Fandom: All My Children
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Disney/ABC and the lyrics in the summary are Lady Antebellum's.
Summary: But if I knew then, what I know now, I'd fall in love...
Looking back, she would have done things differently. Well, it was easy to say that, wasn't it? Everyone says they would do things differently. They'd have slowed down before the cop car caught them on their radar and given them an expensive speeding ticket. They'd have studied that extra hour before the final exam and gotten an A instead of a C. They'd have packed that umbrella in their bag on the way out the door five minutes before the torrential downpour that ruined their brand new pair of shoes.
Every single person on the planet had something they would change, if they'd only known beforehand.
For Frankie, it was a little different. For her, looking back over life wasn't easy simply for the fact that she didn't like thinking about it. Truthfully, she didn't want to look forward, either. Live in the present. That's what she could do. The past was full of pain and regret, while the future was so dim it only further enhanced how much of a loser she was. And, she was a loser. Frankie Stone had been a loser since the day she was born to two drunks who'd rather booze it up than worry about some snot nosed punk they'd given birth to.
They were ignorant losers, and she was their kid. What more could you expect? Sure, her sister was smart. Maggie Stone did the right thing. She went to school and got good grades. She had friends and was well-liked. Frankie, though, wasn't Maggie. Frankie wasn't gifted with enough academic intelligence to be at the head of the class. Not that she'd want it, anyway. It was better to be street smart than book smart any day of the week. But, Maggie had a good life. She'd gotten the opportunity to go study at some school, and she took it. She left that dreary broken down trailer of a home they slept in, the dirty cold city, and the family that was holding her back.
Frankie took a little longer to leave. It took a few more months of stolen cigarettes, illegal bottles of beer, and borrowed joints to get free. Once she did, though, she didn't look back. There was nothing in that horrible place for her. She'd make something new. Reinvent herself.
She didn't know she was about to run into her future for the first time.
Hitchhiking, Frankie ended up in Chicago. She survived off of scraps she'd snuck in her pockets from a local deli and slept in the park on a rather uncomfortable metal bench. During the day she roamed the city. More than once she ended up in the library. Hidden among the dusty books, she found a certain solace. The poetry section was her favorite. No one else went back there, so she was left alone with the likes of Shakespeare, Yeats, Shelley, and Byron. Back home, everyone thought of her as a stupid idiot. She didn't do well in school. She wasn't stupid, though. She just knew there was no point in trying when you weren't going anywhere anyway. What those people didn't know was she loved words. She really did. She would sit for hours and pour over the passages, memorizing each section. Shakespeare was her favorite by far. She was halfway through his sonnets when one of the librarians discovered her. The lady wasn't too keen on a homeless teen camping out in her library. Frankie scrammed before security could catch her.
Chicago wasn't the best city, though. Late at night, Frankie would huddle on her bench, clutching her meager bag of belongings like a lifeline. In the darkness, she could hear shouting and gunshots. It wasn't too safe downtown, but there wasn't really anywhere she could go. One night, she was forced to leave her bench. The cops were trolling around, waking every person they encountered and making them move. So, she had to move. Walking through a back alley, she turned a corner and bumped into two men. One was pressed up against the grimy brick wall while the other held a gun to his stomach.
Frankie never ran faster in her life.
The next day she jumped on a bus. She didn't know where it was going, and she didn't care. She had lifted a few bucks from a guy in the bus terminal and bought the first ticket she could. Stumbling down the narrow aisle, she collapsed in one of the seats. Her knees automatically curled up against her chest, and she sat sideways, letting her feet rest on the seat next to hers. She leaned her back against the window and closed her eyes. She could use a few seconds of shut eye.
She didn't know the bus was moving till a rather violent bump shook her awake. Bolting up, Frankie's gaze darted around. Still half asleep, she forgot where she was. Her heartbeat slowed down as she recognized the stale interior of the greyhound. Calming, she rubbed at her eyes and shook her head. Her fingers slid up her head and tangled in her hair, scratching at her scalp. With a deep breath, she raised her head and took in the place. The bus had filled up as she slept. Nearly every seat was taken up by someone or other.
That's when she saw her.
Tilting forward slightly, Frankie noticed a girl. She looked to be about the same age with thick dark hair that reached to about her shoulders. She was dressed in what others would say was a cute purple top and jeans. Frankie wasn't the type to think of things as cute. She was reading a book while the guy next to her, must be her father, slept soundly.
