DISCLAIMER: All My Children is the property of ABC/Disney.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Alex


Opal watched as Bianca frantically looked around Frankie's room for any clues as to where the girl had gone.

"I didn't feel right, you know, going through her stuff." Opal said apologetically. Bianca sighed.

"There's not much stuff to go through here, opal." Bianca said with a touch of sadness in her voice. "When's the last time you saw her?"

"Well, last night. You remember, at SOS? She said she wanted to walk, but then I guess she never came back. I just hope nothing terrible happened." The older woman was worried. Where had the girl gone? Bianca steeled herself against the thought that she had left for good.

"I wouldn't worry. She likes sleeping in hotel lobbies and park benches." She said, more coldly than she had meant.

"Well, I know she says that, but now she's got a place to stay. I mean, why would –" Opal started.

"Mom was pretty harsh on her last night, and I mean -- I think she just took off. I couldn't catch up with her." The younger woman was facing the apparent truth: Frankie was gone. She couldn't help but feel a little guilty for not catching up to the smaller girl.

"You mean you think she left for good without taking her clothes or anything?" Bianca sighed again.

"Well, I lent her these clothes. She doesn't have any reason to come back. I mean, there's really no reason for her to stick around here." She said self-deprecatingly. A voice from the door thrust her back into reality.

"Hey. Don't give up on me yet. What? You think I'd let your mom scare me off?" The petite woman was standing in the doorway, her trademark smug grin pasted on her face. Bianca felt her stomach clench with conflicting feelings of relief and apprehension.

Opal was relieved to see the younger woman was safe and still in town.

"Are you all right, Frankie?" The older woman asked. Frankie shrugged.

"Yeah. Why?"

"Well, naturally, when you didn't come back last night, I –" The woman started. Opal was being a little too motherly for Frankie; it reminded her of what she'd never had. This caused the younger woman to be colder than she intended.

"I didn't realize there was a bed check." She said smartly.

"Well, no, there is no bed check, but a phone call would have been appreciated." Opal stated.

"Right. A phone call. I should have called. I've got, like, no manners at all. Thing is I went running last night, and, well, when it was time to come home, it was just too late, so I figured I'd just crash on a park bench." It was clear that the words were forced. Frankie couldn't help it; it was her defense mechanism, to sound detached like this.

"Well, whatever. Main thing is that you're ok. You had Bianca pretty worried there." Frankie's eyes darted over to Bianca. She was worried about her?

"Yeah. I'm really sorry, Opal. I appreciate you putting me up like this, really."

"Well, let's -- let's forget it." Opal said before she left the room. Frankie turned back to Bianca, who was fuming.

"Do you mean any of that? Do you even care about Opal?"

"I care about you." Bianca flushed at the implications of that statement. She tried to keep her heart from soaring, to no avail. "You were worried about me?" Frankie asked, sounding more vulnerable than she usually did.

"I wasn't, actually. I just -- I just figured you'd moved on." God, what a cop-out! She thought to herself.

"Well, I didn't. I like it here," More than you think... the older girl thought as she stretched out on the armchair. "In spite of the deadly rays your mom was giving me last night." Last night...Bianca remembered then that she had questions.

"Yeah, my mom called you a con artist and a liar last night, and you told me that she was right." She tried not to show the hurt she felt at the idea that her mother could be right.

"I was mad last night." Frankie said apologetically. Bianca sighed.

"But is it the truth? Are you trying to con us?" This time she couldn't hide her vulnerability.

"Bianca, everyone's part con."

"Not everyone." Bianca said. Frankie was taken back to her past, the pain she'd been through.

"Well, I've had to put on acts to stay alive my whole life. And, you know, if I hadn't, I mean, people would have stomped all over me by now. You can't expect everyone to be like you." Oops...giving it away here girl...

"Like me how?" Bianca was intrigued.

"You're one of the few people who are real in this world." Bianca looked away guiltily.

"I don't know about that."

"You've always been up front with me." Frankie said assuredly.

"Except about one thing." Bianca said nervously. I'm going to do it...I have to do it. I can't mislead her.

"Yeah? What?" Frankie wondered.

"Well, I mean, I would have told you, but I didn't know whether you were going or staying or whatever, so why bother, right?" She was rambling, she knew. Trying to put off telling Frankie this. She was so frightened it would change things.

"I'm staying. So tell me." Frankie coaxed. Bianca took a deep breath.

"I hope you don't have a problem with this. I'm gay." Her voice wavered a little. Frankie snorted.

"I don't have a problem with that!" Now wouldn't that be stupid? "Actually, it even makes me like you more." She ventured. Bianca struggled furiously to keep the butterflies in her stomach down.

"Come on, Bianca. I knew you were gay. It's not like you weren't on every tabloid cover for a month." Frankie continued. Bianca sat back on the bed, relieved.

"Why didn't you say something?"

"Well, why didn't you?" Bianca honestly didn't know.

