Accidentally Yours (PG-13)
Frank's job wasn't exactly rocket science work standing on the side of the road wearing a yellow vest and holding various signs like 'Slow Down' 'Caution' and 'Stop' as part of the Hillsboro Town Road Detail crew but it was a paycheck until Frank started his first semester at Blue County Community College n September.
It was a quiet sunny summer morning and Frank was understandably bored as he stood on the side of Old County Road while the road crew worked on re-cementing the curb of the bridge over Frontier Brook. The road wasn't travelled that much anymore as Route 32 bypassed this route but many locals still used the back road as a cut through.
Frank heard the sound of a car approaching. There was a bend in the road about 100 yards in front of him and he saw a red sports car flying around the corner at a high rate of speed. Frank began to frantically wave his STOP sign but the car didn't slow for another fifty yards.
"Hey!" Frank screamed at the top of his lungs. "Watch out!"
The sun was reflecting off the car's windshield so Frank couldn't see who was driving. Suddenly the car began to screech and skid as the driver hit the brakes. Frank stood frozen as the car went into a fishtail and began to skid sideways directly in his path. By the time he realized what was happening, it was too late and the driver's side front fender of the car bashed into Frank's legs just as he jumped to avoid getting mowed under. He heard a loud thud and the sound of smashing glass before everything went black.
### ### ###
Miranda was running late. She had overslept and she needed to hurry knowing her friends would leave without her for their big shopping trip to Boston if she took too long. Miranda took a quick shower, worked on her hair and make up, and spent time trying to figure out what to wear before finally settling on a flowery halter top and short white shorts.
Miranda was on the phone with her friend Amber assuring her that she was on the way as she sped her car out of the driveway of her handsome brick house in the hilltop section of Hillsboro.
"Don't leave without me!" Miranda pleaded into the cell as she sped down the street.
"Well, hurry up then," Amber barked.
Miranda was panicked as she blew through the neighborhoods of Hillsboro. She had been looking forward to this trip for months and she'd be ripped if the girls left in Kate's huge SUV without her.
Miranda heard her phone beep as she turned onto Old Country Road, figuring she'd beat the morning traffic by taking the back road. She glanced down and saw that Kate had texted a message: "Five minutes!"
"Damn it," Miranda grumbled as she picked up the phone, flipped it open and used her thumb to type "WAIT!"
Miranda looked up from the phone screen just as the curve in the road was upon her. She dropped the phone in order to get both hands on the steering wheel and as soon as she was sure she wasn't going to go off the road after negotiating the curve, she glanced down to see where the stupid phone went. When she returned her eyes to the road, Miranda thought she saw something in the road ahead of her but it was hard to tell because the morning sun was shining in her eyes.
By the time Miranda's brain transmitted the warning message to her body, it was too late. She slammed on the brakes with both feet on the pedal and when she felt the car start to go into a slide she screamed and gave the wheel a quick jerk but everything was going in slow motion as she saw the figure in the road waving at her. She closed her eyes when she saw that she was going to hit him and she heard a large thud and the cracking of her windshield before the car finally came to a stop in a cloud of dust, smoke, and burning rubber.
Some of the construction guys were running toward her from the bridge as a shocked Miranda climbed out of the car.
"What in the hell was he doing standing in the middle of the road?" Miranda demanded, her heart pounding and her palms sweating as she looked down the embankment to see the body of the guy she had hit lying in the ravine. She quickly looked away not wanting to see the carnage.
"It's a construction site!" One of the guy's yelled while two others were on their cell phones calling 911 and a couple of others scampered down the embankment to their fallen colleague.
"He shouldn't have been in the middle of the road," Miranda protested.
"He was standing on the shoulder," one of the guys growled, pointing to her skid marks. "Look where your car ended up."
Sure enough the car had stopped just inches from going over the side of the road itself.
"You were speeding and driving out of control!" Another guy screamed with anger. "Stupid kid!"
Miranda wanted to cry but instead she turned defiant. "I'm calling my father," was all she said.
