Title: Golden
Author: interpol..ice
Fandom: Skins – Third Generation
Characters: Franky Fitzgerald, Mini McGuinness
Rating: T (for language, themes, and dark, racy things)
Words: 7,338
Summary: "Sit me down. Shut me up. I'll calm down. And I'll get along with you."
Disclaimer: Skins doesn't belong to me. Be returning these lovely ladies afterwards. So, chillax :)
Author's Notes: I never actually bought Minky until Grace's episode. That kiss? Srsly. THAT KISS? So, yeah. I believe. And I was getting rusty with writing. I needed to get at it again, practice the new stuff I've picked up. And the Mini-Franky thing just lit a fire. Since this piece of work is rather ridiculously long, consider it an entire city burning.


When I said, "I can see me in your eyes",

You said, "I can see you in my bed."

That's not just friendship, that's romance too.

You like music we can dance to.

- The Strokes, "I'll Try Anything Once"

Mini says they're best friends.

She spends most of the summer getting that in Franky's head. And Franky thinks, with Mini tagging along, photo excursion after photo excursion, like a determined shadow, that 'best friend' is some kind of truth right now.

Mini invites herself. Always.

And Franky lets her come along. Always.

It becomes a routine. Something they both secretly rely on.

Most mornings, before the sun comes up, Franky's at the playground near their house. She sits on the swings without actually swinging them. (Just because it's a swing, doesn't mean you have to swing in it. Just because you dress like a man, doesn't mean you're a lesbian.) She just likes the stillness and the suspension.

Fuck convention, she thinks.

Franky doesn't know how to explain it. How the sky slows down when that ball of light wakes up from its bed of clouds. The glory of a sunrise.

There aren't usually many children around this early, but on this particular morning there are a couple of boys already there, perched upon the wooden jungle gym.

She finds out that one kid and his parents are planning to move into a new house at Leigh Woods. His name's Henry and he talks about the trees there and how they're so tall, you could climb them and see the Clifton Suspension Bridge, clear as day.

So when Mini calls after breakfast, with a Morning Franky! Where to today?, Franky knows exactly what to tell her.

She could tell that Mini wasn't so excited about going all the way to the outskirts of Bristol just to take photos of its most famous piece of infrastructure but here she is anyway, predictably complaining about her feet. Her annoyed stomps making little dust clouds.

Franky shakes her head at her. "You wanted to come," she reminds with a little smile.

And Mini rolls her eyes, says in fake-upset, "The things I do for you, Francesca."

They find a cliff overlooking the bridge. Franky picks a tree immediately. The tallest one. Logically, it'll have the best view. So she fishes for her camera in her bag, pops her head into the neck strap. Once that's set, she takes her messenger bag off to hold it out for Mini to take.

When Franky gets her hands on some branches, about to pull her entire weight up, Mini marches up to her and whips her around violently.

"You're not climbing that," Mini says, rather fucking serious.

"I have to. I need the shot," Franky says, mildly surprised about what just happened.

"What if you fall?"

And Franky just knows that Mini's head is back in Somerset, reliving that horrifying moment. Definitely not one of Franky's finest. It almost makes her head ache, remembering how wrong everything went after they all split up. How she made everyone worry that day, especially Mini, who looks like she's about to break into a fit if Franky decides to climb the tree again.

Franky says, "Relax."

She doesn't know why, but she grabs Mini's hand. So there it is. She's holding it and Mini's hand is all long and soft and Franky almost doesn't know what to do with it. She looks down. Her own hand is so tiny wrapped around Mini's.

Franky looks to Mini. Mini's still staring at their hands.

"You know I know how to hold on," Franky says, as some sort of reassurance. And Mini looks up. But not too high. Just high enough to meet Franky's eyes.

All of sudden, Franky feels very weak.

In the same instant her heart starts picking up its pace, Mini makes a fist and yanks it out of Franky's hold. Mini wants the upper hand. So the tables have to be turned. She captures Franky's hand with her own.

"But what if you fall?" she says again, clutching Franky's hand tighter.

And Mini, Franky realises then, has got the nicest blue-bordering-green eyes…

But she knows this is fucking with propriety. She's not supposed to think this way. Finding the wrong things beautiful again. Another 9/11. Mini's a friend. Mini's got eyes she's not supposed to get lost in.

Franky shakes her hand free in a manner, she hopes, that doesn't offend Mini.

"I trust you to catch me then."

Once she's found decent support, Franky takes her wooden doll out of the hidden pocket in her blazer. There's a little crevice in one of the branches that she can pop the doll in. It fits. And just like that, this is the moment that makes all the effort of coming here worth it.