"I don't -- I don't know. It can get weird. I -- it changes things sometimes." She said, flustered.

"How?" Frankie was curious. This was useful information.

Bianca cleared her throat. "I don't know. People -- people sometimes don't handle it well. They disappear. It happens."

"Well, I'm not going anywhere." Frankie said solemnly. Bianca smiled.


"So, I don't know, does it make things easier telling people you're gay?" She hoped she wasn't giving too much away, but she really wanted to know.

"It's a hard question. I don't know. Yeah, for me, it did, I think." Frankie, relieved, recalled the other thing that had been bothering her.

"Did you think I would have a problem with it or something?" She asked vulnerably.

"No. I thought you would be cool with it. I -- it's just more stuff to deal with, you know?"

"Yeah." I know more than you think

"I mean, I'm already hassled enough dealing with my mom dealing with it." She smiled, trying to break the silence. Frankie grinned.

"Oh, yeah. It must freak her out!"

"I mean, that's the other reason that I wanted to tell you so you don't take anything that she says personally. She would have problems with any girl that I was friends with." Frankie let the words sink in.

"Wait. You mean she thinks you and me are--" God, I wish!

"No." Bianca cut her off. "My mom -- her head is always going to go there. So, now you know." Frankie smiled again.

"Man, I give you credit, girl. You coming out like that and owning it? I could never..." Bianca smiled to cover up her questioning heart.

"Well, you don't have to, right?" Frankie's eyes took on a haunted look. She looked away for a few seconds before replying.

"Hey, I have to ask you a huge favor, ok, and it's going to take a whole lot more than coming out to the world." Bianca smiled at the implications of this subject change. Could she be...? She thought. Nah....

"Ow!" Bianca was seriously reconsidering putting her hands into Frankie's. "Ow! Frankie!" Frankie looked up.

"You didn't need that cuticle." She replied as she continued to attack the other girl's hands.

"So I'm guessing that you lied to Opal when you said that you could do this." Another painful moment. "Ow! Jeez. Hey. Ok, dumb question." Frankie put the orange stick down.

"That part's over. Now the artistic part. Hmm. Passion Scarlet." She held up an intense red nail polish. "Throbbing Inferno." She said, holding up an even darker, more intense red.

"I will take Peach-O-Rama." Bianca said, picking up the lightest color she could find. Frankie snorted.

"Wimp-O-Rama." She said as she opened the bottle and started painting. "How am I doing?" She inquired.

"Awesome." Bianca said genuinely.

"Because, you know, when I'm doing this, I'm supposed to be making small talk, so..." She started nervously.

"So go for it." Bianca said.

"All right. So, what is it like living with a drop-dead gorgeous super mom?" Frankie inquired, imitating the voice of a tabloid reporter.

"Yikes. Can we talk about something else?"

"Come on, I have to, I don't know, learn how to draw the customer out, right?" Frankie said matter-of-factly.

"Well, not this customer." Bianca's voice took on a low, husky tone as she looked down at her hands, and Frankie's touching them. "Besides, you know enough about me. Why don't you tell me something about you?"

"Me?" She sat back. "Who am I?" She pondered.

"Well, that's what I'd like to know." Frankie all but melted as the younger girl's voice got even huskier; the effect that sexy voice was having on her was definitely not good...

"So your parents have no idea where you are?" Bianca asked as Frankie finished her nails.

"I sure as hell haven't told them." Frankie replied coldly. She didn't like getting into her sordid family history. She'd much rather it stay in the past, where it belonged.

"Don't you think they're worried?" Bianca just couldn't fathom the idea of a parent not being worried about their child. Of course, with the example she had, who could?

Frankie sighed. "Well, they're not busting their humps to find me, are they?"

"Maybe they are." She especially couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't care about this amazing woman who sat before her. Even in the short time they'd known one another, she'd already been impressed by Frankie. In fact, it was quite possible she was...no, not yet...

"Bianca, I have as much use for my parents as they have for me." She sighed resignedly. "Maybe they're right. They're ignorant losers and I'm their kid, so –" Bianca cut her off sharply.

"You're not an ignorant loser!" She all but yelled. "You know that, right?" Her voice was strained with the emotion she was feeling. Frankie was touched, and allowed a small smile to grace her lips before turning cold again.

"Bianca, I mean, how do you even know if what I just told you is true?" Bianca shrugged.

"Doesn't matter. You'll tell me the truth when you're ready, I know. You're not going anywhere, right?" Frankie was taken aback. This girl had such faith in her. It was such a new feeling, being trusted, knowing someone believed in her. It was, in a word, frightening as all hell.

"Right." She declared.

"Well, will you promise you're not going to run anymore?" A genuine smile lit up Frankie's features. Bianca couldn't help but notice how beautiful the girl was when she smiled.

"I promise." She sat up, and looked Bianca in the eye. "Besides, I think this is the place for me." Bianca shivered at the implications, then broke out in a big grin.

