Frankie at Work – Chapter 15: The Cool Mom

Chapter Fifteen — The Cool Mom


“It’s going to be a big storm.”

Frankie looks up from staring at her hands and nods. She knows that. The press will go wild. Photographers will chase their asses down. 

“We’ll handle it. Together,” Frankie tells her but then shifts in her chair to change the subject. “But Noor, I want you to know something. I’m not giving this up. This dance studio. Miguel’s Dancing Shoes. I love working here. I love running it. I can’t move and leave my family.”

Noor just nods: “I know that. I’m not asking you to. I think this will be a great area for Elijah to grow up in. Better than New York. I hated living there, by the way. But I’ve always loved coming to your town.”

Frankie bends forward to get closer to Noor, who’s sitting just across her, and smiles mischievously: “Even in the middle of the night in the pouring rain.”

Noor remembers. She blushes. Yeah, that was epically romantic, wasn’t it? Maybe just crazy. She sighs. David will set up a statement that her spokesman will make public later today. It’ll be the announcement of the divorce and the world will go mad over it. 

“I think I’m done with music for a while. I’ve had my records. I sang the songs. I watched the crowds. I could be happy with some carefree, domestic fun for a while.”

Frankie raises a questionable eyebrow, which makes Noor giggle.

“I said a while.”

She looks around and stares at her son, who’s going through some comic books on the ground.

“So, I don’t know. Should I rent a hotel room or do we go to your house? I mean, June won’t be happy with a toddler trashing the house, I assume.”

A big star. Biggest star. But so afraid of June. 

Frankie shakes her head with bright eyes: “Believe it or not, but June’s actually crazy about kids. She won’t mind for a few days. I’ve been thinking of buying an apartment downtown. It looks cosy and nice.”

Noor tries really hard, because it’s actually cute that Frankie’s been planning ahead and trying to build a life on her own, but the nagging feeling in her stomach makes her open her mouth anyway.

“I’m sorry, but … I can’t live in an apartment. I mean, let me just pick the house, with a garden for Elijah. And a nice, big master bedroom for us. You know me: I’m used to luxury and space.”

Frankie snorts and raises a playful eyebrow: “Yeah, I forgot you are a spoiled superstar.”

Noor nods, not even ashamed about it: “I am.”

They both giggle and entwine their fingers. For a second, they are lost in their own thought. How is this possible? How did they suddenly get here, after all this time? Are they dreaming? They get up, Frankie takes Elijah’s little hand and they leave the studio for the day. Noor stares around: it’s beautiful. It’s heartfelt. It’s Frankie’s second home, her own accomplishment. Miguel’s legacy. 


When Noor enters the house she hasn’t been at in ages, her heart pumps clearly faster. She always loved the smell of it. The smell of coffee in the morning. The smell of the candles the sisters burn at night. The smell of a house where people cook and live and laugh. 

“It’s bigger than I remember,” she says as Elijah makes his way over to the couch and begs his new best friend to turn the TV on.

“He likes Nickelodeon,” Noor explains. 

Frankie takes the remote and fulfills his wish. The kid smiles and Frankie falls in love with him.

“I’ll just text June. She won’t be home until midnight. I’ll explain the rest in the morning.”

“Does she still have her restaurant?”

“Yeah, she just hired a new chef. He’s amazing. We should check it out sometimes.”

Noor just stands there and nods. They sit down around the kitchen counter and Frankie asks what Elijah would like for dinner. He answers pancakes and Noor tells him he can’t have pancakes but he keeps repeating pancakes until they are both getting upset and then Frankie declares this day as the official pancake day and Elijah momentarily loves her more than he loves his own mommy.

“Okay, we’re going to need to work on your parenting skills.”

Noor is staring at her, just the tiniest bit angry, but Frankie flashes her most charming smile and she forgets about it in an instant.

“Why? I’m obviously the cool mom,” Frankie winks. 

She bends over to kiss Noor softly on the lips because 1. she can do that now and 2. she wants to do that now. Elijah sees it and briefly looks confused. But then he turns back to the television and laughs over something he’s old enough to understand.

Frankie makes dinner. Or pancakes, because Noor refuses to call it dinner. She breaks the eggs dramatically, throws flour in the air and puts butter on Elijah’s amusing face until he nearly pees his pants from laughter. He adores this strange new woman in his life. And she adores to entertain him. Noor pulls out her phone and snaps a picture. This might be her new favorite moment.


An exhausted and stuffed toddler is passed out on the couch by ten. Frankie kept him up past his bedtime and Noor is secretly wishing the dancer will soon find out that parenting isn’t all about being the cool mom. Just give him another week, she thinks. He’ll have found ways to annoy her and act like a child is supposed to at times: impossible and childish and rude and selfish.

Noor puts a warm blanket over his small body and smiles. She loves this little guy more than she loves life. He is dreaming and his nose is twitching. It’s so cute she might just want to eat him.

The singer turns around and watches how Frankie’s cleaning up all the mess she made. Something about butter and flour and eggs and milk that just won’t wipe up easily. Noor walks toward her and grabs her hand. Frankie looks up confused, but gets captivated by the determined look in Noor’s eyes. Noor puts a silencing finger on her own lips and walks backward, dragging the blonde along with her, into the bedroom. She softly closes the door behind them and Frankie just stands there, suddenly nervous and scared. 

Noor walks over to her with the same fire in her eyes that’s been there before. The night she threw herself on Frankie. The night she was drunk and cut her hand. Noor walks over to her target and starts pushing slightly until they both reach the end of the bed. Her hands travel up and down the shaking body of the dancer — it couldn’t be more obvious how nervous she is and it’s totally adorably cute. Not Elijah adorably cute, but sexy cute. Big difference.

The room is dark, but in a poorly lit way. Noor loves how it always smells like scented candles in here. She kisses Frankie. Soft and teasing at first. But then her hands start to explore some more — they are groping boobs and squeezing the cheeks of a perfect, juicy ass and the kissing deepens. Frankie goes along with it. It’s finally happening. No miscommunications, no awkward encounters, no alcohol-driven hormonal decisions. 

Noor tastes delicious. Young and curious and sweet, all at once. Her kissing is determinate and wanting. It invites a person to never stop if it were possible. Frankie learns she’ll never get tired of kissing her in this exact moment. 

Noor’s fingers slip under Frankie’s shirt and it doesn’t take long before the fabric is on the ground. She then pulls off her own dress and that leaves her in her red, designer — SMOKING HOT —lingerie set in front of a gasping Frankie. God, this woman is a goddess. And she’s hers to take. The singer is acting very confident when it comes to this interaction. Like she’s done it before. Like Frankie’s the lady-virgin here. Fingers rush up and along the pale skin of the dancer. Fingernails are slightly scratching and Frankie loves the sort of sexy pain it causes. She actually moans when the nails reach the bottom of her back. Noor just smiles over the sight of her lips trembling. She kisses them again and softly unbuttons the dark jeans that’s still tightly around Frankie’s lower body. Now things are getting serious. There is absolutely no getting back right now. Things are changing. They already did when Noor showed up at the dance studio with little Elijah. They changed when the boy fell asleep on the couch. They changed when June texted back ‘What the fuck?’ but eventually continued with ‘Seriously?’ and ultimately ‘Okay, I’ll be quiet when I get home and I’m bringing leftovers from the restaurant for your first big GAY celebrity family breakfast!’. There were three more messages with three exclamation marks. Afterward, Frankie texted back: ‘Fuck you. Sincerely, your celebrity gay family loving sister. PS: at least I’m dating a celebrity’. Ten seconds later, she added another one: ‘At least I’m dating someone!’. June replied after an awkwardly long time: ‘Fuck you!’.

The buttons are unbuttoned and the shirts and dresses are on the floor with all the other pieces of clothing except for the bras and the panties. They are both nervous now, but Noor’s determinate-nervous. She has been dreaming about this moment for years. For so many sleepless nights and lonely moments. Not just the sex thing — maybe it was more about finally crossing that line of intimacy with her beloved dancer. That line that would clear the room for fifty other ways of intimacy. 

“Lay down,” Frankie finally says and her throat is dry because she’s been swallowing non-stop and her throat is always dry whenever she’s nervous — so now it’s like double dry.

Noor listens and Frankie crawls on top of her. The singer’s eyes are sparkling from excitement. Her hair is spread across the pillow perfectly, like a stylist just worked on it for an hour. Her tanned body perfectly matches the bright yellow of the sheets they’re on. And Frankie can’t believe how lucky she is. 

“You are gorgeous.”

Frankie has always been good at charming people, especially girls. And when it comes to Noor, flattering and charming and complimenting comes way too easy.

Noor wraps her hands around Frankie’s neck and pulls her down into a heated kiss. Her fingers slide down until they reach the clasp of the black bra and after it takes her a solid thirty seconds to undo it, they both burst into laughter.

“I’m sorry. I’m pretty new to this,” she apologizes but it’s not like she’s embarrassed.

This is totally new to her. It’s not like it’s a bad thing. Frankie has the première to this private event. She’s the first one to ever witness this exclusiveness. 

And suddenly Frankie’s bra is off and the cocky dancer says she’ll show her how it’s done and literally two seconds later Noor’s bra is off and the singer’s impressed. 

“You need to show me how to do that!” she gasps, too curious to remain sexy.

Frankie just rolls her eyes and kisses her again. There’ll be plenty of time to do that later. Right now they need to do each other. Noor carefully puts her hands on Frankie’s boobs for the first time this bare in front of her, wrongly assuming she might hurt her. But then she remembers she has boobs too and her movements grow tighter and more certain. Frankie moans into her mouth and it’s the first time a sexual moan drives her this crazy. The blonde lowers her mouth, leaving Noor’s, and starts circling her tongue around the perky, dark nipples that are hard. That’s when Noor nearly explodes. She starts panting uncontrollable as her body wrinkles across the sheets. 

“Oh, God,” she sighs in between desperate gasps of air, “that feels so good. You are like the master of boobs.”

Frankie looks up and smirks, immediately correcting the assumption: “Mistress.”

“Whatever,” Noor pants, “just put your mouth back there.”

But Frankie is offering her another surprise as her fingers start slipping the panties down caramel-colored legs. Noor is crazy turned on, to the point where all her nerves are tingling and sparks rush through her body constantly. And then Frankie touches her down there and the world blanks out. It’s not like Noor never had great sex before. It’s just that she hasn’t had sex in a while and especially not with a girl who’s this experienced and talented and sensual. A dancer’s body has special ways of moving. The way Frankie’s rolling her hips in between Noor’s legs only strengthens the pleasure. It multiplies it. 

“Oh, God, Frankie.”

Shivers up and down Frankie’s spine from hearing her name. Not just the pronunciation of it, but that tone — empowered by sex and desire. A spark of love to spice it. 

“Can I touch you too?” she then asks, politely asking for permission and Frankie smiles because it’s way too adorable. 

“That’s the thing,” she explains, “you can do whatever you want to me. Or you can let me finish and then you get back to your senses. And then I do you again or you do me or we do each other. Either way, it’ll be amazing.”

Noor frowns while panting: “How many times in a row do you lesbians have sex?” 

Frankie smiles, but keeps pushing her body weight into her pleasuring fingers and once in a while, Noor allows a deep, all-meaning moan to escape her mouth. 

“The question is when do we stop?”

They both giggle and suddenly, Noor’s hand is down Frankie’s pants, determinately and confidently searching for her sensitive spot. She is a girl. She knows how things work down there. Maybe she just needs to mirror her own movement from when she’s masturbating. Frankie’s surprised, but not complaining.

“I’m not going to have my first lesbian orgasm without touching you,” she decides. “I’m not a pillow queen.”

Frankie bites her lower lips because it feels so good, but eventually raises an impressed eyebrow. Her opponent is having trouble breathing by now, but is still feeling cocky enough to respond.

“I. Googled. It.”

They continue their sexual play for another while and the girls stop talking because talking becomes impossible. They just pant and sigh and refrain from shrieking too much — nobody wants an annoyed, confused toddler standing next to their bed, wondering why he woke up from weird noises.

“I’m going to come,” Noor announces and just saying it leads them both more on. 

“I know, I feel it,” Frankie says.

Muscles are tightening around her fingers. Lady parts are exceptionally fascinating. Luckily, she knows all about them. And all of a sudden, the lights fade out, the colors merge and a deafening sound of silence takes over. Movements turn into spasms and there’s fireworks behind closed eyes. It lasts for a very long time and Noor isn’t sure if she experienced it for minutes, for hours or maybe for days — but she guesses minutes. And then she’s down from her high and stares at the gloating, proud face of her lady lover.

“That was amazing,” she pants and she kisses Frankie on the mouth. “Amazing.”

Her face is covered in sweat, her body is sprinkled with drips of it, but she keeps Frankie close to her. They are glued on each other, it seems, and that is the perfect scenario. She feels closer than ever. More connected than ever. 

“Did I ruin it for you? Did you come too?”

Frankie nods and then turns her smile into a sneaky smirk: “While you were tripping. I guess you missed it through you constant repeating of the word fuck.”

Noor blushes and immediately bursts into laughter, but then Elijah pops up in her head and she cups her mouth with the hand that’s not constantly stroking Frankie’s bare back. She feels sad she missed Frankie’s face while she reaches her highest point of pleasure, though.

“I love you,” she says after a while, when staring into her girlfriend’s — first time she uses the word in her mind — diamond eyes has her own heart overflowing with love. 

“That’s a cliché thing to say after getting an orgasm.”

“I’m a singer. I make money out of clichés.”

“So you want me to pay you?”

They both smile. 

“Sure,” Noor shrugs and she gets on top fascinatingly fast and presses the dancer down on the sheets. “But I’ll need a second lesson. I mean, you did say it could go on hours and hours, didn’t you?”

Frankie nods as she’s trying to release her wrists from Noor’s tight grab. She fails. 

“I have a secret, “ Noor shyly admits. “I would love to go down on you. But …”

The blonde immediately understands: “You’re not sure how to do it, right?”

“Well, the part with the fingers comes easily. It’s just like — you know.”

She wiggles her fingers at the center of her body and realizes just how naked she is, on top of a bare-chested Frankie. 

“I know.”

“But I never really went down on myself, which also seems slightly impossible, now that I think of it.”

“One must find himself very attractive to picture himself doing that.”

Noor pats her arms and that’s when Frankie’s opportunity occurs to free herself. She puts both hands under Noor’s ass and pushes her up, until the girl is almost sitting on her face.

