Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chapter Forty Three

The ringing of the phone startled her. It wasn't the apartment phone, and it was playing the guitar, a pretty little acoustic tune. As her blurry eyes opened and turned to the sound she saw a cell phone laying on the bedside table. "Dammit Richie, you'd forget your head if it weren’t attached." Figuring it was Richie calling to see where he'd left his phone she picked it up and flipped it open. "Hello?"

A small confused voice answered her back "Hi is Dad there? I mean Richie?" she asked

Frankie's eyes popped all the way open, instant awareness flooding her. "Ava?"

"Yeah, who's this?" she asked a little confused

"Well my mom stuck me with Joanna Frances, but you can call me Frankie." She smiled at the sweet voice of Richie's little girl.

"Oh Frankie, Dad told me about you, is he there?" her worry and panic evident in her small voice.

"No sweetie, He and Jon had a meeting. What’s wrong honey?? Maybe I can help."

Ava started to panic, her Dad had told her that Frankie was a sweet woman, so she should trust her right? "Ah, I kind of need to get out of here, Mom's gone a little ballistic, her and Jack have been fighting and its loud and the neighbors have called the police. Mom’s had a real meltdown," she said blurting it all out.

Frankie’s mind shot into overdrive as she hit the floor and headed to the closet. "Baby you stay calm ok? I'll come get you." She kept Ava talking as she got directions and an address and the full story of how Mom was having one of her moments. "Ava baby, it’s only a couple hours from where I am, I'll be there as fast as I can. You pack yourself a few things ok? Don’t forget your favorite stuffed animal or whatever you need. We'll get you to your daddy ok?"

"Ok, thanks Frankie" she said trying not to cry. She hated this, she just wanted to be with her Daddy and now, he always knew how to make things like this better but she was glad Frankie was coming to get her.

"You watch for me sweetie. I'll be in a little silver car ok?" Frankie finished dressing and grabbed her keys and pocketbook. Fuck moratoriums, fuck demands, fuck staying in. Richie's baby had a need, and she'd help if it killed her.

Stepping to her mom's bedroom door she paused, "Ava hang on a moment sweetie, gotta tell my mom where I'm headed ok?" Opening the door she held the phone to her chest a moment, "Mom?"

CC looked up at her daughter from the book she was reading. "What is it sweetie?" she asked sensing something was wrong.

"Ava called, that's Richie's little girl, she needs help and I'm gonna go help her. I hate to leave you alone, but I shouldn't be gone more than a couple hours. You’re gonna be ok while I'm gone?” Frankie watched her mom intently. She hated leaving her, but a scared ten year old needed help.

CC looked at her daughter "I will be fine sweetie, you go and do what you have to do, just be careful ok" she smiled. "Just ring me if you get into any trouble and I can ring Richie" she said

Frankie smiled. "No problem mom." Putting the phoen back to her ear she moved to the door and slipped out, keeping up a running conversation with Ava as she made her way to her car. Remembering the need to be careful she checked very careful for lurkers and saw none. Scooting into her car she cranked it and drove out of the parking garage quickly.

She broke a few speed laws on the way, but managed to get to Ava's within decent time. Pulling up to the front door she took a deep breath and stepped out. Twenty minutes later, after a soothing and convincing argument with Heather, that had Heather agreeing that yes She and Jack did need some down time in a more private place, Frankie had a signed permission slip to have Ava.

Stacking all of Ava's things into the car she made sure the little girl was buckled in before cranking. Frankie pulled out into traffic and started the drive home. Glancing at Ava her heart was ripped in two pieces at the lost look the little girl had. "I'll get you to your Daddy honey. I promise. Hey when we get back to my place, maybe you can help me make some cookies or something. Would you like that?"

Ava just nodded "Yeah that would be cool" Anything to get me away from here, she thought. She smiled sweetly at the woman so grateful that she had come and she didnt even know her. She was younger than she expected but she seemed nice and she was pretty, Ava admired her long curly hair, it was so pretty and her stunning blue eyes. She looked familiar but she couldn’t pick where she had seen her before. "So how long have you known Dad?" she asked gently.

Frankie’s gaze flickered over to Ava as she smiled, "A few months. I really fell for him." She began to tell her the tale of the Bahamas and falling from the rock only to be caught. "So you see, Your daddy is a real Sir Galahad, saved the day and kept me from getting hurt."

Ava laughed "Well if I know my Dad, he is drawn to the pretty ones," she said with a smile. "He seemed really happy the other weekend, happiest I have seen in months" Ava offered.

Frankie laughed softly, "well he makes me pretty happy too." She glanced at Ava again and winked. "Ok out with it, I see that question in them pretty brown eyes."

Ava smiled. "Do you love him?" she asked curiously

Frankie nodded, "More than life itself sweetie. He's a really special guy, and i promise you I'll never hurt him."

Ava smiled "I am pretty sure that he loves you too, I just can tell" she chuckled. "I have another question" she said

Frankie shook her head, "He's not too good at keeping things a secret is he?"
"No he tells me, and Uncle Jon everything" she snorted softly

"Well he trusts you, and .." Frankie paused a moment and swallowed hard, "your Uncle Jon."

"He does, have you met Jon? He's so cool, so funny and he always plays jokes on Dad when I am there."

Frankie’s brow quirked upwards, "Jon plays jokes?" This didn’t sound like the Jon she'd come to know. "But yeah, I've met Jon. "

"Yeah, he's a great dad, but Dad told me he doesn’t live with his kids anymore or something but anyway, I wanna know how your hair is so curly?" she asked

"Believe it or not Ava's its always been this way. Mom says its like my father's was when he was younger." She shook her head a bit and let her waves fly about, "It can be a real pain sometimes. but I kinda like it."

"Your father must of had pretty hair, I like it, its awesome" she smiled.

Frankie snorted, "Yeah he was a pretty man I hear." She pulled the car into the apartment garage and parked. Looking around carefully again for lurkers she exited the car. "Come on sweetie, let’s get your things and get inside."

Ava picked up her bags and they soon were safe inside the apartment. "Thank you Frankie for coming to get me, I hate it when they fight like that" she said as she sat down on the kitchen stool.

"Fighting is always scary sweetie. Hey you wanna meet my mom? She needs to know I'm back."

"Yeah sure" she said as she followed her to a room.

Opening the door Frankie smiled as her mom looked up. "Mom, This is Ava, Richie's little girl."

CC looked up at the gorgeous girl that had Richie written all over her. "Hello Ava" she smiled. "You let my daughter take good care of you."

"I will thanks Mrs .Frankie" she said politely.

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