She takes a few test shots. And from her camera's display, the pictures turn out to be a bit different from what she'd imagined. The bridge isn't as glorious-looking as it was supposed to be. And the lighting? A little too dark. The important elements are all in one frame, though. The doll, the branches and the twigs and the leaves. Then the sky and its clouds and the bridge in the background.

This goal of hers, compressing all these pretty things in a single photo. So many wonders in something so small. Only seven megabytes of memory.

Franky plays with the composition and the angles for a bit. Trying every trick in the book until she gets shots she's satisfied with. She achieves this by pulling a branch in, letting more light fall into the shot. It takes a while, but she's finally gets it. She's got the shot now.

All that's left is showing it to Mini.

Mini hands back Franky's bag while Franky simultaneously stands on her tiptoes to sling her DSLR's neck strap around Mini's head. She puts on her bag and retrieves her mobile from it.

There's a text from Matty.

Teenage wasteland in a few. Join me?

She reads it one more time, all furrowed eyebrows and suppressed smiles, before thumbing in her reply.

"You never title your pictures."

"What?" Franky says absently, finally pressing 'SEND'.

Franky looks up just in time to see Mini roll her eyes. She shoves the camera back into Franky's free hand saying, "You never title your pictures," mildly annoyed this time around.

Franky shrugs. "I want them open for interpretation."

"Oh," Mini just says.

Then she reaches in and pulls a leaf from behind Franky's ear like some cross between a magician and his lovely assistant. She pulls at Franky's blazer impatiently. Tries to smooth down the fabric. "So…" Mini starts, suspiciously casual, "you've any plans for the rest of the day?"

Matty's text comes to mind. And Franky's relieved that she sent him back a polite decline because she figured Mini would've wanted to hang out more.

"No, not really," Franky says, thankful for her foresight's impeccable timing.

Then Mini giggle-smiles the way Franky has grown used to and hooks an arm around Franky's neck. She turns the both of them around, facing the direction which they came from. Franky knows Mini well enough to know why she's so excited. She's already bracing herself for an entire afternoon of window-shopping, dressing rooms and Mini turning so many heads.

Later that night, Franky goes over the pictures she shot while they were at Cabot Circus. Most of them are of Mini. They were hunting for the latest in vintage (with Mini, in a glorious moment of cleverness, pointing out the irony in that). It wasn't exactly the way Franky would've wanted to spend her time, but she tried to make an afternoon out of it, inventing a rule to take as many pictures as possible before her battery drained out.

And Mini was just as helpful here than she was at the woods, posing every twenty or so seconds. The subject of sixty percent of Franky's photos that day.

There's one of Mini's backside and Franky recalls taking this, Mini walking fast and way ahead of her because apparently, there was some sort of sale at Zara and Mini absolutelyhadto christen her mum's new credit card. What makes the picture lovely is the colour Mini's hair makes with the light that the glass roof let through. It made her hair all glowing and delicate. Something that Franky doesn't dare elaborate on.

So Franky took a picture. Because sometimes, she wants so much to say to Mini, "If you could only see yourself…"

The first time Mini sees her room, she makes Franky explain what "Cardboard Town" is for. Then she makes Franky explain Stop Motion. Then she says, "Is this how they make Wallace and Gromit?" And Franky's chuckling to herself, receiving a questioning look from Mini shortly afterwards.

"Grace said exactly the same thing."

And then Mini asks to see Franky's latest video. Franky has to deny her because it's nowhere near done but then Mini pulls out her puppy dog pout and with her playing that card, Franky's resolve hasn't got much of a choice.

Mini leaves because she needs to get home before dinner. Franky's role as host requires her to walk Mini out and tell her to stay safe. When Mini's out of sight, Franky breaks out into a grin. She turns around, feels incredibly guilty when she sees Jeff, standing at the doorway, all decked out in his Monday cooking outfit. His paisley oven mittens, matching his paisley apron, motion like sophisticated sock puppets for her to get back inside the house.

Letting her in and closing the door behind the both of them, he rounds in on Franky, his apprehension showing. "Wasn't she that girl? The one who gave you a hard time?"

And of course Jeff remembers her. Who forgets girls like Mini McGuinness?

"Yeah," Franky says. "But we're all sorted now."

They're at the place where they met. Though there's less trash this time of year.

Matty hands something over, wrapped in cloth.

"What's this?" Franky says, before taking it.

"A gift."

That's what Dean said to her too, that day he gave Franky her first replica. A gift.

The weight is familiar and Franky has a feeling that she knows what it is. She pulls off the cover and isn't surprised. It's another replica. Kind of like… A replica of the first replica.

That's just sad.

"You said you lost yours."

She didn't lose it. She threw it away. On purpose. Being gracious, she offers him a grin anyway. "Thanks."

