Frankie at Work – Chapter 10: Breakfast

Chapter Ten — Breakfast


The look in her eyes could convince Noor of everything. The girls get dressed into their disgusting outfits again and call a cab. Frankie uses the towel to keep the cut from bleeding excessively while directing her precious superstar out of the hotel room. The driver takes them to a nearby town, where little colorful houses rise from the ground every other street.

“Where are we?” Noor wonders, more sober than she has been all evening.

The bleeding must have shocked her back into reality. By now, her hand is starting to hurt and sting. She’s staring at the blood-soaked towel without blinking. It’s her guitar hand. Her guitar hand can’t get messed up. She puts her head on Frankie’s shoulder and heaves a moaning sigh.

The taxi stops in front of a green wooden house after a twenty minute drive. They pay the guy, get out and Frankie walks straight to the front door to ring the bell. It’s after midnight by now and Noor has no idea where Frankie took her. The door opens after a couple of seconds and a tired-looking woman immediately flashes a welcoming smile.

“Happy birthday!.”

The voice reminds Noor of Frankie’s. Their faces even look the same. Frankie turns around and entwines their fingers.

“Noor, this is my mom. Mom, this is Noor.”

The woman has curly blonde hair and blue eyes. She reaches out her hand as soon as she sees the blood dripping down the fragile girl’s arm.

“Good evening, sweetheart. Did you hurt yourself? Come in, I’ll take care of it.”

It’s the first time in a long while that someone new treated her as an actual person instead of a superstar. They enter the house and Noor is just utterly confused. When Frankie’s mom disappears in a nearby room to grab some medical equipment, the singer’s eyes beg for an explanation.

“She’s a nurse. No cameras here.”

Frankie thought it through. No one will ever know what happened. Noor’s thankful for that. The adorable woman returns with a little box in her hand and sits down at the dinner table. She’s suggesting Noor should follow her lead. While she glues the girl up — literally, she’s holding a tube that glues the wound back together — she lets the singer in on her admiration for her work and music. Noor immediately starts blushing.

“You know that Frankie loves working for you, right? She’s always talking about you.”

Now it’s Frankie’s turn to blush.

“Okay, mom, that’s enough,” she chuckles while sitting down next to her dear friend and averting her eyes with shame.

“I’m always talking about her as well,” Noor admits, while reaching for her friend’s hand under the table.

The blonde can’t help but glance at her beauty from the corner of her eyes. A very observant mom is registering the action. They all focus on the miracle work the lady’s performing. In a matter of minutes, Noor’s hand looks clean and healthy again. Cotton pads with blood color the table, but that’s okay.

“Just keep the bandage on for a few days. It’ll be all right.”

Frankie almost looks nostalgic as she heaves a relieved sigh.

“Mom used to patch us up all the time. Although we’re four girls, we used to behave like boys.”

Her mom frowns and growls: “Yes. Especially you and June, always climbing trees and acting all dangerous.”

“You and June were close as children?” Noor wonders while softly caressing the white bandage around her hand.

Frankie nods and shrugs short after: “We were. We still are, just — in a different way.”

The front door swipes open and Frankie’s dad makes his appearance. He’s a skinny guy with dark hair and brown eyes. Frankie looks nothing like him, but suddenly, Noor finds the resemblance to June. He’s warm and welcoming too, but in a masculine way. After ten minutes, he actually offers the superstar a beer. She kindly declines and goes for a glass of water. Frankie’s mom suggests the girls stay the night since there are enough bedrooms and quickly returns with fresh towels and pajamas from when Frankie was younger. The family reunion lasts another hour, where Frankie’s parents do nothing but ask Noor questions about how their daughter is performing at work. The singer has nothing but good words for them. She goes on and on about how she enlightens the spirit of the group, how her moves are enchanting and how she couldn’t imagine life without her best friend anymore. Every single time they sneak a loving peek at each other, Frankie’s mom suppresses an adoring smile. Mom and dad leave the room to clean up and as Frankie turns around, she finds Noor staring into the distance. At photographs, at drawings and letters.

“What is it? Does it hurt?”

Noor lowers her look and finds her hand, but it’s fine. That painkiller she got a minute ago is working.

“It’s just nice,” she explains in a low voice. “I always forget what it feels like, having a family.”

Frankie looks back at the kitchen door and nods: ”Yeah, it ’s nice. But it gets crazy once all my sisters are here. Like, crazy-crazy.”

Noor smiles and puts her head on Frankie’s shoulder.

“I can imagine that,” she whispers while yawning. “Let’s go to bed.”

They get up and put their chairs back in place. At the same time, Frankie’s mom reappears.

“Off to bed? We’re turning in as well. Will you girls stay for breakfast tomorrow? It’ll be for your birthday.”

Noor nods and thanks the lady in advance. When Frankie’s dad walks into the room, shirt already yanked out of his pants, he calls it a night. Frankie kisses his cheek and her friend does the same out of politeness. The lady of the house holds them both in a tight embrace before disappearing a minute later.

Once in the childhood bedroom, the girls start to giggle over the nostalgia. There are posters everywhere, though the room seems divided in two parts.

“This was my half. That one’s Ellie’s.”

Frankie points at the one with fluffy animals, the pink bed sheets and beach boys posters. Noor smirks: it looks exactly like hers when she was little. At Frankie’s side, she finds sports attributes and dancing trophies. Black sheets. Figures …

The girls put on their pajamas and seem to have forgotten about what almost happened a few hours ago at the hotel room. It might be wise not to mention it for now. After Frankie crawled under her warm, thick blanket, she turns around to find a confused Noor in the middle of the room, staring at her.

“What’s wrong?”

“I can’t sleep,” Noor whispers while rubbing her injured hand.

She’s looking around the room as if she’s confused and scared.

“You want to sleep here?” the dancer hesitantly wonders.

Maybe she shouldn’t have asked. It’s a bad idea. Plus, the bed’s too small.

“I don’t know. I can’t sleep in the same bed with you because I know something might happen.”

Frankie smirks. That’s the understatement of the year. She sighs.

“Well, you have Ellie’s bed.”

“I know, it’s just … I’m not sure I want to do that.”

The blonde frowns and clears her throat. Her friend is acting weird. Even more than ever.

“Then sleep on the couch.”

She did a lot when she was younger. It’s a great couch.

But Noor shakes her head slowly: “I don’t want to sleep on the couch.”

“So, you do want to sleep with me?”

The circle goes full round.

“Yes,” Noor admits. “But I shouldn’t.”

A shaky voice fails to sound convincing: “No, you shouldn’t.”

Noor puts down her phone and walks over to Ellie’s old bed. She hides under the sheets and turns her head toward the wall, not facing Frankie for once. Minutes pass and nothing is being said anymore. Frankie drifts off and her body falls into a sleep-induced coma. But then something wakes her up again. When she turns her head briefly, she finds Noor shifting under the sheets behind her. She must have snuck up on her just now and crawled into the same bed. Her warm hands are being put on the tiny waist in front of her, while her feet search for contact at the bottom of the bed. She needs to be close. She needs to feel her while she can.

“Please, Frankie, don’t try to kiss me,” she begs with a voice that displays a wide range of emotions and anxiety. “I won’t be able to stop myself once you kiss me.”

