Sequel: Hope

Purple Hearts

Too Late

“Are you OK Franky?” said Julia who was driving them to have their hair done.

Franky had been quiet for the whole journey and Julia was worried, something was bothering her and today, of all days, Franky and Gerard’s wedding day, she should be happy but she didn’t appear to be.

“I’m fine, I have a headache, that’s all.” Franky responded but it wasn’t all, something wasn’t right and she couldn’t work it out, she was getting married today and it didn’t seem real, as if she was in a dream or something or as if she was looking down watching someone else go through the motions. She was marrying Gerard and tonight she would be leaving her home to go and live in his apartment, which she had never quite taken to and suddenly it was happening a little too fast.

“Listen Julia, don’t tell Dad, he’ll just worry but…something about this whole thing…its…bothering me.” She said then Julia glanced across to her as she’d stopped at the lights and saw Franky in tears. When the lights turned green Julia pulled into a parking bay next to a coffee shop.

“Lets stop here for a moment, I’ll call the stylist and tell her we’re caught up in traffic. How about we have a coffee?”

Franky just nodded and got out of the car and walked into the coffee shop, Julia following close behind. They ordered coffees, which the waitress brought over pretty quick but Franky didn’t drink any of it she just sat there stirring her coffee with a plastic spoon, not speaking and not looking at Julia.

“What is it Franky? You can tell me,” said Julia.

She looked up and Julia could see how tired looking Franky was. “James called me last night, late last night and told me something that Gerard had done. I didn’t want to talk to him; he sounded apologetic but told me that he had just one thing to tell me. He said…he said that Gerard had slept with a girl, not long ago and while we were engaged.”

“Oh Franky, I don’t know whether to believe James or not,” said Julia. James was an arsehole and she knew Franky knew this, he was determined to split them up, and perhaps this was another one of his plans to split them up.

“I don’t know whether to or not, he’s always lying but he sounded pretty sure of this. He said he was sorry for hurting me that he’s getting help for his drug addiction and that he loved me and he didn’t want to see me marry someone like Gerard who wasn’t good enough for me.”

“Do you believe him then?” said Julia.

“Julia…I don’t know what to believe anymore,” she said and she didn’t. The one person she’d wanted to talk to face to face wasn’t around. He’d have the answers she was sure of it but Billie was in Ireland with Bono and possibly another woman by the sounds of it.

“Why don’t you talk to Gerard about this, he’ll just confirm that James is lying and then you can carry on.”

”I know. I should call him up but…I think I need to see Gerard in person, see his reaction.”

“You want me to call him?” said Julia. “May be he could come down here and speak to you.”

”Yeah,” said Franky then she sniffed. “Yeah, I need to talk to him.”

“Listen Franky,” said Julia who hated seeing Franky so upset. It was her wedding day for god’s sake; she should be happy and have no doubts at all,” why don’t I take you home?” Said Julia.

Franky looked up and nodded.

”I didn’t really want to because Dad will ask so many questions and…,”

“Listen, don’t worry, I’ll handle your Dad, let me call him up and…I’ll call Gerard too and tell him to meet us there. OK?” Said Julia putting her hand out onto Franky’s.

“OK.” Said Franky as she watched Julia stand up, get her phone out from her bag and head out of the shop. She could see her outside the window, walking up and down and talking into the phone.

Franky felt sick about this whole thing. She couldn’t believe what James had told her last night. She wished she’d had Billie to talk to before she’d gone to Gerard’s but he was far away in Ireland with…well…whoever.

“Come on,” said Julia. I’ve told your Dad to behave himself, he won’t bother you too much and Gerard’s coming over to yours.”

“Is…is he OK?” said Franky. She was so confused she cared for Gerard but she didn’t love him, she liked him a lot, he was fun and enthusiastic and talented but she didn’t love him and if this story that James told her was true then she definitely couldn’t marry him. She put her hand onto her slightly swollen belly. Who is your Daddy little one? I think I need to know soon and this will make everything easier. Whoever it is, I’m just going to have to accept it and then decide whether they need to know or not.

“He was very excited about marrying you but is concerned about what you want to talk about. He said…please tell me she hasn’t changed her mind.”

“Shit.” Said Franky because that’s exactly what she had done.

She’d changed her mind. She didn’t want to marry Gerard.

She didn’t want to hurt him but she knew she would.

**

Tre was at the door as they pulled up onto the drive and he had something in his hand, it looked like an envelope.

“He doesn’t look very pleased,” said Franky staring out at her father.