Matty smiles back, obviously pleased with himself. "Right. So, target-practise then?"

He has to talk loud because they're twenty-five yards apart.

"She working you too hard?"

Franky knows who he means. "No, not really." But she doesn't know why he asks.

"What is it exactly, that the both of you do?"

Franky considers the question. Franky goes for calm and cool. For 'nothing to hide'. Tries not to smile to herself when she does find the answer. "We try to get along."

He looks unconvinced but he nods along anyway. "I only get you once a week. The world is unjust," Matty says, a funny kind of wistful.

At that, Franky allows herself a little laugh. There was really nothing to be jealous about. He's being silly. "Just line up my cans, Matty."

Matty fixes the cans. Makes them all evenly spaced out and just like, attractive enough to shoot holes through.

It's been a while since she's held one of these. She tries to recall the shooting technique her dads have taught her. It's just one of the perks she gets from her two stepdads just happening to be in the Territorial Army.

She's supposed to take a position. Close her eyes and bring the pistol up. When she opens them and the barrel isn't lined with the can yet, she's got to move her feet, find a better position. She has to keep moving, keep hearing the dirt crinkle beneath her, keep closing her eyes as she raises the pistol and opening them to hopefully find the barrel finally fucking aligned with the can.

Bullets for bitches.

Franky closes her eyes. Remembers Mini. Sees Mini. She almost wants to laugh at how horrible Mini used to be. How people change.

She raises the pistol and it's lined up with the target. Already? On her first try? Franky doesn't recall it being this easy.

And now, she's supposed to breathe in. Hold her breath. Wait until the sights focus. Clear up. Wait for God-vision.

Remember to aim straight for the heart next time.

Less than an instant passes after Franky pulls the trigger and there's already an unmistakable sound of a tin can going down for the count.

Straight for the heart.

How right Matty was.

Geoff used to cause a fuss every morning, complaining about the new postman and how he somehow couldn't see their door, rudely leaving deliveries perched atop Jeff's immaculately trimmed bushes. Apparently, this drove both of her dads mad and into homophobe discussions. She doesn't enjoy it so, for the rest of the summer, Franky volunteers to wait outside on their doorstep for the useless postman.

One morning, she waits outside, sitting on the front steps with breakfast. Imagine Franky's surprise when she sees Mini rounding the corner into their street, running with such a feminine gait. Franky takes a second to just watch Mini in her zone of focus. All short shorts and built-up sweat. Franky indulges in this sight before calling Mini's attention.

Set beside Franky on the steps is a plate of sandwiches and a steaming mug of coffee. "Breakfast, Mins?"

"What's in that?"

"Umm… Serrano and reblochon," Franky says, trying to mimic the fancy way that Jeff says it.

Mini raises her eyebrows. "I don't even know what that and that is, so no thanks."

"It's a fancy ham and cheese sandwich."

"Then that's like…" Mini shuts her eyes in a habit that Franky knows helps her recall things. Mini does that for tests as well. Franky wonders why she notices stuff like that.

"400 calories," Mini recites. Eyes now open and alert.

Franky catches herself staring. She averts her gaze, trying not to be so guilty. Does the maths to make herself feel less perverted. "And that's 25 calories a bite. It won't hurt, Mini." Franky holds out the sandwich to Mini, waves it in front of her teasingly.

What she doesn't count on is Mini actually taking the bait. She takes a bite and Franky is rattled at how close Mini's lips came to touching her fingers.

Mini chews, considers the flavours. Her jaw moves and Franky just can't stop looking. She watches Mini swallow. Waits for her verdict.

And Jeff's Serrano and Reblochon sandwich gets a "fancy" and a small smile from Mini McGuinness.

"Got to go, Franks. Trying to beat my personal best," Mini says, giving a little tap to her watch. "Toodles!"

And she's off, ponytail swinging and bouncing like a proper shampoo commercial. When Mini turns the corner, Franky lets out a breath. Of relief, she realises. Franky doesn't think she can keep sane the next time Mini comes around in her workout clothes. Those damned things showing so much curve and skin.

It's the drugs. It's the music. It's the sweat.

It's her gold hair whipping around, soft strands and exciting scents hitting Franky in torturous waves. It's hands everywhere and Mini grinding against Franky and it's making Franky insane and wanting something she can't put her finger on.

But, oh…

Her fingers are already on Mini.

It's the drugs. It's the music. It's the sweat.

They kiss.

And when they break apart and Franky pulls Mini down for another one, she doesn't want to be held entirely responsible for that.

She decides to blame the strobe lights as well.

Liv gets them out of the club because they're too shitfaced to function or complain. "Okay, you two," Liv says, Franky at one side, Mini at the other. "I'm getting you home."