Her warm breaths cause goosebumps on Frankie’s neck.

She just swallows: “Okay.”

Noor traces circles on her bare arm, then they slide around her waist, to the piece of skin sneaking from underneath her shirt. Her legs go up and down, along Frankie’s bare thighs. They silently pant — which is painfully loud in a dark room. They hug, and it’s as far as they can allow themselves to go. Noor traces Frankie’s entire shape. From her shoulders, over her arms, over her tummy and her hips to the top of her knees. It’s the most loving and erotic thing the dancer ever experienced. Heated lips place a desiring kiss on the pale skin, but Frankie holds on to her promise to not kiss her back. After that, Noor buries her head in her back and sighs.

“Good night, Frankie.”

She said her name. For the first time in a while, she actually said her name. The blonde puffs the frustration away and calms herself down before answering.

“Good night, Noor.”

An hour passes and this time, she can’t relax enough to fall asleep again. Noor’s lying next to her, too close and too intimate. Her body’s pressed up against her back and it feels like a promise. She turns around, quietly and slow, so it won’t wake her up. Two of her fingers wipe back some lost hairs that fell down Noor’s perfect face. She looks adorable while she’s asleep.

“You may want to be with him,” a soft voice whispers through the night. “You may wake up and fall asleep next to him whenever I’m not around. You may choose to love him more than you love me. But remember: if you ever need me, I’ll come running. And he’ll never be faster than me.”

She turns her head back and closes her eyes. A troubled sigh leaves her lungs and at last, her body accepts defeat. It’s worn out and tired. It drifts away once more. That’s when Noor opens her eyes secretively. She smiles the most heartbreaking smile ever.


Morning madness takes over the Morris’ house. All the daughters reunite after mom called them up. It’s Sunday and Sunday usually translates into family day — minus the boyfriends. Except for Frankie, who’s usually busy doing whatever it is to avoid these kind of events. But it’s Frankie’s special birthday breakfast. It’s mandatory. After Noor’s been enthusiastically introduced into the household and all the sisters take a turn at fangirling, they sit down at the massive dinner table to enjoy a delicious breakfast. Noor eats some fruit and freshly baked pancakes and Frankie can’t help but smile, because she’s too ashamed to ask for a big bowl of coffee instead. The dancer offered, but Noor insists she’ll eat some food instead.

“What happened to your hand?” Ellie wonders.

Noor looks down at the bandage and turns red instantly. That’s when Frankie starts to laugh.

“We went skateboarding at the Memorial Pool, broke through the fence, climbed down that shaky ladder, checked into a hotel to have a party and just as she’s about to get into bed, she cuts her hand at her cocktail glass.”

Her family chuckles and Noor thinks it’s adorable. She turned it into a funny thing, thank God. When out of nowhere, Frankie’s mom suggests that Noor should entertain them with a song after breakfast, Frankie interrupts her.

“Mom, come on. She’s here as a guest. Don’t ask her that.”

It seems rude to her. But Noor doesn’t mind. She puts her hand on the blonde’s and shushes her.

“It’s okay.”

Ellie, Cece and June turn their eyes at the affectionate gesture. They’ve been examining the interaction of these two ladies from the second they walked in.

“Of course Noor’s a guest. She walked into this house in the middle of the night, slept in one of my children’s beds, had breakfast with us at our family table — all after I professionally and discretely fixed her hand. She wouldn’t mind singing a little song later, would she?” mommy Morris explains in a very empowering way.

Everyone starts to smile like crazy, while Noor just turns her head to her friend.

“Is your mom emotionally blackmailing me right now?” she asks with joy lighting up her face.

Frankie briefly nods: “She does that a lot. And she’s not sorry.”

When they both face the mom, she nods: “Not sorry.”

Noor can’t help but love this moment. This insane, super busy collusion of togetherness and carefree interaction. Even Frankie seems to enjoy herself. A buzzing phone makes the table vibrate. It’s Noor’s. It has been doing so for a half an hour. First it was David — Noor declined. Then her publicist tried to get a hang of her — she declined again. When David called a second time, she texted him she was in the middle of an important meeting and Frankie smiled as Noor showed her the words on her screen. Now, it’s Aiden’s name that’s lighting up. The girls’ careless smiles falter and after an awkward stare at each other, Noor excuses herself from the group to walk into the backyard, wearing nothing but Frankie’s pajama pants and an oversized T-shirt.

“She’s a pretty girl,” the mother of the family speaks up as Frankie watches her every move through the window. “And she’s very lovely.”

The sisters aim their view at that one person that should feel addressed. The blonde looks up and shyly smiles, without saying a word.

“Who’s on the phone?” June asks, with enough snark in her voice to immediately make Frankie’s blood boil.

“It’s Aiden. I think he just got back from Europe.”

Her dad delivers the words she doesn’t want to hear: “They make such a cute couple. Always parading down the red carpets and looking all beautiful. It’s nice to see that in this day and age, a young, happily married couple.”

From a distance, Frankie notices the painful look on Noor’s face as she’s ending the call. Her body doesn’t move, it just stays frozen to the spot in the backyard. One hand slips in front of her eyes to block everything out. Noor’s struggling, that much is obvious. It might be guilt, or confusion. Frankie gets up from her chair and heaves a troubled sigh before turning to her father.

“It is,” she says.

She walks through the back door and finds Noor squeezing the phone in her hand.

“Hi.”

The singer turns around and smiles.

“That was Aiden,” she says as if it wasn’t obvious yet.

Frankie nods and walks over to the wooden bench on her left side to sit down and rub her hands. It’s cold outside. Too cold to just be wearing pajamas. Noor follows her lead and sits down next to her. They keep their distance, like a normal friendship would require.

“What did he say?”

“He told me to say hi to you. He flew back in this morning. He went home and didn’t find me.”

“What did you tell him?”

They are randomly discussing it. Because reading too much into it would cause trouble.

“I told him I was with you, which actually cheered him up. He’s looking forward to seeing you again and hang out next weekend. Plus, he’s picking me up in an hour.”

Noor lowers her head and sharply inhales through her nose.

“I’m such a cunt.”

Frankie wants to comfort her, but decides not to. She reads the inscription of her bracelet.

“Remember when I told you that I’ve been in love once? That I thought I’ve been in love,” she says.

Noor looks up to her and, instantly, the lake house resurfaces in her mind.

”Yes.”

“She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever met,” Frankie elaborates. “She was smart, funny, sophisticated and cute. But she had a boyfriend.”

The resemblance is striking, even the singer picks up on it. Frankie stares at the fence that’s separating the yard from the neighbor’s. Thinking about the past makes her sad — especially that part.

“Oh. That’s why it didn’t work out?” Noor wonders, afraid to imagine a life where Frankie and her will be apart forever.

“It worked for a second. She thought she had it worked out. But the second she picked me over him, she changed her mind.”

The singer’s heart drops the second she hears those words and her hands go searching for the lean fingers of her precious friend.

”Oh, sweetie.”

They go up until they are cupping warm cheeks. Frankie’s finally facing her.

“She kept me going for a few months, went back and forth. The guy came crying on my shoulder a few times, said he didn’t understand. I told him I couldn’t explain. I didn’t. Just when I thought we’d make it, when she could let go of her past and start this epically great life with me, she went back to him and she never looked back again.”

