Title: "Leap Before You Look"
Fandom: Days of our Lives
Rating/Classification: SAC, Abigail/Frankie-ish.
Disclaimer: The characters belong to the Cordays, NBC, etc. I am making no profit.
Summary: 1175 words. Set in June of 2006. Abby Deveraux will go to any lengths to make sure her parents stay together.
Note: This fic idea Ate My Brain tonight. Am going to the Special Hell.
This is something Chelsea would do. No, scratch that, she thinks; it's probably something Chelsea *has* done. Abby has been there, night after night, watching her best friend scheme and plot to get her parents back together, listening to her crazy plans and trying her best to talk her down from the ledge. She's heard it all.
And now she's the one who's inching out, who's staring down at the traffic and waiting to jump.
Her hands shake as she yanks her T-shirt up over her head, as she unbuttons her jeans and steps out of them. Just this once, she wishes her underwear wasn't so plain…wasn't still the little girl kind with flowers and a pink matching bra.
Chelsea has lingerie. Chelsea's panties are red and they say, "Do me," even though she hasn't gone all the way.
Abby slides between the cool sheets of the bed, shivering a little even though it's June outside, full summer, and she was sweating before she walked in.
She doesn't have to wait long for Frankie to stumble into the guest room. He's exhausted, probably angry, and he doesn't even flip on the light switch because, by now, he knows his way around in the dark. He's been sleeping here ever since her dad came back.
She listens to him shuck off his shirt, get undressed, and she tries to make herself as small as possible as he climbs into bed. And she doesn't look. Okay, she glances. He's not that bad for an older guy. Chelsea says he's hot, that he has a body like Brad Pitt, and she would've slept with him to pay her legal fees. (Bo paid them so she never had to worry about it.) He smells a little like beer and she wonders if he was out drinking with Max at the Pub, trying to make sense of where he fits now…which is nowhere. And that's not his fault.
None of this is his fault.
But that doesn't matter.
A full minute goes by and she can almost hear Frankie grinding his teeth and doing that thing where his jaw goes all clench-y. The thing he does when he doesn't want Mom to know how upset he is. He's been doing it a lot lately.
"What are you doing in my bed?"
"What do you think?" She hopes it sounds sexy, like a purr, like something Chelsea would say, but she thinks it probably sounds like she's scared and half-naked in her stepfather's bed instead.
He exhales and it's as loud as Max gunning the engine of his racecar. "I think y-you hate me, Abby. And I think you're planning to shout the house down in about a minute and get your mom and your *dying father* out of bed just to get me out of this house."
She has no response for that. Because that's exactly what her plan was. A sixteen-story drop and a cry of "he tried to seduce me!"
She hadn't thought much beyond that, actually.
She didn't count on Frankie being really smart. Or being really good at the subtle guilt, mentioning how Dad is weak and doesn't need to be running down the hall to defend her virtue. And he's calm, and nice, and he never yells at her for the awful things she says to him all the time…but those are things she didn't count on either. She can't.
She can feel him next to her. Sort of. Warm. Breathing. Like the times she's laid down with JJ for his nap…except Frankie isn't her baby brother. She's not sure what he is. Who he is. Only that…"I don't hate you. I hate you with *Mom*."
He laughs, shakily, and it's a young laugh. Mom told her that he looks almost the same as he did in high school. "Abigail, I really want to get some sleep, okay? So…so why don't you get dressed and go back to your room?"
He's not looking at her. Not even glancing. Maybe you don't have to wear red to say, "Do me." Frankie's still a guy, after all. She chews on her lip, tastes cherry gloss and skin and blood. "What if I stay?"
The sheets rustle but he doesn't go anywhere. It's a wonder his jaw hasn't snapped. "Then I'll be the one shouting the house down and probably killing Jack in the process."
"I've never heard you shout," she can't help but point out. "Besides, you wouldn't do that to Mom."
"Fine. Then I'll take the floor." She's surprised. When he does move, he moves quickly, grabbing a pillow and disappearing over the side of the bed. "Goodnight, Abigail. Please be out of here before your parents wake up." Case closed, argument finished. He really is a good lawyer. He really is a good guy.
"Frankie?" She crawls across the bed and peers down, to where he's curled into the pillow he took with him. " Frankie, are you going to tell my mom about this?"
"I don't know. I haven't decided," he murmurs, hesitantly. His eyes are dark and his chest is smooth. Better than Brad Pitt's, she decides. "This…this is pretty out of character for you. Maybe she needs to know. Maybe she should be worried about what you're getting into. Hell, I'm worried about what you're getting into."
"Chelsea says it's norm--"
But he doesn't let her finish that. He interrupts, firmly, "Sweetie, don't be Chelsea. Okay? Just be you. Be Abby. Be Jack and Jennifer Deveraux's daughter and make them proud. Be strong, stand up for yourself, and follow your heart. That's all you need."
God, why couldn't he be a jerk? Maybe it was a Brady thing. She'd never met a mean one. They were all upstanding and kind and good-looking and stuff. "Why aren't you mad? Why are you being so nice to me?"
"Because I happen to like you," he sighs. "It was supposed to come in handy when I married your mother."
She furrows her eyebrows, resting her chin on the edge of the mattress. "You did marry my mom. Sort of."
He chuckles, tiredly wiping his hand over his face. "For about three whole minutes before it was rendered invalid."
"I'm not sorry about that."
"I know. Believe me, I know. I think all of Salem knows."
This, she thinks, is *not* something Chelsea would do. Talk to Frankie. Listen to him. Hear in his voice that he's just as confused and scared as she is. Understand that he does know her parents belong together. Slide from the bed and sit next to him or reach for his hand. "I am sorry about this," she tells him.
"Are you?" he wonders, squeezing her fingers lightly before letting them go.
Abby shivers a little even though it's June outside, full summer, and she was sweating before she walked in.
And she jumps off the ledge.
Frankie's mouth tastes cool, a little like beer, and she makes sense of where he fits now.
June 28, 2006.