Fandom: All My Children
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters
Summary: The sun rises on trouble
Note: A little foray back into writing. My first after the break. I don’t expect much from it. Hope it’s ok. I may be a bit rusty.
The first time she sees her, it’s 5:30 in the morning and the sun is just beginning to rise in the distance. Frankie was leaning over the railing, dust covering her boots and a thin cigarette dangling from her lips, half burnt and ashes flickering in the wind. It was dry, the air scraping her face and throat like sandpaper. It was already hot and the oranges and pinks slipping through the darkness promised to make her threadbare shirt stick to her back and arms by the time lunch rolled around.
Squinting her eyes, Frankie could make out the womanly shape as it traipsed slowly along the road. Not many people came around this way. Hell, Frankie didn’t come around this way. Only reason she had for perching on this dilapidated old porch was the knowledge of a hard cot and clinking barred doors if she didn’t.
Frankie wasn’t much obliged to spend her time in places like that nowadays.
Blowing out a smooth stream of smoke, she watched the figure turn from a blurry mirage into a full-fledged human being. Brown hair. Long and nestling over her shoulders. Slim but with enough curves to be inviting to anyone with a good enough eye to see past the end of their nose. Skin as white as snow. Must not be from around the area, and certainly not one to spend much time out when the sun did actually peek over the horizon.
It was the face, though, that captured Frankie’s attention and had her pausing, not even a muscle twitching. Deep russet eyes and a softness around her mouth that let Frankie know she could be trouble – but not the kind Frankie was running from. No, the sort of trouble that walked up to you and knocked you off your feet before you even knew what hit you. The kind that made you question the world and believe that nice things could happen to a chump like you.
That sort of woman sure didn’t belong around these parts.
Not anywhere near Frankie, that’s to say.
“Hello?” the woman called out. Her eyes landed on the porch, and Frankie felt a slight chill race down her spine. She ground her teeth, holding in any sort of reaction.
The voice was gentle and melodic. Like an angel’s might be.
“Hello? Is someone there?” an elegant hand curled up, “Please, is someone there?”
Frankie plucked the cigarette from her lips and dropped it to the ground, lethargically pushing back from the rail. She eyed the dirt path leading from her place to the road. She should get back inside. As far as anyone knew, this place was empty. It’d be bad news for her if word got back that she was hiding out in there.
“Please, my car broke down.”
Letting out a sigh, Frankie silently cursed herself for being a dumb blockhead. She carefully looped around to the short set of steps and eased down to the path. She methodically made her way over, the wind tickling her ears with each step.
The woman’s face lit up when she saw Frankie walking toward her, “Oh, thank goodness.” Her hand went to her chest, “I am so happy to see someone.”
Frankie didn’t reply, concentrating instead on keeping her face stoic.
“I have been walking all night, it seems.” The woman continued explaining, “My car ran out of gas a few miles back. I have been looking for someone who could help me.”
Licking her lips, Frankie tilted her head, “There’s a filling station ‘bout five miles back the way you came.”
“There is?” the woman looked confused.
“Don’t open till sunup.” Frankie gave a slight nod, “You start heading back now, you’ll make it when he opens.”
The woman gave a sheepish smile, “Five miles is quite a ways, especially after all this walking. I’m such a fool for letting it run out of gas, you know.” She tried to peer around Frankie at the boarded up house, “You wouldn’t happen to have a car, would you? I’d pay you for your trouble. Just to get me back to the filling station.”
She did have a car, but not one she could take out anywhere without sending out a signal. “No.”
“Oh,” her face fell, and Frankie felt it in her belly.
Taking a deep breath, Frankie steeled herself, “Best you go on back to your car. The man who runs the joint always drives past there. He’ll see ya and help ya out.”
The woman glanced at Frankie, “Perhaps I could have a glass of water before I go? It’s so warm out here, and I haven’t had anything to drink since yesterday.”
“Water ain’t working.”
“Please. Just one glass.”
Frankie clenched her jaw. Why was this woman here? Frankie couldn’t let anyone know she was there, yet this woman wanted her to bring her inside the house?
“Please,” the woman interrupted, a heartbreakingly hopeful gleam in her eye.
Like a sap, Frankie found herself nodding, “Alright. Just, stay here.” She spun on her heels mentally grumbling about women and how they always seemed to get their way around her.
