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 8: Crazy emotions

Chapter Eight — Crazy Emotions


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frankie at work – Chapter 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 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”

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

Chapter 1: It’s Probably A Bad Idea


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

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

Amaranth 

2020


 

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

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

AA-meetings – Chapter 21: Abattoir

Abattoir

2020


“You look like shit,” George laughs when he walks into the bedroom of the girls.

Alex is spread across the bed. Amy’s lying next to her – upside down. She’s practically hugging her wife’s leg. In the living room, the bald man passed the spiritless bodies of his nephew and his girlfriend. They ended up on the couch. Susan – well, nobody really knows where she disappeared to with that rocker boy. It was a memorable party. So memorable nobody remembers a damn thing. How the hell did they even get home? Sure the paparazzi will show them in a few hours.

Alex opens an eye and immediately realizes that last night might be one of the dumbest ideas she’s ever had.

“Dad, what are you doing here?” she mumbles while covering her face under the sheets.

There’s barely any light, yet it’s killing her. Her old man tries to find the fun side in all of it, but he’s well aware that his daughter shouldn’t be drinking. He just came to check up on his little girl.

“It reeks like alcohol in here.”

“I dropped a bottle,” Alex explains while reminding herself not to puke.

She crawls on her knees and is so proud of herself after discovering she put on a pajama when she got home. No memory of that what so ever.

“In your mouth?” her father smiles.

She needs a second to remember what the conversation is about. Oh, right. Bottles. There have been a lot of those yesterday. Very expensive champagne bottles.

“I drank like an immortal last night. So excuse me while I’m having the hangover of my life,” she apologizes.

He gets her up on her feet and immediately notices how worn out she is.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

She nods. Going out might not have been the best idea, but it was the most fun. She’d be miserable if she had missed it. Not that she’s feeling any better right now. When she quickly glances at her wife, she can’t help but smile. Amy looks like a drowned cat covered in piles of sheets and towels – head down. Did she take a shower late last night before dropping into bed? Did she jump into a fountain? Who knows?

Ten minutes later, she’s seated at the kitchen counter, cupping a strong cup of coffee her daddy made her, wearing shades. David and Julia continue their beauty sleep in the living room.

Alex’s body feels week and all her muscles are cramped. The sunglasses covering her eyes are hilarious, especially with her fluffy hair pointing in all directions. Ultimately, Amy joins them and she can’t stop yawning for a solid fifteen minutes. George snickers.

“Yesterday was awesome,” the blonde whispers with a sore throat after tenderly kissing her wife. “Today is horrible.”

She reaches for the sunglasses on Alex’s nose, but the Latina playfully fights her off. George softly smiles over the cute interaction. These girls have been lighting up his life ever since they stepped into it. They forget about the presence of Alex’s father for a while and pull each other close for a loving kiss, arms wrapped around each other. Even hungover, they can’t stop this behavior.

“Are you okay?” Amy asks all concerned when they part.

Her fingers linger over the cheeks she adores to smooch while her eyes execute a thorough examination of her wife’s body. Alex nods and can’t help but think all of this worrying is dead-cute.

“I love these sunglasses. Am I staring at that painting? Am I staring at your boobs? Who knows!?” the model jokes the most obvious joke.

She buries her head between Amy’s braless chest and makes the blonde giggle. George holds up his hand in a protesting way and sighs.

“Enough, enough,” he orders them. “You’ve had all night to do that.”

Amy scoffs and takes a sip from her lover’s cup of hot coffee.

“You’d think. But someone passed out the second we got home,” she smirks. “Right after she told me she had superpowers. She took a cute, little run-up and jumped on the bed.”

Amy holds her hand up in the air to demonstrate the curve of Alex’s movement. George patiently awaits the next part, but the girl just shrugs.

“And that was it. She fell asleep right that second. Nothing but drool and snoring for the next few hours. Quite the superpowers.”

Alex’s small fingers poke her wife, but her movements suddenly completely stop. A stinging feeling just passed her ribcage and that didn’t feel right. Nothing that didn’t happen before, though. She’s used to it by now.

“You can’t do this to your body, Alex. It’s not good for you,” George gently explains after witnessing the change in her behavior.

“I can do whatever I want, dad. Sad truth,” Alex coughs while shutting her eyes tightly.

