Sequel: Hope

Purple Hearts

New Beginnings

Six Months Later

“Mike?” said Jen.

“Yes sweetheart?” Said Mike.

“I think…I think the baby is on his way,” said Jen watching the reaction of the man she loved. He’d just come off the telephone to Estelle who was coming to live with them soon for a while as her mother, Anastasia was going away to Europe for at least six months, may be even longer. Estelle was so excited knowing she had a new half brother coming and knowing also that she would be near her friends, Joey, Jake, Ramona, Franky and Emily. She couldn’t wait.

“Are you sure?” Said Mike, concern written all over his face.

“I’m sure. I’ve had some pains today and I think, seeing as he’s a week past his due date that he could be making an appearance some time today.”

Mike’s heart quickened thinking about his wife Jen going in to labour with his little boy. He’d always wanted a little boy. Jen had two boys from her previous marriage that had lived with them for a while and had moved to England to pursue their careers. They came to visit sometimes but not that often and he knew that Jen missed them and now, today he was to become a father again to a little baby boy with a wonderful mother.

“Lets get all the things you need and then we’ll get off to the hospital to meet our son,” said Mike heading off up the stairs.

“Yes, our little son Sam,” said Jen watching him head off up the stairs, three at a time. Sam, the name they’d both agreed on, in honour of her sister who’d died. Her sister who she still missed on a daily basis and would have loved this news, to be an auntie once more and to Mike who her sister had adored.

Suddenly Jen was overcome with emotion because a month ago she’d found a lump in her breast and hadn’t done anything about it, she hadn’t wanted to tell Mike because he would have worried and she hadn’t gone to the doctors because they’d have wanted to give her drugs and she wouldn’t have wanted to take them what with being pregnant so even though she was happy, happy to give birth to her little Sam she felt sick with worry because now was the time that Mike would find out, they’d want to examine her, test her and she was scared.

But for now, all she wanted to do was give Mike the son he’d longed for.


“That was Mike,” said Tre rolling over to face Julia. “Its Jen, she’s finally gone into labour.”

“That’s fantastic, she was getting worried, she’s a week overdue and she was just fed up with waddling around the place,” said Julia. Then she reached over and touched Tre’s face, letting her fingers run along his jaw line. “Were you…were you there at the births of your children? Well, I know you didn’t get to see Franky being born but…Ramona and Frankito, were you there?”

“No. I was on tour both times and its something I’ve always regretted, I’ve seen births on TV and all but I always feel as though I’ve missed out.” Said Tre.

“I was alone when I had Emily.” Said Julia, “well apart from a couple of nurses that were old bats.”

“Have you ever regretted not having another baby?” said Tre. He could ask Julia anything, they’d discussed so many issues over their six months together, so many discussions about things, they were open, nothing was embarrassing or difficult to talk about, they each had their own views, shared their views, disagreed sometimes but had great, sometimes heated discussions and they loved it.

”Yes, I have, but it was impossible. Emily would have loved a brother or sister but sometimes it just doesn’t work out.” She said.

“Would you have a baby with me?” said Tre.

“Really? You want…you want to have a child with me?” Said Julia.

“Why sound so shocked. I love you Julia, I’d love to have a baby with you, it would be great, I have all this time now and, it would be fantastic.” He said sitting up, so enthusiastic.

“I…I don’t know what to say,” she said.

”Well, how about we have a little practice,” said Tre leaning into kiss his girlfriend, “then you can make your mind up.” He said.

They laughed then, the two of them, laughed and giggled, then kissed as Tre pulled the quilt up over them.


“I…I’ve got this picture I took of you, I hope you like it,” said Joey. He was in the garden of his girlfriend Ellie, they’d been going out for some time but sometimes, just sometimes he wished he wasn’t involved with her. They were a weird family, James the older brother scared him, and he was the one that had given him that gun to look after. James had got in with a drug taking crowd ages ago, one of the gang had shot somebody else and had told James to take the gun and hide it, he’d wiped his prints off so when the police found it there were only the gang’s prints. James scared him and he knew that he’d caused a lot of trouble with Franky so he kept out of his way. Then there was Hannah, who hardly spoke to him, hardly knew he existed and he was sure she was keeping something from everyone. Their mother, Susan was always distant with him too, never asked him how his family or friends were and he thought this had something to do with Tre who she’d been out with a long time ago so all in all Joey only felt comfortable when none of them was around.