"I think that sounds like a plan" She put an arm around the smaller girl's shoulders, and pulled her close. The girls were laughing, but each couldn't get over the feeling of being so physically close to one another. It was just...right. The girls were so caught up in this flood of emotions that they never saw Erica burst into the room, Opal right behind.

Opal nudged Erica. "I'm sure this isn't how it looks." Frankie and Bianca turned, startled out of their glee. Frankie smirked.

"What, is this a raid? Ok, Ms. Kane, I got my hands up where you can see them. Busted, right? Is this where you read me the riot act for corrupting your teenaged daughter as part of my master plan?" Erica brushed her off.

"You don't interest me, Frankie. You're not the one who let me down. And you know why I'm angry, don't you, Bianca?" Bianca sighed. Here we go again...I can't have any friends that are girls, etc. etc. etc.

"Here it comes -- the sermon about my future and how I'm too young to make my own choices." She was so tired of this. Why couldn't her mother just leave her alone?

"That's right."

"Well, I know what I'm doing." Bianca said, very sure of herself.

"I don't agree." What ensued was a heated debate over, surprisingly, Bianca's studies. Erica was actually concerned about Bianca not being in school. It's funny, though how Erica had forgotten that Bianca was on independent study, and therefore didn't have to be at school... Frankie ended up agreeing with Erica, of all people, and Bianca stormed out. After giving Frankie a stern lecture about Bianca, Erica left as well.

Frankie sighed and wandered around her room. So, it looked like Erica knew that she was related to Vanessa. Not that it should matter, because she hated the woman as much as Erica did. She hadn't come here for Vanessa, she had come here to start a new life, away from her family. She needed to settle down; she'd been running for three years now, and she was tired of it. She sighed again and fell back onto her bed. A knock on her open door startled her. She looked up to find Bianca standing in her doorway. She was caught between immense happiness that she had come back, and immense anger for the same reason.


"Hi, yourself." Frankie replied coldly. Anger had won out, as it always did.

"Can I come in?" Bianca said nervously. Was the girl angry with her?

"Door's already open." She replied, uncaring. Bianca walked a few steps inside the room.

"I waited outside till my mom left. I didn't want to go to school."

"Why not?" Frankie sounded very detached. Bianca was worried that their friendship had been damaged.

"I just -- I'm just not in the mood for college day. So what do you want to do? We could go to the mall or check out a movie or something." Frankie looked back at her coldly.

"Yeah, I don't think so. You know, you're a total jerk. Sorry, but I don't hang out with jerks." Each word hit Bianca like a knife through the heart. How did this change so quickly? Just an hour ago, they'd been laughing and joking like old friends, and now...

"I'm a jerk? Since when?" Bianca asked once she got control of her motor skills again.

"Since now." She said weakly.

"What did I do, Frankie?" Bianca was concerned; what was causing this change in attitude? Frankie sighed.

"You came back."

"To see you." She wanted to trust Bianca, so badly. She just couldn't.

"Why? Come on, Bianca, your mom just had a seizure on me because you cut school to hang out with me."

"I'm sorry about that, ok?" She apologized again. "I tried telling her that I can make my own decisions, and I do."

"Yeah, well, after you left, she went crazy. Ok? I mean, she's probably having me watched right now. I'm sorry, but I do not want to have another war with your mother again." She had resigned herself to a life without Bianca; she knew, or at least thought she knew, that it had to happen. She hadn't counted on Bianca screwing it up.

"Well, I told you I waited until she left, ok? And school's over. I'm on my own tme. If she comes back, I will handle her." Frankie sighed again.

"It's not worth the hassle, Bianca." Of course it is! Bianca thought.

"I think it is."

"Why? What are you getting from this, anyway?" Why was she making this so hard? Why couldn't Bianca just leave, and go her separate way?

"Time. With you." Frankie almost wanted to cry. What did Bianca see in her? Why did she keep coming back?

"Frankie, what is with you?" Bianca demanded.

"Nothing." Frankie said very unconvincingly.

"Nothing. Right." Frankie sighed and sat down on the bed.

"All right, listen. This scene is just way too intense for me, ok?"

"You mean, you and me?" Bianca's heart was racing.

"No, I mean, you, me, and your mom. This whole family feud thing -- it's getting so old, Bianca." She was tired of fighting, tired of trying to please other people. This was why she had started running. Bianca wasn't buying it, though. There was something more here...

"My mom isn't the one making you crazy. It's me. You're upset because I came back. You're upset because I keep coming back. Clearly, it's because I care about you." She was getting bolder. She wasn't sure yet if she liked it or not.

"Don't do this, Bianca." There was very real fear in Frankie's eyes.

"Why not? Why shouldn't I care about you?" Frankie sighed. It was time to talk about herself, for once.

"And, well, I ended up here. So that's my whole "poor me" story. Still awake?" Bianca snorted.

"Yes. Well, by the way, nothing you said scared me off or convinced me not to care about you." In fact, it only made me care about you more...