Wanting a better look, Frankie's feet dropped to the floor. She crept over to the next seat and leaned out into the aisle. The girl was three rows up to the left. Frankie watched as the girl just sat there and read. Every minute or so, her delicate hand would flip the page. Unlike Frankie, who literally tore the page with her need to see the next word, this girl was gentle with the thin paper. If Frankie ducked just so, she could get a glimpse of her face. Hanging onto the seat in front of her, Frankie saw the girl had bright brown eyes and a heart shaped face. Her lips moved as she read, and at that moment Frankie wished she could read lips. Instead, she let her eyes go over the beautiful face.
Frankie felt her heartbeat pick up speed, and she had to wipe her hands on the seat she was holding for fear her grip would slip. She blinked hard and cleared her throat against the tightening inside. The slight cough must have been kind of loud, though, because the girl turned her hear. Their eyes connected, and Frankie about fell out of her seat. Her hands scratched at the back of the chair holding her up, and it felt like the world stopped turning, if just for that one microsecond. She was staring at the most stunning thing she'd ever seen.
The girl hesitantly offered her a smile. It was the kindest thing anyone'd done for her in quite a while. Frankie's mouth started to turn up into her own grin. Catching herself, she immediately bent her head and pushed back. Flopping against her seat, she crossed her arms and looked away from the girl. What was she doing? She was Frankie Stone. She was tough and cool. She didn't smile at people.
She couldn't stop herself as her eyes ticked back up.
The girl had turned in her seat, a sad look on her face. Frankie felt a pang in her chest at the thought she'd put it there. She didn't want the girl to feel sad. Then, she scoffed and crossed her arms tighter. She didn't know this girl. Why would she be sad because some stranger didn't smile at her? Who did that?
Frankie couldn't stop stealing glances at her the whole way to New York City.
What Frankie didn't know, was that was her first chance. She was supposed to meet that girl. That girl was her future. If she had let that grin form, the girl would have slipped from her seat and joined Frankie those three rows back. They would have talked.
Frankie Stone would have met Bianca Montgomery three years earlier.
She didn't though. Frankie Stone did not meet Bianca Montgomery till three years later. Till she'd gotten in such a deep rut the offer from her Aunt Vanessa sounded like gold. Traipsing around New York City, Frankie was broke, hungry, and on the brink of giving into the delicious oblivion needles provided everyone else around her. When the crazy woman who she vaguely remembered from years ago said she'd pay for her to go to school if she only did this one thing, well Frankie was going to do it. So what if it hurt another person? This was her shot. Besides, no one gave a damn that she had nothing. No one cared if she hurt, so why should she care about someone she didn't even know?
She did know her though. The moment Bianca walked into the emergency room after Frankie had a collision with Erica Kane's car, Frankie recognized her. It wasn't an immediate knowing. Actually, it was more of a feeling that she knew her. When she looked around the gathering crowd from her perch on a gurney, Frankie felt her heartbeat speed up and her palms grow sweaty.
This was her second chance, and she didn't even know it.
The two girls quickly became friends. The plan was for Frankie to seduce Erica Kane's daughter and use this information to humiliate the cosmetics tycoon. When Vanessa told Frankie to ruin Bianca Montgomery, Frankie agreed. She didn't know Bianca. She didn't care about some spoiled rich brat who ate feasts off of silver spoons.
She didn't know Bianca was the girl.
She tried to go through with it. She did her best. It wasn't hard to seduce Bianca. The teenager was so in need of love and acceptance from someone, all it would take was a wink and a smirk, and she'd be in Frankie's bed.
What was hard was not letting Bianca do the same to her.
Frankie prided herself on her ability to be closed off. No one got in. No one penetrated her walls. She wasn't some wishy-washy gullible fool. She'd lived on the streets too long to trust anyone at face value.
She trusted Bianca.
Bianca Montgomery wasn't like anyone she'd ever known. She was smart, beautiful, and funny. She was kind and sincere. If she said something, she meant it. There were no games with her, no hidden motives. She didn't like lying, and she cared. She actually cared.
She cared about Frankie.
How could Frankie not fall for that? She tried to put up her walls, but Bianca just blasted through them like a rocket. With those doe eyes and soft smile, it was all Frankie could do to not beg her to never leave. Bianca trusted her with her life. She'd told her.
When Bianca told Frankie she loved her, that was the beginning of the end.
It was the end of Frankie being alone. It was the end of the stupid homeless girl who had nothing in this world. Frankie had something. She had Bianca's heart. That was the most precious thing on earth.
In return, Frankie did what she was meant to do three years earlier. She unwittingly took that second chance and used it. She allowed the feelings forming deep inside to take shape. She let come about what started with one smile on a bus from Chicago.
She fell in love.
If only she'd known three years earlier.