Franky gasped in mock shock as Tessa admitted just why she was so keen to rat her out when she let a swear word slip in front of her little sister. “But I didn’t say it! You can’t tell Bridgey.” She proclaimed, faux worry written over her face for the moment. As if she’d really truly get in trouble with her soon to be wife. “How about I give you a giant piece of cake at the wedding?” She bargained. Tessa’d probably get a bigger piece of cake than their father thought she needed regardless of her telling Bridget or not, but perhaps cake was a better bargaining chip than chocolates.
Franky had stared at her reflection in the mirror for the moment. She was happy and it showed in the smile seemingly permanently etched across her face and the glow that she seemed to radiate. “Thank you, Tess.” She murmured softly.
She chuckled when Tessa complemented her once again in her relief that she and Bridget could still indeed get married. “I do look pretty, don’t I? Do you think Bridget will like it?” She asked as Tessa took her hand. Franky stood back up and moved towards the door, opening it and leading her sister out. She looked down at her tiny mirror and returned the serious face. “You sure we’re all ready?” She knew they were, but she’d give the final say to her kid sister.
After Tessa’s confirmation, Franky gave a very serious nod and lead her sister down the hallway. “Da! Are you ready?” She called before turning to look at her sister once more. “Wouldn’t it be funny if Daddy wasn’t ready especially since I just took soooo long?” She whispered as if it would be some huge conspiracy for their father to not be ready already. “We might just have to leave without him. Then you’ll have to pretend to be Daddy today.” She laughed softly. It was so easy to carry on and giggle with her sister, it gave her a means to avoid the anxiousness that lurked underneath.
The drive to the venue was short, but full of Tessa’s babbling excitement and Franky’s sudden quietness. Anxious nerves caused by the sheer excitement of the day, a day she had never even thought about until she’d met and fallen for the blonde. She’d never been a girly girl nor had she ever had much time as a little girl to fantasize about such trivial things. But now that the day was here and she had a moment to sit still, even with Tessa’s jubilation in the background, she found herself actually nervous. “Alright Tessa, you gotta stay with Da and I right?” Franky asked as the car was pulled into the car park.
Vera raised a brow when Bridget said she had a hanky for Franky, trying to reconcile the images of Franky Doyle and a teary-eyed bride together. She was sure there was a good possibility of being able to see just that come time, but in the here and now it was a hard image to conjure. “Good thinking ahead. I’m sure one of you will need it.” Running makeup would be no fun when it came time to pictures.
The ride to the venue was quiet, Vera knowing the quietness was greatly in part due to Bridget’s nerves. “I doubt Tessa would let anything interfere with her princess dress.” Vera having been there when the child had picked out here dress and having heard nothing for the rest of the day except about the princess dress. “If it’s not sparkly and bedazzled I don’t think it’ll match enough to appease her.” A hint of a smile spread across Vera’s face. They arrived at the venue after the short drive with the car being parked. The driver stepped out and opened the door for them to exit. “This is it.” Vera spoke softly, making sure the ring box was still accounted for.
Franky let out a soft chuckle. She knew Tessa wasn’t incorrect. She had told Tessa that rules were made for breaking. “Well that’s definitely true.” She smiled, shaking her head slightly. Tessa didn’t forget things, especially not when it came to what her older sister said. A mini-Franky Tessa was becoming.
The relief on Tessa’s face was obvious and quite adorable. Sometimes Franky forgot her little sister was still a kid with all the innocence of childhood. She didn’t get Franky’s sarcasm at times. “Nah, kiddo.” Franky wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “You can trust me not to hurt Bridget.” Franky had hurt Bridget before and she never wanted to see that look on her girl’s face again. “But if I do, I promise you can kick my ar… my butt.” Franky winked, catching herself before uttering the curse word, sure Tessa would call her out on using a ‘bad word’ had she said it.
Franky thought about taking her time, being slow intentionally, but knew if she did Tessa wouldn’t last. If Franky were impatient, Tessa was doubly or triply so, having her young age as a detriment to the patience meter. “I’m going as quick as I can.” She teased, though she knew that she could possibly go quicker. “Ta da.” She spoke as the sheath dress flowed down around her. Franky gave her sister a smile and then looked past the tiny brunette to a mirror across the room. The dress was a far cry from the jeans and leather jackets she was accustomed to and her hair and makeup just completed the look.