Frankie swallows deeply and closes her eyes so she can turn away from Noor’s touch.

“She broke my heart. She broke me. I promised to never do that again. To the guy and to myself. And look at me, being a fool a second time.”

“This is different.”

“Yeah, this is a marriage. It’s even worse.”

The dark-haired goddess shakes her head all confused and scared: “But Frankie —“

“No, just — trust me. You don’t want this. You want a husband and a traditional family. They all want that,” Frankie entrusts her.

”I’m not them, okay?”

Noor’s right about that. Everyone knows that. Frankie gets up and turns her sad eyes at the woman she loves. If Noor would do it — if she’d leave Aiden and choose her, everything would change. Her entire world would change. For no reason, people will hate her. She’ll be in the public eye forever, known as that gay singer. Conservative people will protest against her shows in their little town. They’ll turn their back on her just because she loves a girl. Because she followed her heart instead of the visionary ideas of her talented manager. She sighs.

”No, you are extraordinary, Noor. For you, I’ll keep my promise. I can’t destroy your marriage or your career. I refuse to.”

And in that second, Frankie walks away.


Noor leaves as soon as an impressive Ferrari parks in the front yard. It’s Aiden, living up to his promise. She didn’t really say goodbye to Frankie. She kissed all the sisters on the cheek and nearly bowed for the kindness mom and dad Morris showed her. But that small, athletic blonde barely got a hug — a soft whisper about a nearby encounter. Frankie entrusted her with the knowledge that it was her best birthday ever. It’s the truth.

The door closes and Frankie’s mom heaves a worried sigh as she walks away from her kids.

“Damn, she forgot to sing that song,” they hear her mumble.

“What about you? How are you getting back home?” June says in a snarky way, clearly set to piss Frankie off.

The blonde shrugs and fakes a smile.

“My car’s at the pool.”

“How are you getting back to the pool?”

“Well, since you’re clearly not offering me a ride, I’ll just take a taxi.”

“Can’t. Have plans for my business.”

The word sounds so snobby.

Cece’s been thinking things through: “Don’t you need anything from that hotel room?”

“I put all my stuff in my car.”

And the circle goes full round. The youngest of them all sits down in the couch in the next door room and speaks up so her sisters will head her way.

“What the hell just happened, Frankie? Breakfast was amazing. I could literally see how she loved being here and suddenly, she’s gone and you two seem to have had a fight.”

Frankie sits down next to her and shakes her head. If even Ellie’s confused about it, imagine what she’s feeling right now. Her head’s about to explode from all the debating going on inside of it. June scoffs loudly and takes a seat across from them. Cece follows her lead.

“I knew shit was about to go South. I knew it from that first night at the concert. Didn’t I tell you so?”

“Can it, June,” Frankie growls annoyed.

“Fine,” the brunette says while throwing her hands up in the air.

Cece looks at her with a skeptic eye and reminds herself why the two of them hardly ever get along. They are so different, such opposites. June’s judgmental and dominant. Frankie’s soft and compassionate.

“Talk to us. What happened? I thought you wouldn’t even work with her anymore.”

“I wasn’t supposed to. But she came back after that night and apologized.”

Ellie nods: “June told us.”

They look around and find the brown-haired girl checking out her nails, as if she’s not interested in the story at all. Frankie just rolls her eyes.

“Everything went great. Until yesterday. She showed up for my birthday and promised me things. I took her to the pool and we had so much fun. Back at the hotel, things escalated, but then she cut her hand and we came here.”

Cece picks up on the story: “And then her husband called.”

The blond dancer has a stoic face as she keeps staring at the same spot on the coffee table. She inhales sharply and closes her eyes for a while.

“I told her about Gwyneth.”

All of the sisters look up. They know that story too well. It kept Frankie crying uncontrollably for days. Even June felt sorry for her back then. Gwyneth was Greg’s girlfriend. And Greg was a childhood friend. They all used to hang out all the time. Until the little lesbian romance between Gwyneth and Frankie popped up and ended in a tragedy.

“I told her it wasn’t fair to Aiden — or at least I implied it. I walked away.”

Ellie rubs her upper leg and sighs with compassion, while June suddenly gets up and stares at the screen of her phone.

“You know what would be great. If there were contacts that could make you see in black and white. I’d buy those,” she utters as if she’d been thinking about it for a while.

The other three just stare at her confusingly. Cece pulls her sleeve and makes her younger sister look her way.

“Okay, either say something useful. Or go sit in another room,” she growls.

“What?” June scoffs, while running her fingers over the keyboard of her phone.

Frankie smiles because the childish behavior might have hit a low point.

“You have the attention span of a goldfish,” Ellie concludes.

The girls talk for another hour and comfort Frankie in the best way they can. Except for June, who’s behaving like the smartypants that predicted this chain of events. The girl actually refrains from talking all that time and it’s becoming painfully aware.

“I don’t know, guys. When I’m with her — alone that is — she’s so happy and peaceful and genuinely carefree. I mean, look at how she was this morning, with us. And when she’s at home, she just sits in the couch and hangs out with June and I. Right, June?”

June doesn’t look up.

“And then we had this fight and I quit and she came back for me. She always comes back for me. She knows exactly where I live, she knows where I work. She loves my family.”

Frankie turns around and faces her housemate with an angry face: “Even you.”

Still, June’s eyes are attached to her phone, like she couldn’t even be bothered. Cece is getting upset about the behavior and slaps her thigh a bit too violently.

“Auwtch!” June shrieks.

“Why aren’t you talking to me?” Frankie demands to know.

The restaurant owner rolls her eyes dramatically and is getting tired of this compassionate family gathering: “Because ninety-nine percent of what I want to say to you right now is offensive and rude. So I rather shut up.”

“Oh fuck off, June,” Frankie growls.

“What? You don’t want my opinion on this.”

“You know, there’s an old Japanese myth that says that if you shut the fuck up, you will be silent,” Ellie whispers, which earns her a death glare.

June sits up straight and puts down the phone as if she has something important to say. After that, she gets up and flattens her shirt.

“Look, I told you. I told you from the start. You didn’t want to hear it back then, so why say it now?”

“Fuck you,” Frankie scolds at her again. “The world doesn’t revolve around you, okay? I can’t help how I feel. I can’t make it stop. Trust me, I tried!”

“You didn’t try, you fucked up little piece of shit. You are such a pathetic self-loathing sponge. You have zero resistance, zero self control. You love this. You love to chase the impossible straight girls and you secretly love that you end up having your heart broken. Because falling in love with a normal person, one that might actually be available and realistic is just too fucking boring for you. Who the hell falls in love with a married, heterosexual superstar anyway?”

Frankie rises from the couch and it takes her less than a second to circle around the coffee table and violently shove her sister back a whole three steps. This has never happened before. Frankie has allowed her to shit on her head for years and never once dared to step up. But now she has reached her boiling point and her other sisters are just amazed by the twist in her behavior. They step in just as June and Frankie have started running around in circles — June afraid that her little sister might smack the living shit out of her with those wild eyes and frustrated feelings — Frankie trying to make sure she does. Ellie pulls back the blonde, while Cece firmly takes a hold of the brunette’s upper arm.

“Sit down, both of you,” she tells them dominantly.

