The next two weeks followed in the same vein, work and more work. They were still trying to figure out Robin Hood, and had a few tough cases but nothing too serious. Frankie spent most of her spare time writing her speech, trying to instil some first hand knowledge into it.
The night of the speech arrived, Billy had arrived on Wednesday and they had been talking a lot. Frankie introduced him to Cameron and on Saturday Cameron drove all of them to the hall where the AA meetings were held.
When they got there Frankie found them seats and then went to find Lizzie.
Lizzie turned around and smiled giving Frankie a hug before saying, "Hello. How you feeling?"
Frankie smiled. "Im nervous. But doing okay, Ive got some moral support." She said pointing to Cameron, Billy and Mandy.
"Im glad. Well lets get started you ready?"
Frankie took a deep breath and nodded. "As Ill ever be."
Cameron was looking around, at all the people and at Billy and Mandy. She liked them and was glad that Frankie had sorted her relationships out with both of them. She saw Lizzie walk up to the podium and she realised that she was nervous - for Frankie, she relaxed because she knew Frankie could do it, and that shed be fine.
Lizzie got up and introduced herself. "My names Lizzie and Im an alcoholic."
"Im here to introduce a young lady whos going to talk to you tonight. Please give her a warm welcome Frankie."
Frankie walked up to warm applause.
"Hello. My name is Frankie and Im an alcoholic."
Frankie smiled at the chorus of Hello Frankie that answered.
She looked to the back at Cam, Billy and Mandy and smiled at them.
"And today is my two thousandth day sober."
She smiled again at the round of applause. "Thank you. I started to drink after my parents died, and I thought that it was the only way to cope with what had happened. I drank solidly for three months until my brother, who was fifteen at the time found me unconscious on the floor in my bathroom bleeding. It was in the hospital after I woke up to my brother crying, that I realised what I had been doing to myself and my remaining family. So, that was my wake up call, I decided to get some help. I entered rehab for twenty eight days and have been sober ever since. But, I felt that the only way I would be able to guarantee that I would never want to drink again, have a reason to want to drink again was to keep my loved ones at a distance. So I did, my brother and my aunt. And, any prospective friends were kept at such a distance that in the end, they gave up on me. Not that I blame them, I was cocooned from the world, in my shell. And, I wasnt going to let anyone inside the walls Id built up."
She coughed and smiled at the audience.
"So I went solo at work, Im a police detective and my lieutenant decided to try and partner me again. At first I did what I always did and kept her at a distance, but it became more difficult as I began to get to know her better. Eventually I started to open up, and told her everything that had happened to me after a traumatic day at work. And shes still here, and the best friend Ive ever had and ever hoped to have. And, she proved that to me a couple of weeks ago, when I had a crisis and bought a bottle of vodka. And when I couldnt drink it I called Lizzie my sponsor and when she couldnt come she told me to ring Cameron. So, I called her and she came straight over and sat with me, talked to me all night and in the end I poured the vodka down the drain. So, I am thankful for having her in my life."
She looked up at Cameron she saw she was crying, she smiled and Cameron smiled back. She knew how her friend felt, she was struggling not to cry herself. Billy looked at her and smiled, he was very glad his sister had a friend like that.
"And, I realised, after a lot of time and tears; that no matter what happens friends and family are whats important in life. And, Im really glad that my brother and aunt forgive me for how I behaved and, that I have got the best friend I could hope for. Who likes me for who I am and who I know is someone I can rely on and who I love dearly. And, just to say to all those who have been sober for one day, one week, one month or a year, that as long as you take things one step at a time, and let people in because they cant help unless they know whats going on. Youll do just fine."
The applause started then, and when Frankie got off the stage she was stopped along the way to shake peoples hands. Finally she got to Cameron and they hugged for ages not talking. They drew apart and Cameron smiled at her. "That was some speech."
Frankie shrugged. "Thanks. Thats just how it came out. Thank you for being here."
Cameron nodded, then Frankie hugged Billy and Mandy and thanked them as well.
When Lizzie came up to congratulate her she introduced her to Cameron, Billy and Mandy. And then they decided to go out for coffee. They went to a local diner and talked and talked about everything. Cameron was happy that shed been invited, Frankie was glad that she got on with Billy and Mandy. About two hours later they said there goodbyes, Cameron giving Frankie a hug and whispered "I love you too, my friend."
And was gone, Cameron got home. She was happy that Frankie seemed okay after all the stuff that had happened over the past few weeks.
Frankie smiled about what Cameron had said, and took Billy and Mandy home. They sat up talking for hours about old times, about their parents. Mandy telling them some stories about before they were born. For the first time Frankie could laugh and smile properly when talking about her parents. It proved something to her that doing the speech had started - which was, that if she found it easier to talk about stuff, it was less crucial to her now. Not that shed ever forget it but she felt well equipped to deal with it all. It made her feel relaxed about things. Knowing that she had four people who would listen if she needed someone to talk to, or just be there when she needed someone, or give her space when it was needed.