“What are you doing?”

“A second lesson,” Frankie explains as she positions her face just underneath Noor’s core. “I’ll show you.”

The girls have sex for another three exhausting and soaking wet hours. They both panic and pause and cup each other’s smiling faces when they hear June entering the house. Sometimes, June swings open the bedroom door to check if Frankie’s still awake. Most of the time she’s not, but of course, when June uses her lack of subtlety, she wakes up anyway. Luckily, June didn’t this time, because Noor had kidnapped Frankie to the bottom of the bed at that moment and she was thoroughly executing a move with her fingers Frankie just showed her. 

By the time they nearly pass out from exhaustion, Noor heaves a troubled sigh. This lesbian sex thing is very demanding. It’s epically great, but just wait until Elijah’s up in three hours. 


Frankie hasn’t seen Kennedy in a while and that’s because she was in Europe, touring with an upcoming teen idol. She asked Frankie to join the group, but the dancer no longer participates in those. She has her studio and the kids rely on her. That seems more important now. Maybe it always has been. Maybe it was merely being close to Noor that kept her doing it for so long.

But Kennedy’s back now and Frankie feels she should be honest about things. It’s not like they were dating, but over the years, the two build a genuine, supporting friendship and now that she’s finally allowed to talk about Noor, Frankie can’t wait to tell her all about it.

The front door of the cosy apartment swings open and Kennedy welcomes her with a warm hug. She looks radiant.

“I missed you, sexy,” she teases and Frankie just smiles because this is the way Kennedy talks to all the girls.

“I missed you too. That was long, huh? Three months?”

Kennedy nods and by the looks of it, she’s still unpacking. There are clothes and traveling bags everywhere. 

“Need a hand?” Frankie asks.

Kennedy hesitates for a slight second, but then accepts the offer. They go through most of the stuff in less than an hour and once in a while, Frankie teases Kennedy after finding some granny panties or a shamelessly hideous bra. Kennedy pouts and calls them comfortable while dancing.

“So, what is it?”

Frankie looks at her and frowns.

“You urgently needed to talk to me, the message said. Three exclamation marks. Very rare for a girl with perfect punctuation and grammatical urge.”

And now Frankie smiles.

“I wanted to talk to you, because I need to explain something.”

She nervously sighs, but then straightens her back. Nothing to be nervous about, right?

“I’m with Noor. We’re together together. I didn’t want you to find out from anyone else.”

Kennedy puts down the pink shirt she’s holding and thinks for a while before she opens her mouth.

“Oh. Okay. Makes sense after the divorce drama and all those years of awkward backstage glances.”

Frankie leaves the suitcase she was working on and walks toward her. Kennedy seems really okay with it. But there’s more to it. She needs to explain because Kennedy has to understand something about their own special relationship. The one that didn’t exist.

“I need you to know that it didn’t … It’s not that we — that I was playing around with you when we were together. It happened once back then. And afterward I made it stop.”

The beautiful girl in front of her pulls her hair into a tight ponytail and smiles careless.

“Okay. It’s okay, Frankie. I always knew there was something going on between the two of you, and it’s not like we were an official couple. We had a thing, a nice thing. But we both know we weren’t the love of each other’s lives.”

“Yeah. I guess we did.”

Kennedy walks toward the cute, little kitchen area and pours herself a glass of diet coke. She forgets to offer her friend one, so Frankie just sips from hers after it’s been put down on the counter.

“Did it happen after Miguel?”

Frankie shakes her head and smiles. She started to smile after hearing his name about two years after he died. The tragedy of the stage collapsing has faded. Now there’s nothing but perfect memories and funny quotes he used to say all the time. How can she ever forget his funny ass wiggle to the sound of a rapper’s beat?

“Just a couple of months before. It escalated afterward, then Miguel died and then I left.”

Shortcut timeline. Basic information.

“Thanks for telling me,” Kennedy whispers sweet.

 “No problem. Hey, Kennedy, you’ve been really important to me. I want you to know that.”

“You were important to me too, Frankie. But I guess I always knew it was Noor. Wherever we went, whatever we did — it was her. So please, enjoy this. If anyone deserves to be happy, it’s you.”

Frankie nods for a while and then stares at the beautiful apartment around her. 

“Maybe you’ll find your person as well someday.”

“Are you kidding me?” Kennedy scoffs as she heads toward another bag again. “Free spirit all the way. A sex buddy already makes me nervous. Too much commitment.”

“You stuck around with me,” Frankie proudly points out.

The sexy dancer turns around and flashes her gorgeous smile. She takes a bow and winks.

“You, my dear, were quite the exception.”


It takes a year until the media ultimately stops freaking out about the surprising twist in Noor’s impeccably reputation. Not only did she get a divorce from America’s most charming and handsome actor, no, she also came out of the closet and introduced her lesbian lover to the world.

The couple stayed at Frankie and June’s for a couple of days before Noor found an acceptable estate in the area. Frankie said it was too big, but Elijah said he could ask Santa to put a pool and a swing in the second living room and suddenly, Frankie though buying a house that big was a great idea. They spend the weekdays in their own studios — Frankie teaching the kids how to dance and managing the place — Noor singing and writing songs. The crazy schedule of Noor took a drastic turn when she asked David for more downtime. He understood, even said she didn’t need to prove herself to the world anymore, and managed her entire touring schedule and performances during most of the school holidays and summer vacation. That way Elijah could see her all the time and when Aiden agreed, she could even take him abroad to show him the diversity of countries and people as she sang on every single stage in every single city in the world. Or sometimes he would stay with his daddy and have the time of his life — just being boys. Frankie followed Noor almost always, except when it was a short trip, but she didn’t dance on stage anymore. She stood on the side and watched the love of her life sing her heart out each and every time. Even after all this time, her heart still flutters when Noor enters the stage from below the ground. Or when she dances and doesn’t blow a note while doing it. Or when A Promise comes on and Frankie realizes the dream came true. Elijah calls her mommy too now and though the tough exercise of raising a toddler with the inherited characteristics of Noor has made her stricter and more consequent, she’s still the cool mom — much to Noor’s annoyance. 

When Aiden’s in town, he visits almost every day. He moved back to the other side of the country to be near his family. Family, that includes Frankie as well. They hang out in the backyard on summer nights and he barbecues for his women and his special man. When Frankie brings him his beer after the appropriate twenty minutes she has to wait — because Noor rolls her eyes if she and Aiden start drinking sooner than he can put on the barbecue — he genuinely thanks her and she thanks him for thanking him and then he thanks her for taking such good care of his family. She then says: “Trust me, it’s no trouble. But thanks anyway.”

And then they smile and they drink some more and they play with Elijah in the swimming pool. Noor always ends up finishing grilling the meat and when she presents it at the table, the boys sit around it and eat. After Elijah’s been put down to sleep — which Aiden does whenever he’s at their place — the girls lay in each other’s lap on top of the big outdoor furniture that decorates the backyard and Aiden smiles contently to see them this happy. He never expected it, but this thing they have, he sees the good in it. The purity. The thing that lacked in his relationship with Noor. When the night is over, he gets up, kisses both girls on the cheek and thanks them for the delicious food.

“Next week, big game. Got tickets,” he almost always says and Frankie excitedly accepts the offer ninety-nine percent of the time. 

The media doesn’t understand any of it, really. They keep headlining Noor hand in hand with her lady lover. Or Noor hanging out with her gal pal — some papers are so oblivious or maybe just homophobic. Or pictures emerge of Frankie and Aiden at a sports event, which is the most troubling one for the world, because that’s just weird, right? Or Noor and Aiden are spotted together, which must mean a reconciliation. Until the day after, when another picture of the two of them with Frankie in between them smashes the dreams of millions of conservative fans. And sometimes, not that often, Frankie and Noor allow the photographers to snap some pictures of their perfect little family. The family that likes to take walks in the park and brings bread along so Elijah can throw it at the ducks. Most of the time he misses and then Frankie helps him get it right. Noor will sit on a bench and snap pictures of her adorable duo with her phone. Sometimes Aiden joins them and they go have an ice cream afterward. Not surprisingly, that’s when the media freaks out almost immediately. 


The girls are lined up in traffic as they are heading to Frankie’s parents for a very important event. It’s Frankie’s birthday today and they insisted on spending it as a family. Elijah’s buckled up in his superhero-themed car seat. Cool mommy bought him that. Cece will be there with her husband — yeah, that wedding finally happened — and their two kids. And Ellie got a baby girl and nearly forced her boyfriend to get married too. Husband now as well. June’s still single and seemingly unwilling to mingle. But she attends all the family events and has the time of her life with all her little nephews and nieces around. She treats Elijah as one of them, everyone does actually, and Noor is thrilled to see how he’s accepted into their warm, loving circle of weirdness. She wrote to her own mom three months ago, for the first time in years. And suddenly, unexpectedly, the woman wrote back, saying she thinks about her every single day and has a picture of her up in her cell. Not one of her as a superstar. No, one as a five-year-old. Because that’s how she remembers her little girl. That’s who she’ll always be to her. Only three more years, and she’ll be a free woman. Noor decided to write back, promising she’ll personally come pick her up when that happens. She sometimes wonders if that’ll ever really happen. How it’ll feel. 

“Do I ever tell you how much I love you?” Frankie asks in between radio songs as the cars don’t seem to move at all anymore.

She flips the channel and smiles to herself when she hears one of Noor’s old hits on the radio. She always wishes it to be A Promise, but any other one is great as well. 

“What?”

It’s so random that Noor checks the area around her briefly after looking up from her phone. From the corner of her eye, she notices that Elijah fell asleep. She wants another baby. Her body is aching for it. Her mother heart is bleeding with every day that passes and she’s not pregnant. She wants another baby with Frankie. 

“I just realized I might not say it enough. You must know, though, right? Just how much I do?”

Noor can’t believe how normal it rolls over Frankie’s lips, how she casually comes up with the idea to tell her girlfriend how she feels about her. Never has there been a person that did things like this: boringly sit in a car, wait for a thing to happen and use that time to declare the sweetest things instead of wasting it by listening to songs or sighing all annoyed over the traffic jam. Her heart starts to beat faster the second it hits her what kind of intensity has taken over Frankie’s eyes. She doesn’t just say the words, she expresses it. She exhales it and empowers it. She might just be her favorite person in the whole world. 

“I do. I love you too.”

Frankie starts to smile adorably and bends over to kiss her. The car in front of her starts to move and she heaves a content sigh.

“Good. Never stop doing that.”

Noor nods, then opens her mouth to respond: “Then give me a baby.”

Frankie starts to laugh and rolls her eyes. This conversation has been going on for months now. In a couple of minutes, Noor will be devilish enough to include Frankie’s parents and then Cece and June and Ellie will be all over her ass and nag in the same way that Noor is nagging and she’ll be cornered and pressured and she’ll say the things she’s been thinking for a while now, but just didn’t say it to get Noor worked up — because nothing is more cute than Noor being worked up.

“Okay, but first, you need to marry me,” she whispers and even though it’s nearly too silent to be heard, Noor understands and shrieks dramatically enthusiastic. 

Noor puts her lips on Frankie’s soft cheek and then abruptly pulls on her head so she can kiss her on the mouth. Frankie rolls her eyes again and smiles. The thing about Noor is, her name sounds like a Greek goddess. And you can never say no to a Greek goddess. 

The End


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Frankie at Work – Chapter 14: Elijah

Chapter Fourteen — Elijah


There’s a silent knock on the window in the middle of the night and Frankie nearly drops out of her bed out of fear. But it’s repetitive and persistent, so she walks over to her window and opens the curtains — armed with a baseball bat and that incredible fear you experience after watching the Scream movies too much — and she bumps into the perfect face of Noor, standing in the pouring rain, knocking at her window. Frankie rubs her face and sighs. She puts the bat down, walks through her room to the hallway and opens the front door. The sound of the rain is deafening. Noor must have stood here for a while now. She’s drenched to her underwear.

“God, I’m getting whiplash. What are you doing here?” Frankie asks, while tangling her fingers behind the buttons of that designer shirt and pulling her inside, where it’s warm and safe. And dry.

“I thought you were banned to see me?” she then smiles, as if it’s even funny in the first place.

“Yeah. Totally,” Noor whispers through her repeated shivering. 

She’s soaked, she’s cold, she’s about to shake out of her clothes, but all she can think of is kiss that girl in front of her. And so she does, and she launches her entire body weight at that perfect little dancer. It’s an expression of fierceness and determination and adoration. Frankie’s too startled to make it stop. The girls move toward Frankie’s bedroom until their feet bump into the edge of the bed and suddenly, Noor bursts into tears.

“I can’t leave him, Frankie. I’m so sorry.”

She buries her head in Frankie’s neck and grasps onto her tightly, wrapping her arms around her until she might choke her. Frankie is wet now too, but she doesn’t mind.

“I wish I was stronger. I wish that I could just chose you and never look back again and take away all your pain. I wish that I could save you, because you need saving right now. But I’m so scared. I’m so afraid that I can’t breathe. And I can’t think straight — I’m afraid to allow all my emotions to invade my body. And after everything you’ve told me. After all the uncertainties and your doubts and …”

Frankie pats her head and nods, making her feel every movement. She’s panting from the heavy kissing. 

“I know. I understand.” 

She closes her eyes as if it was to reset her feelings and emotion and nods again, maybe just to assure herself: “It’s the smartest thing to do. We’ll be okay.”

They lay down on Frankie’s bed. The soft hands of the dancer undo the singer of all her clothes, until she’s wearing nothing but her panties and a purple bra. Noor lays down on top of her and focusses on the heartbeat beneath the chest she’s positioned on. Her voice calmly explains the situation. There’s talks about the move, about the job opportunity, about his sincerity and the way he looks at her again. Frankie understands. Though her heart is breaking, she understands. Noor’s body is moving on top of her. She’s aware of every fiber that’s touching her skin — aware of ever shift in their connection. She doesn’t just like it: she’d love this moment to last forever. Simply because she knows it’ll end eventually. 

“When are you leaving?”

Maybe she doesn’t even want to know the answer.

“In three days.”

“With Aiden?”

A question she already knows the answer to.

“Yes. We talked. He got it all figured out. He knows about you and I.”

Frankie nods: “Yeah, he does.”

Noor looks up and kisses her on the mouth again. She kisses her on the lips without a warning, without permission or without reason. But Frankie lets her. Because it feels so natural, so casual that it might be the most normal thing on this planet. This is a goodbye. It feels like a goodbye. A final goodbye after all the false ones they’ve had.