They listen and ignore each other again. Ellie understands that this situation can’t be easy. She puts her hand lovingly on the back of Frankie’s shirt and sighs.

“What are you going to do? You should quit. You should try to get some distance.”

Frankie kneads her own hair and bends forward: “I am trying to tell myself that I’m better off having her as a friend.”

Cece, still holding onto June’s arm just in case someone might explode again, turns her head: “Is it working?”

The dancer faces her and flashes teary eyes and a sad, heartbreaking pout.

“No.”

“Then stay away from her,” Ellie suggests calmly in the best way she can. “Maybe it’ll take away the feelings. Maybe it’ll make you see her in another light and you’ll stop wanting to be with her. Love ultimately fades out.”

But Frankie disagrees. She folds her hands and remembers yesterday, when she realized just how happy Noor made her by just being with her and acting silly.

“I don’t just want to be with her because I’m in love with her. I want to be with her because she’s also my best friend. Every time I’m with her, I’m having the time of my life. We laugh until our tummies tickle, we dance on top of tables until our feet hurt, we share judgmental looks no other person on this earth will ever understand and that’s the greatest feeling someone could ever give another person. When I ramble and freak out, she doesn’t need to ask twice, she immediately understands. I feel infinity loved when she kisses me. I become infinitely better when she stands near me. I have infinite fun with her. I think about her all the time, even though I tell myself not to.”

Ellie is impressed. The words Frankie just told her mean nothing to her in a way that she never experienced that feeling before. Suddenly, she feels jealous.

“Is it easy, forcing yourself not to think of her all the time?”

Frankie looks at her little sister and shrugs: ”As simple as quantum physics.”


 

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Frankie at Work – Chapter 9: Skateboard

Chapter Nine — Skateboard


Miguel and Frankie pick up rehearsals that same week. They dance until the sun sets and go home all sweaty and tired. Weeks pass and the divided girls hardly ever see each other. The first week, Noor’s occupied with public events and a new merchandising launch. Then, Aiden asks his wife to join him during a movie project in Northern Europe and her therapist kind of suggests that it’s a good idea. They survive their separation thanks to late night FaceTiming. Still, they feel lonely, like a piece of them is missing. Miguel cheers his best friend up as good as he can, while Kennedy blurs her mind during the nights. Frankie acts as if she doesn’t mind being apart from Noor that much. Everyone knows she’s lying.

The dancers all gather soon enough to prepare for the West Coast tour. Four weeks away from home. Four weeks in hotel rooms and rehearsals on stage. Frankie is looking forward to it. Noor will be all hers again, for as long as it lasts. She’ll be able to stare at her shamelessly and steal a sneaky smile, or knock on Noor’s door late at night and fall asleep after talking for hours. It’ll all be okay again. And at the same time: it won’t. Not even close. She knows it’s her heart that’ll be broken in the end. But she’s willing to risk it anyway.

Frankie sighs while staring at the ceiling. All the boxes and electrical wires floating above her head continue to scare her. One miscalculation, one defect and it could all fall down on her little head. Sweat is dripping down her forehead. Rehearsal’s been exhilaratingly exhausting. She loves days like these. She loves the adrenaline that flows through her veins and pumps her heartbeat. Miguel taps her shoulder and calls it a day. He’s panting as he smiles. Yeah, he loves this hard work just as much. Frankie smirks and watches him leave with Cameron, the cute bisexual dancer that’s been there from the start. It took Miguel exactly three days before he discovered that sexually fluid piece of ass. Frankie was disappointed, she thought it’d take him three hours.

“I’ll see you tonight, okay? Big plans for you,” Miguel shouts from a distance. “Big plans!”

Cameron grabs his sleeve to drag him along as Frankie scrunches her nose and nods. She knows Miguel’s version of big plans: getting monumentally fucked up at the local bar. She turns around and heaves an exhausted sigh. She hasn’t heard from Noor since last night, though she wishes she did. If there’s anyone Frankie desired to be here today, it’d be Noor and Noor alone. But she isn’t. And that saddens her in ways that it shouldn’t. Because Noor has obligations. She has a husband and a career. She ought to do things that don’t concern her background dancer. She’s a superstar, for God’s sake. Frankie’s nothing but a silly girl from a small town. Their realities are worlds apart. But still … if only she were here.

One final swirl and Frankie turns to face the back of the stage. The presence of a silent figure surprises her. It’s already dark in the arena. All the technicians and dancers have disappeared. The lights faded out a minute ago. When a smile lights up the curtains, her heart starts to beat faster.

“Hi.”

That voice. It fills the entire atmosphere. It’s Noor. One little word, spoken in silence from a distance and Frankie’s about to have a heart attack.

“What are you doing here?” she gasps.

The singer walks over to her, looking stunning as ever. Her eyes are sparkly, her face all radiant and relaxed. Maybe because she’s so happy to see her beloved friend again.

“I came back for you. I needed to tell you something.”

Frankie’s flabbergasted expression just won’t go away. She just stands there in awe, wondering if this is a dream. But the second Noor reaches for her hand and touches her sweaty skin, the dream turns into reality.

“Tell me what?”

Noor wraps both arms around the muscled body of her favorite dancer and inhales the scent of the blond hairs. She presses them close together and reminds herself to speak before the satisfaction of seeing her best friend again completely dazzles her.

“Happy birthday to you,” she starts to sing in a soft voice. “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear Frankie.”

Her eyes shoot up and down that sweaty body and the most radiant smile takes over her entire face. She reshapes the classic into a cute rendition and it might be the most gorgeous birthday song ever. Her voice is enchanting, the tone of it, the sound of it, the way it carries entire conversations and mixes them with emotions.

“Happy birthday to you.”

Blue eyes are tearing up. And a breath falters in Frankie’s throat.

“You remembered my birthday?”

Noor won’t let go of her. She keeps her arms tightly around the body she’s holding and turns her mouth until it’s an inch away from Frankie’s cheek. She could kiss her right now and it’d feel amazing. But something stops her.

“I remember everything about you,” she admits.

The girls both blush and part before an unexpected desire takes over their entire way of interacting. Frankie flashes her charming smile and decides to smack herself in the face later for the amount of emotions that take over her mind, simply because Noor came all the way from Europe to see her today.

“Where’s my present, Superstar?” she teases to snap out of it.

Noor winks and twirls around in a perfect circle to ultimately point at herself. She’s pretty damn proud about it as well, so it seems.

“I got you a whole day with me,” she explains while joy strengthens her voice. “No strings attached. Take me wherever you want to take me. Talk to me for hours or shut up without it being awkward. Show me a part of your life I haven’t seen yet and I’ll love it, I’m sure.”

Frankie can’t stop herself from grasping onto the dancer’s hand. Their touch feels predestinated, like they don’t have a choice but give in to the inevitable. Noor lets her.

“Will you?” she wonders.

Noor runs some fingers through the front of Frankie’s hair and nods. Her face is still and calm, her eyes all dreamy. She has missed this person more than she anticipated — and she was prepared for the worst. Her hand stays there, lovingly cupping Frankie’s cheek.

“I love everything about you.”

Frankie gets a hold of the arm reaching out to her face. She feels the soft skin that looks darker than hers. She catches the enchanted eyes staring at her. There are butterflies in her tummy and her mind’s all foggy. Because Noor just used the word love to describe something about her. It felt good.