They stumble on the streets until a door opens and Franky's lugged in, not recognising the interior of the house. This means she isn't in her own home. This means she's going to be in so much trouble tomorrow. This means her dads are probably shitting themselves, worried sick about her whereabouts.

Franky's legs can't hold her up and all she really needs now is to lie the fuck down.

Another door opens. It's all pink inside. (Maybe the walls are purple, but at this point she just can't, for the life of her, tell the difference.) This must be Mini's room. And it smells like her. Obviously.

It's nice.

Liv helps Franky out of her clothes and Franky thinks how thoughtful it is for Liv to leave the boxers and the wifebeater on. Then Liv gets her in bed. Franky wants so badly to sleep already but Liv's undressing Mini and Franky also wants (so badly) to see this.

She's in Mini's bed. And Liv's going to be getting Mini in here too, Franky realises in a panic. The thought of it prompts Franky to sit up, surprising the fuck out of Liv.

"I could sleep on the floor," Franky insists, trying to move her legs but they aren't cooperating.

Liv rushes to Franky and gets her to lie back down. "She won't mind," Liv says stroking Franky's hair. "Just stay still, yeah?"

Franky doesn't have enough control of herself to argue anymore. She's too fucked and yeah, she thinks she does want to sleep against Mini in only their underwear.

Liv's gone for a second and she comes back with Mini in tow. She's limp like a life-sized rag doll and Liv wrestles her into the covers. With Mini next to her, Franky's horribly aware of their skin touching beneath the sheets and her face must show it because a little after, Liv says, "She sleeps like a log. And she doesn't kick or anything. No reason for you to be roughing it tonight, Franks."

It doesn't reassure Franky at all.

Liv kisses Mini's temple. Draws back and turns to Franky. Franky's stupidly expecting for a kiss as well. Instead, Liv pats her on the head. "And besides, I'm actually doing her a favour," she says.

And Franky swears to Christ Liv just winked at her.

Franky wakes up and finds out the walls are actually purple.

Mini's missing and Franky doesn't want to just lie there and deal with her feelings. Her hangover's being a dear fuck, making it hard to make a sense of things. Like, for one… What the fuck was going on between her and Mini?

She wills herself to sit up and when she does, there's a sudden rush to her head. It makes her head pulse and hurt. Like someone was hammering a nail into her skull. She groans.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck."

Franky accidentally hits her head against something on the wall. She curses again, turns around and sees it was a pushpin lodged into a corkboard. Strewn about the board are pictures. She forgets her anger because her heart swells upon seeing images of Rich, Alo, Grace, Liv, Nick and Matty littered across it.

Franky also realises that she's in all the pictures.

Mini's mirror-ball by the open window turns and turns, sprinkles sunlight all around.

The door bursts open and in walks Mini, a bowl in hand. "Cereal!" she announces cheerfully, thrusting it before Franky, still sat on the bed.

Franky finds the gesture sweet. Takes the bowl. It's full of Cheerios.

And Mini sits on the edge of the bed, watching Franky while she eats and it's awkward and Mini's looking pretty and worn out. (But lovely all the same.) Franky wants to touch her. Not like she did last night, when they were under a drug-and-drink-induced haze.

Franky wants to touch her, awake and aware.

"Breakfast yet?" Franky asks. An attempt to thin out the tension.

Mini pauses before she answers. "Yeah," she says with a smile, not meeting Franky's eyes. And they're back in the time of the Twelfth Night rehearsals. When Mini's Olivia was just as horrible at playing pretend.

It was Mini.

Mini, of all people, who gave Franky her first kiss.

And Franky thinks back on how, before it happened, she told herself that it was just practise. It was a rehearsal for fuck's sake. And it didn't count.

But then Mini kissed her like she meant it.

And it was…


Grace said, "fine."

Sometimes she catches Mini looking at her lips. But it has come to a point where Franky can't ignore it anymore that she doesn't know whether to be bothered or charmed about it. Feeling self-conscious and silly at equal measures, she asks Mini, "What?"

"Your braces."

And Franky forces herself to be convinced that it's just that.

Because if it isn't, then that'd be another problem.

Really, Mini should stop smelling so wonderful. Like… those golden Rice Krispies treats Franky's real parents used to always make for her. Before they gave her up.

It's not helping. Not in the slightest.

Summer's officially over because it's the day Franky's starting Upper Sixth. She's excited about learning more things, applying for Uni and all that. These are things that are going to keep her busy and keep her CV growing. She's got to make this last year at Roundview count. And for the first time, Franky isn't nervous about getting back to school.

It's the other things she's worrying about. She's brushing her teeth, and of all the things she could be thinking of, it's what colour they really are.

Blue or green?

