Frankie at Work – Chapter 11: Tragedy Strikes

Chapter Eleven — Tragedy Strikes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

“Heard what?” she muttered .


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

“Are you okay?”

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

“Frankie.”

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

“Are you okay?”

Frankie then nods. She swallows down her lost tears.

“I’m fine,” she whispers.

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

“Fine,” she repeats, less convincing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I want you.” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Frankie …”

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

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

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

“Frankie, I’m …”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I don’t think I can either.”


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

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

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

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

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


“Are you having fun?”

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

“This is great. Thank you.”

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

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

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

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

He just nods.

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

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

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

It makes him smile. 

“What happened? Did she get drunk again?”

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

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

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

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

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

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


“Morris! Get up!”

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

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

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

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

“Thank you.”

“No problem,” he says.

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

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

Frankie smirks and faces the street lanterns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Fresh air might help,” he explains.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay,” she whispers.

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


 

Previous Chapter ♥ Next Chapter

Advertisements

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 6: Utter Confusion

Chapter Six — Utter confusion


The inevitable happens four days later. Kennedy and Frankie are left alone when David and Noor head out for drinks with the big shots of the music label. Dancer friends aren’t optional. So the girls go out for dinner at a local restaurant and remind themselves this is certainly not a date. Kennedy explains that it’s hard to maintain a relationship when you tour a lot. She’s been Noor’s loyal sidekick for four years now. Her last girlfriend dumped her after not hearing from her in two weeks. But the dancer acknowledges that a busy tour scheduling wasn’t a very good excuse to just disappear from said girlfriend’s life.

“I just don’t think I’m a hundred percent relationship material.”

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

Frankie at work – Chapter 5: Get to know me

Get To Know Me


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

Frankie at work – Chapter 4: Normal life

 Normal Life


 

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

Frankie at work – Chapter 3: Berlin

Berlin


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

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.


< Previous Chapter ♥ Next Chapter >

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”

AA-meetings – Chapter 19: Acrophobia

Acrophobia

2019


“You know I have a vault in the apartment, right?” Alex asks her wife.

Amy nods. It’s behind a painting in the living room. The Latina thought that was really badass. When Amy told her it was in fact nerdy, she begged her to never tell anyone, claiming it was her ‘nerdy little secret’. Amy smirked, because she had a few of those.

“I keep all of my important stuff in there. Bank accounts, my property certificates, our wedding license, contracts, …” Alex explains.

Amy’s still not up for this conversation. Just a few minutes ago, they were discussing a funeral. What flowers to pick, what color of coffin it should be, which songs they’ll play. She’s all upset about the subjects floating from mouth to mouth this evening. In fact: she’s nauseous.  Continue reading “AA-meetings – Chapter 19: Acrophobia”

AA-meetings – Chapter 18: Aby

Aby

2019


Unlike before, Alex decides to pick up the pieces of her broken body and make the best of it. Her chemo treatments have temporarily stopped. All she has to do now is await the test results from her scans, X-rays and blood. It’s scary. It’s absolutely scary, but a diversion is the best thing that comes up in her mind to keep her occupied. She asked Amy to take a few days off. Of course, she did. The people at work have been very understanding when it comes to the illness of her wife. So has Rick Spencer. He’s crazy about his miracle model. This disease coming back nearly killed him. He cancelled all her appointments when she told him the truth and left with the promise that, whenever she needed something, she could call him. Among the people that picked up on her medical condition is the one called ‘the media’. In other words: then entire world. At first, Twitter, Facebook, news sites and television lost its collective shit over the news. But now, surprisingly, they lay low. It’s like they treat her with enough respect to go through it without dealing with too much media attention. She has participated in a few interviews over the last couple of months, mostly to raise awareness for her disease and to show the fans that even a Victoria’s Secret Angel can loose her wings. Apart from that, she stays away from the public eye as much as possible.  Continue reading “AA-meetings – Chapter 18: Aby”