She breaths in and out. And again. It slowly starts to feel better. Amy carefully and supportively caresses her cheek, hoping the soft gesture might help her get through it.

“No one listens to me anymore,” the old man mumbles as he rolls his eyes.

Amy, completely absorbed by the intensity of pain that’s taking control of Alex’s face, looks up all confused and frowns: “I’m sorry. You were saying?”


Dr. De Weerdt has started an experimental treatment he used in Belgium a few times. In some cases, it worked. In others, it failed terribly. Alex doesn’t care, though. As long as she’s trying, she’ll feel better about herself. Because if she won’t, it’d mean she’s giving up. And she can’t do that. She owes Amy her best effort – her biggest fight. The girls are preparing for another stay at the hospital. Normally, Alex will stay there for about two weeks. But that might change along the way. She’s weak right now. Weaker than usual. Her sickness is catching up with her energy level. The New Year’s Eve party last week took about all she could handle. Ever since then, she has laid in bed and slept. Amy took work home and spent all her free time by her side: computer on her lap, Alex’s head on her shoulder. When their friends wanted to visit, Amy urged them to keep their distance for a while. Alex hated that people could see her like this and her wife understood.

“Sweetie, have you seen my glasses?” Alex annoyingly sighs through the apartment. “I’m in a situation where I’m aware that I own glasses but I lost the glasses and now I need the glasses to find the glasses.”

Amy’s astonished about that little literary work of art and smiles. When she walks into the living room, she finds her wife heavily panting on the couch. She must have gone through the apartment, searching for the glasses she loathes so intensely. The smallest movement seems to be a lot of work lately.

“Here,” Amy says, while holding them up for her to see – they were in the bedroom. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

Alex smiles as she puts the black instrument on her nose and heaves a relieved sigh once she recognizes the things around her.

“You can talk to me for two minutes if you like,” she amusingly assures her.

Her hand faintly pats the empty seat on the couch. Alex’s body is drained, hence the lack of enthusiasm. It’s a nervous feeling that’s creeping up on Amy. This whole checking into hospital thing is scaring her, mainly because during all previous committals her wife was in a clearly better condition. Something about dr. Cullers diagnose – about Alex probably not making it another year – won’t let her go. Because what if it’s true? What if, despite all of Alex’s brave comments and determination to fight, she will be gone soon? What if those funeral plans will take place?

Her fingers search for those that have held hers for years now. Those who know her skin best. She nervously inhales and exhales and squeezes the caramel flesh she adores. Alex asks her what’s wrong.

“Sweetie, I’ve been thinking. What if …”

She can’t even say it without tearing up. Alex faces her and caresses her cheek. She knows what this is about. Amy’s scared. So is she.

“You need to promise me that, if this doesn’t turn out well – if you … die – promise me you’ll say goodbye to me.”

Her eyes are dark and determined. Alex nods while experiencing a tremendous heartbeat taking control of her chest. She wouldn’t dare to leave this earth without saying her last words to Amy.

“And you’ll talk to Him. Or Her.”

Suddenly, the Latina frowns all confused and even dares to smile: “What?”

“God,” Amy bravely continues.

It’s a dream she had last night. A dream in which it all happened and she found a way out. It won’t let her go. She’s not even sure if she believes in God. But there’s a small chance – and that’s enough.

“If you die and you see God, beg. Plead. Yell, shout, threaten. Throw a vase at him, if necessary. But fight and refuse to do anything until you get to come back to me. Promise me.”

It’s so desperate, it’s borderline cute. Alex heaves a defeated sigh and lowers her head.

“It doesn’t work like that, babe,” she whispers softly, afraid it’ll break Amy’s heart.

But Amy refuses to give up hoping, so she shakes her head all sad: “You don’t know that.”

Her eyes are filled with tears. Just looking at them makes Alex’s heart bleed. The model opens her arms and pulls her wife in for a tight hug. The small body of Amy crashes on top of her.

“It’ll be okay, babe,” she shushes her. “No matter what happens. It’ll be okay.”