She spits out the foam and rinses. Looks at her reflection, at her unmistakably smitten reflection, and says, "Really now, Franky?"

A month into college, Blood decides to bring back the charity fashion show. It was surprisingly a big hit last year, so he wants to do it again. Grace, ever thoughtful about her friends and being well-connected (like, really well-connected) with Professor Blood, prodded him into making Mini in charge again.

"She needs this," Franky overhears Grace say to Rich and Alo after she got out of her father's office.

And Franky thinks it's great. They're all going to be too preoccupied to be thinking about each other. Yeah, the work's going to be a godsend.

Turns out, the preparations for this year's fashion show are more demanding than Franky thought they'd be. And yes, at first Franky was flattered with all the trust Mini put in her, leaving Franky in charge of directing the lights and music and making the suits and dresses. Even giving Franky the liberty to pick the theme.

Franky especially liked it when Mini kissed her cheek after she pitched Steampunk in front of Mini's panel of committee heads. They were only Grace and Liv, so it was a given they'd find it a great idea as well.

But, Franky has to be honest. In between designing twenty outfits, finding Victorian-esque music that she could make a dubstep mix out of, and making massive stage props, she doubts she can keep it all top and together until the actual show.

Mini's making her do everything and Franky bitterly expects Mini to go as far as asking her to model. Franky's falling behind in her coursework because all this fashion show shit's eating up all her time.

Mini's lead male model is a slimy, good-looking prick. (Who drives a pointlessly expensive convertible.) He flirts with Mini all the time. Today, Mini flirts back. And even though Franky knows Mini's just playing along, trying to force a chemistry out of their partnership because they're walking down that runway as a marketable pair, Franky can't help but seethe when she sees those two together.

She's just using that guy. She doesn't really like him, Franky thinks, somewhat comforted.

But then she realises that Mini might be using her the same way too.

Franky doesn't show up the next day. It's the day that also happens to be the day before the fashion show. She's exhausted like fuck and she figures she'll go brain-dead if she so even bothers getting out of bed. Franky's done all she needed to do. She isn't arsed enough to sit through rehearsals and fittings to watch Mini and some Lothario dry-hump in between practise runs.

Her entire day is spent sitting by her open window, smoking and reading Manga. By the time night falls, she's ignored forty-two calls and seventy-nine text messages.

Mini comes over that night, carrying a truckload of righteous anger and a costume Franky just knows she's going to be forced to alter. Despite being in so much fucking trouble, Franky's actually quite satisfied that Mini came.

"Thanks for not screaming at me," Franky says, half-way done re-stitching the seams of Mini's dress. Franky has to take it in at the waist. Mini's lost more weight during the course of the week.

"No, I'm sorry. I've realised just now that I've overworked you. If it's any consolation, the other dresses fitted everyone else perfectly."

"Yeah, except yours." And Franky hesitates before saying, "Mini, you've really got to start eating right."

"I'm fine," Mini snaps.

"Exactly. You're already okay."

You're totally sexy just the way you are. But Franky doesn't say that aloud.

"I ate some Oreos," Mini confesses all of a sudden.

"What?" Franky says, because… what does that have to do with anything?

"I ate two Oreos," Mini repeats, obviously revolted with herself. "Because you weren't there today and the dry run was a disaster."

Great. So now it's Franky's fault that she ate two fucking Oreos? Franky shakes her head. "Mini, I already did everything you asked me."

"And you couldn't hold out for just one more day? I needed you there, Franky!"

"Mini, I was fucking—JesusbollockingChrist! Fuck!"

Her finger's bleeding. Real blood. No shit.

The needle grazed about half an inch worth of skin. But before sorting it out Franky thinks fast and sets Mini's dress aside to save it. Mini's freaking out at the sight of the blood. Given the nasty cut, Franky can't believe how she still finds Mini's panicked Scottish lilt as she curses terribly cute.

Mini pulls a handkerchief out of her purse. "Fuck. That looks bad." She presses the handkerchief against Franky's finger. It stings like a bitch. Mini turns to Franky, asks, "Does it hurt?"

Franky doesn't say "yes" because it should be that obvious already and she doesn't say "no" either because it's kind of late to try and sugar-coat the situation. The blood's pretty much ruined Mini's handkerchief. She doesn't want to freak Mini out, so instead of a black and white yes or no, Franky smiles through the pain like a fucking cliché.

Mini's being such a trooper, putting more pressure on the cut. She leans in closer. Close enough for Franky to already feel the heat of her breath. "That better?" she asks.

No. It just ends up in Franky's urge to kiss Mini going overboard.

And Franky just knows… that if she goes on with what she wants so fucking badly to do, it'll only get worse. She's never going to want to stop. Franky looks down. It's the only form of resistance she's capable of now.