“Its, its fantastic,” said Ellie taking the photograph from her boyfriend. She loved him so much, she was totally and utterly obsessed with him and she got jealous when he looked at another girl. One day she wanted to marry him and have his children. She knew they were only young but she felt good with him and she knew he loved her back, the only time she hated it was when they were with Ramona and Emily. He loved their company and sometimes ignored her when they were all together, she hated Ramona especially, Ramona hardly ever spoke to her but that didn’t bother her at all because she was the one going out with Joey, not her.

“I’m glad you like it,” said Joey looking at Ellie. He did like Ellie but sometimes she was hard to handle, young and immature. He sometimes thought their relationship was going nowhere and decided he’d probably end it soon before she got too involved with him.


Jake was confused, he wasn’t sure. He didn’t know who to turn to for advice so he’d wallowed in his own worry for ages. There was nobody at school he could talk to, they’d laugh at him and he was surprised that they hadn’t guessed already.

How was he going to tell his parents? What would his father think about having a son that might be gay?

It would have to come out one day though, one day he’d have to face them all and tell them.


“I love it here and its all ours Charlie,” said Adrienne coming up behind her boyfriend and cuddling into him.

“I love it here too,” said Charlie. He was so happy, the happiest he’d ever been, it was like living in a dream and he got scared sometimes that it would all end.

“I have some news for you, you want to come and sit down?” She said. She loved Charlie, he was such fun and they’d grown so close of late, her kids loved him, her huge, kind, gentle giant.

“What is it?” Said Charlie.

“We’re going to be parents. How do you feel?” Said Adrienne.

“I feel great, oh my god Adrienne, I can’t believe it,” he said.

“I knew it would make you happy. You’ll make a great Dad,” she said.

“Thank you,” said Charlie pulling this woman close to him and nuzzling into her dark hair.


Ed was scared. Hannah was due to give birth any day now and he was scared. He had those old fears back, because it wasn’t his baby she was having it was Tres and he wasn’t sure he could go through with it, look at the baby every day and love it like his own, to see Franky and all her family looking at their baby believing it to be his and then…Tre not knowing anything about it, not knowing that he had another child.

Suddenly, to Ed it all felt wrong.


Ramona and Emily were out shopping.

“I have something to ask you,” said Emily as they were browsing through some CDs.

“Yeah…what’s that?” Said Ramona glancing across at her best friend.

“You remember ages ago, when I first came here you said there was someone you really liked and what with everything that’s been going on you never did get round to telling me.” Said Emily watching her friend’s face.

“I thought you’d have guessed by now but then I suppose you hadn’t because you’d never spoken about it.”

“How would I have guessed?” Said Emily, “is it someone I know then?”

“It is. It’s someone you know. Promise you won’t say anything to anyone, especially him.”

”Of course I won’t say anything. Why would I?” Said Emily.

“Because you know him pretty well. Its….Joey.” Said Ramona looking away.

Emily was silent and Ramona knew that she was shocked, she looked back at her.

“See. I told you, its stupid isn’t it? He has that Ellie girl, I can’t stand her, she’s just so not right for him I…”

“You and he are so suited,” said Emily.

“Well, I think so, I’ve always thought so but he…he doesn’t even know I exist, its like, its like he probably thinks of me as like his cousin or something.” Said Ramona. She looked sad of all sudden and Emily put her arm around her.

“Hey, you never know, you never know how he really feels,” said Emily trying to give Ramona hope.

“Don’t be stupid, he won’t ever see me in that way. Its no use.” She said. “Anyway, I’m fed up with talking about Joey Armstrong I spend enough time dreaming of him as it is,” she said and linked her arm through Emilys so that they could continue shopping.


“Hi Franky, how’s the decorating going?” Said Adrienne.

”I’ve almost finished, I’ve just got some stencils to do on the walls and then its all done. I’m pleased with it.” said Franky. She felt breathless today, it was humid outside and it was the first time that she felt uncomfortably pregnant. She’d spent a few weeks decorating the bedroom next door to hers, turning it into a nursery and painting it the palest of pinks. She had some stencils of little hearts that she was going to paint purple and some stars that she was going to paint silver to do. Then it was finished. Ramona and Emily were out shopping and her father and Julia were away for the night.