They checked in. Alex got her first round of special treatment in the luxury room they reserved for her. First there were scans, then there were injections. Finally, bags of chemotherapy got connected to her IV. Now she’s in bed all day and all night, mostly asleep, rarely awake. Whenever her eyes open, she asks for Amy. The blonde is always by her side, holding her hand or running fingers through her short hairs. She cancelled work for a couple of months, just to be with the woman she loves. She’ll cancel it forever if she has to.

David walks into the hospital bedroom and finds his old friend on the windowsill. Her hair’s a mess, her eyes look tired. She’s been up all night, listening to the troubling and moaning noises echoing from Alex’s battling body. Every time Alex stirs in bed, her eyes flare open wide.

“Hi,” he whispers. “What’s going through your mind?”

His eyes glance at the sleeping Alex for a second, before making his way over to Amy. The blonde doesn’t really turn her head. She just stares into the distance and sighs in a dramatic way. This windowsill has been her thinking bench for a long while now. It’s where her brains start working.

“You know, I used to think that your whole life, you were supposed to work toward a goal. Studying, working, practicing your skills. All for a greater cost. For that dream job, that little extra money. I did that. I studied really hard, I got into the best schools, I’m in my late twenties and I already have an amazing career.”

She then looks at him and he can’t really respond. Julia isn’t with him. She stayed at home, simply because there aren’t a lot of visitors allowed. She’ll visit in the morning.

“But I was wrong,” she continues after realizing he won’t say a word. “And it’s so stupid that I didn’t realize it earlier. Finding her, being in love with her, that’s the thing that has truly fulfilled my life. It has made it extraordinary. And none of those things that have kept me occupied had anything to do with it. They just kept me away from my main goal: making her happy. And guess what? I did make her happy, with that little time I had with her. I put a smile on her face, made her laugh out loud, made her feel safe when she got scared. Me, I did that and I didn’t even have to do anything special.”

Amy points at her own chest, like she barely even believes it herself. David walks over to her and puts his hand on her shoulder. She runs her fingers through her tangled hair and sighs. He nods, like he understands what she’s talking about. Maybe he does – he found happiness with Julia. He finally realized what it is to be in love. To be utterly consumed by your feelings for someone else.

“Loving her has been the point of my life. And now that I realize it, I have to say goodbye to her. You know, I keep saying the same thing – that it isn’t fair. And it’s true. Because I deserve another fifty years with her, really. To put that same smile on her face again, to see those dimples on her cheeks when she does and to have this amazing, exceptional feeling when I realize that I am the cause of it. Do you know how wonderful it is to be with her? How everything she does and every word she says enlightens my day? How it pains me not to spend every second of the day with her when I’m gone? Do you know how badly I want all eternity?”

David does. He has seen these girls all his life. There couldn’t be a bigger example of love. Everything he knows, everything he feels whenever he’s around Julia, it has played in front of his eyes before. During sleepovers or parties. While they sat around the dinner room table or jumped up and down the big couches of the Ochoa house. Whenever Alex looked over at Amy and she looked back and the rest of the world disappeared. All these AA-meetings are marked in his memory.

“I understand,” he tells her. “I really do. I want another fifty years of my amazing friendship with her as well. But we have to accept that we probably can’t have that. We can, however, get the most out of the remaining time we have together. And with those memories that are already up in here …”

He lays his index finger on her forehead. She closes her eyes all desperate.

“… and here …”

His hand moves to her heart.

“… she can live on forever, even though losing her might not have been fair.”

It’s bullshit. At least to Amy it is. She can’t stand seeing her wife like this, so helpless and fragile. Alex is a fighter. She’s a raging devil, never afraid to kick the problem square in the balls. If she won’t make it, no one will. Why isn’t it working this time?

It has been weeks now. Weeks of trying and experimenting and nothing seems to work. In fact, Alex only deteriorates. She’s getting more sick and weak as the hours pass.

“She calls this an abattoir,” Amy eventually sighs.

“Abattoir?” David repeats all confused, not immediately following Amy’s change of subject.

The blonde nods and mysteriously smiles: “She never did get any further than the letter A in the dictionary.”

When she looks over to one of her dearest friends, she finds his troubled eyes.

“It means ‘public slaughterhouse’,” she explains. “You know her, always finding the most charming aspects in a situation.”

Machines are beeping and wires are pushing fluids into the fragile, skinny body of Alex. It’s hard to witness. Something about this hallway does exhale the atmosphere of a slaughterhouse, once you go searching for it. David invites Amy for a cup of coffee down the hall. She accepts the offer. Getting out of this room might clear her mind for a second.