Noor slips her tongue passed their lips and deepens the kiss. But it doesn’t evolve. The caressing stops eventually until all there’s left to do is stare into each other’s eyes.

“Then stay,” Frankie suggests while circling her fingers over the bare skin beneath Noor’s bra, “Stay with me until tomorrow. Go back to him tomorrow, but stay with me tonight.”

Noor smiles and crawls down until she has her head positioned on Frankie’s belly. She smiles as the rising and falling of Frankie’s inhalation reaches her awareness. 

“That’s the point. It’s why I came here. I’ll be gone by the time you wake up.”

Frankie heaves a troubles sigh and fights back some tears. She expected it too, but knowing it now hurts: Aiden won. He always had the advantage. He was supposed to win. 

“I’m going to miss you, Frankie.”

The blonde shivers. She said her name.

“Like I miss air when I’m under water,” Noor continues in a silent voice. “Like I miss the summer when it’s winter. Like I miss singing when I’m not on stage.”

“It’s better this way. It’s the right thing to do,” Frankie tells her again.

The singer examines the pace of the heartbeat underneath her and remembers a conversation they had a while ago. She remembers the song she’ll have to sing a million times more from now on and it’ll always remind her of the girl she lost — of that purity of love and friendship she has to let go. At least for now.

The girls ultimately fall asleep like that — entwined but still far apart. They keep connected but refuse to cross boundaries. There’s an opportunity to have sex, to close this fairytale with the utter act of love, but they know it won’t change a thing. It won’t change their feelings, it won’t change the fact that Noor will be gone in a few days.

Frankie’s sure she’s doing the right thing. Noor and her are too different, they live in different worlds. Noor’s married. Her parents always taught her that marriage is sacred. And she’s not ready. She’s only started to build her life back together. It won’t be over soon, this tsunami of emotions. 

By the time Frankie wakes up, Noor’s words have come true: she’s gone. Dissapeared like a thief in the night. Her heart drops and for a second, she wonders if it was all a dream. After turning around in her bed, Frankie finds a note. It’s Noor’s handwriting.

‘I will come back. I’ll come back for that promise. You’ll be ready and I’ll be ready and it’ll be perfect. One day, life will be perfect.’


Seasons pass as quickly as they arrive. Noor and Frankie part ways and don’t speak again. Life goes on and they don’t seem to mind. Frankie has things to figure out, Noor has her marriage, career and public life to maintain. The red carpets aren’t waiting and her latest album just broke all the chart records. The dancing studio absorbs most of Frankie’s time and it’s glorious. She focusses on the wellbeing of others, of little children and after classes, she sometimes even helps them do their homework. Her parents are proud, her sisters are proud — even June though she’ll never admit it — and Kennedy is her loyal bystander for as long as they both enjoy it.

The second anniversary of the studio announces itself at the same time news papers announce some other exciting news. Ellie walks into the kitchen area and puts a paper on the counter, flashing a big headline that says: ‘Noor pregnant’. Frankie strangely isn’t heartbroken over it. It seems unreal — like it’s happening in a different dimension. Except it’s not.

The couple appears on every single magazine cover after that. Being supportive, happy, acting like the perfect family. Photographers chase them everywhere they go, hunting for that perfect pregnancy picture. Frankie subtly tries to block out all the press attention she’s forced to deal with. She blocks out what seems obvious: Noor moved on. Aiden finally got his wish: a child. 

It’s summer when every single person in the world cheerfully yells at their cellphone screens once it’s announced that Noor gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. It takes another three days until the name’s revealed: Elijah. Frankie sees the pictures and heaves a troubled sigh. Something inside of her died a while ago. It has lost the ability to care, to be genuinely mad or happy. It just left the mark of indifference. Kennedy watches her closely as she turns away from the laptop in her apartment. The blonde dancer’s so much different from who she used to be. Things never changed between the two of them — they are still strolling down this path of careless fun and supportive friendship. Kennedy’s still touring around with artists, less and less in the circles of Noor, and whenever she gets home, Frankie’s there. It’s not a relationship. Both of them loathe the idea of being in a relationship, even though it’s for different reasons. And now Noor has a baby and Frankie thinks she’ll never really want a relationship ever again.

The impact of the news fades out. Pictures pop up every single week, of Noor holding the kid — actually quite the adorable little brat — and Frankie seems to get used to it. When you see something often enough, the hit softens. Elijah gets bigger. He must be crawling by now, Frankie often thinks. And now, maybe he’s even standing up on his own. She compares him with her sister’s kids. Cece has two by now, a boy and a girl. Ellie’s expecting. 

Frankie’s nowhere in life.


Aiden walks into the living room and yawns. He must have slept for hours and hours, because the house is filled with productive noises and busy people and he never even noticed. Maids and gardeners and managers direct the place. Noor and Aiden merely live in it. Through it. Amongst it.

“Hi.”

It’s Noor, sitting in the lounge chair, staring out the window. She’s feeling tired. Elijah woke up three times last night. Must be nightmares. Or the heat. Aiden didn’t hear him.

“Hi. Did I wake you up last night? Can’t remember when I got home,” Aiden mumbles as he rubs his eyes.

“You came to say hi and then you went to bed.”

Noor looks up to him and forgets to smile. Bed isn’t their bed anymore. Bed is across the hallway, second door to the right. Bed is where things ended a few months ago and their relationship slipped into a repetitive pattern. Aiden’s out of the country a lot, for work. That show he talked about ended after two seasons. The show that was supposed to change their entire life togehter. His focus is on movies again. So he flies to London and Dubai to shoot scenes, he passes Los Angeles and Mexico on occasions. He shows up at Cannes and Milan. In between jobs, he visits home, which is New York now. It’s not that often. And in all fairness, Noor doesn’t really care. She has her hands full with raising Elijah and combining her music career. The couple grew apart, once more. They pass each other in the hallways and after a while, without discussing it or fighting about it, they each picked a room to sleep in. It’s not that Aiden’s cheating. At least, she doesn’t think he is. They are a respecting pair of friends now, living next to each other instead of with each other. And they adore their cute, little, perfect son. Noor had hoped so much for all of it — she hoped the promised big change would in fact make it all better again. She hoped that moving away would solve it all. Elijah would solve it all. It didn’t. It’s no mistake that they were happy for a while. They raced the big carpets and attended all the big Hollywood parties. The people are still crazy about them — the absolute IT couple. The Hollywood dream. And then she got pregnant and Noor discovered a whole other level of loving someone. She loves Aiden — she really does. He’s the father of her child. That love will never fade. But it’s different. Not passionate. Not romantic.

Noor stares out the window again and catches the blue sky. It hurts how much life didn’t turn out perfect. How she put people aside and threw away her dreams and desires to live up to a vow made in a church. To please fans she never even met. 

 “I always thought we could make it,” she sighs as Aiden sits down in front of her on the orange couch she never liked in the first place. “I gave up a lot to make this work. Maybe we were wrong.”

Aiden freezes to the spot and loudly swallows. His morning mood disappears immediately as the words sink in. She must have been thinking about this for a long time — it’s not just one of those things you say after pouring a cup of coffee. It takes nights of doubt and processing. He recognizes the feeling.

“I can’t shake the idea that you still miss her,” Aiden admits and it doesn’t even take a second before she understands what he’s talking about.

He’s not wrong. She still dreams about Frankie. About the way she used to touch her, or look at her, or kiss her softly on the lips. Or dance and laugh at the same time.

“You should know something, Aiden,” she says after clearing her throat.

The woman gets up and watches over her shoulder, through the window, how Elijah is having the time of his life with a nanny. This is great. Having a kid is great. Having a child brings meaning to your life. It really does. But thinking about the alternative — about what she could’ve had with Frankie, it never left her mind. It always came to haunt her. She could’ve had a kid with her. She could’ve quit the singing and being normally boring would’ve been perfect. Aiden raises a curious eye and stares at her. He’s not even looking upset, just pulls a stoic face and listens.

“She never crossed any boundaries. I did,” Noor explains to him for the first time in her life. “I overstepped every line that was acceptable. I kissed her first. I always went in for the hug. I threw myself on her when we had sex. It was after I found out you cheated on me and it was the only time it ever happened. And she felt bad about it — so very bad about it because you were her friend. But I blurred the lines on many occasions and always made sure she’d get back to me. I begged and cried and went searching for her. I loved her, Aiden, from the bottom of my heart. From the deepest part of my soul. With everything there is to give. I still do. I dream about her — even when I’m awake.”

Aiden nods, but suddenly, he starts to shake his head. None of this makes sense.

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Because you and I aren’t working. And it’s not because of Frankie, it happened long before she came along. You and I fought hard, very hard to make amends and fix things, but maybe we both knew it was hopeless from the start. And I can’t do this anymore. I can’t live this life anymore — this lie. We have Elijah now. It would kill me to raise our beautiful son in a home that isn’t filled with love, but is driven by a business deal.”

She points at the distance between them to point it out: “We are a business deal.”

He’s not even denying it.

“So what? You’re going to leave me for a girl?”

He almost smiles.

“I don’t know. I haven’t seen her in years. I don’t even know what her life’s like now. But I rather take a chance and find out than to be trapped for the rest of my life. We are so directed by our managers and this artificial life we life in. It’s not healthy, Aiden. We do as the crowd pleases. It’s not supposed to be this way.”

She heaves a sigh after watching his face being overcome with sadness.

“You’re a great dad, Aiden. And a great friend. Shitty husband at times, but still.”

A charming smirk appears. After everything, they still make each other smile.

“I want you to be happy. You deserve this feeling I feel whenever I’m around Frankie. You deserve to bring our son into a relationship that shows him how it’s done. Set a good example, teach him the right things. We’ll always be friends, you and I. We have been for years now. And I love you, but just in a different way than I used to.”

He remains quiet for a long time after she finishes talking. The room is silent — a nanny is still playing with Elijah, who has curly blonde hair and chubby, perfect cheeks. They’re playing on the swing. 

“I think I’m feeling kind of relieved that you just said all these things,” Aiden suddenly admits, after thinking things through. “I tried, really hard. I don’t know if you know that, but I did. Because I love you. I’ve always loved you.”

Noor nods. She bends toward him to kiss him on the cheek. He feels warm and soft. His skin smells like sunburn. Aiden opens his arms and invites her to a tight hug. He presses his cheek against her forehead and sighs.

“I want you to be happy too. But are you ready for all of it? For this. Because it’s big. It’s the biggest thing that ever happened to you.”

Noor sighs against his chest. They haven’t shared this many emotions in a while. It feels good. It feels great.

“I’ve had many years to be afraid. But it doesn’t get less scary as time goes by. It just turns into missed opportunities. Sometimes you just need to do it, you know?”

He faintly smiles. He knows. 


Frankie is standing in her office talking to a very attractive woman, when Noor walks in on the duo. She remains in the doorway, but they see her anyway. The girls immediately stop talking. The brunette on the left because she has never seen the superstar up-close. The blonde because it’s been ages. And this might be a dream. Someone should slap her, she thinks. But it’ll be rude to ask her friend. She was holding a pen just a few seconds ago. It’s on the ground now.

“This is yours,” Noor smiles as she pulls an old notebook from her purse.

It’s the MoodBook Frankie always carried around. Noor took it — actually stole it — from the desk the last time she saw Frankie at the opening of the dancing studio and ended up wandering around. Frankie always had a suspicion, but she was too tired, too defeated to text or call the singer once she found it missing.

“So you’re the mysterious thief,” Frankie smirks, secretly just thrilled to see her again.

Oh, her heart still skips a beat and it’s familiar. Her body still goes completely weak. She missed this feeling of total loss of control. And she suddenly remembers how she has always loved it. It was a masochistic way to love, but still. Everything about loving Noor might have been masochistic. 

“Do you know her?” the mysterious woman gasps as she reaches for her chest. “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Jessica.”

Noor smiles and doesn’t move a feet.

“Nice to meet you too.”

She quickly looks to her right and finds comfort in whatever she sees.

“Why are you here?” Frankie wonders, getting straight to the point. 

After all these years, after all that distance. Noor can’t help but smile — she likes the way this girl works, how she doesn’t play around. It was one of the things she loved about her. She opens the MoodBook and shamelessly flips some pages, searching for her target. She might have read it a thousand times. A million if possible. She examined the handwriting. She smelt the pages, because maybe — just maybe — it had Frankie lingering over it.

“I belonged to you the moment we met,” she quotes with a soft voice and soft eyes. “Maybe even before that, when I couldn’t stop staring at you. I belonged to you from that moment. And I still do.”

It was written days before Noor took the book with her during the festive opening. And Noor had cried over the words at home. Frankie sighs and looks down to the ground, feeling all the things that have been hidden for so long. But they come resurfacing and it’s like they can finally breathe now. After all this time, her body can breathe. Noor flips some pages again and slides her fingers over one particular page.

“I love not to talk to you. I like sitting next to you and not saying a damn word. Because while we’re not talking, you let me in on all your secrets.”

Frankie just sighs as she briefly glances at the girl standing next to her. It’s like Noor read all her secrets. She should be mad, but it’s impossible to be. Because they were written for her, about her, next to her while she was asleep or on stage singing. Noor should’ve read them years ago. The words belong to her.

“Look, I’m not gonna make a scene or have this impressive speech to influence your entire life. All I’m going to do is stand here and beg — from the bottom of my desperate heart — to choose me. Choose me, not anyone else. Not Kennedy, not this girl.”

A finger points at the confused brunette and Noor just shrugs as a way to apologize. But that girl doesn’t seem to mind — or understand the conversation that’s happening in front of her. Frankie softly smiles, subtle enough to get by unnoticed.

“Because if you don’t, I’ll die from heartbreak. And it’ll be your fault,” Noor continues and it’s now that Frankie’s breath is starting to choke. “Because I love you. I love you like you love Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream on a summer evening. I love you like you love to dance in front of twenty-thousand people. I love that I know every little thing there is to know about you, even the disgusting ones. So please, don’t walk away or throw me out. Choose me. Stay with me. Make me happy. I’ll never hurt you – not ever again. And I’ll never leave you. I’m here now. I know it took a really long time and I’ve been a total coward and a bitch, but I’m ready to make that promise now.”

Frankie’s trembling and crying at the same time. She inhales deeply to waver the feeling off. To make the overwhelming sensation bearable. She’s thinking, except she doesn’t need to think about it. Her mind is racing nonetheless. It’s been years since she saw this woman. It’s been years but her feelings didn’t change. And her heart’s been healing. The grieving has passed. She opens her mouth and closes her eyes. This is scary. This is so scary, but it all makes sense.