"You owe me 10 bucks." Frankie said as Erica walked into the room.

"Mom, before you have a fit, I'm not ditching school."

"No. Bianca, I'm glad you're here. I have some information about your new friend, Frankie." Erica was sure she had it this time; she would protect her daughter from this...con artist if it was the last thing she did.

"Mom, please."

"Information that she's been withholding. Information that proves you cannot trust her." She was so sure of herself.

"Mom, just listen to me." Bianca was pleading now. But Erica was on a roll.

"Bianca, Frankie is not alone in this world. As a matter of fact, she's related to someone right here in Pine Valley." Bianca sighed. How stupid did she look?

"I know. Yeah. Frankie did the big reveal. She's Vanessa Cortlandt's niece." Erica looked sharply at Frankie. She hadn't expected this.

"She told you?" She was genuinely shocked.

"Yeah, but Frankie doesn't even really remember Vanessa. Vanessa doesn't mix with that side of the family. " Frankie jumped in.

"Yeah, we were, like, white trash or something." You'd think Erica would stop there. But no...She had to have her point made. She had to be right.

"Oh, you're just like your aunt, aren't you? Always one step ahead of trouble."

"Mom, it's ok. Please." Please, leave it alone!

"It is not ok. Don't you see what she's done? Frankie knew very well that I was going to make this Vanessa connection and she beat me to the punch." Bianca sighed. She was fed up with this.

"Ok, you know, you're going to believe whatever you want to believe. That's fine. I'm not going to argue. But could you just go?"

"I want you to come with me." Erica said, as if it were obvious, which, in fact, it was.

"Well, I'm not ready to leave."

"Well, what time will you be home?" Finally, Erica was in the submissive position.

"I don't know -- when I get there."

"Well, don't be too late because I'll be waiting for you." Bianca watched, disgusted, as her mother left. At least she was gone now.

Frankie sighed. "You know, you can't keep chasing her away."

"I wish I didn't have to. The two of us make a pretty good team, huh?" Bianca said, trying to change the direction of the conversation. Frankie wasn't having it.

"Yeah, we just scored a time-out. Bianca, you're going to have to go home sometime." Why is she always such a pessimist? Bianca thought.

"Yeah, but not right now. In fact, I think I'm going to ask Opal if it's ok with her if I sleep over tonight." Frankie's eyes widened. "Yeah, Opal won't have a problem with me staying over. I mean, she's got, like, a zillion guest rooms." She caught Frankie's gaze. "Well -- unless you don't want me to stay over." Frankie sat back down on the bed.

"No. I don't care." Bianca was quite worried now. This seemed to be a vicious cycle between the two of them; things would be going great, then her mother would enter the picture. Or was it because of her mother? Maybe it was something else...

"You know, ever since I came out to my mom, she's had a problem with every single female friend that I've had. I mean, nobody is good enough for her precious little girl. But that isn't the real reason why she always freaks. The real reason is that she thinks that I'm going to fall in love with one of them. Is that what you think?" Bianca asked, her gut twisting every which way as she waited for Frankie's answer.

"Bianca, where is this coming from?" Frankie was getting more and more nervous. She wasn't ready to do this, not yet. She needed time to figure out her feelings, but Bianca was really pushing the envelope.

"You know where it's coming from."

"No, I don't." Please, Bianca, leave it alone...

"Look, Frankie, you know that I'm gay, and all of a sudden it seems to be making you really nervous or something."

"No, I'm not." She could have pulled this off, had she not said it so fast, and had she not been so obviously nervous saying it.

"Yeah, you are. And I want to know if it's because you think I'm going to hit on you or something." Why does this have to keep happening?!?!?

"Whoa, I--" That's the last thing I'm afraid of! I'm just afraid...of falling in love with you...

"Frankie, if that's the reason that you're all scared all of a sudden, I just want you to know I would never force anything on you, ok? Not anything, ever." So chivalrous, Frankie thought. Makes me like you even more...


"And if you don't want me to stay here tonight, that's fine. I will find somewhere else to stay. Ok, Frankie, I'm backing off." Bianca said as she turned and walked toward the door in a huff. Frankie realized what was happening (she was leaving). This could be her only chance.

"That's not what I want." Frankie said finally, as Bianca reached the door. Bianca's heart pounded as she turned around.

Bianca sighed nervously. "So what do you want?" You.

"I want to do what we have been doing -- taking it easy, hanging out, nothing."

"You think this is nothing? I mean, Frankie, this is not nothing, what we've been doing, to me." It's everything. It's special and wonderful and... "Frankie?" She asked as the girl sat down on the bed gently, looking as if she had the world on her shoulders.

"Ok. I don't really know what to do with all of this, all right?" I don't know how to deal with these feelings I have for you... Bianca was getting annoyed.

"With all of what?"

"I just didn't expect this." Expect what, Frankie? I need the truth, I need to know...