Another three weeks pass. George offered to trade places with Amy, so she can get some rest. Naturally, Amy refused. Every night anew, she falls asleep on the uncomfortable bed next to Alex luxury hospital bed. It squeaks and it hurts her back, but nothing will get her away from Alex’s side. The doctors are barely talking to the family, mostly because they don’t have a lot of positivity to spread. Each time George or Eli inform themselves about Alex’s current condition, Dr. Cullers charismatic smile faints. And as soon as Dr. De Weerdt addresses them, he emphasizes the lack of guarantees this treatment has. The guy’s hasn’t returned to Belgium once.

Amy slowly starts to accept that her supermodel wife might not be a superhero. In between visits from family members, the girls discuss funeral arrangements. It makes them sob silently. At times Alex is so lucid that Amy holds out fashion magazines for her to judge. Snarky comments make her smile. Anything to make the Latina smile.

Her caramel skin seems grey now and her eyes are small. Those lean fingers are nothing more but skinny bones and her hair has fallen out once again. Still, nothing can convince Amy of the fact that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Her wife. She gets to call her her wife.

Susan is standing on the other side of the window that’s keeping her from the room Alex is in. There’s an air pressure system that makes sure no unclean outside air gets into the room, to avoid infections. That’s why so little people are allowed inside. When Amy notices her old friend, she nods to tell her she’ll be there soon.

When they face, the girls hug.

“How are you?” Susan asks all worried.

She curiously searches for Alex, who’s fast asleep. Susan hasn’t seen her with eyes open in a long time. Amy just shrugs and walks her to the nearby coffee corner. She spends most of her days on this floor. Each time she gets hungry of thirsty, this room is the place to be.

“Dr. De Weerdt came by an hour ago,” Amy tells her.

Her eyes are all puffy and swollen. It’s from crying. Susan doesn’t really want to say anything, but Amy’s clothes are dirty and wrinkled. Maybe Alex accidentally threw up on them. Maybe Amy didn’t notice. It wouldn’t be the first time.

“It doesn’t look good,” Amy continues. “But I guess we already knew that, right?”

Her tough act fails terribly. Especially in front of Susan. There’s no room for jokes or sarcasm here, which makes the girl rather uncomfortable. Instead of saying anything, she offers her a piece of cake she brought along. Amy has always loved cake. The blonde takes a small bite and it’s clear how much it takes of her to swallow the sweets. Food isn’t exactly on her mind lately. All she thinks about is that helpless creature in that bed, attached to machines and wires. It kills her to see Alex mumble in her sleep, when she’s dreaming or hallucinating. It kills her to hear her breathing with so much trouble.

“She might be gone soon,” Susan nervously concludes. “Have you thought about life after that? About what you’re gonna do? Move back home to your parents or stay here?”

There’s been a lot of talking, just not to Amy’s face. All her friends and family are really worried about the person that’ll be left behind. It’s a tragedy that Alex might die. And all facts point in that direction. Now more than ever. But nonetheless, Amy’s the one to pity. She’s the one that’ll have to face this life alone once Alex passes. A lot of people fear she might not be capable.

“I don’t know,” Amy sighs as she puts her hands around the cup to feel the warmth. “I started thinking the way she does, you know. Day to day is as far as it gets in my mind lately. She has always been the most important part of my life, meaning that I don’t know what it is to have a life without her. I am scared shitless to think about that opportunity. Because it’s unreal to me.”

Susan nods, but puts her hand on top op Amy’s shoulder to offer some compassion.

“You’ll be fine. You’ll pick up the pieces and you’ll be fine.”

That’s easier said than done. But what is a person supposed to say?

“Except I won’t. Even when we broke up and I moved on, it’s like – she always had some sort of power over me. Like she was never really gone. I dated girls and boys, then I met Christopher, but I swear: it never felt right. She’s been the love of my life ever since we met in kindergarten. No other person came even close to rising a spark inside of me the way she did – still does. I’m afraid that once she dies, I’ll never allow myself to fall in love again. I’ve had the opportunity before, and I was angry enough – heartbroken enough – to actually believe in it. And nothing ever happened. Nobody is as matching as she is.”