### ### ###
Frank regained consciousness in the ICU eighteen hours after being hit by the car. His parents were sitting on either side of the bed looking worn out and exhausted but they were elated to see him open his eyes.
"Everything's blurry!" Frank panicked.
"You're not wearing your glasses, dear," his mother explained.
"I thought I was going to die," Frank said once his parents finished kissing him, hugging him, and making sure he was okay after summoning the doctor. "I saw that car coming and I figured that was it."
Frank's parents told him he had undergone emergency surgery for internal bleeding and a ruptured spleen. He had a broken collarbone and wrist, a sprained neck, two broken legs, a shattered ankle, several broken ribs, a severe concussion, ear damage, numerous cuts, lacerations, and bruises, and some damaged muscles.
"But you escaped with your life," Frank's Dad said. "We're grateful for that."
"It certainly puts things into a whole different perspective," Frank sighed. "Life changes just like that." He tried to snap his fingers but his hand was hitched up to all sorts of machines, tubes, and equipment.
"One minute everything's fine and the next minute they're asking if we want a priest," his mother sobbed. "This was so completely out of the blue."
"Don't worry, Mom, I'll be okay," Frank said bravely.
They never did find his glasses that went flying from his face from the impact of the crash, although one of his sneakers was found fifty feet down the road. Frank was moved to a regular room after a few days as he continued to recover from the initial surgery and adjust to his injuries. His mother brought him an old pair of horned-rimmed glasses that made him even uglier than usual.
Frank's good friend Herb Madison stopped by to visit.
"Hey, did anybody tell you who almost killed you?" Herb wondered as he sat in a nearby chair watching the television that hung on the far wall.
"No, why?" Frank asked.
Herb smirked. "Miranda Farrell!" He was delighted to share the news.
"Gee, I wonder if she broke a nail," Frank said sarcastically.
"I guess she was texting or driving with her head up her ass or something, but apparently she's really in trouble," Herb reported. "It was front page news, by the way."
"I doubt her family wanted that sort of publicity," Frank remarked.
"No, it doesn't look good for her perfect image, does it?" Herb agreed.
Frank thought about Miranda. He really didn't know her well at all – she wasn't exactly the kind of girl who was going to pay attention to a geeky guy like him in high school. Her mom ran Rosie's Fabrics and her dad was an orthodontist so they obviously made good money. Frank had a paper route on the hilltop neighborhood for a while and he remembered the huge brick Victorian house the Farrells lived in. It had at least five bedrooms with a tennis court and a pool in the backyard giving Miranda the reputation of the snobby rich girl. Both parents were also active in local politics and community events so the Farrell name was well known in Blue County.
Frank really didn't know if Miranda's reputation was fair or not because he hadn't had enough interactions with Miranda to know the difference. All he had to judge her on was what she wore (really nice and expensive clothes), how she seemed to act (kind of snotty), and what other kids said about her. Of course most of what Frank heard was from kids like him and not from the kind of kids Miranda hung out with so he knew he had to take some of the criticism with a grain of salt. Still, the Farrell family went on European Vacations and that was an awfully nice car Miranda ran him over in so what was he supposed to think?
Frank understood that some kids were probably just jealous of Miranda and her status and that they spoke meanly of her even if she wasn't necessarily a mean girl. Maybe she just acted snotty without even realizing it. Frank didn't waste a whole lot of time worrying about what other people thought about Miranda Farrell because it really had nothing to do with him anyway. He didn't know what kind of personality or character Miranda had so he wasn't about to say anything mean about her.
The one thing Frank did know was that Miranda Farrell was very pretty! That was another reason why he could never talk to her, of course. Pretty girls didn't talk to a goofy geek like him with his stupid glasses and fuzzy hair. He used to have pretty bad acne too but at least that cleared up some in the last few years. Miranda was also dating the handsomely perfect Bradley Rosenberg, the tennis team captain, class president, and a fixture at the Blue County Country Club which pretty much took her off the available list anyway.
"Earth to Frank!" It was Herb calling his name.
"Huh?" Frank asked.
"Don't be fantasizing over snobby Miranda Farrell," Herb warned. "She could have killed you and we don't see her here apologizing or anything, do we?"