"Frankie, why are you freaking out?"

"I'm not freaking out, Bianca. I just didn't expect this." She gestured with her hands. I never expected to fall in love with you, and I never imagined you would care for me...

"What's "this"? Frankie, what are you trying to say?" Frankie sighed and put her head on her hand. She was going to do it. Bianca had pushed her to the edge, and she was going to admit her feelings. She opened her mouth to speak, when Vanessa walked in.

After a nasty confrontation with her aunt, Opal informed Frankie that she would have to find a new place to stay in the morning. The young girl watched as Opal walked out the door.

"Fabulous." She said cynically. My life is in shambles...again...

"I'm sorry, Frankie."

Why are you sorry? It's not your fault... All you've done is try to help me."Once again my life is a mess, and now you're in the middle of it."

"Don't worry about me." How can I not? "Look, we're going to find you another place to stay tomorrow, ok?" Frankie decided right then that this was not right. She couldn't keep sucking Bianca back into this mess called her life.

"No, we are not. Ok, Bianca? Because I'm out of here." She began to get her stuff together, what little there was of it.

"What, you mean you're out of town?" No...This isn't happening...you promised...

"Doesn't look like anyone else wants me around." Bianca was shocked at this statement. Had she not been clear? "Ok, there's you. I'm sorry, but, you know, Bianca, maybe this isn't the best idea." Please. I can't do this.

"So that's it? You just cut and run? Things get tough, you get scared, and you leave?" This was starting to piss Bianca off. Frankie pleaded with her.

"Bianca, you heard them. Come on, it's not like anyone's greeting me on the welcome wagon." Bianca looked at her with a small amount of contempt.

"You're so full of it."

"Full of what?"

"Frankie, you're going to use Opal and Vanessa as the perfect excuse to leave town when the real reason you're leaving is me." Why won't she stop blaming herself?

"Bianca--" It's not you...I'm scared of myself, of these feelings. You don't deserve that.

"No. I asked you some tough questions tonight, and clearly you don't want to answer them for some reason, and that's why you're leaving." Frankie felt so desperate, for what she didn't know, only that she wanted the fighting to end.

"Bianca, you are making this so much harder than it has to be." She pleaded again.

"Do you have any idea how hard this is for me?" Bianca demanded.

"Yeah, actually, I do." More than you know...Now PLEASE pick up on that hint! Bianca shook her head.

"No, you don't, Frankie. This is like my usual deja vu. I like someone. They like me, things are going great, and then all of a sudden some kind of alarm goes off in the other person and it's like a neon sign flashing above their head – 'I'm not gay, I'm not gay, I am not gay,--'" But I AM!!!! "--and then they leave."

"Can you please not put words into my mouth and thoughts in my head?" Frankie felt like crying, and it showed in her voice. She was so frustrated, so tired of fighting over something that didn't even exist: her overwhelming heterosexuality.

"No, I'm through. I'm sick of this. Turn your alarm off, ok? Leave town. Stay. Do whatever the hell you want. I -- I'm done." You don't get it!!!

"What are you saying?" Frankie felt her world collapsing around her.

"I'm saying that, for one time in my life, I'm the one pulling back first, ok, Frankie? Have a nice life." Frankie watched with a heavy heart as Bianca walked out of her room, out of her life.

The girl sat down on the bed for a second, gathering her thoughts. What am I doing? Why is this happening? She just won't get the picture...We wouldn't need to be fighting if she knew...

Bianca walked into her house heavy-hearted. She closed the door and leaned back against it, thoughts and words flying through her head. She sighed. Why couldn't it ever be easy?

"Bianca?" Erica was walking down the stairwell in her black nightgown and a robe that didn't do much more than decorate her body. Bianca walked into the living room.

"I'm not seeing Frankie anymore." She said sadly, with a hint of anger. "Go right ahead and breathe that sigh of relief."


"You don't have to say it, Mom. I know. Another bad-move relationship headed off at the pass, right?" If only that's what it felt like... Erica sighed.

"Look, Honey, I know that you don't want to hear this right now, but, truly, if you had gotten involved with that girl, it would've been just -- it would've been so wrong." Bianca sighed.

"Can I ask you a question, Mom?" Erica smiled.

"Of course you can."

"When is it going to be right for me in your mind, according to you? I would really like to know."

"Bianca, please don't start --" Erica started. Bianca cut her off.

"When is it going to be ok for me to have a girlfriend? You know, a relationship, like you straight people have?" I'm lonely! I need someone to love!

"Oh, Bianca, don't --" She tried again.

"When is it going to be ok with you for me to have sex? Huh, Mom?"

"It's ok. That's ok. I got it already. It will never be ok with you for me to have a relationship, a sexual relationship with a woman." Why can't you understand?

"Bianca -- look, Honey, you're still a child." Bianca scoffed.

"Like hell."

"Oh, come on. Don't talk like that."