She went to bed that night, feeling freer than she had in years. Ever since Cameron had come into her life, and she fell asleep with a big smile on her face.
When Cameron woke up in the morning she felt awful, hot and sweaty. Typical she thought. I get a cold and its a hundred degrees outside. She coughed and got up to get some water, she took her temperature. 101 she shook her head not believing, bad idea because it made her dizzy, and she didnt like that cause it made her queasy. So she sat on the edge of the bath, taking deep breaths until the nausea eased. She was just glad it was Sunday, she made her way back to bed, she was trying to fall back to sleep when the phone rang.
She picked it up and before she could speak she sneezed.
"Hello?" she rasped.
"Cam? Are you okay?"
Cameron smiled despite how she felt. "No, I feel like hell. Ive got a temperature."
Frankie sat down on the sofa, "How high?"
"Oh Cameron. Im coming round. Ill bring supplies."
"You dont have to do that. Im okay, spend time with Billy."
Frankie shook her head. "No way Im leaving you alone. Billys gonna spend time with Mandy. And, Ill be there in half an hour. No arguing, a best friends job is to be nurse and provide lots of TLC."
Cameron smiled, liking the best friend. "Okay thanks."
"Just latch the door and relax, Im on my way."
Cameron put her phone down and laid back, relieved that Frankie was coming. She realised that, that was what she had hoped for as soon as she heard Frankies voice. She got up and put the door on the latch and then went back to bed.
Frankie put her shoes on, grabbed her car keys and left. Billy had already left for Mandys so she left him a note in case he got back before she did. She stopped off at the market for some stuff to help Cameron feel better. She got to her apartment in twenty minutes, she let herself in and went to find her poorly partner.
She felt a smile grow when she went in, Cameron looked so helpless. "Hey you."
Cameron opened her eyes. "Hey."
Frankie walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. She felt Camerons forehead. "Wow. You are hot. How you feeling?"
Cameron shrugged. "I dont know really. Pretty awful though."
"Well I bought some stuff that will hopefully make you feel better. And, the makings of my moms chicken soup, which is the only thing I can cook. So, I want you to take some medicine and then try to sleep, while I cook. Okay?"
Cameron smiled. "Youre the boss."
Frankie grinned at her. "Now I know that youre sick."
Cameron fell asleep straight away, Frankie checked on her a couple of times while she was making the soup. When it was done about forty-five minutes had passed. She poured a bowl and carried it on a tray into Cameron, she put it on the side and gently woke her up.
"Hey Cam. Soups ready."
After a few seconds Cameron stirred, not completely lucid.
"Hey sleepyhead, you in there?"
Cameron opened her eyes fully and looked at Frankie, her eyes were glassy but focused. "Im here. You might have to help me sit up though, Im not sure if I can."
"Okay, come on then." She helped Cameron sit up and then grabbed the tray. She put it on her lap and sat on the edge of the bed.
Cameron ate a spoonful. "Mmm. This is great. Are you not eating?"
"Thank you and no. I had a sandwich while I was cooking. Why didnt you call me when you got up?"
Cameron sighed. "Because, I didnt want to interrupt your time with Billy, and I can be really grumpy when Im sick."
Frankie took her hand, and she squeezed it. "I told you, youre not interrupting anything. And, you are as important to me as Billy and Mandy. And, if you could deal with miserable old me, I can deal with a little grumpiness on your part."
Cameron squeezed back. "Thanks Frankie. You know I feel better all ready."
Frankie smiled. "Im glad." She took the finished tray away and said. "Now get some more rest, Ill be in the other room if you need me."
Cameron nodded. "Okay."
When Frankie got to the door she turned back, she had to smile, Cameron was out for the count. She went to the kitchen and cleaned up her mess.
She spent the next couple of hours just watching the TV and reading the paper. About one oclock she heard Cameron coughing and then her name.
She got up and went to the bedroom door and saw Cameron half sitting up. "Hey." She went over and felt her forehead. "How you feeling?"
"Not too bad. I could use a drink."
"Ill get you one." She went into the bathroom and poured her a glass of water and grabbed the thermometer.
"Here let me take your temp again." Cameron opened her mouth and Frankie put the thermometer in.
When she removed it she looked at it and said, "Good. Your temps gone down to 97."
She handed Cameron the glass and she drank it. "Thanks."
"Its okay. You feel like curling up on the sofa, under your quilt. Keep me company - we can watch a movie?"
Cameron nodded, "Sounds perfect."
Frankie grabbed her quilt and pillows and settled Cameron on her sofa, she sat on the chair, and for the rest of the afternoon they just watched movies, relishing each others company.
About nine oclock Frankie got ready to go. "Im going now. Promise me if you still feel awful in the morning youll call me and then stay home."