Mini mutters her name in frustration. "Franky," she says, and then, with careful fingers, she tilts Franky's chin up. "Does it still hurt?" She clenches the handkerchief tighter at Franky's wound and Franky almost forgets that she has the cut in the first place.

"No," Franky croaks out weakly. It doesn't.

She can't stand the way Mini's eyes search her face. There's so much… so fucking much in them that she thinks she understands… but at the same time, doesn't. Mini's stroking her face now and in the back of Franky's mind, she hopes to fuck that the door's locked.

Mini kisses her first. It's a demanding one. It's kiss-me-back-or-I-will-die. And Franky…

Franky keeps her alive.

On their third break for air, Mini gently pushes Franky down onto the bed. The fifth break, Franky's scrambling out of her wifebeater and Mini's got a greedy hand on her arse. By the time Mini's trailing kisses over her breasts, Franky's so ridiculously hot she raises her hips off the mattress, desperately grinding into the thigh that Mini has lodged in between Franky's legs. At this, Mini laughs into the hollow of Franky's throat.

Franky is painfully self-aware all of a sudden. "What?"

Mini's flushed and amused and grinning all naughtily when she tells Franky to, "Slow down, tiger."

A second later, she gets up on her knees to take her top off.

Then Franky thinks… Oh, God. This girl.

After that, when Mini kisses her, it's unrushed.

Mini takes her time, lying over Franky and careful not to put her weight on her. Lets her lips linger on Franky's skin. As long as possible. As long as possible. Maddeningly in control. She stops ever so often to look Franky in the eye. Lets Franky know that YES, THIS IS HAPPENING. Each step she takes, it's like she's asking for permission. You sure? You sure you want me to do this?

And Franky hasn't denied Mini anything yet.

Mini doesn't take her eyes off Franky. Like she's scared that in any second, Franky's going to disappear. Mini's guarding eyes are dark. The black centres dominating. Franky can barely make out the thin rings of iris that circle Mini's pupils.

Blue or green? Blue or green.

Mini kisses her stomach. Looks up at Franky. They're green.

Mini pulls down her boxers. Looks up at Franky. They're blue.

Mini laughs when she finds out that Franky still has knickers underneath. Looks up. Now, Franky can't tell but whatever it is, that's her favourite colour.

And Franky likes this better.

How Mini is gentle, how Mini is winning her over with every kiss. Mini's skin, smooth, soft and slick against her own. The scent of butter, melting marshmallows, Rice Krispies. The scent of a closed room getting too, too hot. Wafting all over. She takes Franky's knickers off and her long hands grab hold of Franky's hips while she presses kisses on the insides of her thighs.

Franky hisses when Mini finally tastes her.

Knowing where Mini's lips have just been, Franky finds it strange but incredibly hot kissing her. Franky lands Mini on her back, stripped down to her bra and knickers. She sees Mini in the full. Understands the quality of her beauty. It's the discipline and restraint. All that contol. Shaping Mini. Keeping her lean and toned. Gorgeous.

But Mini's gone too far this time. There are bones jutting out and it makes Franky's eyes wet up. She wants so much to make Mini feel so, so good tonight.

After that, Franky is on her like a hurricane. Lips on shoulders, necks, Mini's lips, and then whispering wordless sounds into Mini's ear. Franky's got her healthy hand on Mini's thigh, running across it, stroking repeatedly. To Mini's arse. To the back of Mini's knee. And Mini only gets all the more limber, fitting herself to every crevice of Franky that the motions create.

When Franky reaches Mini's stomach, she feels hands grabbing at the sides of her head, preventing any more contact.

It frustrates Franky to some degree. "There's nothing wrong with you," she wants to say, but instead, she gently pries Mini's fingers off of her. Franky takes Mini's hands. (That have formed into fists.) Franky kisses her knuckles and Mini relaxes. Then Franky pins Mini's hands down onto the bed. She holds them, keeps them still the entire time she's kissing Mini's stomach. She doesn't want Mini to stop her from touching her here. Where Franky's lips can feel how firm and sculpted Mini is, where Franky can drag her tongue around the rim of Mini's navel and taste the most wonderful kind of salt-sweet.

But pretty soon, her mouth hits the edge of Mini's knickers and some invisible force makes her pull away.

Mini's mildly put-off. She swallows nervously. "Franky…"

Franky stares back. Kneeling and sitting on her lower legs. "I don't know what to do…"

Mini moves to sit upright on the bed. Stoops a little to level with Franky. She sweeps Franky's hair out of her eyes, her fingertips catching sweat. She does this in the softest of ways and Franky feels like passing out from the rush.

"We don't have to, if that's what you want," Mini says, without the slightest bit of challenge.