"Maybe she's too upset," Frank theorized.
"More likely she just doesn't give a shit," Herb rebutted. "Girls like her don't have time for losers like us."
Frank sighed, knowing that was true and suddenly he felt pretty depressed about the entire situation. He was stuck in a hospital bed and who knows what Miranda was doing.
### ### ###
Frank was finally discharged home but the prospects for the summer did not look good. He was confined to bed with his extensive injuries. He was still in a lot of pain – the doctor said his body suffered "quite a shock" – and he was miserable with the situation. His neck was still in a brace, his legs were both in casts, his ankle was a mess, his side was still killing him, and he had daily headaches and he got dizzy easily, but he was alive so he wasn't about to complain too much.
Frank's parents moved his bedroom down to the first floor while he was still in the hospital, putting him out on the screened porch so he would have some fresh air and almost be outside during his recovery. He had satellite television, his computer, his video games, and plenty of DVDs but it still wasn't much fun being bedridden.
Frank's sister Deb came over most days when his parents were at work but she was married with two young children and it wasn't fair to make her hang out too long.
And then one morning Frank's mother came into the screened porch before leaving for work with a major announcement that pretty much freaked Frank out.
"We've arranged to have a sort of companion home health aide person stay with you every day," His mom nervously told him.
"Oh?" Frank asked with surprise. "Who?"
"The girl who hit you," his mother revealed.
"What!?" Frank choked out. "Are you kidding?"
"Your father and her father talked about this," Frank's mother explained. "It's part of her punishment for what she did." His mother took in a deep breath. "I'm totally against this, Frankie, and I will support you one hundred percent if you don't want that troublemaker in this house. She should be in jail if you ask me. You're the victim here and you shouldn't have to face the person responsible for doing this to you."
Frank was about to tell his mother that he wanted nothing to do with Miranda Farrell – not because she almost killed him, but because he wouldn't know what to say to the beautiful girl if she was sitting around the porch all day. But then a voice sounded off in his head: Are you crazy!?
Pretty Miranda Farrell in his house all day!? With nobody else around!? He could have her all to himself!? He'd be a fool to say no, wouldn't he? Sure, he had no clue what to say to her but how could he possibly pass up such a gift horse opportunity?
"That's okay, Mom," Frank said quietly. "She deserves to be punished."
What worse punishment could there be for a girl like her than to be stuck with him all summer!? He almost laughed out loud at the thought. Maybe this whole thing was a stupid idea but he was going to try to have fun exploiting it while he could!
### ### ###
Frank was dozing when he heard the doorbell. He opened his eyes and saw that it was a little past nine in the morning. Miranda Farrell was supposed to be there before his parents left for work that morning but she was obviously late (if that was her).
"The door's open!" Frank yelled out. "Let yourself in."
He heard the sound of the door and then a female voice. "Hello?"
"I'm out on the side porch!" Frank called. "Turn right and you'll see the doorway."
A moment later Miranda Farrell was standing in the doorway, frowning at him. "God, this is so unbelievable," Miranda groaned, tossing her bag on a nearby chair. "I can't believe my father is making me do this!"
Well, hello to you too, Frank thought to himself.
Miranda plopped down in another chair and Frank couldn't help but notice her shapely tanned legs that seemed to go on forever with the short shorts she was wearing. Her brown hair hung to her shoulders, parted in the middle on the top of her head. Her skin was tanned, her eyes were blue, and she had a noticeably shapely body.
"Can you believe I had to actually ride my bicycle here!?" Miranda complained. "God, I hope nobody saw me. They took my stupid license away," she sighed. "I can't drive."
She finally stopped her rant and peered at him.
"Do you talk?" She wanted to know.
"Yeah, I talk," Frank said.
"So, do you agree that this sucks bad for me?" She asked.
"Yeah," Frank replied, putting his hand to the neck brace to adjust it so it wouldn't itch too much. "Sounds like you've got it tough."
"So, I'm supposed to come here every single day?" She asked with confusion.
"I guess," Frank said. "At least during the week anyway."
