The next morning when Frankie woke up she decided to call Billy.
"Hello?" said a sleepy voice.
Frankie smiled, it reminded her of when they were little. "Morning shorty."
"Frankie? Are you alright?"
"Yeah. I'm good. I just wanted to say hi. I was going to phone you on Saturday but...something came up."
"Oh yeah. What?"
"I was helping Cameron."
Billy smiled to himself. "I'm glad you're getting out."
"Me too Billy. Well I'm sorry this is a short call but I have to get ready for work. I'll call you later in the week."
"Okay. Bye sis."
She hung up and got ready to go to the gym, two hours later she was showered and on her way to work.
Cameron had woken up with copious amounts of excess energy so she went for a run to use some of it. For the first time since she'd been back she was glad to be back in LA. She had missed the weather but coming back she hadn't known many people. And, she was able to reminisce about all the places she used to go when she was younger, with her parents and friends. After a long run she had a shower, grabbed some breakfast and then left for work. She pulled in about thirty seconds after Frankie and met her at the door.
Frankie smiled at her. "Good morning Cam. How are you today?"
"Feeling good thanks, how about you?"
"I'm fine. Great actually. I phoned Billy this morning just to say hello."
Cameron smiled at the contented look on her face. "I'm glad." She looked down at her watch and said, "We'd better get going or we are going to be late."
Frankie nodded and they went in, ready to start a new week at work.
For the first few hours of their shift they did some more work on the Robin Hood case. Scrutinizing all the evidence, looking at it from all conceivable angles, and the inconceivable ones. All the possible suspects, all the reasons why he'd picked those houses, but they kept hitting a wall. All they needed to crack the case wide open was a tiny clue, something insignificant - something they usually wouldn't have looked for. But; they couldn't find it.
"This is useless." At the sound of Frankie's voice Cameron looked up from the file, "I've read this so much that it's blurring."
Cameron put what she was reading down on the desk and said, "Why don't we get a drink and not think about it for five minutes."
"Okay, that's a good idea. This stuff is giving me a headache."
They went and got a cup of coffee and just had a five minute respite from trying to crack the case.
The day was pretty quiet, the girls spent most of their day on the case, but didn't get very far. They also had the chance to get caught up on their paperwork. About three o'clock they got a call to a store robbery, it was a run of the mill call, Frankie had a suspect in mind who might have been responsible so they went to look for him. They found him, and the stolen merchandise and so they arrested him. So they had to get a statement, by the time they were through it was time to go. Even though they hadn't had a very active day both Cameron and Frankie were exhausted. They said their goodbye's and went home.
Frankie made herself some dinner and read her mail, smiling when she got to the letter from Billy, she read it and had a tear in her eye by the time she'd finished. She thought about how it was before Cameron had arrived, and felt so thankful that she was her friend and was in her life. And, thankful that she had been brave enough to tell her everything that happened.
She finished her meal and went to bed, reading her book before falling asleep. She awoke in the morning with a smile on her face, she felt so much better now, she felt able to deal with all the tragedy that had befallen her life; without letting it control her. She decided to use the precinct gym for her workout.
Cameron woke up and had the same idea, so she could stay longer and not have to worry about being late for work. When she got to the gym she was surprised to see a crowd of people, she couldn't see what they were watching so she moved in closer. It was then that she saw Frankie and a guy doing chin-ups. But she didn't understand what she was seeing, so she asked the female cop next to her.
"Excuse me? What's going on?"
"John was mouthing off about how men were stronger than women and Frankie took exception to his comments, so he challenged her to prove him wrong."
Cameron looked at Frankie then back to the policewoman. "What's the challenge?"
The officer looked at her. "This is. The person that does the most chin-ups or lasts the longest wins."
"Wins what exactly?"
"Well, if John wins Frankie has to tell everyone what her tattoo means, and if Frankie wins then John has to admit to everyone that women are as tough or tougher than men."
Cameron didn't know what to say, she stayed quiet and then said. "Wow. Well, how is she doing?"
Cameron was worried, she knew there was a lot of pride involved in this situation, but when Shannon the officer saw the pensive look on Cameron's face she spoke. "Don't worry. I was in the academy a few years behind Frankie, and I know something this lot don't."
Cameron looked at her. "What's that?"
She smiled. "Frankie had a record, for the most chin-ups done in an hour. And, as far as I know, no one has beaten it yet."
Cameron smiled, but she was still worried.
Frankie pulled herself up again.