“Okay,” she whispers.

“Okay?”

They look up at each other. 

“Okay. I’ll choose you. You don’t need to ask, Noor. I’ll always choose you.”

She walks toward the singer and cups her cheeks. Their foreheads connect and then, instead of kissing her, she puts her arms around that beautiful body to intensely hug her. Jessica, witnessing it all, quietly announces her departure and on her way out, she bumps into a charming little toddler, who’s patiently and quietly waiting for his mommy. Noor frees herself from the embrace, takes a couple of steps back and puts her hand behind his head to lead him in. He was waiting in the hallway, just like mommy told him.

“Come here,” she softly tells him and as he sets foot into the office, Frankie’s radiant smile appears.

She bends over and says hi. He’s too shy to respond and buries his head in mom’s dress.

“He’s beautiful.”

Noor stares at her and caresses Frankie’s temple: “You’re beautiful.”

She then clears her throat and realizes that none of this is fair to the dancer. Things have changed over the years and maybe she won’t be okay with that.

“I have baggage. I mean, Aiden and I, we’re through. For real. But there’ll always be this little boy. And it’s probably not as you pictured things. It’s not how I pictured things. But he’s here and I hope you can live with that.”

Frankie just nods and smiles, as if it’s the simplest request in the world. She tries to connect with him again, by putting out her hand in a dramatic way and kneeling as if he were a king.

“I’m Frankie,” she overacts and the boy starts to smile.

His blue eyes light up and suddenly, the blonde realizes how much he looks like his dad.

“Are you King Elijah?”

The boy nods and Noor smiles the dorkiest smile over their interaction. He puts his tiny, perfect hand in the dancer’s and shakes it. Frankie fakes being hurt over his powerful grip and he giggles.

“So, now what? Are we going to start dating?” Noor asks with a whisper to keep her little son from being confused too much. 

He doesn’t quite understand that his mommy and daddy aren’t together anymore. It’s normal. But talking about dating makes Noor blush like she has never before. Because it’s about dating Frankie, something she’s been dreaming of for years. Frankie just shakes her head and looks at her very strict and determined. 

“I don’t want to date you, Noor. I want to marry you. I want to have kids with you so we can have our own little family. I want to raise Elijah as if he’s my own child. I want to build a house and settle down with you. I want it all. But not if it’s not with you. I realize that now. I’m ready.”

Elijah is off to wander around the office and play with comic books that are spread across a coffee table when Noor leaps forward and presses her body against Frankie’s to kiss her intensely. She makes the girl gasp for air when they part again. 

“I’ve wanted to do that since I walked in,” she explains as her fingers tightly pull the sleeve of the dancer’s outfit.

Frankie nods and processes the kiss that just changed her life yet again.

“I wanted you to want to do that.”


Previous Chapter < > Next Chapter

Frankie at Work – Chapter 13: The Meaning of a Dream

Chapter Thirteen — The Meaning of A Dream


Frankie swallows and remembers how a few minutes ago, her entire being was absorbed by words and emotions. How she went on this rollercoaster by hearing notes and music. How her body felt like exploding from love and appreciation — from caring and frustration. From wanting her too much. She’s been in denial for months — telling herself it wasn’t worth it. Telling herself she’s not missing Noor that much. But it’s the biggest lie in the history of lies. Her body felt like dancing again. Just for a second, for a tiny bit. It heard the words and felt like moving. And that hasn’t happened in months. Not since Miguel died. She hates how Noor’s the only one capable of changing her mind. Changing her painful, bruised and fragile inside.

You said you’d never write a song about me. But it’s about me, isn’t it? The song’s …”
“A Promise,” Noor whispers and the thrill of her breathing causes goosebumps to take over Frankie’s entire skin. “It’s about me, really. About me loving you so very much. How I miss you when you’re not near. How I dream about you at night. How I want you. How I want to give you every single thing you deserve. How I want you to be near me all the time and I don’t know how to do that without hurting anyone.”
Frankie is crying now. Warm tears burn her skin on their way down and Noor is kissing them away. But the lips are burning too. They are burning every inch of skin of her face. The singer is closing in on her target now, slowly moving down a bit with every soft touch of her mouth. She’s about to kiss her. The tension’s there, the opportunity is there. Frankie’s willing and this room is a bittersweet mixture of perfect memories and craving desire. The blonde digs her nails in the softness of the bathrobe and pulls Noor closer, obviously caving in. Their heartbeats align, their breathing fastens. Every fiber in her body is attracted to this superstar and it feels so normal that at times, she forgets to question her morality. Her friendship with Aiden. Her own promise. Everything at risk.
Noor breaks the inevitable tension by suddenly kissing her hard and Frankie kisses her back. She gasps for air as the memory of their connection turns into reality. For twenty-six days they haven’t talked or texted or seen each other in real life. But unlike last time, these seemed eternal, as a heartbreaking goodbye. Like they’d parted and they’d never see each other again. Noor didn’t even expect Frankie to actually show up at the concert. Thank God for Ellie.
Noor puts both hands on Frankie’s cheeks and pushes her back up against the door, which shuts with a slam. The panting blonde needs a second to breathe, and instinctively, her fingers slip under the thick fabric of the bathrobe. They discover the softness of Noor’s tanned skin. They trail up until they caress the hem of her lace panties and cross her perfect six pack. She’s been working out, it shows. When her curious fingers reach the perky, round and soft breasts, Noor moans loudly in her mouth and shivers completely take Frankie away from this world. They kiss and kiss and keep kissing until Noor can’t hold it anymore and suggestively starts thrusting her core up against Frankie’s. Stars dazzle in front of their closed eyes and the taste of each other is divine.
“I miss you,” Noor pants while the tasty, smudging sounds of their heated kisses interrupts. “I want you. I love you.”
Frankie hears the words and abruptly stops the making out. She’s out of breath and completely taken over by desire, but this is the first time Noor actually said those words to her. She knew she felt the same way, but nothing ever came close to proclaiming them out loud.
“What?”
Noor moves back in to kiss her softly and tenderly and the entire act is so pure and filled with utter love that Frankie’s heart nearly explodes from happiness.
“I love you. I have always loved you.”
Frankie nods, but the revelation made her sober up somehow. She still enjoys the kiss, the connection, the feeling up. It’s everything she’s ever wanted. But she also remembers the song and the lack of confidence Noor has about their dubious relationship. It’s somehow toxic and forbidden. Forbidden things never end well.
Noor notices the change and looks up, her lips swollen from determinately sucking on Frankie’s skin. Her eyes are screaming sexual expletives and Frankie reads every single one of them in her irises.
“What is it? Did I freak you out?”
“We shouldn’t be doing this, Noor. This is exactly why I didn’t want to come.”
None of them are moving. They can’t, because it scares both girls to death to loose this connection.
“Do you still love me?”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“It does.”
“It doesn’t.”
Noor grabs the hem of Frankie’s shirt and flashes her eyes again. She’s getting angry now, but just because she’s trying to make a point. She wants Frankie to listen. She wants to figure this out. Because not seeing her again for so long might actually kill her.
“It freaking matters, okay,” she presses.
They both sigh and fall back into a soft and caring tone.
“Why?”
“Because if you tell me you love me, I might consider breaking up with him.”
Except it’s not a breakup. It’d be a divorce. A very public, painful and expensive divorce. She’d be leaving one of the most charming and beloved actors in Hollywood for an unknown dancer girl. She’d be trashed and haunted for months. Frankie’ll be the bag guy. Noor’s career could be over.
“But you told me … That song —” Frankie stutters.
Her mind is going crazy. Then she remembers that talk in the car. His eyes as he revealed his knowledge about their illicit affair.
“He’s my friend,” she tells her. “I could never do that to him.”
But Noor doesn’t understand.
“Why not? It’s simple: I miss the best thing about my life. And that is you.”
“You’re married. That’s a promise to God.”
“Making a promise to God means nothing if that means I can’t be with you,” Noor explains with tears in her eyes.
She means it. There’s no worse feeling in the world than missing Frankie. If only she could see that — experience it for once, just a day. She’d understand.
“It’s not that easy,” Frankie whispers and she puts her forehead back against Noor’s.
She sighs. God, when will Noor ever understand? The complete picture? The reality. Superstars don’t understand reality.
“Why not?”
“Because this isn’t right. I can’t break up a marriage. I can’t ask you to do that for me. I’m not worth it, Noor.”
Noor puts two fingers of her left hand on the bare skin above Frankie’s cleavage. She softly traces them up and down, drawing circles and memories.
“You realize what’s going on between us, right? That this isn’t just a … You once told me I had to make a choice. Now I do. I want you.”
“You don’t want me,” Frankie tells her as she turns her head away and painfully sighs.
She’s a mess. Somehow, she’s always been a mess. In every year of her life. In every relationship she’s ever had. In every job and every friendship.
“I do.”
“No, I mean, you wouldn’t want me. I’m a terrible girlfriend. You’re hitting a low in your marriage and I’m nearby. It’s convenient and easy but I’m not part of your world.”
She’s not a celebrity. She hates cameras and paparazzi. She hates to get stalked on her way to McDonald’s or a supermarket. It’d consume her. It’d completely drive her nuts.
Noor leads her fingers up and forces that small chin to turn back her way: “You are my world.”
They pause the conversation and it seems to be over. Except it isn’t but none of them has words to carry on. Noor lets go of her girl and steps back, scanning the room for inspiration.
“Look, every week again, I wanted to come to your place and talk about it. About us. Because if I started talking about it, I’d be ready to process. And then I got here and I felt the entire weight of the earth drop down on me. And I learned that I wasn’t ready. So I turned around and went back home. At some point, I didn’t think I’d ever be ready. So I shut up — and I waited another week. I was patient enough to await that day. I was just hoping that one week, it’d be the right one.”
“The right one for what?” Frankie wonders.
Noor stares at her and shrugs, like an innocent child does when she can’t explain things anymore.
“To tell you I love you.”
“It’s a strong word,” Frankie notices.
“Well, I’m a songwriter,” Noor smiles. “I happen to be great with vocabulary.”
But that explanation is too real, too understandable to just ignore. Frankie recognizes every word, every feeling it brings along. She’s lost too, scared, decomposed.
“Even if you are sure — even if you’re ready to leave this all behind and be with me — I’m not,” she tells her perfect superstar. “I’m broken, Noor. I am indescribably messed up right now. This thing with Miguel, it tore me apart and I’m still trying to find back the pieces. I’m a paper house right now and if you’d be with me, with the sight of just a slightest breeze, I’d be gone. I’m not ready.”
She grasps onto Noor’s hand and starts to cry almost immediately.
“And I want to be ready, but I’m not. And you don’t deserve that. We’re both not in this right now. And we need to be if we want to survive what’s waiting for us.”
Every relationship in her life right now is complicated. Even the one with Kennedy, which isn’t even a relationship. So technically, she’s even screwing up her non-relationships. It takes time to get better. It takes a lot and maybe it’s too much to also be giving something to Noor as well. Because Noor deserves the very best. The absolute best. And that’s just something that isn’t inside of Frankie at this moment.
She hides her face and tears into the embrace of her beloved Noor and as her shoulders shock up and down from crying, she starts shaking her head.
“I am in love with you. I am desperately in love with you. But you’re with Aiden. And I’ve come to realize that sometimes, it’s okay to let things go. Because this has been one hell of a long fight — a war really — and … I am so tired. The last two years have been so exhausting and I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s okay if you stay with him. And it’s okay that I don’t want to fight anymore. Sometimes love just sucks. Sometimes you don’t win.”
Noor tries to interrupt her: “But, Frankie …”
“Look — he’s my friend,” Frankie tells her as she’s backing away and wiping her face clean with her sleeve. “I’ve been through break ups and flings and faux-being in loves. And every girl has ever left. But he’s actually a good friend to me.”
Noor feels insulted.
“And what am I?”
A moment of silence glorifies the room. Frankie can’t even put it into words.
“The love of my life. And his.”
It sounds horrifyingly raw and hurt. She leans toward the face of the singer and kisses her softly on the cheeks. It’s a little bit teasing and caring, but so emotional and loving at the same time. Her eyes briefly stare at those pink, pouty lips, like she’s about to kiss her. It’d just take a brief movement, a silent leaning in and they’d be joint. But she doesn’t and her raging hormones calm down again. Noor gasps for air as the sensation washes away from her face. If she would’ve kissed her harder, or moved to her mouth, or looked at her a second longer, Noor would’ve jumped her and fucked her brains out until morning. But Frankie didn’t. She politely released her loving kiss on her cheek and walked away. Noor was left completely turned on and confused. For a second, she forgot her own name.


At night, Frankie dreams about Miguel for the first time in a while. They are sitting in a bar, enjoying a beer — though Frankie doesn’t really like the taste of beer. But it’s a dream and a lot of things are possible in dreams. There’s music playing in the background. The counter smells like old drinks and dirty cloths. The place is empty, except for the two of them. Miguel looks fine — unharmed. Above all, he seems happy.