"Do you ever think what it's going to be like for me when I do meet someone? Someone special, someone to love, spend my life with, a partner?" Frankie? A niggling voice in her head was saying. She tried to quiet it but she couldn't shake the thought of the girl.

"But you have your whole life ahead of you." Erica said, as if that made it all make sense.

"To meet a woman?" Bianca dared. "No, you mean I have my whole life ahead of me to get over this gay thing and meet a man, right? Guess what, Mom -- it's not happening. And you know what the really sad part about that is, is that you will never, ever be able to accept that." Erica glanced upstairs, to where she knew Chris was.

"You know, Bianca, I really think that we should talk about this some other time."

"Why not now?"

"It's just not the right time." This was so frustrating!

"When is the right time? When --" Bianca trailed off when a shirtless Chris Stamp walked down the stairs. She laughed in disbelief. "You're telling me when it's right and wrong to have sex, and you've just been to bed with him?" She shook her head in amazement. "Y'know Mom, you really amaze me sometimes. Your incredible nerve to tell me how I should run my life when you can't even keep your own on track." She sighed again. "You know what? I'm outta here." Erica called after her.

"But honey, where are you going?" She caught the words as Bianca flew out the door.

"The Blue Angel!"

Frankie sighed as she stirred her Shirley Temple. It was a small indulgence she allowed herself; the memory of her childhood, before she had to deal with all these grown-up dilemmas. She thought of Bianca. She'd never expect to find Frankie in a place like this, not with her preconceptions of her sexuality.

She didn't even know why she was here. She had enough issues dealing with her feelings for Bianca, she didn't need to be here, where anyone could come up and start hitting on her.

She took a small sip of the cherry flavored 7 Up and looked around her. It was such a rich place, rich in atmosphere and people and energy. She watched the couples on the dance floor, wondering if she'd ever be able to find that closeness with someone without screwing it up.

She'd been periodically looking at the door. She didn't know what she expected to find, certainly Bianca would be at home, or somewhere else for the night. She didn't even know why she had to keep thinking about the girl. Nothing was going to happen; if something were going to, she had screwed it up plenty today. Her fears and insecurities always created problems. This only served to create more fears and insecurities, and more problems. It was this vicious cycle that she couldn't stop. She didn't know how.

She was broken out of her reverie by a very attractive woman of about twenty walking up to take the seat next to her at the "bar". She had long black hair and pale creamy white skin. She actually kinda reminded Frankie of Bianca, except this woman was closer to her own height.

"So, what's a sweetheart like you doing here all alone?" The woman asked flirtingly. Frankie smirked.

"Can't you come up with anything better than that?" She softened the jest with a small smile.

"Sorry, I'm fresh out of new ideas. So, cutie, you got a girlfriend?" The smile turned sad.

"No. Almost...I mean, I think there was a chance...but I screwed it up." The older woman smiled.

"Ah, so that's why you're here. Recent heartbreak?" Frankie nodded hesitantly. "Well, that's too bad. Name's Jordana, how bout you?" The dark woman inquired.


"Oooh...a butch one, eh? I like em a little hard..." Frankie put her hand up.

"Okay, for one, your lines are really old." Jordana laughed. "And for two, I'm really not interested in starting a new relationship right now." Jordana put her hand on Frankie's shoulder.

"I understand, sweetie. Want to dance anyway? You could tell me all about this girl of yours." What the hell? She accepted the older woman's hand and was led out onto the dance floor.\

Bianca sighed as she stepped out of her car. Her eyes wandered to the neon blue angel hanging over the door. Well, here goes nothing...

"She sounds like something special." Jordana remarked as they swayed to the music. Frankie smiled a bit.

"She is. I just wish I hadn't screwed it all up!"

"Well, sweetie, it sounds like there was a lot more going on that you screwing it up. Who knows? Maybe there's still a chance for you two, if you can tell her what you just told me..." Frankie thought about this for a moment.

"Yeah, maybe there is..." She replied. She smiled up at Jordana. "Thank you. You really helped me put things in perspective." She leaned up and kissed Jordana's cheek.

"No problem, sweetie." Frankie's smile faded when she saw who had just walked in.

Bianca stood there in the doorway, not sure exactly what she was feeling at the moment. It was a mixture of anger, jealousy, and pain. Why couldn't she just tell me? The emotions mixed with the gaze Frankie had fixed on her was too much. She fled the bar and ran to her car.

Inside, Frankie was panicked.

"I have to go find her. This isn't how I wanted her to find out...damn!" Frankie ran out after Bianca.

Bianca was fumbling with her purse, trying to get her keys out to open her car door. She finally got them, and with shaky hands, tried to fit the right key in the lock. She wasn't having much success when a warm hand covered hers.

Bianca turned around swiftly, to find Frankie standing in front of her. She opened her mouth to speak, but Frankie held up a finger.

"Let me talk first, ok?" Bianca nodded. "Look, this isn't the way I wanted you to find out. Honestly, I wanted to tell you earlier, but you were so mad..." She shook her head. "No excuses. I should have told you."

