out of this place for a while.
“I must say that I pictured a Mexican beach when you talked about going on a holiday. Not a car with obvious engine issues.”
“Shut up, it’s just old. Doesn’t mean it will stop driving,” Frankie tells Miguel, who obviously hoped this trip would involve a combination of cocktails and oceans.
“I kind of hoped you were loaded now that you dance for the world’s most beloved pop star.”
His friend giggles: “Dancers aren’t rich, Miguel. And we will never be.”
They are heading down the highway that leads to wherever it is they’ll end up. As long as it isn’t anywhere near Noor or June, it’ll be fine. Frankie texted Kennedy to tell her she’d be back in two weeks. That was all. Kennedy wished her a pleasant trip. She added three kisses.
Miguel has been nagging all morning, fishing for details about her professional romance. Frankie isn’t sure which one he’s talking about.
“So you and that Kennedy girl are an item now? I saw her picture. She’s hot.”
He carefully examines his finger nails as he says it. But Frankie is unimpressed.
“She’s not my girlfriend. We’re not an item. We’re having fun. And it’s perfect that way.”
She’s brutally honest about it. That girl has it all, perfect body, great personality, careless assumptions about life and love. Frankie can’t handle more right now. Miguel throws her a doubtful glare and wiggles his nose. When his friend doesn’t appear to react on it, he heaves a frustrated sigh.
“Okay, so June’s been talking —”
“June is always talking. She should stop talking,” Frankie interrupts, immediately annoyed.
“Still,” Miguel says as he raises his voice, “she’s been talking. About you and Noor.”
Frankie is staring into the emptiness of the highway and shrugs without looking at him.
“She knows nothing about us. Or Noor.”
Her fingers tap the top of the steering wheel and that appears to be the end of the conversation. At least until Miguel decides he wants to learn more.
“I thought she was married,” he says.
“And I thought she was straight.”
Frankie sighs, as if it’s irrelevant: “She is.”
As an experienced gay man, he mysteriously smiles over her answer.
“Aren’t they all?” he whispers softly, staring straight ahead. “Aren’t they all?”
Two weeks turn into three. Three careless, fun weeks where parties and temporary black-outs direct the days and nights. The friends drive through four states and visit as many popular places there are to see. They talk for hours while relaxing at the pool of their hotel or go out for long and delicious dinners. At night, they escape to the local bars and attend the wildest parties. It’s the gayest holiday Frankie ever had. She flirted with every girl she saw, took most of them back to her hotel room and kicked them out the second they woke up in the morning. She did it to forget about Noor. Every single night, she found another beautiful creature, lured her back to her room and, for a few hours, Noor escaped her mind. But then Frankie woke up in the morning. And Noor was back again. Painfully real. She took her MoodBook the last morning of the holiday break and sighed while writing down these words: ‘I thought that if I would get hammered tonight, my problems would disappear. But then I woke up and they’re still here. Your face is still here. Your face is the problem.’
Now they are back. Work is calling, reality is calling. In fact, Frankie is expected to show up for rehearsals first thing in the morning. At eight. She hasn’t left her bed before eleven in weeks. So Noor called her and ordered to spend the night at her place, since that’s one hell of a lot closer to the dance studio. Frankie tried to keep her distance as much as she could during the three weeks of separation, without turning it into an awkward thing. They texted and called every couple of days. Frankie’s heart nearly exploded each time she heard Noor’s voice. The fact that the singer always told her how much she missed her favorite dancer didn’t help.
It was enough for her to indicate that their level of friendship had crossed a line. And going away for three weeks clearly solved nothing. In fact, it might have even made it worse.
After the old car pulls up on Noor’s driveway, she finds her friend anxiously waiting for her — like literally jumping up and down with excitement. Frankie immediately starts to smile her goofiest smile and Noor notices. As soon as she gets out of the car, Noor runs toward her. Not the greatest power in the world could stop her. It’s a barely noticeable little jump that leads her to the arms of her favorite dancer. The second the girls get lost in their embrace, their heartbeats align. Both of them are home again. Frankie feels Noor’s smile against the cheek. Her entire body suddenly relaxes.
“I’ve missed you,” Noor whispers in her ear.
It’s soft and sweet. Above all, it’s honest.
Frankie sighs and hates to admit it: “Me too.”
The embrace lasts several long seconds, before a sobering cough from the blonde snaps them both out of the enchanting moment. They both inhale each other’s scent one last time before their bodies part.
“How is my favorite dancer?”
“I’m good. I had a great time. Miguel and I had the time of our lives, actually.”
Noor looks disappointed: “I thought I gave you the time of your life?”
It’s soft teasing, but enough to raise Frankie’s heartbeat and make her blush.
“Look at you,” Noor sighs in wonder after putting both hands on her friend’s cheeks. “You look different. Your hair has grown. Still pretty, though.”
“Shut up, I look miserable,” Frankie claims after Noor’s hands travelled down to hers. “I’m such a bad lesbian at the moment. I came back from my holiday with fingernails so long that I’d give a woman a mastectomy in bed.”
She says it simply to imply that there hasn’t been anyone else. Just so Noor shouldn’t discover the truth about her random hookups.
The blunt elaboration makes Noor frown: “You mean a hysterectomy, I think.”
”Whatever … It wouldn’t be good.”
Noor looks at her and mysteriously starts to smile. Her dark eyes turn softer and dreamy.
“I doubt that,” she whispers.
The blonde just makes a noise, but isn’t really sure what it is. She’s pretty convinced that it’s just noises in lesbian, though. Being on the road with Miguel wasn’t that smart. She came back even gayer.
Noor excitingly drags her all the way to the kitchen and starts going through the cabinets, searching for something she’s hidden. One of the cats quickly passes Frankie legs and scares the hell out of her. She was too captivated by the sight of Noor to focus on anything else. The singer suddenly faces her again, holding a little package.
“Is that for me?”
“No, I just want you to hold it for a while,” Noor ridicules her while rolling her eyes. “Of course it’s for you.”
Fast fingers unpack the present until Frankie’s holding a silver bracelet in her hands. It’s engraved with the words ‘Always missing you’. It’s so beautiful that Frankie has to gasp before looking up again.
“Noor. You shouldn’t have …”
“Don’t worry about it. I wanted to. Here, let me put it on.”
Soft fingers stroke Frankie’s bare arm after clicking the bracelet into its place. That’s when Frankie suddenly starts to ramble, maybe because she’s overcome with emotions and tears are trying to escape her eyes.
“I’m sorry, I’m a hot mess. I think I’m just tired from the long drive,” her sensitive voice apologizes.
Noor places her hands on Frankie’s shoulders and looks deep into her eyes. Nobody ever looks at her that way.
“You are a hot mess,” the singer confirms. “But at least you’re hot.”