She had little time to appreciate the transformation she had made in a few hours time however because her sister went from awe to suddenly worried about her inability to get married. “Oh, no, silly girl.” Her attention returned to the tiny girl, quickly moving to her side. “They didn’t give me the wrong one. I was kidding about all wedding dresses being white.” She smiled, trying to reassure Tessa. “And of course I can still marry Gidget! I wouldn’t let anything stop me.” She declared and she certainly wouldn’t. She and Bridget had been through far too much for Franky to let a dress mix up get the best of her. She was quiet a second before holding her hand out to her sister. “So what do you say? Let’s go find Da and then Bridgey so we can get this wedding going. Or am I still not allowed to see her?” She asked with a fake pout, one that her sister had managed to perfectly mirror.
Vera stepped back once all the buttons were complete and watched as Bridget admired herself for a moment. “You look gorgeous.” Vera told her. “Franky’s going to be speechless, you watch.” Her smile was genuine, truly happy for her friend. She came up behind Bridget again, laying a comforting hand on her arm. “Take a deep breath, Bridget.” She could still feel the anxiousness rolling off the blonde, but knew soon enough all that would melt away.
Vera stepped away from Bridget once more at her readiness to go find Franky. "Do you have everything you need?" She asked as she moved towards the door before realizing she had very nearly forgotten what she was in charge of keeping track of. She stopped and returned to her purse which had been left on the same table she'd placed her watch when she'd removed it. She pulled the small velvet box from the small bag before returning to the door. "Might need this." She spoke, mostly to herself, and then opened the door for Bridget. "Now, I think we're all set." She gave a nod, and waited for Bridget to exit the room before shutting the door behind the both of them. "Let's find that bride, though I'm sure Tessa will find you first." Tessa seemed to be just as attached to Bridget as her older sister from what Vera had seen.
Franky laughed, holding her hands up in mock defense as her sister got on her for thinking anything might be wrong with the color pink. “Sorry, grommet. Pink is a lovely color indeed. But…. wedding dresses are supposed to be white.” Franky pointed out, although her’s wasn’t exactly white either which she was certain Tessa would point out when she finally reveled her dress. Lightest silver, satin, certainly more feminine than anything else she owned, but somehow she’d fallen in love with it.
“No, no…” She laughed again. She was pleased to have her sister to keep her distracted, sure she’d be a lot more anxious if she didn’t have the distraction of the five year old. “Bridgey’s not rubbish. I’d never want to toss her out.”
Franky couldn’t help the smile or gentle roll of her eyes, deciding to keep the ‘your thoughts will change’ to herself. Tessa wouldn’t understand and Franky was sure she’d only further insist that she’d never get married or kiss anyone.
Franky took her little sister’s dress off the hanger and walked over to her. She helped her into the fluffy dress and zipped it up the back before trying to tie the sash around her tiny waist only to be swatted away. She quirked a brow, holding back a laugh as Tessa told on Bridget. “Oh, is that so? Well go on then and tie it.” She teased as she watched Tessa tie the sash as if it were the most important thing for the day. She watched her run off to twirl in front of mirror as she stared at herself. “You are such a beautiful princess.” Franky told her sister, knowing it’d make the little girl smile as if she weren’t already doing enough of that.
At her sister’s insistence that it was now her turn, Franky chuckled. “Alright, alright.” She scooped her sister up, sitting her carefully on the bed so as not to rumple her dress. “But you have to close and cover your eyes. It’s gotta be a surprise.” She suggested to her sister, knowing there’d be a fair share of giggles and peeking through fingers even if they were shut and covered. She waited until Tessa did as she’d asked before moving to pull her own dress off the hanger and slip into it.
“I’d make her wait.” Vera chuckled, turning her friend around so that she could begin to fasten the buttons one by one. “Well if you could get to the buttons yourself.” She could certainly see the irritation that could be had after a long day. The tiny buttons had to be pushed through their snug loops just so or they’d just pop back out. She was sure Franky wouldn’t have the patience at the end of the day.