'Why am I doing this?' she thought to herself, then she remembered. She looked at everyone watching and saw Cameron, she smiled and was very glad she was there. She looked over at John and saw that he was struggling. The thing was, he was strong, but too many beers and donuts made him bulkier. But, thanks to gymnastics when she was younger she had a strong upper body. But, she hoped he would give up soon, because her arms were beginning to ache.
Cameron looked at Frankie again. A look of complete concentration on her face. 'Come on Frankie', she thought 'you can do it'.
Frankie kept going. She knew she wasn't going to let him beat her.
Frankie looked over at John, saw him falter and let go, she smiled. She'd won, but now had a decision to make, whether to let go or keep going...she kept going to prove to him and everyone else that it wasn't a fluke that she'd beaten him.
Cameron saw that Frankie was going to carry on even though she had won. She smiled, turned to Shannon and asked. "How many was her record for at the academy?"
Cameron shook her head, 'I don't believe her'.
Everyone had joined in the counting. "EIGHTY-ONE."
Frankie took a deep breath, for some reason she was still going; wanting to prove something to herself because her record in the academy was before she had started drinking and she wanted, no needed to prove to herself that she was still capable of doing that many. And, since rehab she had used exercise as her alternative stress reliever and she was very stressed at that moment. But, even though her arms were killing her she kept going.
Cameron crossed her fingers, not taking her eyes off Frankie's face.
Frankie let go of the bar and everyone clapped and cheered. But, she needed to get out of there, she caught Cameron's eye and motioned toward the door.
They walked out and when they were out of sight Frankie slumped against the wall.
"Cameron." When Cameron looked at her she said, "I think you are gonna have to help me."
Concern written all over her face, she asked, "Are you okay?"
Frankie nodded. "Yeah, I'll be okay. I just over did it a little."
Cameron took her arm and started to walk to the changing rooms. "Why overdo it if you knew it was going to effect you like this? Was it really worth beating John? Do you feel good about winning?"
Frankie stopped and turned to Cameron. "It was worth it. You see other than you, me, Billy and Mandy no one knows what my tattoo means. So, it feels more special to me that only the three people I care about most; know. If everyone knew it would lessen the idea of what it means, to me. Do you see?"
Frankie looked so tired. Cameron smiled, took her arm and started walking. "I understand, but I'm still allowed to worry cause that is what friends do. You did good by the way."
Frankie smiled, "I know. Thank you. Do you think I should've told him about my record?"
Cameron shook her head. "Nah, he probably would've challenged you anyway."
Frankie started to laugh and Cameron joined in. They were still laughing after Frankie was showered and they were on their way to work, especially when reliving John's equal opportunities speech and the look on his face during it.
It was later at break time that Cameron thought about what Frankie had said about the three people she cared about most. It made Cameron smile, happy that Frankie felt like that, she did too; Frankie was the best friend she'd ever had and she was very happy about that.
When Frankie looked up and saw the big smile on Cameron's face it made her smile too. 'I wonder what's making her smile like that', she shook her head and carried on reading the file.
She was going through the Robin Hood file for what seemed like the thousandth time, and she was getting tired of it.
"This case is driving me nuts."
At the sound of her friends voice Cameron looked up, "Yeah, I know. The annoying thing is, that it will probably be the tiniest piece of evidence that gives us the upper hand."
Frankie nodded, "Absolutely."
"This is dispatch. Officers need assistance downtown."
Cameron wrote down the address and put the phone down. Frankie looked at her. "You drive." And caught the keys that Cameron threw.
"Where are we going?"
"Downtown. Two officers got called to a missing persons, a dad taking his daughter because he'd lost custody. They've tracked him down but they need backup."
Frankie threw on her jacket, "Let's go."
They got to the car and got in, Frankie pulled out into the traffic, as they got near to the area Frankie made sure not to put the siren on, they didn't want to freak the guy out.
When they arrived they found the officers and got the whole story.
"What's going on?"
"He took her out of kindergarten this morning, the mother found out about an hour ago and called us. We tracked down his car to here, and then found out that he's up on the roof."
Cameron and Frankie looked at each other, both shocked but knew what they had to do.
"Alright." Frankie said, "You call in and ask for a negotiator, we'll go up and see if we can talk some sense into him."
Cameron nodded, to the officer she asked, "Do you know their names?"
The officer looked at her notepad, "Yeah, he's called Matthew and the little girls called Sophie."
"Okay. Let's go."
Frankie led the way, not speaking until they got into the elevator. "You ever had to do this?"
Cameron looked at her. "Negotiate?"