“What are you doing?” Frankie whispers with the aching desire to figure out what’s going on.

Noor heaves a troubled sigh and shakes her head all dazzled, like she has no clue. Her body steps closer. Too close.

“I missed you. I missed you so much that … Let’s just put it this way: as the ultimate birthday present, I’ll let you do to me whatever it is you’re thinking about.”

It’s shameless dead-honest flirting. A result of having spent time apart. A result of missing each other and wanting to be back together. Frankie swallows hard and her friend notices. Noor secretly loves it when her words leave Frankie speechless. It rarely happens. Usually, Frankie has some great comebacks.


The girls get changed into some comfortable sweatpants — at Frankie’s request — and drive to the old neighborhood where Frankie grew up. They take the dancer’s old, noisy car to cross the roads in anonymity. It’s still driving, nobody ever expected that. The blonde stops at her house for a few minutes to gather some stuff, including the bracelet Noor once bought her. Afterward, she takes them to the entrance of the old public pool that’s been empty and abandoned for years now. Noor wonders why the hell they are at such a place. Nobody’s around, not a single person. A wandering cat looks at them suspiciously.

“Ten years ago, my friends and I celebrated my birthday at this exact spot. We broke through the fences and dove right in. It was cold and horrible, but awesome at the same time, you know? Cops came to find us but we ran away. It was epic.”

Noor clenches her teeth and her heart skips a beat the second she hears about the adventure.

“Wow. That sounds like a thing I’d never do. I can’t, exactly, with the kind of life I’m having.”

Frankie’s fingers push the old, shaky fence that’s keeping them out of the property and it bends backwards just enough for them to sneak through a gap of the metal wires. Noor’s eyes grow wider and suddenly, she’s feeling nervous. Is this breaking and entering? Could she get arrested for this?

“Relax,” Frankie tells her with a cute, ridiculing smile. “Everyone does this all the time. The cops don’t even mind anymore.”

First, the bag she’s holding gets pushed through. She then crawls through the small gap and offers a hand to help Noor out once she reaches the other side. The singer follows after a hesitant gasp for air. A bit of dirt has caught on to Noor’s designer sweatpants and Frankie smirks. This girl might have never been this dirty before. One small swipe of her lean fingers makes it all okay, though, and Noor’s thankful. She puts her hand in Frankie’s and lets herself be led toward the main, open-air pool that used to be the root of happiness for thousands of children and grown ups. It’s dirty and deserted now. The wilderness of nature has taken over the old building and the two deep tubs. A statue that used to be a fountain is reformed into a growing pole for ivy. Secretly, Frankie thinks this place looks beautiful. It’s nature’s way of taking back what humanity took from her. And it’s glorious.

“You just do what you did ten years ago? Is this like a —”

Noor kicks a fallen branch in front of her feet and briefly absorbs the peaceful state of this premises.

“Birthday tradition?”

Frankie lets go of her hand, which saddens the singer more than it should and walks toward the deepest tub. She drops the bag she’s holding and descends the ladder like she’s done it a million times before. Noor wonders if she did.

After reaching the once white bottom, Frankie dusts off her shirt and looks up all content.

“It is. Each year, I go back ten years in my life and reenact one of my memories. It reminds me of how lucky I am. How happy I should be that I have birthdays, while others just …”

She won’t say it, not on her birthday. It might jinx her good luck charm. Noor understands. She bravely lowers herself to the bottom as well and points at the bag once she’s face to face with Frankie.

“What’s in your stupid, old, cheap bag?”

Her best friend smiles ridiculously cute and doesn’t mind the offensive way of speaking. Noor’s just teasing. Not everyone has a Channel bag to take to the gym. The dancer unzips the worn black zipper and reveals her treasure. A skateboard, some wireless boxes and a bottle of vodka, wrapped in a towel so it wouldn’t break.

“How do you know exactly what you did ten years ago?” Noor skeptically wonders.

She hardly remembers what she had for lunch yesterday. Her friend flashes one of her enchanting smiles and shrugs.

“When in doubt, I make up stuff.”

After some persuading, the spoiled, risk-free superstar makes an attempt to cross her own boundaries. They end up having the times of their lives, skating across the bottom of the pool, bumping into branches and shrieking each time they spot a cockroach. Frankie takes Noor’s hand as the unbalanced board underneath her feet takes her from one spot to another. The girls take turns at sipping from the bottle of vodka and pulling weird faces once the bitterness reaches their tastebuds. They start dancing to the beat of the small boxes and the second Frankie pulls back from being too close to the human sized magnet, Noor tells her to act normal and just dance with her. Frankie hasn’t felt this alive in months. This carefree and young — ironically on the day she’s getting older. The fact that this incredible person is sharing the moment with her makes it all more special. She couldn’t have dreamt of a happier birthday. Her sisters send her some texts, her mom and dad congratulated her over the phone, grandpa and grandma who live on the other side of the state even used the internet to give her their best wishes. But Noor flew all the way from Europe, just to see her at rehearsals. Nobody ever did that for her. She looks at her and her heart starts pumping harder and more intense. They are out on their own and having fun. She sees her laughing over a silly thing like a skateboard and realizes she’ll never have as much fun as she’s having right now. Because Noor makes her feel special and extraordinary. That’s when it hits Frankie — that’s when she realizes she loves her. She adores her. She worships her. She desires her. There’ll never be another.

The dancer snaps out of her enchantment when Noor jumps on her back, deafening the place with childish laughter. Their clothes are dirty and dusty, their hair’s a mess, but the girls don’t care. Noor’s lips softly press a kiss against Frankie’s cheek and the dancer warms up inside.

“I want a picture of us,” Noor tells her.

“Why?”

“Because I need a reminder of this moment. I’ve never been so happy. This is the happiest I’ve ever felt and I want to capture it. I want to remember this moment forever and stare at that picture once in a while in case I forget how it feels like. It’ll forever be my favorite.”

Noor’s words mirror Frankie’s emotions about today. Night is falling, it’s getting colder and scarier, but neither of them wants to go home yet. Frankie digs into her pocket and finds her phone. While Noor’s still on top of her, the girls take a selfie. And another one. And another one. After that, Noor’s feet touch the ground again and the heat of her body has left Frankie’s.

“That one’s cute.”

The singer’s tanned finger slide over the screen and her radiant smile appears. Frankie isn’t looking at the picture anymore. She gets caught, but it results in meaningful staring. A minute passes before Noor slowly bends forward and their lips fragilely touch. The blonde smiles underneath it. Ultimate birthday gift. When they part from the sweet expression of affection, Noor closes her eyes while putting their foreheads together.

“I don’t understand how everything can be so different, all of a sudden. One day, I was just this normal, famous singer …”

She pauses once she finds her friend giggling over her words.

“You did just hear what you said, right?”

Noor chuckles and nudges Frankie’s head with hers. Their fingers entwine. Nightfall is all around them and for a second, they might be the only two people left on earth.

“And then I met you and suddenly my marriage is confusing and my thrilling life seems boring whenever you’re not around. It was so easy until I fell …”

But the singer stops herself. She cannot say the words. Not yet. Maybe they aren’t even true. Because where does their friendship end and the feelings she shouldn’t be feeling start? Where does Aiden fit in all of this? How can she gamble with a sacred thing called marriage for a girl she met a few months ago?