The final button pushed through it’s loop, Vera gave Bridget a gentle tap to the shoulder. “All set.” She confirmed, moving to take her own watch off and set it to the side. “Anything else?” She asked, running through a mental checklist. “Ready to become a married woman?” She asked when she was confident they had covered all the bases of getting ready and were ready to go.
“She is so silly.” Franky agreed with a small smile. “I might have believed you if she didn’t say pink.” She chuckled. Bridget was definitely the more feminine of the two, but Franky couldn’t imagine her fiancé to ever wear a pink suit. “Kid, she could be wearing a rubbish bag and I’d think she was beautiful.” There hadn’t been a time since she’d known Bridget that she hadn’t found the blonde beautiful. “But I’m glad you approve of her princess dress.” She winked.
“Oh you just might be!” Franky encouraged her little sister. She laughed softly when Tessa asked if they could have this day again tomorrow. “Unfortunately for you kiddo, we’ll have to wait until you get married to have another wedding.” She teased. “Weddings are just one day.” She told her sister, touching her own hair for a second. “Yes I did. Do you like it?” She asked, already knowing her sister did. Tessa had commented on it several times over the course of the day thus far.
It took a whole two seconds for Tessa to realize that Franky was bringing their dresses out from their protective bags. Her phone was quickly discarded as Tessa ran to grab her shoe box all the while begging to wear her dress already. “In a minute kiddo, in a minute.” When Tessa opened the box, Franky’s face lit up with a smile. “Oh those are so pretty!” She told her sister, knowing it was exactly what her sister thought of them. They were exactly what Franky would expect from Tessa for shoes, bright and shiny. “Well I suppose that you can see my dress if you promise not to sneak off to tell Gidget.” She teased. She hadn’t let Tessa see it despite her begging because she didn’t want Bridget to know. And it was a dress, though Franky had thought about other options, but when else was she going to wear a dress? “Let’s get you dressed first.”
“She didn’t get that chance as a kid, so what better time than with her little sister?” Vera certainly didn’t know the depth of what Franky had been through as a child, but she knew what her file had said. Vera raised a brow when Bridget said they ganged up on her, laughing softly. “Oh I’m sure that’s terrifying.” She teased gently. “A tiny terror and her older sister.”
Vera sat her nearly empty glass to the side and gave a nod. “What’s a best-woman for? Let’s get these buttons done.” Vera smiled, ready to see her best friend in all the finalized touches. “You better know a good seamstress then, your dress might be doomed to loose a few buttons along the way.” She teased. “But I’ll say a prayer for it, maybe it’ll survive after all.” She laughed softly.
Tessa was adorable, always bringing a bright smile to her older sister’s face. Today was no different as she remained confused at the idea of Bridget wearing a pink suit. “It’s just a joke, groment.” She told her little sister. “She doesn’t want me to know what her dress looks like, so she told you to tell me she’s wearing a pink suit.” She laughed softly, not telling her sister she’d caught another detail. Tessa was bad at keeping secrets, not realizing when she’d let something slip. But Franky supposed most children Tessa’s age were probably the same, not that the older of the Doyle sisters had much experience outside of her sister other than Kaiya, and Franky’s certainly didn’t have as much to do with that child as she did with her little sister.
“Oh you do?” Franky watched as Tessa hurried off to grab them as well. “Man she sure did spoil you.” Franky joked as her sister handed her the earrings. Franky was not innocent when it came to spoiling the young girl. She just couldn’t help but to agree to buy whatever it was her sister wanted, having a hard time telling her sweet face no. She quickly helped Tessa clip the earrings on and fluffed her hair a little bit. “You look just like a real princess.” Franky informed her sister very seriously. “Aww, thank you, Tessa.” She smiled. She knew her sister was not used to the hair and makeup she wore for the day. Gone were the days of dark and smoky makeup, replaced by a more natural go about of make up. But today her hair was pulled up into an updo Tessa had only described as ‘soooo pretty’ when Franky had asked earlier in the morning and makeup that was still pretty natural, was probably more than Tessa had ever seen her sister wear.
After she checked herself over, she moved across the room to unzip the dress bags. She opened the bags, taking them off the hangers and folding them to set them aside. She fluffed Tessa’s dress out a bit, wondering for a moment if there were any similarities between Tessa’s dress and her wife-to-be’s dress. “What shoes did you pick out?”
