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Of hate and love

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Her child was dead.

Even if that information meant nothing new to Bonnie -since that was what she had been told from the beginning-, finding out what had really happened to the baby messed her up completely. Her sister had been lying to her all those years. To be honest, Bonnie didn’t even want to imagine what her son’s life would have been like if her father had kept him. He would have suffered a terrible childhood full of abuse, just like Bonnie had, and would have grown up into a traumatized man with a bitter personality and a messed up life. But the idea of her sister burying her newborn baby alive in someone’s garden sent shivers down Bonnie’s spine and made her want to be sick, cry, yell, hit something… and hurt Julie.

So Bonnie took her phone out of her pocket and started to call the police. If she hadn’t gotten to meet her son, Julie wouldn’t get to keep her daughter either. She would teach her sister what real pain felt like. 

But halfway through the phone call, a hand took Bonnie’s phone away from hers and tossed it onto the backseat.

Damn Frank.

“You’d hate yourself tomorrow”, he said softly. 

Bonnie already hated herself for so many reasons. What difference would one more sin make? She knew Frank was right, though, so she didn’t fight him. There were so many things she wanted to shout at the whole world, at her dead father, at her sister, and at Frank too, that she didn’t even know where to start, so she decided to stay silent. Bringing her knees up to her chest, Bonnie looked away from Frank and let the tears fall freely as he drove them back to Philadelphia. She registered his hand on her knee when he put it there to comfort her, but it had the opposite effect entirely, since it made her feel even more miserable.

How. Dared. He? After all she’d been through since the evening he’d fled Annalise’s house and had gone missing... Bonnie had sought him out, let her defenses down in front of him, slept with him, risked everything to convince Annalise to take him back, saved his life when he had put a gun to his head, get him out of jail and put a roof over his head when he had found himself alone and hated by everyone.

And what had he been doing in the meantime? Obsessing about Laurel and boning her in Bonnie’s guest room. 

After Annalise had fired her and the remaining K5 that night at the fancy restaurant, Bonnie had done everything in her power to get a new job and make a life on her own. She had even had to blackmail Denver himself to get it, which had put her life at risk. Of course Bonnie had done it for herself, because she was an adult and needed the money to keep living, but she had somehow done it for Frank too. She’d taken him in her home after he’d gotten out of jail and, for a fleeting moment, Bonnie had thought that perhaps things would start being different between them at last. 

The memories of those days were still fresh in her mind.

Once Annalise had managed to put an end to her trial by negotiating with Denver, Bonnie had gone to the prison to wait for Frank to be finally discharged. That day, it had been her the one driving him home. Bonnie didn’t remember what they had talked about during the ride, but Frank was so nervous that the very moment they had gotten out of the car in Bonnie’s garage, out of public sight at last, he had enveloped her in a tight hug. That, she remembered very well. 

They had waited for Annalise’s arrival together, Bonnie making a big effort to calm him down, whispering sweet words he could tell Annalise to make her stop hating him. She had seen Frank fall to his knees at Annalise’s feet and Bonnie’s heart had sunk so deep that it almost hurt physically, because it had hit too close to home. And when Annalise had finally left them alone, it had been Bonnie the one who had helped Frank back up on his feet, the one who had taken him to the couch, the one who had slept with his head on her lap in the most uncomfortable position ever. 

But nothing had changed in the end. The moment Frank had gained some of his security and self-esteem back, he’d groveled his way back to Laurel. 

He’d lied to Bonnie about visiting his Mom. For Laurel.

He’d asked Bonnie to hire Laurel because she was alone and pregnant. For Laurel. 

He’d asked Bonnie to be their mole in the DA’s office. For Laurel.

He’d left Bonnie alone with her sad thoughts every night after being fired by Annalise, he’d left her alone when she’d needed his friendly shoulder to cry on, he’d left her alone despite all the efforts she'd made to draw his attention back to her. For Laurel.

Whereas Bonnie had hired Laurel, risked her life and job, become their mole, and even taken Laurel and the baby in her home. For Frank.