Frankie heard the words she didn’t say and sighs after understanding the reasons. She steps back and smiles, because it’s the only thing she can do right now. She has no right meddling into her friend’s relationship. She has no share in the debate of Noor’s feelings and decisions.

“We should go. Though we shouldn’t be driving anymore because we each had like, a half a bottle of vodka.”

Noor giggles and thinks that’s smart. When her laugh fades out, a text disturbs the peaceful sounds of nature. It’s from Kennedy. Frankie doesn’t try to hide the words from Noor’s sight.

‘Good night, birthday girl. Kisses to my special one.’

Frankie can’t refrain from smiling like a dork and the singer notices. Somehow, a nagging feeling inside her tummy reveals a spark of jealousy.

“Kennedy. She’s your princess, isn’t she?”

The dancer looks up and thinks — for once — before answering that question.

“She’s a princess for sure. But I’m looking for a queen. I want to build a kingdom.”

It sounds heroic and poetic and Noor likes that. Kennedy’s not Frankie’s one true love. It pleases her to lengths that aren’t measurable.

“So you’re not in love with her?”

The rich girl dusts off her pants and moves her hands to the back of Frankie’s shirt once she’s done. The muscles underneath the fabric immediately heat her up. Frankie has such a nice body from all those years of dancing. She felt it up once, in her own guest room. She kissed the skin of her long neck and caressed the boobs that felt like perfection. Those memories invade her mind day and night. She dreams about it, about Frankie. Her lips, the way her fingers made her feel ecstatic.

“I don’t want to — I mean. I don’t believe in true love, I guess,” Frankie suddenly reveals.

But reality has escaped once Noor started focussing too much on Frankie’s back and the desirable spot on her shoulder that’s there to kiss. She wants to kiss it. She should.

“I could change your mind,” she ultimately whispers, caught in her own little dimension.

Frankie turns around and frowns, not sure if she just heard right: “What?”

But Noor’s just as surprised about her own comment and immediately pulls a straight face.

“What?” she asks herself.

Overwhelmed by her own feelings, so it seems. Frankie just smiles and caresses the soft skin of her face.

“Come on. Let’s call a cab. Heading home? My place? It’s the closest.”

As Noor is watching Frankie head up the small ladder, she averts her eyes to face the stars above them. Her breath is starting to turn into little clouds. There must be a way to stop this day from ending? A way that the paparazzi can’t catch them being too close. Too public.

“Let’s go to a hotel room,” she suddenly suggests.

“What? Why?”

Noor just shrugs and finds the confused and nervous eyes of her friend staring down on her.

“For old times sake.”


“Maybe things never work out with men because you haven’t tried it with a girl yet.”

Frankie hears the words that came out of her mouth and suddenly puts both hands in front of it.

“Oh, God. What am I doing? I am using the same stereotype people have been throwing at me for ages.”

But Noor is amused as she witnessed the self-loathing of the girl in front of her. They’ve been talking for a while now, while the television’s on. Frankie’s favorite thing to do. Noor just went on and on about her failed relationships and the disappointment about her marriage. The dancer stopped herself from thinking again when she spoke up.

“Then why do you say it?” Noor asks, while patting the bare leg positioned next to her.

“Because I’m desperate and I want it to be true,” Frankie charmingly admits.

It makes Noor’s heart race and that feels so good. They are seriously buzzed by now. That bottle of vodka is long gone, but so are the countless cocktails they had room service send up. Noor picked out a quiet, fancy hotel nearby and a taxi took them there. She bought Frankie a stuffed animal in a nearby 24/7 shop. She also bought the little purple guitar she’s playing with. It doesn’t sound too bad. But nothing ever does, when that musical masterpiece is directing the tone.

“It’s that time of the week where you get emotional and sad and all you want to do is get drunk and sing ridiculously depressing love songs,” the singer suddenly says.

Frankie looks up and smiles: “It’s worse for me. I just got a whole year older.”

Noor thinks it’s a valid argument. They have stripped down to their panties and shirts. Their sweatpants are too dirty to keep on, especially in bed. Room service will bring them new clothes in the morning — special treatment for a superstar. Frankie can’t seem to get used to all of it. The careless behavior of the entourage as if everything comes natural. The pressure of the media and paparazzi. The countless people weaving a web of press releases and statements around her — or world tours and photoshoots. The way Noor’s phone buzzes every other second with a new scheduled meeting. How does a simple girl at a concert food truck fit into it? Into the whole of a Noor universe?

“What made you talk to me?”

Noor looks up and releases the strings of the purple guitar. She was quietly singing to herself. A tryout. Something that just sprouted in her mind.

“Excuse me?”

“When we met. What made you talk to me? You’re a superstar. You didn’t want anyone to recognize you and yet, you talked to me.”

Noor remembers that life-changing event as if it just took place. She smiles.

“You were cute. You were fidgeting the entire time, looking mad and worked up. You made that comment about killing someone and I just had to talk to you. So I did.”

But Frankie doesn’t understand.

“Why me?”

Noor ruffles through her long, dark hair and shrugs. She can write the most amazing and detailed lyrics in the music business, but something about describing Frankie is out of her league.

“I don’t know. I just felt, like, a really strong connection, I think. I can’t put a name to it. I can’t describe it, thought I want to. It’s something I’d write a song about one day if it wasn’t about you.”

Frankie smiles and frowns a brief moment.

“Why don’t you write a song about me?” she wonders, with a radiant, flirting smile taking over her face.

Noor looks up to her and remains quiet for a second. She remembers the first time she heard a song and thought to herself: music should sound like this. The first time her heart skipped a beat over the lyrics and the chorus and the way a voice should captivate an audience. She remembers the goosebumps on her arms and the shivers that ran up and down her spine. She was eight when that happened. It only happens once in a while now, that magical captivation — that inevitable connection with music. It sneaks up on her, surprises her as a flash of lightening. Her eyes wander to a corner of Frankie’s lips and travel up to her piercing blue eyes, while the lean fingers continue to strike some cords on the guitar. It sounds slow and sad and emotional at the same time.

“You know why I can’t write a song about you.”

Frankie clears her throat to come to her senses. Twice — Noor has talked and not-talked about her feelings for her twice today. She bends forward to wrap her long arms around the singer’s body and presses the guitar deep into her stomach. Then her soft lips press a loving kiss against Noor’s temple. The girl smells amazing. Like vanilla flowers and cinnamon rolls.

“Now excuse me,” Frankie announces while pulling back, “I’m going to sleep on the couch tonight.”

It’s in the other part of the hotel room. Something tells her it’s the safest choice for today. Sure, Noor literally gave her permission to do whatever it is she wanted on this special occasion, but even a drunk Frankie knows that’s not a good idea. The dancer stretches for a second before walking toward the end of room, but suddenly turns around abruptly, making Noor look up in a confused way.

“No, you know what? You go sleep on the couch.”

Noor gasps a ridiculing laugh: “What?”

“You heard me.”

Frankie crosses her arms and awaits the reaction. The room is foggy and blurry, but that’s probably the alcohol talking.

Noor frowns all offended and shakes her head with disbelief: “But I’m a superstar.”