They were so in love, Julia and her father and Franky had booked them into this exclusive hotel as a thank you for all they had done for her. They’d been so good to her she wanted to repay them in some way so they were having a nice meal and a night away together.

“I have some news for you,” said Adrienne.

“Oh, what’s that?” Said Franky balancing the phone on the side of her cheek as she bent to the sheet of stencils to take another look.

“Billie’s back.” She said.

Franky dropped the phone. He was back again; she couldn’t wait to see him. What would he think? She had a huge belly now, was he with someone? Had he brought her back with him?

“Sorry Adrienne,” Said Franky talking back into the phone. “The phone slipped from my hands.”

”Yes, he’s back and he’s coming over to see you.” She said.

Oh my god thought Franky, I must look a wreck.

“When?” Franky asked Adrienne.

“Right now,” said Adrienne.

Franky’s heart stopped and she wandered over to a chair to sit down, to take stock for a moment.

“Oh, right, how is he?” Said Franky.

“He’s well, he looks great. Our divorce is complete and Charlie and I are loving it living in this little house.”

“I love how you’ve decorated it,” said Franky but her mind wasn’t at all on Adrienne’s house but on Billie, he would be here in a minute, she’d need to check her hair.

“Thanks. I thought I’d let you know Billie was on his way, to give you a chance to waddle down the stairs and open the door,” Adrienne said, and then laughed.

“Oh shut up, I’m not that fat,” said Franky. Though she felt it, she felt huge and bloated and fat even though all the extra weight was on her tummy, she wasn’t used to carrying around any extra.

“I know you’re not honey, you look gorgeous, anyway I have to go, Charlie is calling. He wants to show me some photos he’s got developed. See you soon. Bye honey.” Said Adrienne then she was gone and the doorbell was ringing.

He was here already.


He was at the door, and she was a fat bloated mess.

She was right, it took ages for her to get down the stairs, and Billie rang the bell again so she had to shout out.

”Its OK…I’m coming,” she said as she opened the door and saw his familiar face, smiling widely.

She’d missed him and didn’t realise how much until now, this very moment.

“Hey…look at you, you’re stunning.” Said Billie.

Franky blushed. “Hardly stunning, I’ve never felt so huge.” She said opening the door and letting Billie past. She could smell him, the individual unique smell that was just him.

“Well you are pregnant,” said Billie going through to the kitchen.

“How was Ireland?” Asked Franky. Were you with someone? Some beautiful mature woman. Did you fall in love with her and take her to romantic places? Did you do that thing you once did to me where you ran your tongue over my bottom lip?

“It was great, I got loads of work done while I was there, some charity stuff and a couple of interviews. I wrote loads Franky and I want to show you soon. There’s some stuff I’d like you to read I could do with your feedback.”

“I’d love to read them, just bring them over.” Franky said and she couldn’t see what he had written, she always loved going over his work with him. He always seemed to like what she had to say.

“I heard about Gerard. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for the two of you.” Said Billie.

Franky went to the fridge then to get out a couple of bottles of water.

“Its OK, I realised I made a huge mistake after all. I think I was just looking to marry someone for the sake of this little one,” she said nodding down to her stomach.

“I contacted Gerard when I heard that the wedding was called off, he’s doing OK with his parents and he’s…he’s met someone else.” Said Billie kind of unsure as to whether or not Franky would want to hear this.

“I’m pleased for him, we promised to stay in touch but neither of us has really bothered.” But I may have to contact him if I find out that the baby is his after all.

“He’s doing OK and he asked after you.” Billie said watching Franky just to see her reaction.

Franky didn’t know what to say, she couldn’t stop looking at Billie because he seemed different, more confident, if that was ever possible.

“So…I guess you’ve been painting,” he said nodding at her paint-spattered shirt. It was one of her dad’s old shirts and probably the only thing that fitted her at the moment.

“Yes, I’ve been painting the nursery, would you like to see it?” Said Franky.

“I’d love to,” said Billie.