"For how long?"
"I guess until I get better," Frank said.
"How long is that going to be?" She wanted to know.
"I guess six more weeks or so," Frank guessed.
"Six weeks!" Miranda groaned. "How am I supposed to do this for six weeks!?"
"I'm sure it won't be easy," Frank replied sarcastically, thinking about his six weeks of pain, ache, and being stuck in bed.
"They grounded me, you know," Miranda muttered. "This is my torture because you were dumb enough to stand in the road."
"I was directing traffic," Frank clarified. "I was doing my job."
"I missed out on Boston because of you," Miranda protested.
"I lost my job," Frank offered.
"Big deal," Miranda replied. "It looked like a pretty stupid job anyway."
Frank couldn't argue with that one.
"I can't have any friends over, I can't go anywhere besides here, I'm probably going to get Probation from court, my father is holding this all over my head, and I might not get my license back for a whole year!"
"How unfair," Frank said with more sarcasm, scratching an unbent wire coat hanger down the inside of one of his casts to try to get to the itching.
Miranda glanced around the porch. She saw some of the puzzle books Frank's mother had left for him and she rolled her eyes.
"What are you, ten?"
"Just something to do seeing how I'm pretty immobile being bedridden and everything," Frank commented.
"Why all the books?" Miranda wondered.
"Well, reading a good book can pass the time too," Frank explained. "When you can't do anything else," he added.
"What's the computer for?" Miranda asked.
Frank shrugged. "Games, mostly," he said.
She nodded but didn't see to care, really. "So what am I supposed to do all day?" she asked. "My parents took away my phone even thought I technically wasn't even texting that day anyway."
"Sorry," Frank said.
"So, do you want to get up and go out into the living room or something?" She asked.
Could she really be that oblivious? Did she even realize that he was injured and bedridden?
"I can't get up," Frank replied, starting to get annoyed with her complete lack of sensitivity.
"I have two broken legs," He said, pointing to the casts. "Plus my ankle is splintered."
"So, you're saying you can't walk?"
"I have ear damage and my equilibrium is all messed up," Frank explained. "I get dizzy."
"Bummer," Miranda said, inspecting her fingernails.
"It's kind of overwhelming," Frank said. "There was a lot of pain," he revealed. "I had to lie flat a lot. I couldn't move. I'd get nauseous if I even lifted my head up."
"Now the worse thing is having to use the bedpan," He said.
"Ewww!" Miranda said.
"Anyway, I guess I've gotten used to the routine," Frank told her. "A lot of lying around and waiting, mostly."
"Waiting for what?"
"Somebody to come home," he said. "Or the next meal. Or something on television. I don't have a lot of options being bedridden like this. Sometimes I just lay here staring up at the ceiling, counting the hours go by."
"I'm counting the days until I start Green College and then I can forget about all this," Miranda said.
"I might have to miss the first semester at Blue County Community if I don't recover in time," Frank sighed.
"I'm literally ticking off the days like a prisoner in jail!" Miranda said.
"I know the feeling," Frank deadpanned.
"Can I use your computer?" Miranda asked.
"Sure," Frank agreed, handing her the machine from his bed.
That's how they spent the rest of the morning. Frank daydreamed and absentmindedly watched the idiotic television while Miranda pounded away on the laptop keys, not paying attention to him.
The only question she asked was: "How many Facebook friends do you have?"
"I don't do Facebook," Frank replied to which she looked at him as if he was a Martian.
It was nearly noon and Frank heard the gurgle of Miranda's stomach.
"So, what's for lunch?" She asked.
"My mother pre-made a bunch of casseroles and other stuff for me during my situation," Frank explained. "My sister just nucs it in the microwave and it's good to go."
"What, I'm supposed to do that?" Miranda asked with surprise.
"I think so," Frank replied.
"I can't believe I've been reduced to a maid for god sakes," she complained. "I'm not good at this stuff."
"I could crawl out there and do it if you want me to," Frank said, deciding the best way to deal with her was to start calling her on this stupid stuff.
"Let me give it a try," she sighed as she put the computer on the chair and left the room.