“I’ll definitely give that to her, she is a great chef.” Vera having been over for dinner on a few occasions since Franky’s second release and not having a single complaint about any of the meals she’d had.
“It’s obvious she loves that little girl.” Vera agreed. All you had to do was watch Franky’s interaction with her little sister to see that. It was in the way she spoke to and handled Tessa. If Bridget wasn’t the responsible party, then Tessa certainly was for instilling a softer side in the older Doyle sister. It wasn’t something Vera would have ever expected from Franky upon first meeting the angry woman she used to be.
As she was thanked, Vera gave a small smile and nod. “You’re welcome.” She had struggled in the beginning with the decision to turn a cheek and pretend she knew nothing when it came to Bridget and Franky’s relationship. But she’d told herself that Bridget was a big girl and could take care of herself. Now, looking back, she was thankful she’d made that decision. It was clear Bridget and Franky were good for each other, that they brought out a happiness in each other that had previously been lacking. Glass of champagne over half gone, Vera shifted her glass from one hand and to the other, glancing at her watch to check the time. “I don’t know if this will help those jitters at all, but I suppose if you’re ready to get dressed, now would be the time.” Vera informed her friend.
Franky couldn't help but laugh softly when Tessa informed her Bridget was wearing a pink suit. "Yes, Da wears suits." She told her little sister, sitting the hot iron aside. "Just not pink ones. But, girls can wear suits too, ya know." Franky had a couple for work that she rarely wore. She preferred more casual attire for the day to day and Fessler didn't seem to mind. She chuckled at her sisters dramatics. They certainly were cut from the same cloth, she and her sister. "Don't worry, Tess. I promise she's not wearing a pink suit. It's a just joke." A joke the two women had previously shared about wedding colors - hot pink and yellow which they had thankfully not chosen.
"Well let's get you finished then you can go play on my phone until it's time to put your pretty dress on." Franky suggested to her little sister, trying to keep her away from their dresses until it was time to put them on. She turned the iron off and ran her fingers through her sister's curls to loosen them a bit before pulling some of her hair back to pin with a sparkly barrette Tessa and Bridget had picked out. Franky was glad her little sister had someone to share girly stuff with, she certainly wasn't girly herself. "There, hows that for princess hair?" Franky asked, smiling at her sister in the mirror.
She picked up her phone to look at the time after Tessa had approved her hair. “Ten minutes then we need to think about getting you into all your frills.” She teased, handing over the phone and watching as Tessa bounced off with it. She turned to the mirror to make sure her hair and makeup were still in tact, probably the one time she’d go and get them professionally done.
Calm and collected was certainly not a way Vera would ever use to describe Doyle, though she knew Franky had worked hard. Even Vera would admit Franky had grown a lot as a person. “Too right.” Vera agreed. For what it was worth, Franky and Bridget has been through their fair share of bad luck and somehow they’d made it through and came out the other side stronger than before. Vera could admire that. “Oh, Bridget, they have not ordered a pizza.” She laughed. “But I can’t disagree with them being two peas in a pod. You know, she’s really good with Tessa.” She couldn’t deny that fact.
Vera took the glass and raised it slightly. “To happiness. You deserve it, Bridget.” And she took a sip. She meant it. She was happy Bridget had finally found happiness, even if she hadn’t approved in the beginning. “I’m glad she makes you happy.” Vera could see the happiness in her friend, the way she smiled or the sparkle in her eyes when she spoke about Franky.
“No more chocolate.” Franky confirmed. “I’d wager to guess Da told you no candy anyway, groment.” She teased her baby sister. She scoffed as her sister told her Bridget would kill her if Tessa were to dirty their dresses. “Oh, will she now?” She chuckled, shaking her head with a wide smile spread across her face. “Well then you better keep your grimy little hands away from the dresses, huh?” Franky’s words lacked all the seriousness that her little sister’s words held, obviously teasing her kid sister.