It was less than ten steps when she heard the click.
Ever so slowly, Frankie turned around.
A gun pointed directly at her chest.
“Frankie Stone?” the woman asked, but it was clear she already knew.
Frankie looked her in the eyes, “Proteus send you?”
“You stole money from him. Can’t let that go.”
Must not be high on the list of trusted employees thinking Proteus was a fella, “I didn’t take nothing that wasn’t owed to me.”
“Proteus would beg to differ.” The gun twitched, “Hands up.”
Frankie blinked, “What’s your name?”
A shrug, “Like to know the name of the woman who’s gonna put me six feet under.”
A short moment, then “Bianca.”
“Pretty name.” she mused.
“Where’s the money?”
Bianca stepped closer, “I mean it. I will shoot you if you do not tell me. Where is the money?” She growled, “Put your hands up!”
“I told ya. Ain’t no money.” Frankie carefully raised her hands, forcing herself not to think about how adorable the growl sounded.
“You took fifty thousand dollars from Proteus, and he wants it back.”
“No, Proteus wants me dead.” She smirked, “Money’s just the excuse.”
“I ain’t done nothing but get the hell out of the city.” Frankie chuckled bitterly, “Proteus thinks I turned rat, pinned a murder on me, and now sends you to do what the coppers couldn’t. Fifty grand? I ain’t seen that much dough in my life. It ain’t here, that’s for sure.”
The gun wavered a little.
“Sends you out here to finish the job.” Frankie shook her head, “Wants you to put a bullet in my gut.” She let out a breath, “You gonna do it?”
“If you don’t, Proteus will send someone after you. See it as a sign of betrayal. Lost trust.” Frankie took a step toward Bianca, her voice dropping, “You know why Proteus sent you?” She continued before Bianca could reply, “Because she wants it to hurt as much as it can in the end.”
“What?” it was clear Bianca didn’t understand.
“Pretty girl like you, might be able to get close to me. Lot more likely than any fella, that’s for sure.” Frankie took another step, “But there’s a hundred different gals coulda been picked to come out here and play damsel in distress. You” she grinned, “were the one she picked, though. Why?”
“Because I can finish the job.”
“No,” Frankie closed the distance between them. The barrel of the gun pressed into her chest, “Because I’d let you.”
Bianca’s hand shook, “What are you saying? Are you mad? Crazy?”
Frankie peered up into stormy swirls of brown, “First time I saw you, Proteus was there. Down on fifteenth street. Paddy’s place. You were sipping on a tonic and listening to some bub tinkling the piano. You were a sight. I saw you, and Proteus saw it.” Frankie curved her palm around the gun, pushing it further against her chest, “Couldn’t keep my eyes off ya. Everytime I’d see ya around, couldn’t do nothing but watch. Each time you came to work, pretty as a picture.”
Bianca swallowed thickly.
“I wanted you, but never was able to go up and tell ya. Next thing ya know, Proteus wants me dead and I’ve got the coppers chasing me all around the country. Then, you show up. Mighty big coincidence.”
“You’ve been watching me?” the words were low, cautious.
“Can’t blame a gal for appreciating beauty, can ya?”
Bianca’s grip on the gun began to slack, but Frankie touched her wrist, “Don’t.”
Bianca blinked, mouth twisting.
“Either way, I’m dead, darling. Either you do it, or someone else will – and they’ll go after you next.” Frankie guided Bianca’s hand, “Two quick squeezes and it’s all over. You do it, and then get the hell out of here. Don’t look back, keep driving. Sound travels fast around here. Far too.”
“Don’t get soft on me now, darling.” Frankie’s mouth wobbled slightly before she was able to regain her stoicism, “Do what ya came here to do. Stories don’t change that.”
Bianca leaned forward, “How long? How long have you been watching me? W-Wanting me?”
“Seems like all my life.” Frankie answered.
The air crackled, energy and heat striking hot invisible sparks of lighting into the sky.
Then, with a surprising swiftness, Bianca brushed her lips against Frankie’s.
The world splintered and broke into a million pieces, careening and spinning wildly.
It was everything and nothing. The promise of forever and the realization of loss.
Both were trembling when they broke apart.
Frankie’s voice was hoarse, “Shoot me.”
The sun appeared, full and burning, in the morning sky.