It was nearly a half hour before Miranda returned, looking frazzled and confused. She had a tray with a bowl of his mother's macaroni and cheese and a glass of milk for him.
"Where's yours?" Frank asked.
"I ate out there," she mumbled.
"Any problems?" Frank wondered.
"A few," she sighed. "But I'll figure it out. I don't want my father thinking I'm incompetent. Not that he doesn't anyway."
"I'll make sure everybody knows that you're Miss Florence Nightingale, okay?"
"Good," she replied.
He glanced at her and smiled but she didn't seem to notice because she already had the computer back in her lap and she was staring at the screen.
"I saw lots of ice cream in the freezer," she remarked without looking at him.
"My mother has the place loaded up with all sorts of snacks for me," Frank explained. "She's trying to sooth my soul, I guess. Popsicles. Ice cream. Little Debbie stuff. Jello. Pudding. Cookies. You name it, I'm sure it's out there. She always spoiled me when I got sick as a kid."
"Oh," Miranda replied.
"But I still feel like a lazy A-hole for lying in bed doing nothing all day," he admitted. "I've tried to find ways to kill time but you can only read for so many hours at a time, I don't paint, I can't play board games by myself, the computer gets old, and television gets boring."
"Do what I do – before they took my phone away anyway," Miranda suggested. "Talk and text your friends."
"I only have one friend, really, and he never answers his texts anyways. Besides, there's only so much you can say to the guy."
Miranda peered over the top of the computer screen. "What about a girlfriend?"
"No," Frank replied, feeling embarrassed all of a sudden. He waited a few minutes before he dared to ask: "What about your boyfriend?" He asked. "Does he mind you being here?"
"Bradley went to Europe with some of his friends," she sighed with resentment. "Even after I got grounded, he still left," she said with disapproval. "I just left him about ten messages on his Facebook page and he hasn't answered."
"Sorry," Frank offered.
"This is the worst summer of my life," Miranda said.
"Well, I won't be on permanent bed rest forever," Frank told her. "You'll be out of here before you know it."
"I certainly hope so," she replied. "But I'm still grounded with no phone or car," she pouted. "It feels like forever."
"I've been taking it one day at a time," Frank said. "I think staying in the moment makes it a little easier instead of worrying about what's coming down the road."
He feared she might be offended by his unintended 'down the road' comment but she seemed totally unaware of the significance of the remark.
"But you're not grounded," she frowned.
"No," he laughed, still amazed at her lack of awareness. "I'm not grounded."
Miranda spent the next few hours clicking away on the keyboard leaving Frank with little to do but stare at the television, although he found himself looking at her a lot. He liked having her there even if she was distant, removed, and unengaged with him lying six feet away from her.
Miranda jumped up from her chair when she heard the front door open.
"My mother's home," Frank explained.
"Good, I can leave!" Miranda said with relief.
"I know how hard it was for you," Frank said sarcastically as he delicately moved on the bed to avoid his bed sores.
"Everything okay here?" Frank's mother asked with concern as she stood in the doorway, throwing Miranda an icy stare.
"Mom, this is Miranda Farrell," Frank said.
"Yes, I know," Mrs. Marshall replied. "You were late this morning."
"I had to ride my bike," Miranda explained unhappily.
"Try not to run anybody over on it," Mrs. Marshall advised as she left the room and Frank had to stop himself from not laughing.
"I'm out of here," Miranda said as she gathered her belongings.
"Miss Farrell, can you come out here for a moment, please?" It was Mrs. Marshall calling from the kitchen where she had found the mess Miranda had left from her lunch preparations.
It was nearly forty-five minutes before Frank heard the front door close with Miranda leaving.
"What was going on out there?" Frank asked his mother when she returned to the porch.
"I was just explaining a few things to your little home care aide," Mrs. Marshall grumbled. "Like, what a wastebasket is used for and how to wash a dish and how to re-cover something before you put it back in the refrigerator."
"I think she's kind of spoiled and clueless, Ma," Frank observed.
"You think?" Mrs. Marshall said mockingly. "She's as dumb as a rock."