“He’ll be fine. Don’t worry; you do just what you have to do. Think about yourself here Franky because it’s a huge decision to make and you need it to be right.”

“I know. You’re right,” said Franky then she got out of the car to face her father. He was dressed in smart black trousers and a crisp white shirt, all dressed and ready for the wedding, he had been working on his speech for days now and she felt awful watching him as thought she’d let him down.

“Come here,” said Tre holding his arms out to his daughter and taking her in his arms.

She clung onto him wanting everything to go away.

“I have something for you,” he said pulling away to look at her and brushing her hair behind her ears.

“What?” Said Franky a slight frown appearing on her face.

“This.” Said Tre and handed her the white envelope. She recognised the writing immediately. It was her mothers.

She gasped and put her hand over her mouth, tears springing into her eyes.

“I forgot about this Dad, oh my god,” she said remembering that while her mother was dying she’d written two letters to Franky, one when for her to open on her 18th birthday which she’d already had then one to open on her wedding day.

Today.

She took the envelope from her father then looked up at him.

“I’m going to go upstairs for a while,” she said then left her father at the door.

**

Milton lay next to her on her bed, looking up at her with his huge brown eyes. She hadn’t opened the letter yet. Should she? Gerard was coming over shortly and she needed to speak to him and was dreading it, telling him that she didn’t want to marry him. So really, this technically now wasn’t her wedding day so may be she shouldn’t really open the letter after all.

Laying back on the bed her thoughts wandered to her mother. What would she have to say to her about this situation? What would she advise her? Would she even be in this situation if her mother had been here? Probably not.

She’d never know but suddenly she felt the need to read this letter, may be it would help and make her feel better.

Looking at the front of the envelope she saw her name written and her mother had drawn two little joined hearts in the top right hand corner.

She opened it and took out the piece of paper, opened it out and began to read.

Dear Franky

I can’t believe my little girl is getting married today. I would have loved to see you, obviously but I’ll just have to imagine what you look like.

Beautiful, I bet.

I imagine that you look stunning, going off to marry the one you love.

I’d love to know who it is you are marrying. May be it is someone that I met while you were young, who knows and I’m sure if you’ve chosen him, he’ll be a special person, I know how particular you are and it would have been a huge decision to make.

I hope you’re happy sweetheart, happy and looking forward to starting your new life with your new husband and looking forward to spending all those hours together, just the two of you before you may be even have some little ones around the place.

Enjoy your day my darling, I bet your father is very proud of you just like I am and talking of your father, how is he? I hope he is happy and has finally found someone to love and to love him. He deserves it.

The day I married him was such a happy day for me, it was just so the right thing to do. I’d loved him for so many years and it was like my dream come true. He made me very happy and I didn’t for one minute have a doubt about marrying him.

Have a fabulous day and enjoy your life together.

I love you Franky

Keep safe, happy and well.

Mum
Xxxx


Franky sobbed her heart out, Milton licking away her tears on her cheeks.

Oh Mum she thought to herself. You are so right and you’ve helped me, after reading your letter I know I’m doing the right thing, I have no doubt about it at all.

I can’t marry Gerard.

**

Later that night, everyone was sat round the table. Tre had ordered some Chinese food from The Chopstick Bowl but hardly anyone had eaten, especially Franky.

“I’m just going upstairs,” said Franky, putting down her fork and disappearing out the room.

“OK sweetheart,” said Tre glancing over at Julia. “She’ll be OK won’t she?” He whispered.

”She’ll be fine, it’s just hard right now, she feels awful for Gerard but I think she’s felt like this for some time but has just got swept along by everything.”

“I’m glad she’s not marrying him,” said Tre putting some more egg rice onto his plate. “He…he’s not good enough for her and I don’t mean that disrespectfully, he’s a good guy but she needs someone with a bit more life about them, someone that she has so much in common with, that’ll take good care of her and encourage her song writing. Gerard never did that.”

“You’re right, I feel sorry for him though, he was devastated.”

“Yeah, I feel sorry for him and I don’t hate him, I wish him well,” said Tre eating up his rice, “but even Ramona and Emily agreed that he wasn’t for Franky.”

“Those two seemed quite pleased actually and it was good of Adrienne to have them tonight. Where’s Billie anyway?” said Julia watching Tre enjoy his food.

”He’s away in Ireland, working on something with Bono. I think I know why he went.”

”Oh.” Said Julia.

”Think about it Julia.”

“I don’t know what you mean?” said Julia, frowning up at Tre.

“When Billie has been here, did you not see something?”

“See something?” said Julia, totally confused now.

