Francesca leaned back.
“They’re all perfect,” the dentist said. They should be perfect, she thought, all the time I had to put up with Ray making every joke about railroad tracks ever invented by man, they ought to be perfect.
Frannie took a deep breath.
“Couldn’t you, uh, make them, you know, sharper?”
It was cold up there. Ray had been going on about that ever since he got back, even before Fraser came back the first time, even before they crashed that plane… since ever, really.
And Frannie thought Fraser had strong competent hands. Safe hands. Skilful hands…
She’d got the wool and the needles. The knitting part couldn’t be too difficult, could it?
It was really dark up north. Fraser could navigate by the stars alone, it would have to be pretty dark for that, and then, it was snowing like all the time.
In Chicago, it’s never really dark. Frannie remembers Fraser saying something about light pollution and how his lips moved and how she wanted to see him say those words again. There were the street lights, and your neon signs, and, in Racine, fires probably.
It wasn’t going to be like the knitting thing. She’d got Maria’s sewing machine and asked Ma about fabric, and Fraser had left his door key with Ray while he was on vacation.
And Ray. It would take her mind off things.
She’d measured the windows. Fraser’s apartment was less messy than she expected. She’d just straightened that trunk of his, and got a less broken chair from Goodwill. Fraser would appreciate that, and it was cheap, so he wouldn’t have to be a gentleman about it.
Fraser’s apartment burned down the next week.
Sure, being rescued by Fraser from a burning building had its up points, but they couldn’t get the smoke smell out of the drapes, and now Frannie had to put that soft-furnishing expertise to good use.
Every girl knows that a good way to meet a man is to have a dog. Frannie saw it in a movie once.
And the guy she’s after already has a dog.
So, she borrowed Mrs Havisham’s dog, Fluffums (Charles Fitzroy Doll III).
She ended up walking the toy Pekinese like that for four weeks, until she realised that she isn’t going to get Fraser with a dog that moves more slowly that Ray’s stupid pet turtle.
She still takes Fluffums out every Saturday and feeds him ice cream in the park.
One day, she thought the guy with the red shirt playing Frisbee was Fraser, but he had a Golden Retriever Labrador cross called Hancock. The guy’s name was Dave. He bought Frannie ice-cream.
Frannie had swapped the knitting stuff and “Sword of Desire” with Turnbull and got a book about the Iditarod.
It was killing two birds with one stone.
It was boring.
And that mouthbreather Dewey was mewling besides her desk and demanding her staple gun. When she ignored him and tried to find dog cake really interesting, he changed that to asking that she loan him it. Asking like he was in interrogation or something and griddling her like a prop. Dumbass. Hadn’t anyone ever taught him to say “please”?
Like all of Frannie’s stationery, the stapler was pink. She’d added some extra spangles to it with glitter glue.
“What’s the magic word?” she asked, like he was one of her nephews, and asked that God grant her grace not to staple Dewey’s pants to the desk.
The Lieutenant hadn’t been happy with Frannie’s pink thing, at first. Then, she pointed out that no cop would ever steal pink pens with fluff balls on the end, or sparkly pencil sharpeners. So, in fact, she was saving the Chicago Police Department valuable money, which could go into crime prevention.
This morning she’d found a requisition form on her desk with a note saying “order whatever you like as long as it’s pink and/or with sparkles.” She still thought he’d draw the line at the pink cappuccino machine, though.
Dewey was beginning to give her a headache, so she scooted her chair back, and pulled on the drawer.
The drawer stuck. Dewey pushed her out of the way, and her chair hit Andersen’s desk with a thunk as he pulled hard on the handle before the metal gave and he fell flat on his back.
Frannie slipped her hand into the gap at the top of the drawer and wiggled it around.
There was something stuck at the back. A book. Elaine must have left it.
And One Way She Didn’t
“So,” Welsh rumbled, “You want to be a police officer.”
“Yes! Sir!” Francesca said and didn’t push out her chest.
Welsh put his head in his hands and then ran them up through his greying hair, “Any particular reason for this change of heart, Miss Vecchio?”
“I’ve learnt to stop following people and start following my dreams,” it was almost word for word what “Live Your Dreams, Not Your Fantasies” said, but that didn’t mean that Frannie didn’t mean it, that Frannie didn’t want it. She’d spent too long trying to look for the perfect man she should want and not getting on and doing what she wanted to do.
She really had to get together with Elaine and buy the girl some cannelloni.
How She Got Her Cake and Ate It
Frannie came home, sat at her dressing table, and took off her hat and pulled out her bobby pins in the mirror. Fraser was watching her there, from his lipstick heart in the mirror.
A girl can’t give up on everything, now, can she?
The case had run late, and she’d eaten with the guys after, and man, she was beat. So she just shucked her uniform and went to bed.
There were red candles lit on the table and Frannie’s hair was perfect the way it never quite was.
“I was really impressed with your work on the DeMatteis case today, Francesca,” Fraser said. He was smiling and it really set off the blue of his eyes, Frannie had never really seen him smile like that before, like he really meant it.
“Shucks, it was nothing, Fraser,” she said, blushing slightly.
“On the countrary, I found your pursuit of Giffen and Maguire most impressive. And your realisation that it was not blood under the good artist’s fingernails…” Fraser was about to go on, but Frannie stopped him. She knew all this already, she really was great today, even Sherri O’Neill thought so, and she was almost as hard to please as Ma and just as protective of her “children”.
“You know, none of this is real, Fraser,” Frannie said offhand, while tensely twirling her fork in her linguini.
“Does that mean that we can blow this,” Frannie waved her hand at the ill-defined diners around them, “and get onto something better.”
And Fraser stands, reaches out to take her hand and his voice slightly husky whispers, “As you wish.”