“You’re also a pain in the ass,” Frankie says. “Plus, it’s my birthday. Couch!”

Her fingers point at the wall that’s dividing this hotel penthouse. There’s a nice, big couch situated behind it. Noor is a little smaller than her, so she should fit just fine on it. Of course, that spoiled little brat is pouting by now, because she’s not getting what she wants.

“How can you be so mean to me? I’m so hot!” she groans as she’s getting on her hands and knees.

She crawls over to the side of the bed as her butt points highly in the air. Her hair is falling down her shoulders all nonchalantly and it looks sexy as hell. Fuck that, everything about her looks sexy as hell. That shirt draping her torso, her bare legs sliding across the white sheets, her dark eyes searching for compassion and a break in Frankie’s resistance. The dancer sighs and is close to accepting defeat. She thinks Noor’s right: she is so hot. But being humble or modest isn’t one of her characteristics.

“Do you know how selfish and rude you sometimes are? Like, are you aware that you’re doing it?”

Noor giggles over the comment and determinately nods: “Yes.”

“So you do it on purpose?”

Frankie walks over to the bed again and allows Noor to sit up on her knees and wrap her arms around her body.

“I feel like when I’m more awesome than the person I’m talking too, I’m allowed to let him or her know,” the singer informs her.

She’s obviously drunk, that much is sure. In fact, there’s another Cosmopolitan waiting for her on the night stand and Noor’s determined to finish it by midnight.

Frankie bends a little bit into her and scrunches her eyebrows: “You sassy little piece of shit.”

“See,” the dark haired goddess replies with confidence, “you got the hang of it.”

She pulls her closer and kisses her on the lips. Too soft to lead to more, but also too meaningful to let go immediately. Frankie stores the touch of the kiss as a memory. She inhales Noor’s scent and the way her arms hold onto her tightly.

“You’re such a good friend,” Noor whispers close to her mouth when they part. “Whenever he’s being an asshole, you just — rise above and make me wonder why I’m not married to you.”

Frankie’s heart is racing like crazy by now. She can picture herself being married to this beauty. Except she isn’t. And she probably never will be.

“You always say that when you’re drunk.”

Noor leans back so she can properly stare into Frankie’s blue, tired eyes. She thinks she’s the most gorgeous girl she’s ever met.

“Drunk or sober — it doesn’t matter,” she explains fragilely honest . “It’s always you.”

If only she would’ve just jumped on that couch. Frankie wouldn’t be dreaming about a future with her best friend right now. She wouldn’t be in her embrace, fantasizing about having hot, sweaty sex with her.

“Listen to us, being all sentimental and emotional,” she smiles to clear the tension.

Noor smirks and looks at her all drowsy.

“I know, it’s gross,” she whispers before exhaling all cute. “Kiss me.”

Frankie quickly pecks her on the lips and steps back as soon as it’s over.

“I’m going to brush my teeth and wash up. By the time I get back here, you better be out of that bed.”

Noor taps her head as if she’s saluting her commanding officer and winks. The dancer rolls her eyes and disappears in the next door section of the hotel room. She puts toothpaste on her brush and starts thinking while looking in the mirror. The circling movements of her hand bring enough familiarity to the moment to make her come back to her senses. It was the best birthday ever, sure. But tomorrow, Noor’s going back to Aiden, which isn’t weird or manipulative or unjustified at all, because: they’re married. But it saddens her so much. It makes her jealous and sick to her stomach. A noise makes her look up to find a dizzy Noor next to her, holding on to her cocktail. The girl takes a chance and slides past the toothbrushing Frankie to block her reflection in the mirror. She sure did get out of that bed, except she missed the route to the couch and found Frankie instead. She puts down the drink. Her sneaky hands grasp onto the loose shirt hanging down Frankie’s shoulders and she sighs, looking all guilty and tensed.

“I need to tell you something. Something you’ll hate,” she admits.

“What is it?” Frankie asks with her mouth full of white stuff.

Noor can’t look her in the eyes right now. It’ll hurt the blonde too much. Or herself.

“I had sex with Aiden last week.”

Frankie stops breathing for a second and averts her look to the other side of the room. She bends toward the sink, so Noor is forced to step aside, and spits out the white foam in her mouth. After that, she rinses. It remains awkwardly quiet for a while and Noor reads into it.

“See, you hate it. I knew you would. But there’s more.”

All Frankie can do is laugh in a painful way, though: “Really? I think I’ve heard enough.”

She’s about to step away from the singer, but Noor’s fingers slip up to Frankie’s neck to make her look at her.

“No, you need to know this.”

“What?” Frankie growls, uninterested and annoyed at the same time.

For fuck’s sake, she doesn’t even have a right to be upset about this. She’s the one having non-stop sexual pleasures with Kennedy. Noor is entitled to sleep with her husband. If only her heart would adapt to the logic of her mind.

“I was thinking about you,” Noor explains, with fire in her eyes that cannot be tamed. “The entire time he was touching me, I was thinking about you.”

She is trying hard — so hard to be the perfect wife. For Aiden, for David, for her fans and the world. But there’s always Frankie. Everywhere. In every thought and every conversation.

Frankie has to swallow extra hard to get through the moment. Noor reaches for her own panties and pulls them down with one determinate move. After that, she removes her shirt. She’s naked right now. Very, very naked in front of Frankie. The dancer’s eyes grow big and she gasps for air. Her lady parts are tingling like crazy, they are urging her hands to lay them on that delicious flesh. She was aware Noor has some exceptional boobs, but seeing them up-close and revealed is just crazy. Her stomach has killer abs, her waist is toned to perfection, her skin sparkles like a Latina diva. Those lean fingers start pushing Frankie’s shirt up. Slowly, sultry and in a teasing way — like they know what they are doing. Frankie has slept with a lot of women before, but for some reason, she’s nervous as hell at this point.

“What are you doing?”

Noor keeps her lips close to hers and whispers: “I want to fuck you.”

A giant wave of shivers run up and down the blonde’s spine.

“What?” she stutters all shaky and overwhelmed.

“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” the singer tells her as she massages Frankie’s boobs underneath the fabric of her shirt.

It feels too good.

“But Noor …”

A clack of the tongue shuts her up as seductive eyes force her to give in to her desire.

“Shush. I’m not interested in being polite or heterosexual tonight.”

She kisses Frankie on the lips, long and hard. It’s wanting and promising. Her hands pull her friend closer to her, until they are both forced up against the sink.

“I wanna lay in bed all night,” Noor tells her in between heated kisses. “With you. I want to cuddle and fuck. All night.”

And, damn, is she serious about it! Frankie’s coming up with reasons why this is a bad idea. She’s stuttering and gasping for air as Noor seems to continue attacking her in a sexual way. Her body isn’t objecting. After the blonde says her name three times in a row, the singer looks up with blurry, deep eyes.

“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening. I was busy imagining having sex with you.”

Frankie smirks and shakes her head as if she’s not buying this version of reality. What the hell is happening?

“After I’m done with you,” Noor whispers seductively, “your lips will hurt from kissing, your heart will want to burst out of your chest, your butt will be red from all the squeezing, you won’t be able to touch your lady parts without exploding for hours and every nerve in your body will tingle with aftershocks.”