Cameron grinned sheepishly, "I promise. And thanks again for today."
Frankie came over and sat on the edge of the sofa and gave her a big hug. "Youre very welcome. Sleep tight and Ill talk to you in the morning."
She got up and left, Cameron feeling better just from the warmth of the hug and the knowledge that she had someone who cared about her, and all the stuff Frankie had said during the day.
Frankie got home about ten minutes later.
She turned from closing the door and smiled at her brother. "Hey. How was your day?"
"Fine. We had fun, hows Cameron?"
Frankie sat down. "Shes okay. Feeling yucky but shell be okay."
Billy sat next to her. "Good. Well Im packed and ready to go. Well have to say goodbye in the morning."
Frankie nodded and took his hand. "I know. Im really glad youre here."
Billy put an arm around his sister and hugged her tight. "So am I. And Im very glad youre doing so well and that you have Cameron in your life."
"Camerons great, and Im very thankful that she is in my life too, but Im also glad that youre still in it."
Billy laughed, "Me too. I missed you."
"I know. I missed you too, and I promise I will never shut you out again."
"Im glad to hear that. Well Im gonna call it a night as I have to get up early." he got up and kissed his sister goodnight, when he got to the door of the spare room he looked back. Frankie sat on the sofa, staring into space, she was thinking about something. In his head he thought I hope whatever it is, you figure it out.
Frankie sat there for about half an hour after Billy went to bed, just thinking. The weekend had made her reflect on the last couple of months. And, she had tried to figure out what was it was, that seemed to be at the edge of her subconscious willing her to let it in. She went to bed, and fell asleep, a dreamless sleep that was only disturbed by her alarm clock at seven am. It was then she realised what it was she had been feeling, it popped into her head as soon as she opened her eyes, I love Cameron oh my god I love Cameron! she laid there for a minute, thinking about it, what am I gonna do now?
She heard Billy moving around next door and had to smile, she got up and had a shower and then got dressed and went to find Billy.
"Morning. Do you want breakfast?"
Billy nodded. "Yeah, Im starving."
Frankie smiled, reminded of when they were children and that was Billys answer to anything food related. While Frankie made toast Billy did the coffee, theyd just sat down to eat when the phone rang.
Frankie picked it up. "Hello?"
"Hey, its me."
Frankie had to smile at the croaky voice. "Hello me. How are you feeling today?"
Cameron wiped her nose. "A little better. But Im going to take your advice and stay in bed today."
"Im glad to hear it. Ill tell John and pop in after work, okay?"
Cameron smiled. "Yeah. Have a good day and Ill see you later."
Frankie put the phone down and finished her breakfast, she was thinking about something, it took her a few seconds to register Billys question.
"Is she okay?"
She looked at Billy, "Yeah. Still not great."
Billy looked at his watch. "Well its time to go for both of us." Just as he spoke they heard the taxi beep.
Frankie stood and gave him a big hug. "Call me when you get there."
"Yeah. Ill talk to you later."
Frankie looked at him and smiled. "I love you."
Billy kissed her. "I love you too sis. Bye."
He grabbed his bags and left, Frankie stood their for a minute and then she cleared away their breakfast dishes. Grabbed her stuff and went to work.
Cameron put the phone down and laid back down, thinking about Frankie and hoping that she was okay, she knew that Billy was leaving. But, she knew that if Frankie was upset shed say something. She was glad she was taking Frankies advice, she still didnt feel one hundred percent, but she was feeling happier knowing that Frankie was coming around later. But, now she decided to go back to sleep as her eyelids were drooping.
When Frankie got to work she went to tell John that Cameron wouldnt be in. The day turned out to be a quiet one, Frankie left on time and headed for Camerons.
She got to her apartment and parked, she was buzzed in and got to the apartment about ten minutes after leaving work.
She smiled at Cameron. "Hey. You look better."
Cameron grinned. "Well if this is looking better then I must have looked awful yesterday."
Frankie laughed, no way, you look beautiful whatever she knew where that came from, but again she pushed it aside, so she said "Okay, youre making jokes so you must feel better. Have you had a good day?"
Cameron nodded and went to sit down. "Yeah, I just spent the day watching TV and sleeping."
"Sounds more interesting than my day."
"Not good huh?"
"Only paperwork, pretty boring. But Im not complaining."
Cameron smiled. "Well I made dinner if youre hungry."
"You didnt have to do that but I wont say no."
"Well Ill go dish up then. Do you want to put on some music or would you prefer to watch a movie?"
Frankie stood up. "Music, cause then we can talk."
Cameron nodded, glad that Frankie wanted to talk.
For the second night in a row they sat up talking, except this time Frankie didnt leave. Like before Frankie fell fast asleep on the sofa and Cameron just covered her up and watched her sleep for a minute. She brushed the hair off her forehead and just stood there watching her sleep for a minute, and then she went to bed.
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