How many more snubs would Bonnie have to put up with before exploding? How many more favors would she have to do to everyone for them to start taking her seriously?

She was so done with everything and everyone from her past.

That was precisely why Bonnie had let Ron Miller into her life. She wasn't sure if she was in love with him, even if she had already confessed it to him -it seemed only proper after all he'd done for her-, but Bonnie definitely liked him. It felt amazing to have someone by her side who really saw her, who made her laugh. The sensation of being someone's first choice was just awesome. That thought had made her want to get up every morning for the last three or four months. Ron hadn't run away when she had told him about her past, and that alone made Bonnie really, really want their relationship to work.

Of course, she often thought it all must be a lie, because there were no perfect guys in the real world. Not in Bonnie's world, at least. All the men she had known were so screwed up that it was almost impossible to believe that life could offer her something different. Surely Ron must be playing her or trying to take advantage of her somehow.

Other times, Bonnie thought it was her the problem. She would end up scaring Ron away at some point, because she was so messed up that she'd even killed people. She didn't deserve to have this guy paying her any sort of attention, wasting his time on her bullshit. 

Bonnie had told herself a million times not to get too involved with him, just in case. But he seemed genuinely nice and Bonnie was so needy of love and affection that she would gladly take a leap of faith for once.

And that was the reason why she hated Frank so much right now. Because after four months of giving her the cold shoulder, all he needed to do was showing up at her bedroom in the middle of the night with words of support, or stroking her knee in a vulnerable moment, for Bonnie's walls to fall down.

She hated him so much.

"Hey, we're here", Frank's voice sounded so far away that Bonnie had to make a big effort to come back to Earth. 

Slowly, she reached back to retrieve her phone from the backseat and got out of Frank's car without even looking at him. She opened her front door and both stepped into the house. Without a word, Bonnie started to climb the stairs, but halfway through them, she felt a hand on her forearm and she stopped in her tracks.

"Bon, wait. You need to eat something", Frank suggested. His tone was gentle but firm.

"I'm not hungry."

"I know, but starving yourself to death won't help you in any way", he insisted, his hand still on her arm. Frank pulled a bit, which made Bonnie go down one step. "Let me cook dinner for you."

God, she hated him so much.

Bonnie was too tired to argue right now, so she let Frank take her to the kitchen and then she sat down at the table while he rummaged in her cupboards for ingredients and tools. With a sniffle, Bonnie rested her forehead on her arms. She only wanted to go upstairs and cry herself to sleep. Why was life so unfair to her? How many more blows could she take before feeling the need to kill herself? 

Suddenly, a hand rubbed her shoulder and remained there for a bit, radiating warmth throughout her whole body. Bonnie wanted to shrug it off. Or did she? The overwhelming feelings of failure, anger and guilt went back to her full force.

“I’m fine”, she finally said a bit harshly, without even looking at him.

Frank removed his hand from her back without a word and went on cooking. Bit by bit, the kitchen air started to fill with the smell of tomato sauce and melted cheese. On the one hand, the domesticity of it made Bonnie’s heart swell with an uncontrollable affection for Frank, but on the other hand, her weakness made her blood boil in her veins. Apparently oblivious to her struggles, Frank finally put a plate of pasta in front of her and grabbed another for himself before sitting next to her at the table.

Letting out a shaky sigh, Bonnie raised her head at last and observed her plate. As always, it looked really good, but she wasn’t hungry at all. She picked at the food for a few minutes under Frank’s concerned stare. The attention he was suddenly paying her after all those months of drought made Bonnie feel uncomfortable, so she shifted a bit in her chair. She didn’t want to meet his gaze, because in spite of the time he’d been avoiding her, Bonnie and Frank knew each other better than anyone in this world, and she was afraid of what she might be able to read in his eyes. After a while, he reached out and took her right hand in his left, startling Bonnie, who automatically pulled it away.

“Bon”, he whispered.

“No, Frank. You-you just can’t do this”, Bonnie told him off, her voice breaking.