“I’ve missed you,” Frankie tells him, a lot happier than she should be.
“I’ve missed you too.”
His smile is soft and casual, as if they just saw each other yesterday. He asks about her family, she says she hasn’t seen them in a while. He asks about the dancing studio, she tells him she hasn’t attended the classes in months. He asks her about touring and Noor. She tells him that’s all in the past. That’s when he puts his beer down and frowns.
“My God, what are you doing?”
She looks up, a bit confused, and awkwardly smirks: “What do you mean?”
“Frankie, this isn’t you. You’re not dancing, you’re not teaching, you’re not living.”
“I am hurting,” she explains.
“Over me?”
“Too. Mostly. But there are other things.”
She plays around with the bottle in her hand. The music changes. It’s old and jazzy. She likes the beat.
“Noor?” he wonders.
His dark skin makes her wonder if she can touch it, even if it’s just a dream. She just nods and subsequently shrugs.
“I can’t do it, Miguel. Not now. Maybe not ever.”
He hears the hurt in her voice. The way this love affair has dragged her out empty. How it left her wounded and scared for life.
“Remember what you wrote in that MoodBook of yours once? That line about the scars?”
For a second, Frankie wonders how he’d know the contents of her MoodBook. But then again, this is a dream and dreams don’t make sense.
“Yes, we’ve hurt each other. Maybe a lot. But every scar on my heart is a memory of a time that I was with you. And those scars are sacred to me,” she quotes.
She smiles. The words were written the first time the girls parted. After the cut in Noor’s hand. After that night in the hotel. After breakfast with her parents.
Miguel nods and smiles, as if he has read the quote a million times before.
“The thing about Noor is … she took me to museums. She took me to the wildest parties. She had me end up in a pool party with Beyonce and Taylor Swift one night and kissed me until I saw fireworks until the next day. She destroyed me. You know how they always say that they suddenly understand why storms are named after people? I do now. And Noor, well, that sounds like some kind of Greek goddess, right?”
Miguel shakes his head, confused about the level of depression his best friend expresses. He has never found that kind of love. He never will. But he has seen how Noor and Frankie looked at each other, when they thought no one was watching. He saw the sparks and undefinable love they shared.
“You’ll wake up in a few hours, Frankie. Because — you know — this is a dream.”
They both chuckle and put their beers together.
“But when you do, please get out of bed. I’m fine. I might not be where you want me to be. I may be gone and I’ll never return. But I’m with you.”
He puts his hand on his heart before continuing: “I’ll always be with you. We’ve been inseparable since kindergarten and that’ll never change. But instead of moping and drinking all day, please honor that connection we shared. You love to dance, even though you might not remember it anymore. You love to teach kids. Even more, you are great at it. Allow yourself to be loved, because I’ll never know how that feels like. Just … Do something.”
He gets up and throws a hundred dollar bill on the bar. Not that Miguel ever carried around so much money or that a couple of beers cost that much.
“Do something,” he whispers in her ear before kissing her cheek like he used to do whenever he got excited.
The touch of his lips make her shiver. He feels real, just for a second. She smiles at her hands and turns around, only to find an empty room. He’s gone. Disappeared. Maybe forever.


Weeks pass and Frankie slowly starts to understand the meaning of her dream. She gets up, day after day, and thinks things through. It takes her a while, but then it hits her: Miguel was right. In all the weird ways that dream developed, he was utterly, doubtlessly right. So she goes to her parents to talk about her issues. They offer her a helping hand. She invites Ellie to take a trip to a nearby town to seek out opportunities — Ellie happily tags along. Frankie looks around and calls in favors. She has met a lot of people during her time with Noor and intends on using those connections.

It comes together as a well-thought-through plan when exactly one year after Miguel’s death, she opens a children’s dancing studio downtown, Miguel’s Dancing Shoes. A lot of people show up to show their sympathy. Miguel’s parents are there, overly emotional of course. Frankie feels a bit uncomfortable, but she powers through it. The kids run around and test the new wooden floor that’ll take them through months of practice before they perfect a routine. Frankie can only smile. She feels the presence of Miguel in this building. She sees him smiling in her imagination, smiling at Frankie and the kids and his parents and all the other people around. This is what he meant, even if it was just a weird twist of her mind endorsing that dream. It felt real — it felt Miguel-like. And the result is utterly amazing. Nobody in this place is sad or unhappy — there’s only cheerful sounds of laughter and perfect glances at the perfection of this initiative.
Frankie puts her MoodBook down on her desk when she leaves her office later that afternoon to go talk to some of her old dancer friends. Some of them still can’t dance yet. The injuries of the stage collapse will haunt them forever and that’s exactly why it feels so good to see Miguel’s pretty face hanging on the wall. They congratulate Frankie and hug her until she feels less emotional.
When she looks over her shoulder, familiar faces crosses her path. Her breath briefly chokes, but she manages to act as normal as possible. Aiden and Noor, standing side by side, peacefully apart from the big crowd. She clears her throat, like a true host would do.
“Hi.”
The couple looks her way and both of them fake a genuine smile. Frankie has totally stepped out of their glamorous life. She totally blacked out and never looked back. This project has absorbed everything — every waking second and all the energy she was able to give. It was either this of cry uncontrollably, like before. Noor seems enchanted, unable to respond, until Aiden nudges her shoulder and she enters reality again.
“Hi.”
And then Aiden: “Hi.”
Frankie smiles at him, like it’s the least she can do after nearly stealing his wife.
“We got your invitation,” he tells her and she nods, as if they never really knew each other. “So we came.”
“I’m glad. Miguel deserves this.”
Noor smiles, because he does. He was a sweet guy. Very flamboyant, very open, very talented. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. And she’ll forever feel guilty. His smile could enchant a million people. And now it’s forever locked into the foreverness.
She leads them around the place and Aiden insists his former best friend accepts a donation. She refuses three times, until the exceptional and painfully obvious silent Noor raises her head and tells her to take it. For what happened. For the times they spent and the memory of Miguel. Frankie sighs and puts the cheque in her pocket. Her eyes wander to the entwined fingers of the married couple. Her heart erupts.
“I have to go check on other people now. My parents will be here soon.”
It’s sort of an invitation for Noor to say hi to them later. The singer gets it.
“I’ll go talk to them,” she promises.
Frankie does her absolute best to ignore them for the rest of the event. She is occupied with important people like the major and Miguel’s parents and her own family. Somehow, a superstar and her movie star husband don’t seem to matter, though everyone close to her knows exactly what they mean to her.
The day ends and so do the pleasantries. Aiden and Noor were gone before she even blinked. She’s weirdly okay with that. Because saying goodbye never really worked out right before.


“Now, that was the best idea of this year,” Aiden sighs as he walks toward the bedroom closet.

Noor rolls her eyes and scoffs at him: “Don’t be like that. We had no choice. It was for Miguel.”
Aiden turns around and flashes his mischievous smile.
“Keep telling yourself that, dear. You saw that guy like what? Three times?”
But his wife can’t appreciate the dark humor: “I saw him plenty of times, okay? And he’s Frankie’s friend, so —”
“Was, dear.”
“Don’t remind me.”
“So of course you had no chance but go. Because whatever involves Frankie is sacred. Whatever she does is predicted and announced by the Gods of whatever it is.”
Noor just shakes her head with disappointment and turns on her angry face: “Whatever, Aiden.”
He realizes his mistake of questioning her loyalty, especially after she’s not hung out with her after all this time and sighs apologetic.
“Look,” he then says, “I’m sorry. Come here, I’m sorry. I know you’re trying. We’re trying. We are doing great.”
She looks up to him as he reaches for her hand and she enjoys the touch. But it’s not the same as when Frankie touches her. Nothing ever is.
“I have to tell you something,” he admits after patting the end of the bed with his free hand.
They both sit down and stare at each other as if they are the world’s most ordinary couple.
“I got this job offer. It’s for a show, long-term, great pay.”
She scrunches her gorgeous eyebrow and that means she needs further explanation.
“It’s in New York. I thought it’d be around here, but I was wrong. Baby, I can’t miss this opportunity. It’s huge. It’s supposed to be this big hit and this is the opportunity of a lifetime. No more movie sets. No more constant traveling. We’ll be able to settle down, think about the future. Maybe even start a family.”
Against all expectations, he is a changed man. He sobered up, straightened out his act and committed to her perfectly, without slipping once. He loves her, adores her, would do anything for her. The world loves that about them.
“I want you to come with me. I’m begging you to give me that chance.”
But he’s not done yet and Noor’s mind is racing already.
“I have one condition. You can’t see her anymore. This thing tonight, I get it. Maybe part of it was for Miguel, but you’re not fooling me about the fact that you really wanted to see her again.”
While she awkwardly turns away from his stare, he grasps her hand — to gain her attention again.
“Look, I know that things happened. I get that you felt this connection. Maybe it was even love. But we chose each other. And now we can only move on and make the best of it. I love you, Noor. I love you more now than I did when we got married. So please, stay away from her. Don’t see her anymore. Give me the chance you once promised me a long time ago. If you can’t do that — I mean … I’m your husband. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
She looks up to him and her eyes are filled with tears. Four years ago, she saw the love of her life in him. But only months ago, the true love of her life turned her down for acceptable reasons. And she chose to stay with Aiden, but not because it was her first pick — no, Frankie chose for her. And in theory, though she’ll never tell him, Aiden’s the only option left. The one that doesn’t scare her. That one that pleases her manager and publicist and all her fans. Which is terrible, of course.
“I can’t compete with a girl,” he continues after she remains painfully quiet. “Especially not with Frankie. That’s impossible. So let me have an advantage. Let me stay with you. Don’t see her anymore. Come with me to New York and we’ll be like we were before.”
She loves to sing. She loves to walk across the street while people are pointing at her. She loves to interact with her fans and even more, she loves that they think she’s worth copying, that they are trying to live up to her as a role model. She loves that when she crosses the red carpet with Aiden, every magazine in the country calls them adorable or hashtags about them on Twitter. She likes the positive feedback, the joy she brings into stranger’s lives. She’s terrified to give that all up.
“I’ll go with you. When do we leave?” she agrees and asks at he same time, merely because she’s feeling awfully guilty.
She hasn’t even thought it through, but it feels like the right choice. The best, logical choice.
She stares at herself in the mirror in front of her.
Right?


Previous Chapter <> Next Chapter

Frankie at Work – Chapter 12: A Promise

Chapter Twelve — A Promise


It’s been a wild night at the Morris’. Just when Frankie decided to stay in and not go out to drink until she doesn’t recognize her own reflection in the mirror anymore, Cece and Ellie showed up with bottles of wine and snacks. And June came home early — her employee said he’d close up the restaurant on such a calm night. The girls started to talk and didn’t stop. When Kennedy showed up, they put on music and they empties the bottles while dancing through the living room. Except Frankie. She didn’t dance. Refused to. She just sat back and watched her sisters and special friend having fun. It reminded her of Miguel. Of the fun times during all the tours across the country and the world. Of Noor and her in the living room at the lake. It hurt her heart to not move. It broke in pieces when the beat felt too great to be ignored. But she managed. And she succeeded until everyone ended up passed out on the couch. 

As the doorbell rings in the morning, Frankie raises her head from Ellie’s legs. She has trouble orientating but finally recognizes her own home. The girls grumble and yawn from a lack of sleep and an excess of alcohol. 

“What the hell happened?” Ellie moans.

She puts both hands on her head and realizes her leg is aching from Frankie’s body weight that’s been pressing on it the entire night.

Frankie gets up and clears her throat. She’s not that hungover, luckily. 

“You guys decided to come over. That happened.”

Cece crawls up and rubs her face until she can open her eyes again. In the meantime, June just turns around again to proceed her nap.

When Frankie opens the door, both her heart and mouth drop. It’s Noor, standing in front of her. Mirror image of perfection, dressed all stylishly, hair could’ve come out of a magazine shoot. Did she do it especially for Frankie? Well, of course she did.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Frankie wonders, while rubbing her eyes.

Her throat hurts. It shows.

“Well, aren’t you your usual little ray of sunshine this morning?” Noor smirks nervously, a bit overcome with joy to finally see her friend again. 

She dives in to hug Frankie, but much to her surprise, the girl isn’t keen on hugging her back. It’s just that she’s surprised to see her. Her heart is doing flip-flops and twirls at once. It’s confusing.

“Sorry, I’m just … hungover,” she explains. “My head hurts like a bitch. And I know bitches, I’ve dated a few.”

It’s meant to be a joke and Noor smiles over her goofiness. God, she has missed her. Her hand hangs on to her sleeve. Frankie smells terrible, but she looks divine as always. Just a little bit tired.

“Well, I don’t know what looks messier: your hair or your life,” Noor replies with a mischievous smile.

But Frankie’s snapped out of her confusion. Right now the entire night is flashing through her mind.  The fun she had with the girls. Then comes the image of her late friend. And her coping with the grief and terrible task of missing him. And Aiden — their little talk in his car when he picked her up the last time things got out of control. The shame she experienced when he told her he knew. And her promise to him. To her.

“What are you doing here?”

It sounds harsh and rude, though her tone is a result of last night’s alcohol intake and its effects on her body. It triggers Noor instantly to say whatever it is that’s on her mind. Why she’s here in fact. Why she’s consumed with confusion and hurt and the feeling of rejection.

“It took you three days to text me back.”

Frankie looks up but immediately looks back down. It’s true. She got that text when Aiden drove her home. She ignored it for a while.

“So?”

“You didn’t bother to answer my text for three fucking days. Why would you do that?” Noor wonders.

Nobody ever rejects this superstar. She texts and people immediately text back. She calls and people go through lengths to pick up. Frankie just rubs her face and sighs all tired. It’s been a short night.

“Because I am tired of this bullshit. I am done with being your secret fucking whatever-it-is. I am done.”

Noor stares through the hallway and spies a curious crowd. It’s Cece, Ellie and June, all conveniently strolling around the kitchen on the search for coffee — just close enough to hear the entire conversation. Frankie follows her stare and in an instant, tears fill her eyes. She faces her wonder woman again and shrugs — almost apologetic.

“And I am really, awfully, terribly ashamed to look my friend in the eye and not be honest with him. Because I am a terrible friend and he doesn’t even realize it and I’m too afraid to admit that I’ve slept with his wife.”

It’s true. She lied to him. She told him they aren’t sleeping together. They did. And they almost did again, until Noor cut her hand. The superstar’s breathing chokes. It’s the first time she’s being confronted with it, face to face, with people around. Even if she wanted to, there’s no denying it. And Frankie’s sisters are all staring at her from the corner of their eyes. Frankie notices and she’s ashamed to have said it out loud. Of course her sisters know the truth. It was just a well-kept secret between them. Noor probably knew she told them, but now it’s been confirmed. Time to adjust her attitude.

“Wait, I’m going to get dressed and then we can talk,” Frankie offers, while calmly putting her hand on Noor’s bare lower arm.

It feels warm, as always. Her fingers automatically start to stroke the skin.

“Why? I prefer you like this,” Noor whispers, looking up and down her body.

She’s barely wearing clothes. Just a loose shirt and some shorts. In theory, she’s not far from being naked. See, this is the problem. The flirting. The feelings. It’ll always be a problem. The sisters raise their eyebrows suggestively at each other and suppress a dirty smile.

Kennedy leaves Frankie’s room to walk into the kitchen area and ruin the party. That’s when Noor gets the picture — or at least she thinks she does. Kennedy slept here. Kennedy slept in Frankie’s bedroom. The bed she used to sleep in. The bed where she felt Frankie’s skin close to hers. 

“Could I use the bathroom for a second?” the singer coughs, trying hard to erase that image from her mind — the jealousy.