And it's crazy, even for Franky, because she almost wants to hear the bitchy, goading tone you'd usually expect from Mini. It crushes Franky that Mini seriously thinks she doesn't want to go through with this. But that's far from the truth and Mini doesn't really understand.

It's not because Franky doesn't want to do it. It's because Franky doesn't want to do it wrong. No, not with Mini.

"You're perfect. And beautiful," Franky starts. And with Mini hanging on to every word she's saying, her face lighting up, Franky finds the last bit of daring inside of her to say, "And I'd like very much to touch you…"

Mini smiles nervously. Keeps her eyes trained and intense on Franky. Franky licks her lips. Waits for the next move. Slowly, Mini takes Franky's hand and puts it between her legs. Pass cotton and garters and a triangle of coarse hair. Soon enough, Franky's fingers are drenched and this new feeling makes the both of them inhale sharply.

Then shudder.

Again. Again. And again.

She doesn't know why she didn't do it the first time she got the chance to. Sex, Franky found out tonight, is actually rather wonderful.

Even though Mini's lovely and asleep beside her in bed, it's inevitable for her to be thinking about Matty and their little stunt in the woods. All she felt from Matty that day was bumping and hair. Bulges and suction. Like they were two foolish robots trying out an experiment. This is what the humans do. It's supposed to be nice.

Matty had a joystick. All he had to do was plug it into Franky.

Franky wanted to feel normal, not… disappointed. At how empty she felt even as Matty was snaking his hands all over her.

Mini, though.

Mini made her feel like the world was on fire.

Franky wakes up before Mini. After cleaning her wound and smothering it with three sticking plasters, she resumes the work on Mini's dress, waiting until she stirs. But then she's finished with the dress and Mini's still asleep. They have college in two hours. It's the morning of the fashion show and Franky's sure that Mini would appreciate an early start.

She plops back down on the bed, lying on her side, mirroring Mini. Upon hearing Franky's voice, Mini's already grinning, even before she opens her eyes. Mini flutters them open and Franky's too blown away by the cheer and satisfaction in them that she doesn't quite know what to say.

Mini cups a hand to Franky's cheek, the tips of her fingers ghosting over Franky's skin. Then she tells Franky, so softly, so secretly…

"I wish you knew how much you've changed me."

They're not a couple or anything.

But at night, when they hold each other, when Franky makes a map of the freckles on Mini's face, when Mini can't let go of Franky's hair… At night, they wish they had something to call this.

They haven't come up with anything exactly. Because they only talk with kisses and eyes and fingertips. With the sheets rustling, keeping their secrets.

That is…

Until they actually get to talking about it.

They get into a fight after six weeks of sneaking around. The constant sleepovers and the small bruises on Mini's neck have got their friends staring thoughtfully at the pair of them. (And when they do, Franky lets go of Mini's hand.)

Aware of how much this upsets Mini, Franky invites her home. She apologises and has Mini naked in seconds. There's a different energy in the room while Franky's going down on her. Guilt. Hurt. Disappointment. It's in the air and it's a strain but kind of a turn-on to Franky all the same.

Franky has a fag afterwards. Loses herself in her head. Wonders how she has gotten this way… She feels dark and dirty, having to hide this. Whatever this is with Mini.

Mini, feeling neglected, expertly snatches the fag out of Franky's grasp. Franky's too bothered to be bothered. She looks at Mini absently. Mini's smoking. Exhaling a cloud before biting her lip. Then she starts talking.

"Jeff's got a supply of low-fat cupcakes in case I visit. Your dads have invited me to three Sunday brunches already. Grace and Liv have stopped trying to set me up with every 'potentially' decent tosser they happen to find. And Alo has this look… when he sees us together. "

Franky lights up another cigarette. Takes a long drag while trying to figure out what Mini just threw her way. "What are you trying to say?"

"I don't know…" Mini goes. "That they know?"

"No they don't. And besides, what's there to know?" Franky says, and not a second passes before she's already wishing that she could take it back.

Mini narrows her eyes. Then they widen and water. Mini crushes out the cigarette angrily. Against the headboard, to Franky's horror.

"What are we?" Mini asks, voice breaking. She gathers the damp sheets to herself for cover, suddenly ashamed of being bare in Franky's presence.


"Why? Why can't you tell me what we are?"

"Because. You and I…" Franky struggles. She chucks her fag into the ashtray on her bedside table. Forgets to put it out. "You and I…" she tries again and she's back to fucking stuttering again.

It's just that… How's the rest of the world going to take it? Mini McGuinness. Teen dream. Queen Supreme. Fucking a lesbo-tranny-window-licker? Not well, that much is obvious. They're going to shit all over her and Franky doesn't want that for Mini.