“What?”

Bonnie covered her face with her hands one more time and sniffled. Then she finally looked at Frank, her red eyes shining with tears.

“This! I took you in my home when you had nobody else! And I don’t need you to repay me for it, okay? It’s not that. But just… show a bit of respect for me. You’ve been lying to me, ignoring me for months, Frank! And now that Laurel dumped you, you start relying on me again. It’s not fair!”, Bonnie explained between sobs.

Frank’s face dropped. “It’s not that, Bon.”

“It’s exactly that!”

“No, I swear it”, with a swift movement, he got up from his chair and squatted down right next to hers, resting a hand on her knee. His gaze was so intense that Bonnie didn’t dare to hold it. “I’ve been a moron, I know.”

“I’ve got a life now! I’ve got Ron. He-he loves me and… you just can’t...”, Bonnie trailed off with a note of desperation in her words.

“And it’s okay”, Frank assured her, but Bonnie thought his voice sounded too shaky to be completely honest. “I told you the other day: you deserve to be happy. I just hate to see you suffer, Bonnie. These past months… I’ve failed you. You’ve been nothing but good to me and I haven’t been up to scratch. I want to be here for you if you need me. Let me be here for you.”

Bonnie’s tears were now running freely down her cheeks. She didn’t know she needed this so much: yelling at Frank for everything he’d made her go through and finally making up with him. Perhaps this was the way to move on at last? Embracing her weaknesses and making peace with them?

Slowly, Frank stood up and pulled Bonnie closer until she was leaning against his chest. Since she was still seated, her head only came up to his abdomen, but she threw her arms around his waist anyway and hid her face in his shirt.

Frank held her softly, one hand rubbing her back and the other one petting her short, blonde hair. He looked down at her trembling, little body and, suddenly, he felt a pang in his chest that made him dizzy.

Oh, no. 

Right then and there, at the moment he least expected it to happen, the floodgates had just broken. After years and years of holding back, of managing to bottle up his emotions and finding solace in other bodies, Frank’s heart had just betrayed him.

It wasn’t that he hadn’t felt this way for Bonnie before. He remembered a time, ten years ago -after he had screwed everything up for the umpteenth time in his miserable life-, when his whole body stopped belonging to him whenever he looked at Bonnie. Her auburn hair, her huge dark eyes, her slender figure, her honesty and sensitivity, had inadvertently found their way into his heart, slow but steady. It had took him completely unawares back then, because Bonnie wasn’t exactly the hot chick Frank usually hit on, but still she’d managed to turn his whole world upside down. Breaking up with her under Sam’s orders had been like ripping himself apart, like a fatal blow to the only part of his soul that was still good and human: the part of himself that Bonnie always brought up.

But he had soldiered on and had done what Sam had asked him to do. He’d broken Bonnie’s heart. Their relationship had kind of mended over the years, because time heals almost completely, but there were some emotions not even time could erase.

So when Bonnie had showed up at Coalport after Frank had murdered her father, all those feelings had come flooding back to Frank with the force of a waterfall. Like it had happened when they had kissed for the first time ten years ago, Frank had been feeling broken and vulnerable. Once again, Bonnie had offered him the comfort only her words, sweet eyes and warm body could provide, and Frank had taken it. His love for her had stirred in his heart, and so many forgotten sensation had hit him right in the chest when their lips had met again after all those years, because it was only with Bonnie in his arms that the world made a bit of sense to Frank.

The problem was that, whenever he managed to gain some of his confidence back, Sam’s words kept coming back at him, so Frank had always reluctantly put his emotions back under control after letting Bonnie in and had concealed them under a million layers of indifference.

And that was exactly why these feelings he was experiencing for Bonnie right now, with her tiny body trembling in his arms, scared Frank so much. Because the other times his emotions had besieged his defenses and threatened to bring them down, it had been Frank the one who had been a mess. He had been broken and weak, so it was normal that he had surrendered to his need for Bonnie in those situations. But this… this was completely different and new. Now it was Bonnie the one crying against his chest, whereas he was kind of stable and fine at the moment. His walls should have been up and strong. And yet, his love for her was slowly but steadily flooding every fiber of his being. It was unstoppable.