Frankie steps aside and her hands gestures the girl in the right direction — as if she wouldn’t know her way around the house. She’s not wearing her bracelet. The second Noor passes her, she inhales her scent and it dazzles her. She hates herself over it. Kennedy walks over, says hi the second she recognizes her former boss and doesn’t pick up on the awkward behavior of both girls. Correct that: six girls. Cece and Ellie pour out some cups of coffee, not even counting how many of them desire one. They just do it so they can seem occupied and stay nearby. Frankie just rolls her eyes over their charade, just as Kennedy puts a soft peck on her cheek.

“Good morning, gorgeous.”

June glances at Ellie’s mischievous smile and starts to whisper: “Such a champagne problem, that girl has.”

When Kennedy’s done with her morning greeting, she stretches out and demonstrates a painful grimace. Frankie notices and forces herself to seem interested.

“What is it?”

“Damn, I hurt myself. I think I fell last night,” she explains.

“You mean just once?” Frankie smirks, obviously harboring more memories than her.

“What? I tripped.”

Frankie steps away from her, mostly to create some distance now that Noor’s around and mocks her with expressions.

“You were standing still. Absolutely still. And then you fell,” she explains, partly demonstrating the act.

“Gravity and I were having an argument.”

Her cockiness sometimes drives Frankie crazy, but in a good way. Still, she’s not in a good mood yet, and it shows in the way she speaks.

“I bet you were.”

They finally leave the hallway to enter the kitchen area. That’s when the sisters feel confident enough to sit down in the couch. They tell each other how tired they are while stirring the little spoon in their cups of coffee. There’s an extra one on the counter and Frankie claims it. She heaves a troubled sigh.

“What the hell is wrong with you? You’ve been a bitch all morning,” Kennedy jokes.

Frankie’s startled by that accusation, so she puts her cup down again after slurping it briefly.

“You’ve been up for what, ten seconds?”

That’s when Noor suddenly resurfaces and clearly overhears the comment.

“She gets like that when she’s hungry,” she tells Kennedy, maybe a bit too confident.

Both the dancers just stare at her like she just said the most awkward thing. Maybe it was too intimate, too carefree, like she’s spend days and weeks and months with the dancer — and yes, she actually has. Like it’s a natural reflex to know everything about her. Frankie frowns, because the fact that Noor knows every little detail about her behavior and character troubles her now. As a way to make it all better, Kennedy draws her attention.

“Do you want something to eat?”

Frankie wants to lie. She wants to lie so badly just to prove Noor wrong. But her stomach is twisting and turning. She nods. That’s when Noor proudly laughs to herself. It’s exactly what Frankie tried to avoid, so she bites her teeth.

“I’ll make you some pancakes. Maybe even an omelet. Just talk to Noor, I’ll be done in a second.”

Kennedy turns to the sisters and raises her voice: “Want some pancakes? I’m, like, an awesome pancake ninja.”

They all nod excitedly. Frankie takes Noor’s hand — shivers immediately run down their spines — and drags her outside. They stay quiet for a while, as life passes the front door just like any other day. Ultimately, Noor kicks the conversation back into action.

“You seem mad.”

“I’m not mad.”

“Then why are you acting this way?”

“Why are you here, Noor? You shouldn’t be here.”

The singer stares around the place, looking for possible paparazzi to follow her every move. But this is a quite town. They don’t follow her here. Not yet.

“Because I haven’t seen you in months and I miss you. How did I become the bad guy here? What does this woman have on you that I don’t?”

Frankie just shakes her head, too afraid to show her true feelings. She was doing great. Sure, she was messing up and messing around, but at least she didn’t cry herself to sleep over missing Noor anymore.

“She treats me right,” the blonde says, though poorly convincing. 

“Why didn’t you text me back? Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong? It’s rude to just ignore me.”

Frankie sighs and crosses both arms defensively: “It’s for the best, Noor.”

“You never apologize for anything. Why don’t you ever say you’re sorry?”

Noor is getting worked up by now. Because Frankie doesn’t seem to be happy to see her. Is she the only one that missed the other? Has Frankie just forgotten all about her?

“If I have to say sorry for every single thing I do wrong, I’ll be saying it as a welcoming phrase, I’ll use it after every sentence. I’ll write it on every paper I’ll ever see. See, there’s a thin line between sassy and being a dick head. I cross it every day. Saying sorry all the time would be exhausting, because I’m a disaster.”

Noor steps up to her and grabs her hand. It feels soft and warm. Frankie’s hair a mess, but she still thinks it’s beautiful. Her eyes are small and red, she still gets lost in them.

“Don’t say that. You are exceptional. You are like a breath of fresh air — and I’ve been gasping for it ever since we parted.”

Frankie just stands there, painfully trying to avoid eye contact as her eyes are filling up with lost tears. They can’t be doing this right now. They said goodbye, many times before. She left, after Miguel died. Everything’s different now. Maybe for the better.

“Do you love her?” Noor asks, as she takes another step closer to her target.

Frankie shrugs: “We have an incredible bond, it focuses solely around alcohol and sex.”

The superstar doesn’t buy the act. She knows who this girl is. How she functions, how she cares and loves. 

“So that’s what you want? A fuck buddy instead of someone who loves you?”

“We already talked about this, Noor. You have Aiden. I’m fine.”

She clears her throat to try that one again.

“I’ll be fine.”

“I don’t want you to be fine,” Noor says. “I want you to be amazing.”

“Well, then maybe you should leave.”

It could be the truth. If they keep searching for each other, keep meeting like this, nothing will ever change between them. 

“I just don’t get it, okay?” Noor whispers, barely holding onto the fingers of her beloved lady anymore. “You’re still with Kennedy. Even after you told me how you felt about me.”

The air is cold and the sky is dark. It might rain in a second. Lightening might strike. Frankie would love that. But unfortunately, she loves a lot of things. Doesn’t mean she can have them all.

“Yes. I guess we’re all entitled to make one mistake, right?” she sighs.

“Don’t act like we have nothing to talk about.”

Noor’s eyes are the ones that are teared up by now. She can’t stand it when Frankie’s acting all distant — all uninterested. She realized that this is her self-defense mechanism. She knows she tries to live up to her promise. But Noor loves this girl. She loves her with an intensity that cannot be put into words. She misses her during the day and in between lonely moments at night. Standing in front of her only confirms that suspicion. She’s not feeling this worked up or frustrated or weirdly in love with Aiden. When Aiden’s around, she cares. But she doesn’t crave for him to be close. She doesn’t dream about him putting his hands on her. She doesn’t desire the taste of his lips. Not anymore. And even if she ever did, that feeling was never this strong, this persistent, this wanting and confronting. The things that Frankie does to her are transcendental. It comes from outer space. But she’s afraid. Afraid to leave every single aspect of her life behind. Afraid of what people will think and say — to lose her fans. To lose her career. She’s afraid to make a promise to Frankie. 

“Well, maybe we don’t,” Frankie quietly mumbles, pulling herself away from the warmth of Noor’s touch and the sensation of feeling her skin on hers. 

The blonde walks back toward the front door and contains herself from looking back. She enters the house and closes the door behind her. When she does, she falls back against the hard, dark wood and slowly lowers herself to the ground. The house smells like pancakes … and all she can do is cry.


“We have to go!” Ellie insists with determination in her voice that stretches across the entire hallway of their parents’ home.

“Why?” Frankie growls.

She’s seen plenty of concerts. Especially Noor’s. In fact, she was part of them. She experienced the entire length of the sensation, heard the fans scream, saw the girls cry and boys containing themselves from dancing just to appear cool. She has stepped away from music, from having fun to the rhythm of songs and moving to the beat. 

Plus, she hasn’t seen Noor since their little awkward encounter at the front door. It’s been twenty-six days. But now the singer has a new album, Forever. It skyrocketed on the charts and left all the other artists dazzled and confused. It’s supposed to be honest and emotional. Frankie wouldn’t know. She hasn’t listened to it, though Kennedy gave her a copy last week. Noor’s voice is magic. It’s purity and fragilely real. It’s like listening to your own struggles and insecurities while those struggles and insecurities grab a piece of wood and smack you in the face. Listening to it might break her heart. 

“Come on. Noor send me tickets. She asked me to drag you along.”

Frankie looks up to her little sister and shakes her head.

“Why don’t you just ask your boyfriend to join you? I bet that little sponge would love to hold your hand throughout ninety-nine percent of the romantic songs.”

Ellie just looks at her annoyed, but decides to smile: “What makes you think he wouldn’t a hundred percent?”

Just how the entire story of Frankie ending up at a concert with her other sister started, this one escalated exactly the same way. Nagging, begging, emotional blackmail — it all leads to Frankie moping in the passenger seat of Ellie’s car, on the way to the Music Hall Arena nearby. 

“I don’t think this is a good idea.”

Ellie turns to her and scoffs: “This is an amazing idea. You love music, Frankie. You’ve fought with mom and dad for years over it.”

Frankie stares out of the window into the nothingness. She sighs.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have.”

They park near the entrance — VIP parking privilege — and enter the large building which contains thousands of enthusiastic fans. Ellie buys them both a drink and leads the way to their seats. The place is dark and it’s bloody warm. Frankie wishes she was home. Mostly because she’ll loose all her resistance once Noor appears on that stage. The star will prove to be excellent and magnificent as usual. She’ll radiate beauty and geniality. And Frankie’s heart will falter. It’ll destroy its own-build walls around it. The blonde nervously inhales and exhales. She’s not ready for this.


The superstar enters through the ground, like she did before and the crowd goes wild. She starts the concert with her biggest hit ever, Crystal Lights. Everyone is screaming like crazy — Ellie is fanatically applauding every other second and blowing her vocal cords by yelling all childishly. And then there’s Frankie, being captivated by the vision of her beloved Noor, pacing up and down the massive and impressive stage, dancing along with the dancers — Frankie recognizes neither of them — and singing her heart out. Her moves are impeccable, her voice sounds angelic. The first hour passes and not one of the fans has stood still, not even during the more emotional and romantic songs. Frankie has watched them all, remembering what this used to do to her. She spots people dancing and enjoying themselves. She recognizes the sound of laughter and love. Ellie grabs her hand, making sure she’s okay. Frankie nods to assure her.

But then Noor has people reeling in a white piano on stage. She sits down on the little stool, which is shaped as a boombox, and clears her throat to talk to the audience. She does that a lot, you see. The singer likes to interact with them, let them know she’s aware of their support and ongoing appreciation of her belting out songs.

“So, this one is another one from the new album.”

The crowd immediately starts to scream and it makes her laugh. Frankie notices the cute dimples on the big screens that show her the zoomed in version of the superstar’s face. She’s all sweaty and red, but obviously, taking a break is something Noor never even considers. 

“I wrote this a while ago and at first, it wasn’t supposed to end up on Forever. But I insisted, because it means a lot to me.” 

The thousands of people are quiet now, all listening to the magical voice of their idol. Frankie looks at her with sad eyes.

“Do you guys know that feeling when you want to make a promise to someone, but you know you can’t?”

She holds a hand near her ear to hear the fans react and in return, there’s confirming cheering. Ellie faces Frankie, who’s just silently listening to the words echoing through the arena. Something tells her this isn’t just a song.

“Well,” Noor smiles after hearing the massive response. “I’ll think you will all be able to relate to this.”

She hits the first couple of notes and Frankie seems to remember them. It reminds her of that night at the hotel, when Noor was playing around with that ugly, plastic guitar.

“Those who bought the album, sing along. Those who haven’t — what are you guys even doing here?” the singer jokes to ease her own nerves.

She starts playing the piano like a professional and that makes Frankie smile at last. Apart from being a singer, Noor’s a talented musician and dancer as well. She’s the full package. The one who does it all and can’t be bothered with it. Her band plays along. There’s the silent participation of a guitar, a bass, drums and a trumpet. They meddle to form the perfect harmony. It’s slow, but not too slow. It’s calm, but still loud enough to get you hooked. It takes you to the perfect sunset on a beach, to the nights in bed when you listen to a thunderstorm, to the empty roads during car trips. To that day at the abandoned pool, on Frankie’s birthday. 

“The way we met, so transcendental, 

I guess I have my heart to blame.

Your careless voice, it drove me mental, 

a heartbeat’s never felt the same.

Had to touch, never stopped glancing, 

piercing eyes drove me insane.

Chased you down, ended up dancing, 

I took you out, you took the pain.

I drive around a million circles, 

think you came from outer space.

You make me laugh and act all crazy,

Lost something I can’t replace.

Know one day, I’ll make a promise,

I’ll be that hero that you need.

One day I’ll know what’s missing

by standing up — accept defeat.

See, we might never rule the world,

or find a kingdom at our feet.

But one day I’ll make a promise,

to be the only queen you’ll ever need.

You are fresh air, a nice surprise,

a side of me I did not know.

Blue and brown, just staring eyes,

As time goes by, the feelings grow.

Belong to him, shouldn’t be dreaming

dreams tell me to take it slow,

Fear breaks out, tears are streaming,

I’ll go wherever you will go.

I drive around a million circles, 

Think you came from outer space.

You make me laugh and act all crazy,

Lost something I can’t replace.

Know one day, I’ll make a promise,

I’ll be that hero that you need.

One day I’ll know what’s missing

by standing up — accept defeat.

See, we might never rule the world,

or find a kingdom at our feet.

But one day I’ll make a promise,

to be the only queen you’ll ever need.

Yeah, one day, I’ll make that promise.

I’ll be the hero.

I’ll be the queen, 

I’ll never leave.”

Frankie’s eyes are blood-red by the time the song ends. Her heart is racing like it’s about to burst from her chest, yet her entire body feels paralyzed. Ellie is looking at her, catching her breath repeatedly. There’s no coincidence when it comes to the lyrics. This is about them — about their journey — about all the conversations they’ve ever had. And the ones that never took place. More than that, the song sparked a feeling she thought that was lost. It made her feel the rhythm, the melody, the tragically perfect orchestrated combination of instruments and sheet music. It reminded her of the first time she ever danced in a music studio, the first time she met Noor. That morning they danced in the mansion/cabin and didn’t care about the world while it lasted. It took her back to Berlin and Brussels and Amsterdam. Noor’s birthday party. Her own.

The dancer finally manages to get up and decides to walk away. Ellie follows her lead, though she would’ve loved to finish the entire magnificence that is this concert. They get intruded on their way out by David, who seems both happy as frustrated to finally run into Frankie again after all this time.

“Frankie. How are you?”

They haven’t seen each other since it happened. He knows she’s been deeply impacted by the horrible accident months ago. He knew Miguel was her best friend. 