He followed Franky out of the kitchen, his heart lifting as she heaved herself up the stairs. She was beautiful even while heavily pregnant, her hair shone and her skin was glowing and flushed, her eyes sparkling and to him she’d never looked more beautiful.

He still loved her and even going to Ireland hadn’t changed that, he constantly thought of her, went to sleep at night imagining her lying alongside him and as soon as he woke up he wondered what she was doing. He’d told Bono how he’d felt and then, when he’d got the news that she hadn’t married Gerard he was over the moon knowing that may be, just may be he could have one last chance.

He wanted her badly, he needed her but she was so independent, so determined to do things her way she probably didn’t even want anyone right now, let alone him.

He was sure she’d felt it, sure she’d felt something for him even all those times she’d said to him that it wouldn’t work, that she didn’t feel the same way he was sure she was wrong, fighting it, hiding it and why? He didn’t know she was a stubborn little minx but he loved her for it.

“This is amazing,” said Billie walking around the room. “You’ve done an amazing job, did you do it all by yourself?”

“Well…Ramona and Emily helped me and so did Dad and Julia.”

“I heard about your Dad and Julia, about time he came to his senses, she’s lovely,” said Billie going to the window to look out.

“Yes, she is and did you know that Ramona is going to live here permanently?”

“Really? Its what she’s always wanted, good for her. My boys will love having her around,” said Billie turning to her.

“Yes, her mother decided to do it for a quiet life, she’s actually moving back here so she’ll still see her mother but she’ll be living here with us. She’s like a different girl.”

Billie put his hand up to scratch his hair.

“What’s that?” said Franky. She’d noticed a new tattoo on Billie’s wrist; well she thought it must be new, she was sure she hadn’t seen it before. What was it? She knew all his tattoos then she felt flushed, remembering the night they’d shared, her fingers tracing his tattoos on his naked body, her favourite being the soccer ball and how his skin felt then afterwards the feeling that it shouldn’t have happened because he was married to Adrienne. Their one night together.

“What’s what?” Asked Billie looking confused.

“That…that on your wrist. Is it a new tattoo?” She said going over to the window to join him.

“Oh.” Shit, she’d seen it, he’d forgotten to cover it over, the tattoo that was her name with a little purple heart next to it on the inside of his wrist.

“Show me, you’ve had a new tattoo done. You always used to show me your new tattoos. Remember you took me for my first one. It hurt so much.”

Of course I remember taking you for your first tattoo, I’ve never forgotten, I remember kissing that tattoo gently, those little stars on your hip, your skin, so soft.

Suddenly Franky took hold of his wrist to take a look at the tattoo and gasped because of what she saw there. In ornate writing the word Franky jumped out at her and the little Purple Heart next to it. She remembered telling Billie that if she ever met the person she loved, the right person, the one for her then she’d have a purple heart tattooed on her wrist with the guy’s name alongside it.

“I had it done ages ago. I just felt the need back then but I’ve kept it covered all this time.” Said Billie.

Franky was still holding onto him, she didn’t know what to say.

He still loved her. Well, may be he did back then when he’d had it done, ages ago. May be now he regretted it, he probably had someone else; he was in Ireland for ages after all.

Looking up at him, he cocked his head and spoke.

“I haven’t regretted the tattoo, if that’s what you think,” he said. “I still love you and that’s that,” he shrugged.

Suddenly Billie noticed her face change, she was breathing heavily.

“Billie…I…ouch,” Franky said as she felt a surge go through her, like a knife, so painful.

“Franky, are you OK?” He said putting his arm around her shoulders.

Her breathing subsided slightly and she grew calmer. The pain had gone as Billie led her over to a chair.

“That was painful.” She said sitting down and sighing.

“But your baby can’t be due yet, you have another month or so,” said Billie.

Actually, no I haven’t. The baby is due any day because I lied to you. You don’t even know that this baby could be yours. What have I done? I should have been more open in the beginning.

“The pain has gone now, its OK,” said Franky as she took a sip from her bottle of water her mind going back to the tattoo and Billie’s words that he still loved her. She loved him too, should she tell him? What would he think? Especially when he realised she’d kept the baby news from him. He’d hate her.

“Fuck!” said Franky as she gripped onto her stomach, the pain back again.