Franky smiled into the mirror at her little sister. There was no denying they shared at least one parent. “Oh, Bridgey’s having curls?” Franky raised a brow, leaning down to kiss her sister’s cheek quickly. “Ya know, you gotta keep stuff like that a secret. I'm not supposed to know what she looks like, silly.” She smirked and returned to working on her sister’s hair. She was careful with the curling iron so as not to burn little Tessa, knowing all to well how that went. She'd done it on accident one day and Tessa had cried for what seemed like forever and then reminded Franky about it for weeks afterwards. "So, what's Bridgey's dress look like?" She whispered conspirately to her little sister as she set the curling iron aside, a wide grin on her face. She doubted Tessa would give any real indication of what the dress looked like, but wondered if she could get her sister to tell her after she'd just teased her for not keeping things secret.
Franky grabbed her phone when she heard it vibrate against the counter, smirking as she saw the term 'Gidget' pop up. She opened it to read the message and rolled her eyes. She'd known Bridget was full of jitters the night before as they laid in bed, she could almost sense it in the darkness. She knew a few hours hadn't calmed those nerves that quickly. 'Sure ya are, Spunky.' She hit send before typing out another. 'You won't get off that easy, Gidge.' Followed by a kissing face emoji and she hit send.
"That was her, yea?" Vera eyed her friend, having no doubt the phone notification had been from Franky with the way Bridget had responded while reading it. "Did it say 'sos, I need help'? It certainly didn't." Vera had known Tessa was an excuse to go and find Franky. "It's bad luck to see the bride before the wedding." Vera started, clearly teasing. "I'm sure she's well on her way to getting both she and Tessa ready." Her relationship with the former inmate had come a long way since verbal assault charges had been passed and subsequently dropped at Bridget's request.
At the mention of bubbly, Vera offered a shrug. "It's your wedding day." Vera said, glancing at her watch once more to gauge the time. "But it'll be time to get ready soon and then you can assure that Franky got herself and Tessa ready, bows and all."
The day had come and Franky couldn't believe it. Ten years ago had someone told her she'd be getting married she'd have laughed. A younger version of herself had no want of marriage after seeing her parents' fall apart and then enduring the following years of abuse at her mother's hands. But then Bridget had walked in with her floral slacks and silk blouses and turned the brunette's world upside down, in a good way. Franky hadn't looked back since.
The brunette sat, stewing in her own nervousness as she watched Tessa dance around the room, peering up the bottom of her dress bag and then running back to Franky again. 'Noooow can I put it on.' Tessa pleaded, pulling the brunette out of thoughts of her fiancé and the commitment they were soon to make. She wasn't having second thoughts, far from it, she couldn't wait, but rather ruminating on how far she had come since meeting the love of her life. And worrying about meeting Bridget’s parents. She wasn’t sure how her in laws would take to her, especially when it came to her marrying their daughter.
”Nah kid, you'll get it dirty in a second. C'mere let's get you cleaned up?" Her sister was currently covered in chocolate that she'd managed to smuggle past their father, chocolate which she'd whispered to Franky about before quickly hiding as if it were some big conspiracy. Franky assumed their father had probably told Tessa no candy, but the older of the sisters wasn't going to stop her baby sister.
Franky helped her sister wash her hands once she managed to wrangle her to the washroom and then took a wash cloth to her chocolatey cheeks. She glanced at her phone as Tess took off to the two dress bags hung, again peering up the inside of her own. Franky chuckled as she turned her attention back to the smaller version of herself. “Not yet.” She teased, grabbing up her phone. Seeing the bride might be bad luck, but surely texting her wasn’t. Take a deep breath, Gidge. I love ya. She hit send and sat her phone back down. If she was nervous, she knew Bridget would probably be as well. The blonde might be able to fool everyone else, but Franky had learned how to read her soon to be wife easily.
“Sit.” Franky chuckled, shooing her sister away from the dress bags for the umpteenth time. “Let’s get ya hair done, yea?” She murmured as she led the tiny brunette to a chair, having noted that perhaps she should start getting the two of them ready. Franky was by no means a hair stylist, but she’d learned a thing or two about doing a little girl’s hair thanks to her little sister.
Watching Bridget pace, it was clear to Vera that her friend was nervous. She barely contained the small smile that spread across her face and the soft chuckle as Bridget fretted about if it was time and if Tessa needed help. “Bridget, I’m sure Franky has Tessa under control.” She doubted Bridget was incorrect in her assessment of Franky’s bow tying skills. “If not, I’m sure their father can tie a bow.” The smile written across her face was no longer hidden. Bridget was usually so level headed.