Susan likes this romantic side of her friend. She has always believed in the power of their love. The power that, no matter what, Alex and Amy would make it through everything.

“So you’re saying you’ll never move on? You should, for her. It’s what she’d want.”

Amy shrugs and tears up immediately. Thing is: she doesn’t want to move on. She’d be happy lying in bed all day, crying until the sun comes up, just thinking about Alex. But of course she can’t do that.

“I’m going to miss her forever, which scares me tremendously. It’s gonna hurt, every step of the way and every second of the hours that’ll pass. And I swear that I’ll continue to live life to the fullest: I’ll go on holidays and work hard to accomplish goals. I’ll be that kick-ass editor she dreamt me to be. I’m going to have that baby we talked about and raise that little person to be a perfect little creature. But I will never love anyone as passionately as I love her. With such commitment and dedication. And you know what? That’s okay with me. Because I’ve had her. And it was a privilege.”

The blonde stands up and walks away. She leaves her best friend sitting silently. Susan heaves a deep sigh and shakes her head: this situation is utterly fucked.


“Are you afraid?” Alex asks with a soft, faint voice.

It seems like talking hurts. The blonde puts her soft fingers on the damaged lips of her wife. She kisses her temple and crawls on the bed, next to her, just to hold her tight. It makes Alex smile. Anything for a smile these days.

“I’m scared that I’ll miss you forever and I’m scared that I won’t. I’m scared that every second of my life from now on will be controlled by the memories of you, with grief over you, with missing you. At the same time, I’m scared I’ll forget you, or little things about you. That one day, I’ll wake up in the morning and not think of you the very first second I open my eyes.”

Alex slowly moves her fingers up and down Amy’s bare forearm. She likes the touch of her. And her smell. Lots of her senses have been disabled for some reason, but she can still smell her. Vanilla cream.

“It’s okay to sometimes think about other things than me, babe,” she whispers. “When I’m gone, I won’t be in your life anymore. That doesn’t mean you have to stop living too. It just means that … it’ll be hard. And yes, I hope that you’ll think of me when you wake up, and when you go to bed. And sometimes even in between. But I won’t hate you if you don’t. I could never hate you.”

Amy wraps her arms around the fragile body a little bit tighter, as if she’s afraid to let go. Her heartbeat increases, just like the level of fear sneaking up on her. She can’t believe all the conversations they’ve been having lately. All those words about death. And funerals.

“We had so many dreams together, sweetie. You and me were supposed to …”

But she chokes before the words are said. Alex just nods, while concentrating on her breathing. That little tube in her nose has been bugging her ever since they gave it to her, but it’s necessary. Breathing doesn’t come as easily anymore. Nothing does. If only the medication would work. If only the experiments and efforts paid off.

“Dreams disappear when you wake up,” Alex eventually reveals the secret.

But Amy disagrees: “They don’t when I wake up next to you.”

They are so close together that their heartbeats are aligned. Alex’s is soft, while Amy’s pounding through her chest.

“Remember our wedding?” the blonde suddenly wonders.

Alex nods quietly. How could she ever forget. It was the most beautiful day of her life. She had the honor of marrying the most gorgeous woman on this earth.

“I especially remember the party. And the afterparty,” Alex mischievously smirks in silent pain.

“Our wedding night,” Amy nods with a big smile. “That was epic. And the night after our wedding night too. Except for your granddad walking in on us.”

Alex snorts and accidentally loses her nose tube for a second. Amy’s careful fingers put it back in place.

“I am so glad I married you, Alex,” she tells her. “I am so proud to call you my wife.”

The Latina closes her eyes briefly and allows the compliment to sink in.

“Well, you did marry a Victoria’s Secret Angel. That’s quite the achievement,” she brags.

So sick, still strong enough to be sassy. Amy rolls over and kisses the side of Alex’s lips. Normally, she’s the one getting that kind of kisses.

“When you walked down that isle – my heart stopped beating,” Amy admits. “You looked so beautiful. Even now, you are still gorgeous.”

“I’m not,” Alex objects with a sense of self-loathing.

But Amy puts her hand on top of Alex lips to make her stop talking.

