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Title: Confide
Author: royal_chandler
Rating: PG
Summary: Colby always has Frankie. My attempt at giving NuColby some depth, something she certainly doesn't have right now.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

            “Haven’t seen you here in a while.” Frankie Hubbard comments catching up to Colby Chandler as she makes her way down a hospital corridor.
A knowing grin lights her face as her steps slow. She turns fully and looks up at him. “Probably because that beautiful patient of yours has you so distracted.”
Frankie laughs, finding her knowledge of his personal life amusing, “And how would you know about that?”
Colby shrugs, “Your sister, maybe.” She starts moving once again, “Where you heading?”
“Time for my thirty minute nap. You? Since you’re not volunteering anymore.”
Colby isn’t sure why she’s telling him this but does anyway, “I don’t know what I’m doing here. I just needed to go somewhere, get away. And I was getting tired of the booze.”
Frankie’s taken aback by the statement and finds opportunity. They are close to the break room and once they arrive, Frankie pulls Colby in with him. “You’re drinking?”
Colby pulls herself out of his grasp but doesn’t head towards the door, “A little here and there. Nothing major.”
“You shouldn’t be drinking at all.” Frankie chastises.
Colby rolls her eyes, “Oh stop the act, Frankie. Am I supposed to believe that you never tried before the legal age?”
That quiets him for a moment and Colby is glad to have silenced his sanctimony. What right did he have to look down at her?
“Is Cass drinking?” Frankie asks.
At the care in his voice, Colby is reminded of the guy she had so desperately wanted to want her. The Frankie who was thoughtful and had bought her shoes. “No.”
“Why are you?”
He’s not condescending.
Colby shrugs again, falling into a chair. “I screwed up,” she whispers.
Frankie considers her, noticing how bold her blue eyes had gotten. He sits in the chair next to hers. “How bad is it?”
Colby’s eyes shine as she gazes at him, shame pitting in her stomach. “I told you about my running away?” She watches for his nod, continues, “My 16th birthday party? My crashing a yacht? Well it’s like all of that combined and escalated.”
“I thought…”
“What? What did you think?”
Frankie’s bluntly honest, “I don’t know you.”
“That’s a great coincidence,” Colby sniffs, eyes downcast. “I feel the exact same way.”
“I don’t know this insecure girl that you’re being. The young woman who kept her cool when being kidnapped isn’t at the surface anymore. She’s hiding.” Frankie explains with an encouraging smile. His hands cover her and Colby hasn’t felt this comforted in weeks.
“Frankie, I messed up so royally—like a Chandler.” She announces dryly. Tears roll down her face, emotion she’s been burying begins to suffice.
Frankie wants to pull her into his arms, take her home and baby her but he knows that won’t help her. With Colby, he knows better. “Than fix it, be strong.”
His words burn a fire within her, or maybe waterfalls because she starts to cry. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…” she chants.
Frankie channels his mother, voice strong and motivational. “Yes, you can. Colby, you’re so much better than this. You’re better than a bottle or a shot. When did you stop believing that?”
Colby looks at him bewildered, “Do you have any idea what I’ve done? I—”
Frankie hurries to interrupt, “I—I don’t want to know. I don’t want to get you in trouble. What you did, don’t tell me. It’s better for you if I don’t know.”
“I’m so scared,” she replies, sounding so broken and beaten. “Everyone is trying to hide things. I’m trying to cover up and it’s just…heavy.”
“You know what helps lighten loads? Sleep.” Frankie tells her. He pulls her to her feet gently.
She sniffs again and when he lets go of her hands, she brushes at her face. “What?”
Frankie points to the set of beds in the room, “I’ll take the top bunk and you can take the bottom.”
“No,” Colby steps away, “No. I have to get home.”
Frankie hears a change and he can practically see the cold anvils within her cracking.
“I want to go home.” She walks back over to his stilled form and clings onto him tightly. She doesn’t see the smile that Frankie bares.
Her hug is just like the old Colby’s. “What’s this for?”
“I need this,” she breathes out against his newly dampened scrub top. “I couldn’t find support like this anywhere else. I didn’t even know I was looking. You’re so amazing and helpful.” She pulls back and stares up at him. Her face is still a little red, eyes glossed and lips wet with tears. “Randi really doesn’t know how lucky she is, does she?”
“You’ve got me too.” Frankie decides and lets her go.
When she wedges the door open, she takes one last look at him, “Thanks.”
He nods at her, his brown eyes warm with care and renewed respect, “Just remember who your real friends are.”
Another first happens as Colby smiles genuinely, “Who needs Jack Daniels when you’ve got Frankie Hubbard, right?”
The End.