It had been five hard, long years; Andrew's faith had been tested and destroyed, only to be reintroduced through an amazingly unexplained miracle. It had also been five years since the last time he'd seen her, true they had kept in touch through mail but it wasn't enough for him, he yearned to see her. He had kept her informed about his travels and his search for the gospel, which had led him back to Belo Quinto.
Father Alameda had left a series of letters in dozens of different languages that were clues to the exact location of the fifth gospel. Andrew had a rather easy time with all but one of the letters, the last one, which had been written entirely in Aramaic. After each translated letter he followed the directions to the next letter, he followed the letters for two long years. Finally with all the letters translated he arrived at the treasured destination, back at the very church where Father had been buried. Near the bleeding statue, a small panel in the floor had been removed and that is where Andrew had found the fifth gospel with the complete translation written in English in a journal kept by Father.
Now after those five years of searching, translating, and fighting for the gospel to be accepted by the Vatican, his efforts were rewarded and now his work for the church was finished. He only hoped that all this was not for nothing, he finally felt that Father Alameda could rest now and his time as a priest had come to an end. Now his thoughts only drifted back to Frankie.
In her letters he followed her life through troublesome men that didn't deserve he love and in the end broke her heart, and the pain of her mother passing away in a freak plane accident. All the things that he wished he could have been there to prevent or been there to help her through. In her last letter she expressed her grief about the fact that they could never be together as anything but friends, her feelings for him ran deeper than those for anyone she'd ever met. She never felt this way, but she understood that she needed to move on with her life.
He remembered the first time he had met her; he had gone to her place of employment to coax her into explaining about the attacks she'd experienced. She had insisted that he had to get a hair cut first before she would talk to him. He asked her if he could call her Frankie and her response to that was," and what I should call you, I have a hard time calling someone I'd date, Father." That's when his infatuation began, everything about this creature was exhilarating, her lust for life intoxicating, her movements graceful as a ballerina, and yet her passion unmatched by anything he'd ever seen. He'd stayed with her for two months while she was recuperating from her encounter with the stigmata; those had been the happiest months of his life, and making him regret the choices he'd made in his life.
He wanted to be there for her, to be the one she could give and receive love from. He wanted to protect her from the pain of life, and now finally he hoped his chance had come. He was returning to her, hoping to surprise her at her work. He'd already called ahead to warn Donna about him arriving and asked if Frankie worked on the day he got in. Somewhat reluctant in her answer, she assured him she would be working but was leaving earlier for personal reasons. His heart had leaped into his throat with the thought of seeing her again.
He landed at four o'clock, Tuesday afternoon, he was angry because it was an hour later than he had planned and was worried that he had missed surprising her at work. He finally arrived at the beauty shop at a little after five, due to a horrific accident five miles down the road from the airport. His fears had come true; he had missed her by more than a half hour. When he walked into the shop he greeted Donna with a loving welcome, as he hugged her he tried to do his catch up scene in a matter of minutes, "Hello Donna, how have you been?"
"Good, look at you," she says as she circles him, "all big and important now, what are you doing back here? I was very surprised to hear from you."
He continued their talk and was hoping to get some information on how Frankie had been, and more importantly if she stilled lived at the same place. "So how has Frankie been, is she doing alright?"
A little bewildered at the question, she took a step back and tried to ignore the question, "So how long are you going to be in town?" She asked as she turned back to the customer hair she had been working with.
"I'm hoping it will be a permanent move, Rome has been missing something," he hinted at as he stared blankly at what was Frankie's station. Now he was becoming anxious and extremely worried he would be not be able to get any information on where Frankie was.
"So where can I…"
Before he could even get the question out Donna knew just what the answer would be, "Yes, she's doing fine, Yes, she still lives at the same apartment, Yes, she's probably at home right now." With frustration in her voice she started to pace around the room, "But I don't think it's a good idea to go see her, she's finally moving on with her life, getting over the horrible past she's had. I think that her seeing you will make her have a relapse, and frankly Andrew she doesn't need that."
"But I…" He wasn't even able to get out a full sentence before she began again.
"I know you care about her, but as long as you both live the lives you do, all you can do is hurt her," She turned and faced him, staring at him with pleading eyes. "Just let her go, let her move on. If you really care about her, you'll let her move on."
Frightened and frustrated he began to head for the door, not quiet sure what he was going to do, or even where he was going to go. His mind was racing and as he opened the door to exit, at that moment he stopped and took a deep breathes to compose his thoughts. Donna wanted to make sure he knew she was serious and reiterated what she had said before, "As long as you live the lives you do, all you can do is hurt her."
(The song "Love by Grace" by Lara Fabian begins to play through his walk)
"I know," he replied to her and with that he exited the shop and turned left to head towards his hotel room, although it was also the direction of her apartment. He knew this path all too well, he knew it took exactly 12 min. to get from her work to her house by walking, he hoped it would be long enough for him to figure out exactly what to do. His whole mind blanked as he began to think of her, and about what Donna had said. 'No, she didn't know what she was talking about', he said aloud in his mind, 'I didn't have enough time to explain about my situation. Beside, I'm not the same man she once knew; I can be the man Frankie needs'. He told himself as he stopped in front on her building, unsure of what exactly to do. He didn't know what to say or how to approach this situation, he figured Donna had called ahead to warn her of his arrival. So he figured he'd do the only thing that was reasonable and ring her, 'what could it harm', he thought,' his whole surprise had been ruined'. He figured the best thing to do was try to salvage some of this trip.
He approached the door and rang the button the said Paige; he didn't have to wait long. "Come on up," she stated and then the door buzzed, he was alarmed by not only how fast the reply came but also her warm reception. 'Maybe this wasn't such a bad idea', he thought as he entered the door and headed up the stairs. Now was his moment of panic, 'what if Donna was right? What if all I do is hurt her? What if all of this is just a big mistake?' It was too late to worry about that now; he had reached her door that was ajar. He knocked on the door, as gentlemen do, only to hear her response from inside.
"Hey, come on in, I'll be done in a few minutes," she yelled as she passed by the door heading towards the room which he knew was her bedroom. Although shocked he entered her room and stood quietly next to the door.