“I’m fine. I was just on my way out,” Frankie tells him, rubbing her eyes clean.

David nods compassionately and then softly smiles: “Could you do me a favor? Like, this one little thing, just for old times sake?”

Frankie briefly looks at Ellie and sighs. This is a trap. It must be.

“What is it?”

“The show will be done in a couple of minutes. I want you to do something for the dancers.”

“I’m not a dancer anymore,” she quickly informs him.

“I know. Which is a tragedy,” he smirks gently as he remembers her elegant moves.

“No, what happened was a tragedy. Me not dancing, that’s perfectly okay.”

Her comeback is raw and honest and David averts his sight from both girls. After a few seconds, Frankie seems to calm down. She frowns apologetic.

“What is it?”

“Noor has asked me to come and get you. To see if you showed up. She wants to talk to you for a second.”

Frankie quickly rejects the offer: “I don’t feel like talking to her. Tell her I said thanks for the tickets. The concert was great, as always. The songs are great too. But I have to go now.”

“Do it for the dancers,” he interrupts her as fast as he can, finally revealing the trap part. “You know how she is after a show. Without you, she’ll just freak out again, on her search for imperfection and flaws.”

Ellie frowns — not familiar with the release of adrenaline after a performance — and pokes Frankie hard.

“Come on, she got us tickets. She’s like Beyonce 2.0. You can’t say no to her.”

Frankie looks at her and scrunches her eyebrows: “I can.”

“Well, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should,” Ellie reasons. “Now go, I’m sure David will hook me up with some backstage tickets as well.”

David looks at the lovely blonde and immediately starts to smile, all impressed. It shows that the girls are related. He reaches out his hand to her and promises to get her in if she just gives him a second. 


“I didn’t want to be here,” Frankie bravely confesses when she enters the dressing room. 

It smells like her. It looks like hers. It reminds her of every single dressing room she has had since they met. Noor is sitting in front of the massive mirror and stares at her through the reflection. She gasps, clearly surprised to see her face. Though part of Frankie’s annoyance was meant to sound funny, Noor isn’t sure how much David has pressured her to show up.

“You look great,” she tells her with a faint smile.

And with great, she means smoking hot. Frankie just smiles as if she has better things to do in life. She doesn’t. Noor gets up from her seat, retightens her bathrobe and walks over to her old friend. Her hand reaches out to touch the skin of the blonde, but Frankie quickly readjust her body to turn away. Noor insists, though, and calmly grasps onto her sleeve, only to lower her hand until their fingers are entwined. Frankie nervously sighs, as if it’s a burden to be this close. As if it cuts her in half. It hurts — physically — to feel the warmth of her body and she shakes her head desperately. 

“Don’t …” she whispers, almost a kind of begging.

But Noor’s other hand claps around her neck and she pulls her closer, until they are joined by their foreheads.

“I miss you,” the singer utters, nearly bursting into tears. “I miss you so much.”

Her heart is pounding like crazy and it’s not the only one. She moves in to kiss the dancer’s lips, but Frankie gently pulls back. Kissing her would make it impossible to walk away.

Noor’s not done yet. She moves her head up and down, caressing Frankie’s skin with it, making her absolutely aware she’s here — that they’re here. In it. Together. Feeling these feelings. And no matter how far they seem to run away from it, it always comes back to slap them across the face. It is now.

Words resurface in her mind. The ones she scribbled down in her MoodBook just hours ago.

‘If you don’t know if they’ll go or they’ll stay, it’s easier to just push them away.’

It’s a lie.


Previous Chapter ♥ Next Chapter

Frankie at Work – Chapter 11: Tragedy Strikes

Chapter Eleven — Tragedy Strikes


The earth stands still as tragedy hits the stage. Kennedy has Frankie’s hand in hers, while her dark eyes remain closed. There’s dust and clatter, there are noises and at the same time — a deafening silence. People are screaming in panic while all Frankie can do is stare around in confusion. A loud bang, that’s what shook the arena up. A loud, overruling thunder above their heads, as the dancers finished the last of the rehearsal in their sweat-soaked outfits. Frankie looks up and stares at the ceiling. It’s the place were all the lights and boxes hang from wires and ropes. It’s the place where metal constructions are aligned to orchestrate the concert. Tomorrow the tour will kick off. Tomorrow the entire circus will start again. And now there’s nothing but chaos and anxiety filling up the place. 

She snaps out of her infatuation once Kennedy pulls her aside. Her face is covered in smuts of grease and blood — such a weird combination.

“Are you okay?” the girl wonders, while putting both hands on Frankie’s bruised face with concern.

The blonde turns around and nods, suddenly searching for familiar faces. Her body hurts. Something might have hit her. Her eye feels bruised.

“Noor?” she stutters, suddenly overcome with fear.

“Noor’s not here, remember? Are you hurt? Did something hit you? What the hell happened?”

Kennedy looks up to the sky and heaves a panicking sigh. The stage collapsed. Out of nowhere, after all those hours of dancing, the stage collapsed. Like the sky fell down on them. The majority of the dancers are draped across the floor, which is now partly caved in. Kennedy lets go of Frankie’s hand and starts walking around the place, jumping over rolling bars and broken boxes that came falling from the sky. They were dancing, just a second ago — and now there’s tragedy. 

“Miguel,” Frankie suddenly remembers as she starts taking her first steps. “Where’s Miguel?”

Kennedy’s pulling people from under the ruins and stops to look at her, but she hasn’t got an answer to give. People are screaming, some are crying. In the corner of the room, Frankie notices Cameron, with a heavy bar pressuring down his upper body. She runs over to him, coughs through the dust and puts her warm hands on his face. He’s tearing up with pain and she’s afraid there’s nothing she can do to help him. This bar looks heavy. She gets up and tries to lift it — but fails. There’s no way in life she’ll be able to lift this thing. That’s when she starts shouting names to ask for help. Some of the dancers that got away with a couple of bruises and scratches quickly arrive. They join to lift the heavy metal from Cameron’s body and once’s he’s free, his real tears kick in. Maybe he’s overwhelmed with fear. Or happiness that he didn’t suffer worse.

“Where’s Miguel?” Frankie asks him, too overcome with concern to focus on his injuries.

Sirens reverberate in the background. The police and the fire department must be on their way. No wonder — the sound that came from the collapse was immense. All around them, there’s hysteria and madness. Frankie has never felt this lost in a crowd — so alone and distanced. 

“Where is he?” she pleads, as she turns her head around to find his face between all the others.

He’s not there and Cameron can’t tell her. He hasn’t seen Miguel in a while. She turns to a redhead, Jennifer, but she hasn’t got a clue either. No one does. Suddenly, in between all the drama and hysteria, Kennedy’s voice transcends everything. Frankie looks up to find her standing across the stage, across the large gap and the tons of materials. It seems so far away.

“He’s here!” Kennedy shouts at her pointing at the gap in the floor. “Miguel’s here.”


A silent knock on the door doesn’t make her look up once. When the door opens and Noor enters the cold room like a thief in the night, Frankie doesn’t move a muscle. All she can do is stare at the nothingness in front of her. At the endless sky streaming in through the hospital window. Her mind and body feel numb, though every time she moves a muscle, her entire body hurts. There are bandages wrapped around her head. There’s a bandaid on her upper arm and one near her collar bone. Noor walks over to her, with a stoic face and eyes that reflect a scared animal in front of headlights, and sits down next to her on the bed. She lays her hands carefully on Frankie’s bruised cheeks and heaves the most troubling sigh. The singer’s been worried sick about her. The second she heard about the stage disaster, she jumped in her car and raced straight to the hospital. It was dress rehearsal today. She was supposed to join them later, in an hour or two. The last one before the tour will start tomorrow. But that all didn’t matter after the news reached her ears. Because all Noor could think about was Frankie. Whether she was save. Whether she was hurt. Whether something hit her. She cried in the car. She was hysterical and she didn’t know how to handle her feelings. She drove faster than she ever did and nothing about it felt wrong. Because she would’ve gone even faster if she could. Something stopped her on the way to the reception after the pictures of the stage on some of her employers’ phones left her breathless. And that something was Kennedy. The girl grasped her hand and abruptly ended the hurried pace of her boss.

“Where is she?” Noor demanded to know without once wondering if the girl in front of her was all right. “Where’s Frankie?” 

“She’s in room 417,” Kennedy stuttered, exhausted and worn out. “Have you heard?”

Noor turned around all confused and scrunched her eyebrows. She saw all of her friends and colleagues. They were cramped up in this small room — all with bandages and bandaids or crutches to support their hurt bodies. It made her choke up. She had never seen such a scenery.

“Heard what?” she muttered .


Frankie hasn’t said a word since Noor walked in and the singer doesn’t know what to do about it. Her lean fingers stroke the pale, dirty skin of the girl next to her for the third time. They are sitting on a squeaky bed. This place seems worlds apart from the chaos Frankie just escaped from.

“Are you okay?”

It’s the softest voice that ever reverberated, filled with fear and sadness. Frankie finally faces her and leans her face into the caressing of Noor’s fingers for a while. Her eyes are closed, but the singer detects hurt and confusion. How can she help her? What can she do? There must be something.

“Frankie.”

When she says her name, those shivers return. The same shivers that run up and down her body. It’ll never change.

“Are you okay?”

Frankie then nods. She swallows down her lost tears.

“I’m fine,” she whispers.

But as the words leave her body. She fights back the hurt in her muscles and skin.

“Fine,” she repeats, less convincing.

She closes her eyes for a second and sighs away her frustration. Not a painkiller in the world could fix this right now.

“I’m fine,” she ultimately says as she clears her throat and sniffles.

Noor runs some fingers up and down her face, gently wiping away traces of dirt and grease. She softly touches the redness where Frankie must have bled a few minutes ago. It kills Noor to just think about it. 

Her act isn’t fooling anyone. Miguel died. Miguel died on that stage. He’s the only casualty. The only person tragically hit in the head that didn’t survive. Of all people, Frankie’s very best friend.

“That bad, huh, honey?” Noor concludes in a soft voice.

Her favorite girl in the world flashes heartbreaking eyes. Noor just broke her wall. 

“Yes.”

She bends forward and buries her body in the comforting arms of the woman she loves. The woman she hasn’t talked to in a while, the one she’s treaded badly and acted all distant to. Because it was for the best. It was a way of dealing with her feelings and the fact she’ll never be with her. It was to protect Noor and her career. That’s when she starts to cry uncontrollably. Being in Noor’s embrace has that effect on her. She’s allowed to let it all out — worse: she can’t help it. The dark-haired beauty doesn’t judge or talk. She just holds her tightly and soothes the loud, hiccuping and devastating sounds of the blonde. 

“Can we, just, not act all distant right now?” Frankie begs her a minute later, after her first wave of emotions have passed. “Can we just talk and support each other and forget about the fact that I have feelings for you and I’m being this really big bitch about it, just for a second? For one night? Because I really, really need my best friend right now to talk to and it’s like … I’m missing you so hard. I miss you every single second you are not near. And not being able to talk to you is … it’s the worst thing that ever happened to me. And I really need you right now.”

Noor nods. She feels the same way. Frankie tried to live up to her promise. She tried to stay away after their little talk in Frankie’s backyard. It was so hard. So devastatingly hard. But they managed. 

“Okay,” Noor says quietly. “I’m here.”

Frankie breaks down in pieces, right in front of her eyes. And Noor doesn’t need to pick them up or glue them back together. She just ignores the brokenness and sees her for the complete person that she is. The singer holds her while she cries her heart out — she holds her tight and doesn’t say a word for hours. It’s the thing you are only able to do with people you entrust your heart to.

Neither of the girls know how much time has passed when Frankie sits back up and leaves Noor’s comforting arms. The superstar wipes the tears away with some fingers and smiles — even if it is to make Frankie seem less sad. It’s not working, though.

“What do you want? Tell, me! Whatever it is, I’ll get it for you and it’ll make you feel better. Just … what do you want?” she wonders.

She’s willing to fly her around the world if that’s what it takes. Or home. She could fly her home to her parents and sisters. They are hours away from here.

Frankie blinks a few times and looks numbed and sedated at once. Her phone’s been buzzing like crazy, but Kennedy took care of most of the panicking calls for her the first hour. After a moment of silence, she stares right at her. She feels it in her bones. She feels it in her heart and head. There’s only one answer. One that will do all her feelings justice. One that shouldn’t be said but is dying to come out.

“I want you.” 

It’s so quiet and soft that Noor could’ve easily misheard.

“I want you,” Frankie whispers while the tragedy of her words invade her heart. “I’ve always wanted you.”

Noor closes her eyes briefly and inhales sharp strings of air. 

“Wait, Frankie. I thought we settled this — that we were waiting or stopping  or — that this was …”

The blonde nods and swallows deeply, which hurts as well. She thought that too. But then again, she thought a lot of things just a few hours ago. And yet, everything has changed. Abruptly, suddenly, without a warning. Life was easy and careless. It revolved around dancing and working. She stepped back from Noor and blurred her mind with other things. Noor kept her careless life, Frankie kept dancing. But then the stage collapsed. Miguel died. The world changed. Perspective changed.

“Well, I thought that too,” Frankie says. 

She’s fighting back the tears but keeps her cool at the same time. 

“I thought I could get over it. But’s it’s grown to be much more serious to just flirt and play anymore. I am jealous of every second he gets to spend with you. And I’m going crazy just thinking about you sleeping next to him instead of me.”

Noor puts her hand on the rising chest in front of her.

“Frankie …”

She cannot do this right now. The adrenaline is speaking. Not one single person of their entourage is thinking clearly now. Not even Noor. She might just say yes. She might just give Aiden up in the blink of an eye after today’s events if Frankie keeps talking. That scares her tremendously. The dancer looks at her and holds onto the hand that’s touching the skin close to her heart. 

“I have fallen in love with you. Hard. Like, falling from the sky, missing all the branches of the tree to break my fall on my way down, smack to death on a concrete floor instead of a trampoline kind of hard. And I don’t want to play anymore. But I know I should. I have to.”

The confession takes the singer’s breath away. Her heart is racing and her senses are going wild. She has never heard anyone being so honest and brutally confronting. Because everything she just heard, it reflects her own feelings. It’s the exact same spell infecting her body and soul. She’s in love with Frankie too. She might have been from the second she laid eyes on her. It took her a while to figure it out, but there’s no denying it. Not anymore. 

“Frankie, I’m …”

Noor’s just stuttering words. They are unordered and spontaneous and confusing. Frankie notices.