"Frankie, you don't owe me anything--" Bianca started, but was again cut off, this time by a soft finger covering her lips.

"Bianca. I want you to know why I didn't tell you before, when I had the chance. Can I just explain that much?" Bianca again nodded. "Okay. You asked me why I was nervous, why I was freaking out. Th truth is...I've never felt this way before. These feelings I have...for you...they're intense, Bianca. They scare me. That's why I couldn't say anything. I wanted things to stay the same so I wouldn't have to deal with it. I was wrong. I'm telling you now, and I'm hoping that maybe you'll forgive me." She looked up at Bianca questioningly. Bianca's hand snaked around the wrist of the hand that was covering her mouth and pulled it away.

"Frankie...I don't know what to say. This is all...it's all unexpected. I thought I had it all figured out. I...I think you know I have feelings for you. I was pretty obvious earlier. I just...I don't know what to say." She repeated. Frankie smiled softly at her.

"Then don't say anything." And the talking ceased as Frankie's lips descended on hers.

Reluctantly, Frankie pulled away. She needed to breathe, and her legs were getting a little sore from standing on her tiptoes. We're gonna have to figure what to do about that... She thought briefly of the possibilities. Hm...I wouldn't mind being picked up by her...literally.

Bianca looked down at Frankie, feeling how her hands had situated on the smaller girl's waist, and smiled broadly.

"Wow." Frankie smiled back.

"That all you can say?" She teased. Bianca's smiled dimmed to a low, sexy smirk.

"I can say a lot of things." She said as she leaned down and kissed her again.

The kiss ended, and Frankie was the one with the sexy smile on her face.

"Mm...I don't think I quite heard you...maybe you should say it again."

"Okay..." Bianca replied with a sigh. "But try to listen this time, huh?" She could feel Frankie's smile as their lips met a third time. I like this new trend... she thought briefly before she lost herself in Frankie's lips.

Frankie was wept away by an ocean of overwhelming feelings; exhilaration, bliss, and the tiniest niggling of fear, which grew as she felt Bianca's tongue seek entrance to her mouth. Her gut wrenched in an exquisite mixture of pleasure and pain. She pulled away to see Bianca's confused and apologetic face. She turned away.

"I'm sorry. I...I don't know why...why I pulled away like that." She felt the younger girl's hand land on her shoulder.

"Hey, no, it's okay. I...I'm moving too fast. I understand." Bianca replied. Frankie turned around sharply.

"No! No, it's...it's not your fault." She said gently, cupping the taller girl's cheek with her hand. "You're wonderful, Bianca. I just...I need to get used to this. Can we maybe go somewhere and just talk?" Bianca would have been hurt, but she could see the anguish in the blonde's eyes. She smiled reassuringly.

"Of course. Let's get in the car, and then we can decide the place." Before they moved, Bianca pulled Frankie into a hug and spoke softly into her ear. "It's okay to be a little freaked. Don't think it changes anything, okay?" She pulled back and saw Frankie nod, smiling at her.

"Okay. Now let's get in the car." She smiled as she opened the door for Frankie. At the smaller girl's raised eyebrow, she replied, "I'm a gentleman. What can I say?"

"You don't have to say anything. It's a good thing." Frankie replied sincerely. Bianca walked around to the driver's side and climbed in.

"So, where to?" She asked as she started up the car.

"I dunno. Wherever. Where we go's not important, as long as we're both there." Bianca smiled.

"Okay. I know just the place." A few minutes into the drive, she felt Frankie's hand slip into her own. She looked over at her briefly, to catch the shy smile on the girl's face. Well, this is certainly a change. She thought. Frankie, being shy? Secretive, yeah, she's been mysterious even, but shy? She decided she liked it. She smiled back and gave Frankie's hand a reassuring squeeze.

"Here we are." Bianca said as she stopped the car. Frankie looked up through the windshield, and took in the amazing sight.

"Wow." She said, her hand still in Bianca's. "You can see all of Pine Valley from here."

"It's one of the perks of living in a valley. I come up here sometimes, just to think. It's a great place to get some peace and quiet." Frankie smiled at Bianca.

"Thanks for sharing it with me." Bianca lifted Frankie's hand to her lips.

"Thank you for not leaving town before I had a chance." Frankie looked down.

"Look, Bianca, I'm really sorry. I've been treating you pretty awful today, and you didn't deserve that."

"Frankie, it's okay--" Frankie cut her off.

"No, Bianca, it's not okay. You've been nothing but sweet to me, up until today, and how do I repay you? By snapping at you and calling you a jerk, when really, I'm the jerk." Bianca's hand left Frankie's, only to catch a strand of hair that had come loose from the bundle on the back of the girl's head. She tucked it behind Frankie's ear, feeling as she did so how soft the girl's cheek was. She looked into Frankie's eyes, seeing the vulnerability and self-deprecation.