“That’s it, we’re going to the hospital. I’ve seen this before with Adrienne, I think you’re baby is coming.” Said Billie taking her hand and gently pulling her out of the chair and leading her out of the room and down the stairs.

“But…” said Franky, protesting. She wasn’t ready for this, to give birth, all alone. Julia had promised to be with her but now Julia was miles away. Adrienne then. Perhaps she should call Adrienne to be with her.

“Aaaagh, Billie, that hurts,” said Franky doubling over.

Billie saw the scared look on her face and hated it. He bent to her.

“Franky, its OK, take some deep breaths, calm down, let the pain wash over you, it’ll be OK. I’m here.” He said soothingly and it did make her feel better, so much better as she let him lead her off to his car and take her to the hospital

She was about to meet her daughter.


“I can’t get hold of your Dad,” said Billie coming into the delivery room. They’d put Franky into a hospital gown, her face was very flushed but her eyes sparkled. She was scared and he didn’t want to leave her.

“It hurts Billie,” said Franky as the pain went through her again.

“It will honey, it will, but at the end of it, you’ll have a beautiful little daughter.” Said Billie getting a damp cloth to mop Franky’s forehead.

A nurse came in and did some checks. “Your baby will be born soon, you’re going to have to push hard,” she said watching Franky.

“But I’m scared to,” said Franky who just wished it would all go away. She wanted to go back home.

“It’s fine Franky, I’m here.” He said.

She glanced at him, looking down on her, looking after her, making sure she was all right. He loved her; he’d said so hadn’t he? And she loved him but hadn’t told him. She’d always loved him and she’d been a fool fighting it for all this time. Adrienne and him were over long ago, they were never going to get back together and it wasn’t her fault that they’d split up in the first place. It was over before she’d got with Billie.

There were no excuses now; she’d have to tell him.

She pushed hard, as Billie mopped her brow, panting and sweating and imagining how dreadful she must look but Billie didn’t seem to mind how she looked. He’d always accepted her as she was, had always paid her complements even if she looked at her worst.

“Billie…I…” she said through the pain.

“Its OK Franky, everything will be fine,” said Billie stroking her hand.

“Its not OK, I…I…want….”

“What do you want sweetheart?” He said, his voice soothing.

“You.” Said Franky. “I want you Billie, I always have done, I…I love you and I’ve been stupid thinking I could forget you. I just…love you.” She said then she gave one last push and the nurses ran to her, taking her little girl, wrapping her up in a little pink blanket and handing her to her mother.

“Hey…she’s beautiful,” said Billie. “Just like her mom.” He said watching Franky’s face.


Finally she’d told him she loved him. He’d waited so long for that, he was sure she had felt as he did, she had to and he was right.

“Isn’t she?” said Franky looking across at Billie, always there for her and she hoped he always would be.

“I meant it you know,” she said.

“I know you did,” said Billie. “I know.” Then he kissed her gently on her lips as the little baby girl started screaming.

”Hey…she has lungs like her mother,” said Billie then laughed.

They laughed quietly together as the nurses came in and brought some drinks in for the couple.

“So…what do you wish for and hope for this little girl,” said Billie taking the baby’s tiny hand in his.

Franky looked down into her daughters face. She was all crumpled but her features were tiny, tiny nose and rosebud mouth and a thatch of dark brown hair, eyes squeezed tightly closed so she hadn’t seen them yet.

“I hope…I hope she’s happy, I hope that…she’s talented and bright, I hope that she’s healthy above all and I hope…”

I hope that she’s your daughter.

“Hey…that’s a lot to hope for, especially for this tiny little one.” Said Billie grinning all over his face.

“I want her to have everything, to do what she wants and to stand up for herself, fight for everything that’s right and wrong and….”

Billie laughed.

“So what do you want to call this beautiful little creature that’s going to be spoilt rotten by the sound of it?”

“I think….”

“I think I’ll call her Hope.” Said Franky.

“Good choice, very good choice,” said Billie as the nurse came into the room and took a photograph of the three of them.

Because they looked like a family.

A beautiful mum, a handsome dad and a tiny, gorgeous baby girl.


Thank you all so much for reading and leaving such great comments.

Look out for my new story, the final part of this series called Hope. Coming soon :)