“I know. I know, it’s … I have to go.”

Frankie tries to get up, but Noor stops her by getting up herself and pushing the dancer back down. Her face is overcome with expressions of pain. She must have been hit hard.

“No,” Noor gently tells her, while keeping her hand just a little longer on that bruised skin. “You stay. I’ll have someone pick up your family. They’ll be here in a few hours, okay? Just stay in this bed …”

Her voice breaks for the smallest second, so she needs to pick herself up again to continue. 

“… and get better and sleep until they arrive. Please, Frankie, do that for me? Promise me.”

Frankie closes her eyes and refrains from bursting into tears. She nods and turns away from Noor to inhale deeply. Noor bends forward and kisses her temple with so much love it might just be the sweetest gesture in the world. It might be her confession of love. She’s dying to, but she can’t tell her. She can’t tell her she feels the same. Because of her career. Because of Aiden. Because of her marriage. Her vows. Frankie’s promise. That talk in the backyard.

“I can’t be your best friend anymore, can I?” she wonders, after softly caressing the face she once kissed so fiercely. 

It tasted great. It still tastes great in her memory.

“No,” Frankie mutters, averting from her. “I don’t think you can.”

Noor pulls her hand back and realizes where this has ended up. This thing she has with Frankie, it’s epic. It’s the purest thing she’s ever experienced. And in order to be able to get passed that, she must walk away — don’t treat her as her best friend anymore. It’ll tear her apart, because those feelings are so very strong. It’s the only option. They both realize that. It took a tragedy to accept the truth.

“I don’t think I can either.”


The tour ends before it even starts. Noor cancels the four-month journey across the world. Tickets are returned and refunded. Fans are disappointed, but understanding. The dancers split the entourage as if they were never part of it. Some of them got bad enough injuries to never professionally dance again. Miguel gets buried on a rainy Thursday morning and it’s the saddest damn thing in the world. Frankie cries throughout the entire ceremony, while Noor seems a million miles away from her. Except she’s not. She’s standing two rows behind her, watching her every move, every shake of her shoulders going up and down from crying. It’s breaking her heart and there’s nothing she can do to make it better. Aiden holds his wife’s hand to comfort her, but Noor realizes she’s too worried about Frankie to cry herself. 

Frankie resigns as a background dancer and doesn’t even call Noor to inform her. The singer gets over that disappointment rather fast. She understands that Frankie’s grieving. Noor is on a media turmoil of interviews and expressing her sentiment for the family of her deceased dancer. Tabloids post the horrible pictures of the stage. The management sues the arena and the stage builders. They win. Miguel’s relatives receive a large amount of money to ease their pain. But will it ever? Noor ultimately returns to the studio to create her new album. It’ll be paced down and emotional, to honor the tragedy that hit her world tour. Noor doesn’t tell the world press that it’ll be to write off the pain of missing Frankie too. She’s missing her with every heartbeat and every second that passes — and there is absolutely nothing she can do about it.

Months pass and Noor still hasn’t heard from that pretty blonde that shook up her entire life. Her life seems meaningless and directed by others. Aiden is being a perfect husband. David drags her from photoshoots to arenas, but it doesn’t feel real anymore. Singing for all those fans is different now. It’s not as important anymore as seeing Frankie smile. As knowing she’s safe and happy. If only she were happy.

Somehow, she hoped the girl would’ve reached out to her by now. That she’d be missing her as well. Aiden gets to see her on occasions. They attend sports games and meet when he’s in town. It’s like Noor’s being left out on purpose. And nobody even notices.

Her house feels deserted. Frankie no longer spends nights in the spare bedroom anymore. She doesn’t roam the halls of the arenas with her underwear on her head to make others laugh. They don’t sleep in the same bed anymore. Noor can’t sleep at all, at night.


“Are you having fun?”

Aiden turns his head to a numbed Frankie and pokes her shoulder playfully. She looks up and smiles — faintly. 

“This is great. Thank you.”

He frowns in a disappointed way: “You don’t really burst from enthusiasm. Want to get out of here?”

“No,” Frankie insists while turning back to the baseball game happening in front of them. “It’s good to be out here.”

Aiden offers her some chips, but she kindly declines. Her mind’s not at this game. Her mind’s with Miguel. It happened six months ago this day. It’s almost an anniversary. They watch the game in silence and as time passes, Frankie downs more and more cups of beer. She’s getting buzzed and likes the feeling of not caring that much anymore. Aiden is worried, but he lets her. He understands that she needs this, especially today. When the game ends, a line of paparazzi welcomes them at the exit. He supports her body with his strong arms as he charmingly waves at the gathered photographers. Nobody notices just how drunk his mate is. 

“Don’t you hate that your life is directed by strangers?” she asks.

He just nods.

It’s late at night when he puts her to bed. For a while, he sits at her side, patiently waiting for her to fall asleep. June walks in after work and nearly scares herself to death when she sees him through the open door of Frankie’s bedroom. He just puts his index finger on his lips to shush her. Frankie’s eyes just closed. They are wet from crying. It broke his heart. When he leaves the room and pulls the door silently into its lock, June’s startled expression amuses him.

“Hi, I’m not sure we met appropriately. I’m Aiden Stonewell.”

“I know,” the brunette mutters. “I’m June.”

It makes him smile. 

“What happened? Did she get drunk again?”

It sounds demeaning and criticizing. He now understands why Frankie calls their relationship fractured. 

“She lost a friend. She went through a terrible thing. A whole stage collapsed on top of her. She’s allowed to act out for a little while.”

But June disagrees: “Frankie’s no saint. She’s always been the dysfunctional one of the family. Never really has a job, always out until sunrise, terrible taste in girlfriends, …”

Aiden walks past her, heading toward the front door. His blood is starting to boil. Frankie does have a job — or at least she had. She was a professional dancer for the biggest star in the music industry. Despite that, she chose to educate children in her free time and help out at her sister’s restaurant whenever she could. She trained every single day to perfect her dancing skills. There’s nobody who works harder than his friend, maybe not even Noor.

“Not everyone is perfect, June,” he tells her, embracing his own mistakes and flaws before holding on to the handle. “Doesn’t mean they stopped trying to make the best of it.”

He shuts the door behind him after wishing her a good night’s rest. June aims her sight at the locked doors surrounding her. Great, now he thinks she’s an ass. 


“Morris! Get up!”

It’s late at night when Aiden stands in front of her. She’s positioned on the floor, outside a trendy club in midtown. Her dazzled eyes look up and she recognizes him eventually. He’s not angry or upset, he’s just worried. His arms go searching for hers, so he can get her off the ground. It took her an hour before she realized there was no way she’d be able to get home on her own. All her friends left hours ago, Kennedy didn’t even join. When she grabbed her phone, she automatically went searching for the name she adores. Noor. Her fingers almost pressed the green button. But she didn’t. She couldn’t. Calling Noor now would’ve broken her completely. She felt messed up enough already. God, she misses her. She misses her with every breath she takes, every second that passes. She misses her voice and the way she chuckles whenever Frankie’s acting all goofy. The only thing keeping her close are the pictures in tabloids. Pictures of her at events or concerts. Photoshoots for famous brands and interviews. Pictures with fans. But that’s nothing compared to the memory of touching her skin — of kissing her lips. 

Frankie ultimately ended up calling the husband. A for effort. He’s been her buddy for the last couple of months, the one that drags her along with his friends to sports events and great parties. But Aiden’s getting tired. There’s work. Acting is a demanding job. And Noor requires a lot of his time as well, now that he’s behaving so perfectly. They go out to fancy restaurants, take romantic walks in the mountains or strut the red carpets while holding hands. It’s painfully visible for Frankie. Every page she turns is a scrapbook of the relationship she cannot have — the one her best friend has. With her other best friend. There used to be Miguel. He’s gone too. All because of her ridiculous obsession with Noor. Her obsession with dancing and making it in that industry. Her obsession to include him in her dreams. Now he’s dead. 

She wrote in her MoodBook this evening, right before she headed out the door and got wasted. ‘You left — and you took everything from me with you.’ She wasn’t really sure who she was talking about.

Aiden pulls her up and guides her to his car. Photographers snap some pictures and he kindly ask them to stop. They don’t listen. After he hits the road, Frankie turns her head to him.

“Thank you.”

“No problem,” he says.

It remains quiet for a while. Frankie’s trying really hard not to throw up in this million dollar car. Well, maybe it’s not that expensive. Aiden looks at her and sighs. There must be a way to cheer her up — to lighten up the mood. He clears his throat and blinks a few times. He was fast asleep when she called him. Noor jumped up in a panic, wondering whoever dared to call at such an unholy hour. He said it was Frankie, which shut her up immediately. After the call ended, he explained what happened. Frankie was drunk and lost. She didn’t know how to get home. Noor begged him to go get her. When he suggested she should join him, the singer declined. Aiden just nodded and turned his head away from her.

“I met June after I drove you home and put you to bed last week. Must say, she’s quite the character. Are you sure you’re related?” he asks.

Frankie smirks and faces the street lanterns.

“I’ve had my doubts,” she says calmly. “But mom insists it wasn’t the milkman.”

Aiden pats her leg to offer some comfort. She apologizes once more for dragging him out of bed, but he says it’s fine once more.

“Mind if I ask … Why didn’t you call your parents? Or your sisters? Noor once told me you were a close family.”

“We’re close and at the same time, we’re not,” Frankie tells him. “We hang out a lot, spend every Christmas and holiday together. We gather to talk about work and gossip about other relatives. But it’s not like I share my emotions. Maybe with Ellie, but that’s it. The truth is, they make a great family as long as I’m not there.”

“What does that mean?” Aiden wonders as he switches driving lanes and checks his rear-view mirror.

“I’m the special one. But not in a remarkable way,” Frankie explains with a soft voice and small eyes. “I’m the sister that doesn’t fit in because she can’t bring herself to talk about fashion or gossip, and instead, rather talks about culture or parties. We’re miles and miles apart, but this family thing, it keeps us together. It’s a rope that has us enchained and no matter what, our surname, our legacy, our family tradition keeps us tied to it. There’s no way escaping it. I’m the lonely one. The one that peeps from the corner, the one who doesn’t understand what the hell keeps them entertained. And because they are family, I’m never allowed to leave them. So they are kind of my charity event every week. I keep going back to them, even though nothing — not a single, freaking state of mind — keeps me connected to them. And despite all of that: I love them.”

Aiden nods and thinks about his own family. Families are never perfect. Still, you fight for them. Because if you don’t even fight for those related by blood, what’s the point, right?

Frankie’s concentrating really hard to keep her breathing controlled. It’ll keep the nausea away as much as possible. Her friend sees her stoic expression, notices how she keeps her eyes closed. His fingers press a button and her window lowers a little bit.

“Fresh air might help,” he explains.

His mind is wandering. It brings him to places where he never thought to see his friend. She’s messed up right now. She’s seriously hurting. And this isn’t helping. For a while, he thought it was fine. Acting out sometimes help to process things. But after a while, it has to stop. She hasn’t even danced in months. Not a single move, not a little twirl. She backed away from it without any explanation or reasoning. It might remind her too much of her childhood years, where she frantically practiced every day in her room, with the enthusiastic and funny Miguel by her side. 

“This is the third time this month I have to come and pick you up in such a state,” he says. “See, Frankie, I don’t care if you want to go out until sunrise and get hammered. I’m not your father. I don’t care if you get lost on your way home and you have to call me in the middle of the night. I don’t care that this is your way of mourning. It’s your right to go crazy and wild over what happened.”

He pushes the gear shift and stares into the darkness of the night. That’s when he lowers his head briefly before opening his mouth again.

“I don’t even care if you’re sleeping with her,” he calmly adds.

Frankie looks up to him with wide eyes. Her heart stops beating instantly. What did he just say?

He swallows disoriented and shakes his head: “Or maybe I do. I don’t know. Noor and I — we’ve come a long way. I screwed up plenty of times. But I love her, okay? I adore her. She’s my wife. I can’t imagine my life without her. I won’t survive. Please don’t take her away from me.”

Frankie’s too ashamed and overcome with surprise to even say a thing. She just stares at him, feeling utterly disgusted by her own actions. Suddenly, the nausea returns. After a couple of seconds, she heaves a troubled sigh. How can she ever say the right thing?

“I’m not sleeping with her,” she says. 

Frankie’s not even sure if she’s telling the truth. Apart from that one-time-event at Noor’s birthday, they didn’t actually have sex again. But whatever they were doing might be so much worse. 

“I know she loves you,” Aiden resumes with a soft voice, as if it’s the most natural conversation in the world. “She’s crazy about you. I see it when you’re at the house. It took me a while to realize what’s going on. Her eyes light up when she sees you. Her mood changes drastically whenever you enter the room. She cries when she misses you. I get it. You’re one of my best friends. I could fall in love with you in an instant. But you have to realize that, as long as you’re around, Noor can’t love me too. And she needs to love me. We made a vow. I promised to forever stand by her side and I intend on doing that. I sobered up, changed my ways, I haven’t flirted with a girl in months, you know that. It’s not even a big deal, because I have her. So I want you to leave her alone, Frankie. I am asking you very politely to leave my wife alone — to save my marriage. Could you do that?”

She’s sitting in the passenger seat of his black SUV. He just got out of bed at two a.m. to pick her up after a desperate call. He’s driving her all the way home, just because she asked. He’s a good friend to her. He’s a great friend, actually. Never has he ever disappointed her in this relationship — and look at her, betraying him in the worst way possible.

“Okay,” she whispers.

It’s done. They don’t say another word after that anymore. Noor texts her that night to see if she’s okay. Frankie turns off her phone.


 

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Frankie at work – Chapter 6: Utter Confusion

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?” Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 6: Utter Confusion”

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 2: Miguel

Miguel


 

“What do you mean, you went on this small trip with Noor?”
June is standing in front of her, all defensive and — not to mention — mad. Frankie completely bailed on her and she’s not happy about it. Sure, she hung out with the rest of that famous crew for the rest of the night and scored the number of a famous producer, but still — there are boundaries. The youngest of the sisters clacks her tongue and resorts to silence to come up with a decent explanation, but there isn’t one. It’s late and Frankie’s feeling tired. All she wants to do is go to sleep. In her own bed this time.
“Where did you go?”
“Just somewhere out of town. Into the woods.”
June frowns: “The woods?”
“Yeah. The woods. It was fun.” Continue reading “Frankie at work – Chapter 2: Miguel”