“Shut up. You are gorgeous. You have the most enchanting eyes. I get lost in them every single time – it’s distracting. And you have the biggest, brightest smile. The most perfect lips to kiss. The softest voice in the world. And the way you scrunch your face when you laugh over my ridiculous jokes is super cute. And -”

She bends over to whisper in Alex’s ear teasingly as her hands crawl up to Alex’s chest.

“- you have the nicest set of tits I’ve ever seen.”

She squeezes them briefly. Alex grins in a naughty way and then cups Amy’s face.

“Remarkable, how you can make a cancer patient believe she’s still beautiful,” she says thankfully.

Amy shakes her head: “With you it’s easy. I don’t even have to try.”

They kiss, tenderly and soft on the lips this time. Alex realizes she could die a happy woman kissing Amy. She pants, because she’s getting tired.

“I am kind of sorry that you never got to use some of your lame pick-up lines on me. We never really dated, did we? We just went from being little kids to being best friends to being girlfriends,” Amy suddenly realizes. “God, you had such stupid lines when you talked to boys in high school.”

Alex’s weak arm pushes her to object: “Because boys are stupid. Secretly, I just wanted you.”

“Nice one,” Amy tells her with a proud nod. “How did you seduce all your colleague models?”

It takes a while before her wife can answer that question. First of all, she needs to inhale sharply before she can talk. Plus, thing is, that industry is just really weird. Normal doesn’t apply to those people. And not just the models – Alex’s been with singers and artists too.

“You don’t really seduce them. You just randomly ask while you’re undressing after a shoot. The adrenaline of the job makes it a lot easier to cross your boundaries,” Alex explains before coughing loudly.

The blonde’s impressed and wiggles her nose: “Like handing out candy sticks, huh?”

“Something like that,” Alex playfully smirks.

Her eyes quickly turn tired again. Being awake for longer than ten minutes seems unrealistic lately. Memories suddenly bring her back to the actual wedding part. Warm, tropical Mexico. All their friends and family. Sand under their feet and a sea breeze dancing with their hair. It was magical. Everything about the spontaneous event was magical.

“Want to know a little secret about our wedding?” Alex mysteriously whispers.

She closes her eyes and softly smiles. Amy’s going to love this. It’s time she knows.

“What about it?”

“You always complain that I’m the only one – apart from Rick – that met Spencer Riddick,” Alex says, though her words are separated by short gasps for breath. “On several occasions.”

Amy frowns and lifts her head to look at Alex’s peaceful face: “Yes?”

“He was the officiator. He’s the one that married us. Rick asked him to. So you did meet him – you just didn’t know.”

Amy’s jaw drops as her back rises from the bed. What the hell? She doesn’t even remember his face. Just the calmness of his voice, the tenderness when he addressed the couple. The way Alex smiled at him. That was Spencer Riddick? The mysterious fashion God? The legend itself?

“Are you kidding me? Even after meeting him, he remains a mystery?” Amy points out. “Wow.”

Alex opens her eyes again and caresses Amy’s hand.

“I’m sure there are pictures. Just never tell anyone.”

The person next to her lovingly smiles and nods. It’s a promise. Amy runs the tips of her fingers up and down Alex body. They start at her temple and trace the figure of Alex’s face down to her collarbone. They draw a soft line from her breasts to her loin. Then they move to the side of her body and slide back up. She needs to remember her. Her body. Her curves and her perfection. Alex enjoys the touch. She hasn’t been touched like that in over a month. Lately, they just hug each other to sleep. Or Amy sits in that uncomfortable chair while Alex coughs and throws up uncontrollably. Though she feels bad about it, it warms Alex’s heart each time Amy carelessly helps her to get out of the dirty clothes she puked on – even though the nurses offer to do it. When she has to pee, Amy supports her all the way to the bathroom. It’s not even a question, more of an intuition. Amy’s her rock. The one that’s always been there.

“Thanks for never walking out on me, even when I was a bitch,” Alex says.

She remembers a part of Amy’s wedding vows. The entire crowd had a laugh over it back then, but Alex knew exactly how serious her lover was at the time. The blonde nods. It comes naturally, staying with her. There hasn’t been a single moment when she even thought about leaving.

“What about you? Think you’ll still love me until infinity?”