Frankie nodded, "Yeah, once; a bank robbery. So, I'll do the talking?"
"Okay. I'll be right behind you."
The elevator got to the top and they had to walk up one flight of stairs to get to the roof access. They opened the door quietly and looked out.
They saw them sitting on the edge, Matthew with Sophie in his lap.
"Matthew?" Frankie said quietly, so as not to spook him. "I'm Frankie and this is Cameron. We want to talk to you."
Matthew held Sophie closer. "Stay away, you're not going to take her away from me."
Frankie motioned for Cameron to stop, but she kept inching forward. "I'm not taking her anywhere. I just want to talk to you for a minute."
Cameron held her breath, worried for her friend, neither knowing what state of mind he was in and what he'd do. Frankie kept inching, until she was almost level with him, but about ten feet away.
"Can we talk?"
Matthew nodded but didn't speak. So Frankie spoke again. "I know you lost custody of Sophie, but this isn't the best way to fight it. It's not safe up here for Sophie, think about it Matthew. Please."
He didn't look up, just kept shaking his head. "She took her away from me. I'm a good dad."
"I'm sure you are, I admit I don't know why your ex-wife won but, I'm sure you can appeal but, listen to me, you are not doing yourself any favours bringing her up here."
A movement caught her eye, she looked and she saw Cameron moving slowly towards Matthew, she caught her eye and shook her head, an imperceptible shake so that Matthew wouldn't notice. When Cameron nodded that she understood she turned her attention back to Matthew, she hadn't wanted him to flip out thinking Cameron was going to try and grab him.
"Listen, why don't you move away from the edge." He held Sophie's hand and Frankie saw that she was shivering. Frankie took off her jacket and said "Put this on her, she's cold." And threw it to him.
He picked it up and put it on his daughter.
"Matthew, let her come to me. You know it's the right thing to do. Please, she shouldn't be up here."
He looked away, still holding her hand tightly. He looked down at his daughter's head and then up at Frankie holding out her arms. He knelt down and said, "Sophie honey. I want you to go to this lady. Just remember daddy loves you."
He let her go and she ran into Frankie's arms, Frankie picked her up and held her close and when she heard Cameron shout no, she looked up.
"No!!" she saw Matthew running and he jumped off the edge, Frankie was shocked and pulled Sophie's head to her shoulder. "It's okay sweetie. It's okay." her heart was pounding, when Cameron came over and put a hand on her shoulder she looked into her friends sad eyes.
"Is she okay?"
Frankie nodded, "Yeah. I think she's in shock. Let's get back to the street. I hate heights."
Cameron nodded and they walked to the door and to the waiting officers waiting below. When the paramedics tried to take Sophie from Frankie she wouldn't let her go. Frankie walked to the ambulance and sat down and said, "Sweetie, these guys are going to take a look at you and then take you to your mommy." Sophie looked at her with such sad, unknowing eyes. "You want your mommy?"
Sophie nodded and let go. The female paramedic took her from Frankie and started checking her over. Frankie stepped out of the ambulance and looked for Cameron, she saw her talking to the officers, so she went over.
"Okay, I want her mom taken to meet her at the hospital. And, try to reassure her that Sophie's going to be fine."
The officers left and Frankie walked up. "She's going."
Another officer came over and gave Frankie her jacket back. She shivered, finally feeling the chill in the air.
Frankie looked at her watch, their shift was over so they made their way back to the station. They let the detectives who had just arrived to take the witness statements.
When they got in they talked to John and got ready to go home.
"Are you okay?" Cameron asked.
"I'm fine. Don't worry. I'll see you tomorrow."
Cameron nodded and watched her go. She didn't want to let her go because she was worried about her, but she did, because she didn't want to push Frankie into retreating back behind her barriers.
Frankie left Cameron and drove to the nearest shop. And, for reasons beyond her control bought a bottle of vodka. She carried it home and when she got in she put it on the coffee table and sat down.
She sat there for about an hour, tears pouring silently down her face, thinking about what had happened. She didn't want to drink, but she had felt as if her heart had been torn out. The look of devastation on Sophie's face, and the image of Matthew plunging over the side stuck on repeat in her head. She picked up the bottle, she didn't want it, but she wasn't sure she could stop herself. She poured out a glass, but her hand was shaking so much when she picked it up that she just stared at it. It was like she didn't know how it had gotten there. Then, she got angry. She threw the glass and it's contents against the wall, it smashed and, she sat there watching the clear liquid pool on the floor, not moving, almost not breathing.
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