“Billie is still in love with Franky.” Said Tre pushing his plate aside.

”Yes. Yes I did notice it, it was obvious but I wasn’t sure if anyone else knew,” said Juila, “and I didn’t think I should mention it, it didn’t seem right.”

“He spoke to me about it a while back and I’m quite sure that’s why he went to Ireland, because he couldn’t face seeing Franky marry Gerard.” Said Tre.

“Do you think something could develop between them now?” said Julia.

“Who knows? I really don’t think Franky feels that way over him and I feel sorry for the guy.”

“Poor Billie.” Said Julia. “They’re actually very suited, he’d be good for her.”

“I know but I tried to stop it in the beginning but now…I see he’d probably be great for Franky but I don’t think it’ll be happening.” Said Tre.

“Listen, I’m just going to see how Franky is then…how about you and I….” He said kissing the top of Julia’s head. “How about we lock ourselves away in my room and…watch a movie with a bottle of wine.”

Julia blushed. “I’d like that.” She said then watched Tre as he left the room.

It was the moment she’d longed for.

**

Franky knew it was her Dad, she knew he’d come to see how she was. He’d always done that, right from when she first came here, if she was worried about something or had got upset about something, even if they’d argued he’d always come to see how she was.

“Come in Dad,” she said sitting up. She felt like shit but she also felt as though a weight was lifted from her shoulders.

He sat next to her and put his arm across her shoulder, pulling her close.

“Are you OK blue eyes?” He said.

“I’m fine Dad but I feel awful for Gerard, he…he was so very upset.”

“I know but I still can’t believe he slept with someone. James was right.”

“James was right but I still hate James because I think its all his fault. Gerard was weak getting involved with him and his ways in the first place and I think that’s what changed my mind. I liked him, very much but I didn’t love him. I thought I could love him, especially…especially as I’ve got the baby coming but after reading mum’s letter I knew I definitely made the right decision. I just felt sorry for him, I hope he’s OK.”

“Of course he’ll be OK, he even said he knew deep down you were right but his brother Mikey is taking him to their parents for a while, then they’re recording. He’ll be fine.”

“I said I’d keep in touch because he…he said he would be interested in how I’m getting on.”

“Of course, he’s a good guy deep down, just weak.” Said Tre.

“Do you want to read mum’s letter? She mentions you in it.” said Franky.

“No. I don’t think so. I loved her very much, I always will but I love Julia now and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I’ve learnt to move on, Julia is wonderful. You don’t mind her moving in here?” He said kissing the top of his daughter’s head as she held on to him.

“Of course I don’t mind, Julia is so lovely and I’m glad you got it together, Ramona, Emily and I were hoping you would.”

“Really?”

“Really. I love Julia and Emily, they fit in well here and it’s going to be great having them around.”

“I love them too and I love you and I’m glad you’re OK.” He said. “So…what are you going to do now?”

“I really don’t know. Just look after myself I guess, make sure I attend my hospital appointments, keep myself fit and well for this little one and may be I should move out into my own place.”

“Hey…you don’t have to do that, you have a home here. I love having you here and so does Julia; she has a permanent gossip friend and shopping partner in house. Don’t leave unless you really really want to.”

“Of course I’d be happier here. Thanks Dad.”

“This is your home and always will be.” Said Tre. “What about your band?”

“I can’t face James and Hannah isn’t speaking to me at the moment, give her time and I’m sure we’ll be fine but…I don’t think we’ll be playing again. We were a one-hit wonder.” Said Franky.

“But your writing.”

“Oh I’ll keep on writing, I have loads of ideas, I’ll sell my songs, I’m sure someone will want them.”

“Of course they will. Now, I think you could do with some sleep young lady.” Said Tre.

“You’re right, night Dad.” She said watching her father leave.

She threw her covers over herself and snuggled into bed.

She felt calmer, much more relaxed, she wasn’t about to enter a marriage that she didn’t want but there was just something she wanted to do but couldn’t.

She wanted desperately to speak to Billie just to tell him what had happened but he was probably busy with some other woman.

Just then, her baby kicked for the first time in her belly. It made her jump but made her smile at the same time.

She couldn’t wait to meet her baby in a few months time, her little girl who she loved already even though she hadn’t met her.

Then that was when she got out of bed and went to her CD player to play the song that Billie had recorded for her.

Because she wanted to hear his voice again, to listen to the words he’d sung just for her.

She loved him. She always had and really she’d been a fool not to tell him how she felt when he’d admitted he loved her.

She’d been stupid and now, now she’d left it too late.