A silence takes control of the room. This conversation suddenly shifts to a darker place. Because right now, thoughts about the afterlife appear. Behind all the gorgeousness she witnesses, there’s the faint appearance of a dying person. There’s the deterioration of Alex’s health. And there’s not a single thing to make it shift. Alex painfully inhales and nods.

“I have always loved you, Amy. I don’t know anything else. Wherever I’m going to after this, you’ll be with me,” she promises.

Amy fights back some tears. She sits back up and pulls Alex in her warm embrace. Alex lifts her weak arms to wrap them around Amy’s waist. Her head rests on the familiar lap.

“Everything okay, sweetie?” the blonde wonders all concerned.

“I’m okay,” Alex coughs with both eyes closed. “I’m ready. We might not have had the happily ever after with kids and puberty ruining our sex life … But for twenty two years, I’ve had you. That’s rare. Even when we were apart, I always had you. The thought of that kept me alive for years. Our love has prepared me for a peaceful goodbye. That’s the prettiest, most wonderful present anyone has ever given me. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me the true colors of love. I love you.”

Amy leans her head back against the metal frame of the bed and bites her teeth in order to keep it together. Her fingers stroke the designer bandana that’s keeping Alex’s bald scalp from being seen. Her girl is falling asleep. She’s exhausted from their talk. She’s exhausted from being awake. Even when George was here earlier, she barely moved a muscle. A lot of times, it seems like she’s floating between unconsciousness and sleep.

Amy’s eyes keep focussed on her fingers – how they keep going back and forth over the piece of fabric on Alex’s head. She hopes it’ll calm her down, that it’ll guide her to a more peaceful dream this time.

The room is deserted. Flowers aren’t allowed, so the family hung up pictures of their gatherings to decorate it a little. The first are some of their wedding in Mexico. The girls look breathtakingly beautiful. Their outfits make them seem supernatural – fairylike. Paparazzi pictures of the proposal scene on the catwalk appear as well. Some of the images are them just strolling down the streets in New York on their way to a meeting. Busy and in a hurry, but still holding hands, as always. Susan, David and Eli and the two of them are combined at a party snap from a couple of years ago. Next, there’s Eli and Jessy – and baby Macy. She’s so big already in that family portrait. In the one far to the right, George, Eli and granddad sit around the table with the Wolfe’s during a family dinner. They all wave at the camera. Amy smiles over the genuine laughter happening in the picture. Her parents look happy. Everyone does. Their first and last photoshoot together is in the center of all of their memories. Amy’s positioned on top of Alex and they suggestively stare into each other’s eyes. God, they make a gorgeous couple. A perfect couple. It has been a wonderful life together.

“I gave everything up for you so easily,” Amy admittedly starts whispering after a long moment of silence.

She’s uncertain if Alex can still hear her. The girl’s heartbeat has slowed down, as has her breathing. She’s probably asleep, even though nowadays you can’t really be sure anymore. But that doesn’t matter. Amy needs this to be said. She needs to confess how she feels about her. About the life they’ve shared.

“I gave you everything so easily. And now that I know the outcome, I’ve seen the path and the terrible ending … Alex, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

She strokes the top of Alex’s cute nose and mysteriously starts to smile. Alex’s not responding anymore. She’s drifted to another place, in her arms. She’s far gone and Amy’s heart is breaking. It’s breaking with the strength of an earthquake.

“I regret nothing,” she whispers through her tears. “Not a single fight, not even your worst day. Because it was so easy, just being with you. So breathtakingly, utterly joyous, exhilaratingly, perfectly easy. And I’ve never been happier than when I was with you.”

She bends over and barely makes it to kiss her wife’s temple. Her head stays there a little longer. So absorb her touch, to memorize the sound of her breathing. And to whisper how much she loves her.


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AA-meetings – Chapter 20: Atelophobia

Atelophobia 

2019


It is the fear of not being good enough. A fear that creeps up on Alex every single time she looks into Amy’s eyes. Right now, she definitely doesn’t qualify as good enough. Right now, she’s sick. Probably even dying. The last few days have been hard. There’s been unrestrained crying and denial. Unexplainable hoping and wishing. Dr. De Weerdt is flying in tomorrow. Alex begged him, in the middle of the night to pack up his stuff and fly to America. He did.  Continue reading “AA-meetings – Chapter 20: Atelophobia”