"Listen to me, Frankie. You are not a jerk. Like I said before, I asked you some tough questions today. Now I know just how tough they were. I know what it's like, Frankie. Everyone deals with coming out in their own way. You know how I came out to my mom?" Bianca said, smiling a little at the memory.


"I stripped in our living room." Frankie's eyebrow shot up. "I told her to look at me, to face who I was. Then I told her I was gay." Frankie couldn't control her giggles. Bianca laughed right along with her.

"God, I can't imagine her reaction to that!" This sent them both into another fit of laughter. Frankie doubled over, and put her hand on Bianca's shoulder to steady herself. The laughter faded, and Frankie looked back into Bianca's eyes.

"You know those tough questions you were asking earlier?" Bianca nodded. "The answers...they all had to do with you." Bianca looked down, blushing. Frankie placed a finger under the brunette's chin, lifting her face back up to eye level. "I mean, you were just the biggest surprise. I came here, looking for a new start. I was tired of running, I wanted to settle down somewhere. This seemed like a nice enough place. I'd even forgotten that Vanessa lived here. It's not like we were in touch. I wanted to come to a place where nobody knew me, where I could make a new image for myself. Then the whole thing with your mom happened, and you showed up at the hospital...And you did something totally unexpected. You believed me."

"I couldn't remember the last time someone actually believed me. I was so used to being told that I was wrong, and you totally threw me off. I think I hoped from that moment that you would care about me. Even as I prepared to leave town, I was praying you'd stop me." Bianca smiled. "And you did. You even brought me into your home. And you helped me get that job with Opal, even though that's a bust now...And you ditched college day to hang out with me. I know you said you didn't feel like going anyway, but still...it's like you put your life on hold to help me out. No one's ever done that for me." Bianca sighed and took Frankie's hand in hers again.

"That's too bad, Frankie, 'cause you're worth it." Frankie felt tears stinging at her eyes. She looked down and wiped them away with her free hand. Bianca put her free hand on Frankie's shoulder. "What's wrong?" She asked, concerned. Frankie looked back up.

"Nothing. Nothing's wrong." She sniffed. "That's why I'm crying." Bianca looked puzzled. "It's just...you care about me. And...I'm just not used to that." Bianca felt her heart tighten as she remembered what Frankie had told her earlier that evening...

"Ever since I can remember, my parents treated me like I was this awful burden. I was practically invisible, and when they did acknowledge me it was to put me down or yell at me. I never understood it. I stayed away from home as much as possible, and that only made them angrier.

"Then this one day, I found these adoption papers with my name on them. I was shocked. The papers didn't have the name of my birth mom, I still don't know who she is. When I confronted my 'mom' about them, she kicked me out. Said I'd gone too far. I packed up what I could, which is basically what I've got right now, and I left. That was when I was fifteen. I've been running ever since."

Bianca silently thanked her mom for not getting her a car with a stick shift as she slid over and pulled Frankie into her arms. She kissed the top of the girl's head, and whispered into her hair.

"You're going to get used to it, Frankie. I promise you." Frankie held onto Bianca, clinging to the one great thing in her life.

Frankie slowly opened her eyes, only to shut them again immediately. Whoa, that's bright. Wait...where am I? She opened them again, shielding her eyes. The morning sun had risen and was shining directly through the windshield. She looked down and saw Bianca's arms around her, and realized exactly what she was using as a pillow. She pulled away slowly, getting her bearings. I guess we just fell asleep. She let out a silent sigh. What a nice way to go to sleep, wrapped in her arms.

A wide grin spread across her face as she remembered the events of the previous night. She really cares about me. Someone cares about me! She just couldn't continue to celebrate this alone. She shook Bianca's shoulder a couple times, but the brunette didn't move.

An idea struck the smaller girl. She leaned over and gently pressed her lips to Bianca's. She kept them there until she felt the other girl respond, then she pulled away. That's a nice way to wake up Bianca thought sleepily as she opened her eyes.

"Morning Sunshine." Frankie said, the grin still fully intact on her face. Bianca smiled back sleepily.

"Good morning yourself." She looked around. "Did we fall asleep here last night?" Frankie shrugged.

"Guess so. Only thing I remember is you." Bianca blushed. "Really, Bianca, thank you so much for being there for me last night. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"I'm sure you'd do plenty. But you're welcome." They looked at each other for a few moments. "So, we gonna find you a place today?" Frankie grimaced as she cracked her back.

"Let's hope so. I love sleeping in your arms, but damn, this car is uncomfortable." Bianca laughed.

"Yeah, not the best to sleep in, I'll give you that. So, let's go. Whaddya say?"

"Lead the way, Bianca-la." Bianca flushed a little at the return of the nickname. It still made her pulse race. She leaned over and kissed Frankie one more time, gently, to last her for the car ride, then started up the car again. Here we go...let's hope someone else in this town is nice enough to give her a place.

The End

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