He would give himself time to try and bottle it up again, but the warm sensation was cursing through him with such power that Frank suddenly came to the painful realization that he would never be able to stop it anymore while he lived. His irrepressible love for Bonnie would always come back to him. 

For a fleeting moment, Frank thought it might be time for them to try again, to shout a big “fuck you” in Sam’s dead face… But then he remembered Bonnie’s words from a moment ago, and Ron Miller, the guy Bonnie was happily dating, and Frank’s house of cards fell swiftly. All of a sudden, Frank understood why he hadn’t liked Miller when the guy had showed up at their door looking for Bonnie. He had been jealous. Of course, he had wanted to protect Bonnie, because if she hadn’t phoned the guy to tell him about her past, it was up to Frank to keep him away from her. But he hadn’t realized back then that the pang in his chest had been an obvious and unabashed fit of jealousy.

Still holding her against his body, Frank told himself he couldn’t do this to Bonnie, not now that she was kind of finding her way in life by herself, away from him, Annalise, Sam, her father and even the K5. How ironic was that, though? Frank kind of knew that Bonnie had been pinning for him all those years and now that he finally realized that his heart would always belong to none other than Bonnie, and Bonnie alone -no matter how many times he insisted on proposing to Laurel or how many other women found their way into his bed-, she was completely out of his reach. And he loved her too much to shatter the only happy moment she’d had in her miserable life.

But he could still be there for her, really be there from now on, because she deserved it.

A soft sniffle brought Frank back to the present, and he caught Bonnie looking at him from below, with her big eyes still bright with tears, but a bit less flooded.

God, he loved her so much.

“Feel better?”, Frank asked her, running his knuckles down her cheek.

Bonnie only nodded, but she didn’t let go of his waist for a few more minutes.

“The pasta was good.”

“There’s more in the pan if you want”, Frank offered, though he knew it only was Bonnie’s way to say thank you , since she hadn’t even finished the portion  on her plate.

“I’m fine”, she assured him and then she finally dropped her arms to her sides. Frank stepped back to give her some space to wipe away the rest of her tears, and he felt devoid of warmth all of a sudden.

Bonnie stood up slowly and grabbed her plate to take it to the sink, but Frank put his hand gently on her arm to stop her.

“Leave it. Take a shower, go to bed. I’ve got this.”

Letting her eyes wander all over Frank’s face, Bonnie studied his features for a few seconds and then she put the plate back on the table with a single nod.

“Thanks”, she said without looking at him.

“Call me if you need anything, okay? Try to rest.”

Bonnie nodded again and Frank glimpsed the ghost of a grateful smile on her lips that managed to cheer him up a bit. Then she turned around and disappeared upstairs, leaving Frank down there, resigned to his fate.

Letting out a long sigh, Frank started cleaning up the kitchen and then he poured himself a drop of scotch. He downed it in one go, letting the alcohol burn its way down his throat. He knew there wasn’t enough alcohol in the whole world to make him forget what he felt for Bonnie, but at least he got back some of the heat Bonnie had stolen from him when she had ended their embrace. 

When he finally went upstairs, Bonnie had already retired to her bedroom. Trying not to make any noise, Frank opened her door and listened closely until he heard her soft breathing. He would have given anything to get in bed with Bonnie and cuddle her till morning, but he just stood there in the semi-darkness for a moment and then left, leaving her door slightly ajar, just in case she needed anything.

That night, Frank lay down alone in bed and instantly knew that a tough time was coming his way. For a man whom girls tended to cheat with instead of on, his love life was a complete mess right now. Of course, he’d had it coming. But he would resist the temptation of ruining Bonnie’s sweet moment, even if it meant going through a living hell of pain, resignation and jealousy. He would be as strong as Bonnie had been for years. And this time, he would do it for her. 

For Bonnie.