“Noor.”

The dancer’s flushing like crazy. Never happened before.

“I want to taste you. I want to know what it is like to lick you down there.”

Noor’s tongue travels down that long neck. Frankie’s aggressively trying to keep a straight face while all that is going through her mind is having sex with her friend. Ultimately, the sound of breaking glass shakes them up and some blood dripping along Noor’s bare arm draws her attention. She pushes her back and freaks out immediately.

“Oh, my God. What’s that? Where is it coming from?”

A completely sexually induced Noor looks up from the face she’s sucking off and her eyes widen the second she recognizes red substance coloring her skin.

“What the …?”

They trace it back to the side of her left hand, where a deep cut pushes blood out of her body. The cocktail glass broke. Noor must have pushed it over accidentally. She must be really drunk if she didn’t even feel that. Maybe it’s one of those cuts that hurts afterward — when it’s all sewed up again. Frankie puts her hand on the gushing gap and reaches for a towel. Forget about that sexual tension, it’s long gone by now. Frankie’s seriously concerned and thinking through all of the options.

“I’m gonna need you to put on some underwear. And then I’m taking you to the emergency room,” she tells her in a strict voice, hoping the girl will understand.

But no matter how many cocktails passed her lips, Noor still realizes just exactly what kind of person she is.

“No, I can’t. They’ll see me. Those idiots will want to take pictures and …”

She’s talking about the paparazzi. They’ll know she’s with Frankie. But Frankie grasps onto her unharmed hand and forces both of them to calm down. The warmth of her hand feel relaxing and determined.

“They won’t, I promise.”


 

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Frankie at work – Chapter 8: Crazy emotions

Chapter Eight — Crazy Emotions


The doorbell rings early in the morning and Frankie doesn’t even bother to get up. Maybe it’s some salesman or June has some kind of friend coming over. That would surprise her, though. June isn’t exactly the inviting-friends-over type.

After a second ring, the front door unlocks. Voices reverberate through the hallway. Frankie buries her head in the pillow to deafen herself. She turned off the sound of her phone four days ago, after everyone kept calling her. She didn’t pick up once. Pretty sure David left some awfully angry voicemail messages for her to roll her eyes over. Fuck David.

Kennedy just texted. Five times. It went like this.

Saturday, 6:34 p.m. — ’Where are you? The show’s about to start.’

Saturday, 11:13 p.m. — ’Frankie, are you okay? Are you sick?’

Monday, 10:01 a.m. — ‘Okay. Noor’s being a bitch. I guess that has something to do with you.’

Thursday, 15:44 p.m. — ‘Frankie?’ Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 8: Crazy emotions”

Frankie at work – Chapter 7: Noor’s birthday

Chapter Seven — Noor’s Birthday


The teasing has been going on for months. Summer passed as fast as it came while fall and winter are now battling each other for dominance. It’s cold outside and Frankie can’t wait until spring will make its reappearance. Just a few more weeks. Sunshine is always coming back. She’s shivering as time passes slowly. Noor and her entourage disappeared in a nearby music store to promote the new album while the dancers gathered around the tour bus, patiently waiting to head toward the next village that’s on the schedule. She secretly loves being on tour. Everything’s happening so fast and unexpected, it’s crazy. June is over the point where she’s pissed off about Frankie’s sudden career peek. She just talks to her little sister with words drenched in sarcasm and criticism. Not that Frankie’s home a lot. When it’s work-related, she often stays at Noor’s house. Whenever she feels like having some fun, Kennedy’s apartment door is open for her. And in between, touring or rehearsing takes up most of the time. That’s when all her favorite girls get together and things get complicated at times. Luckily, Frankie doesn’t seem to care a lot. Noor must know what’s going on between Kennedy and Frankie, but she has never said a word about it up until now. And Kennedy raises more than one questionable eyebrow over Noor and Frankie’s interaction, but maybe she’s happier not knowing.  Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 7: Noor’s birthday”

Frankie at work – Chapter 5: Get to know me

Get To Know Me


“Tell me about your family.”
Frankie raises a curious eye and shrugs. It’s getting late. Three in the morning. The morning sunshine won’t be their best friend in a few hours. Noor’s changed into some cute pajamas and pulled back her gorgeous hair into a ponytail. She almost looks normal.
“What about them?”
“Tel me about them. Being related to you must mean they are extraordinary people.”
But Frankie laughs the sweet comment off.
“You’re always asking about my family. Why is that?” Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 5: Get to know me”

Frankie at work – Chapter 4: Normal life

 Normal Life


 

The show was amazing. Frankie danced like she had never missed an evening of the tour — or an hour of repetition. Her complete concentration was focussed on the dance moves, on the way Noor’s musicians filled the entire arena with powerful vibes and rhythms, on the way the energy of the crowd made her try even harder. She’s sweating like crazy by the time the last song fades out. The crowd is going insane. It’s ecstatic. It’s unreal. It’s amazing. This might be the best experience of her life. Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 4: Normal life”

Frankie at work – Chapter 3: Berlin

Berlin


Well, the bad news is: June was about to kill her when she got up and announced her plans for the next three weeks. There were certain days, mostly Saturdays, when she really needed her help at the restaurant. The good news is: a second later, Noor walked out of the same bedroom and June forgot about all of it to stalk the famous singer for a decent hour. Noor didn’t mind. She was happy to get to know Frankie’s sister — even though she was a bit intense and weird. Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 3: Berlin”

Frankie at work – Chapter 1: It’s probably a bad idea

Chapter 1: It’s Probably A Bad Idea


Frankie was about to kill her sister and it wasn’t even noon yet. The dark-haired roommate of hers had been nagging and playing a victim for hours. It started before the sun was up. Before Frankie was up. Said nagging woman, June, ran into her room — dramatic swing of the door included — and started yelling hysterically about a shirt that came out of the dryer ruined. It was only after Frankie informed the drama queen she had laundry duty last night that the room became silent again. Frankie was left with the urge to kill her.  Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 1: It’s probably a bad idea”

AA-meetings – Chapter 22: Amaranth (final chapter)

Amaranth 

2020


 

Trembling fingers reach out to the clothes that are hanging in the forgotten closet at the good old Ochoa mansion. David’s eyes glare at the familiar pieces of fabric and, almost immediately, his breathing chokes. He hasn’t cried yet. He can’t. Because if he does, it’ll never stop.

There’s a scent flowing from the closet that reaches his nose after a few seconds. It’s Alex’s. A mixture of perfume and body lotion. She always smelt like cinnamon. Continue reading “AA-meetings – Chapter 22: Amaranth (final chapter)”

Captured – Chapter 14: Road Trip

Road trip 


Surprisingly, Lauren’s back in town for some police business. The cops are ready to close the case and so they need final interviews to make sure every detail’s there. But they didn’t tell me that. They especially left out the part where they’d bring back my ex-girlfriend to finish their investigation.

First thing she did when she landed, was drive over to my place. It was two in the morning, but that didn’t seem inappropriate to her. Honestly, her waking me up in the middle of the night was the best thing that had happened in weeks. Her mom went directly to the hotel. I bet she put up a fight about her daughter coming to visit me, but, as the facts turn out, that didn’t stop Lauren from trying. And ending up here.

Continue reading “Captured – Chapter 14: Road Trip”