And besides, Franky doesn't believe in labels. This is what it is.

Mini jumps out of bed, taking the sheet with her, leaving Franky inconveniently exposed. She's trying to keep composure, picking up her clothes from the floor in a cold, dignified manner.

"Mins," Franky says, trying to stop her. Mini ignores her.

Slightly angered, Franky picks up a tee from the floor. She puts it on hurriedly before getting up. "Mins," Franky tries again, taking determined steps towards her. Mini's busy putting her knickers back on.

"Mini, please," Franky says desperately and it's finally enough for Mini to turn around.

And then Franky, compelled to answer, just goes with what's at the top of her heart. "I believe that you and I, we could be everything."

Mini searches her eyes, looking more disgusted with Franky by the second. She buttons up her blouse with hasty fingers, glaring extra hard at Franky.

And Franky doesn't understand. It all sounded so nice in her head, but Mini's not buying it.

Mini's face twists up, furiously unsatisfied. "You and I are 'open for interpretation'. That's what we are."

It almost kills Franky. How Mini's too upset to slam the door.

She should've lied. Should've said something about finishing a History module or something. So she doesn't have to see this. Nick's a great dancer and shit but Franky doesn't like it when he's moving so fucking close against Mini. Franky also doesn't like it that Mini's not speaking to her. She hates it that Mini doesn't seem to care. Doesn't seem to be aware that she's already torturing Franky just by throwing her arms around Nick and swaying to Kanye West.

Franky drinks too much, too fast that night. Her reckless abandon even gets Alo to stop partying. One look at the state of her and Alo picks her up like she's some sort of potato sack and he races the both of them to the loos. He actually gets away with passing Franky for a bloke and sneaking her into the men's room.

Alo kicks open the nearest cubicle and sets Franky down to heave into the toilet. He rubs her back consolingly, politely turns his head away while Franky's throwing up breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There's static in this track. A kind of fuzzy noise because it was created decades ago. Dum. Dum. Dum. Strings and ting-tings. A day in Franky's life, set to The Beatles.

You're asking me, "Will my love grow?"
I don't know. Oh, I don't know.

She's always loved this song. But the cheap coincidence of those lines may have possibly ruined it for her now. Franky takes her headset off and she can hear the streets and voices. She's back in the real world. It has become an escape in its own right.

Because, for the first time ever, Franky thinks it's more dangerous in her head.

The last thing she wants is to be answering questions in Beatles songs.

Matty asks her if she fancies coming over because he has the house all to himself. The Levans have a flatscreen TV and surround sound in their living room. So Franky says yes. Figures pseudo-classic home cinema will take her mind off all the bollocks going on in her life at the moment.

They watch Hitchcock movies the entire afternoon, sat on opposite ends of the couch.

Matty scoots in closer an hour into Vertigo. He holds her hand. She realises she doesn't like his nails.

Franky looks through her files that night. Finds that photo of her doll in the tree. She gets it developed in the morning. A single 4R. After school, she picks it up and makes straight for home. In her room she wallows in her own misery a bit because Mini still hasn't called or texted or shown Franky any sign of sympathy. So she's sitting by her window once more. Smoking. Swigging down mouthfuls of vodka and looking at the photo long and hard. It's not just seven megabytes of memory anymore. Franky finally flips it over, and writes:

I call this "Such Great Heights"

I call you "MINE."

- F x

She worries that she may have been a tad cheesy. But, fuck it. She slips the photo into Mini's locker the next morning.

"I'm not scared. I'd kiss you anywhere, in front of anyone. I mean it. So please, just fucking grow a pair and say that this is gonna work."

It's raining and cinematic and Mini's breathing hard from saying all those things from the top of her lungs. So Franky could hear her. Above the noise of water hitting every fucking thing under the cloud-hidden sun.

Franky doesn't know what to say to that. She purposely swallows down the wrong words. All of them wrong wrong wrong because no matter how much she tries stringing them together in her head, they still couldn't match up to the enormity of what she feels inside.

She turns her head to the side, frustrated. Lets the rain slap against her cheek. She's been so stupid and always screwing things up. She just can't be right for this girl.

"Franky, say something."

And oh, God, she wishes she could. More than anything.

A beat. And then, Mini just goes on ahead and says it for her.

"You love me."

Franky finally looks up. Into her eyes. It's all clear now. And Mini knew before she did. Mini against the grey and washed-out backdrop of The Rest of the World. Mini, all pale skin and Goldilocks hair, the only bright thing.

"Yeah, I do," Franky sighs hopelessly. "And I can't seem to stop."

Now, Mini McGuinness reminds Franky of the sun.

Golden. Warm. What she wakes up to.

* * * fin