"Actually, she's on the honor roll," Frank pointed out.
"I'm not talking about intelligence, Frankie," Mrs. Marshall groaned. "I'm talking about common sense. Having a basic idea of what a dishcloth is used for. Understanding responsibility. Actually caring about someone else besides herself."
"It was only her first day," Frank said. "She'll get better."
Mrs. Marshall looked amused. "You think so?" She asked with legitimate interest.
"Maybe getting a dose of how the real people live will help her," Frank grinned.
Mrs. Marshall laughed. "Now, wouldn't that be interesting!?"
### ### ###
Mrs. Marshall was annoyed because Miranda never arrived on time for her daily duties. Frank's secret theory was that she intentionally came late to avoid his mother! For the first few days, Miranda got on the computer and occupied herself with that activity, taking time only for potty breaks and to prepare Frank's lunch, being sure to clean up the kitchen when she was done to escape Mrs. Marshall's scrutiny.
But as the days went on, Miranda seemed to become more interested in Frank's presence and she spent less time on the computer. She brought her lunch onto the porch and ate with Frank and he took that as a personal victory, especially when Miranda began to actually ask him questions about stuff and showed a general interest in what he had to say in reply.
"You wanna see my photos?" Frank asked one day.
"Photos?" Miranda asked.
"I have a digital camera and I've been taking take a series of shots from the window," Frank explained.
"Of what?" Miranda wondered.
"Oh, the sun setting since I'm on the west side of the house," he said. "Although I got some great sunrises from my hospital window. They're all on the computer," he said. "Click on 'From the Window' and you'll see them."
Miranda did as he suggested and he could tell she was impressed by the photos. "These are pretty good," she said.
"My particular fav is the changes in the weather series," Frank said. "I captured a great sequence of a thunderstorm approaching."
"Yes, I see," Miranda said, reviewing his many photos. "You're pretty good."
"Can I take some of you?" Frank asked, reaching over and picking up his camera from the bedside table.
"Why would you want to do that?" Miranda frowned.
"You're very pretty," Frank said honestly, surprised that he was that boldly forward as he snapped a couple of quick shots.
"Bradley would tell me to take my clothes off if he had a camera in his hand," she sighed unhappily as she sat in her chair watching Frank take shots of her.
"I think you're plenty pretty enough with your clothes on," Frank replied but then he blushed when he realized how goofy and stupid that sounded.
Miranda let him take a few more shots without her moving much and then he put the camera down. "Those will be the crème of my collection," he said.
She smiled, pleased with the compliment. Frank tried to adjust himself on the bed.
"The first few weeks the nurses had to help me turn over so I wouldn't get bed sores from not moving," he explained. "I can mostly do it myself now but its hard moving around too much with these stupid casts."
"I'm sorry," Miranda mumbled.
"Huh?" Frank asked with surprise. He looked at her and saw that she looked stricken, her face white, her eyes sad.
"It's my fault," she said quietly. "I did this to you."
He was amazed that she finally owned up to her role after so much time had passed.
"It's okay," Frank said.
"Your mother hates me, my father is pissed off at me, my mother is embarrassed and my boyfriend could care less about me," she sighed. "I don't think its okay."
"I'm okay," Frank clarified. "And I'm okay with you. Thanks for acknowledging your part in all this but I don't blame you for what happened. It was an accident."
"I was careless, stupid, thoughtless, and reckless," Miranda blurted out. "I can't believe how irresponsible I was. I guess I've been in total denial about everything because I just didn't want to admit it."
"Don't be so hard on yourself," Frank advised.
"Why not?" She snarled. "My father certainly is."
"That doesn't mean you have to be," Frank said.
She looked at him with intrigue. "You're way too nice," she determined. "Much too forgiving. I thought you were going to treat me like total shit when my father made me come here. I would have if it had been the other way around."
"It's been pretty tough being bed bound," Frank admitted. "It's frustrating but I've taken the opportunity to learn about myself during all this."
"What have you learned?" Miranda asked with interest.
"What's important in life," Frank revealed. "I've realized how much I've wasted my life and I want more out of it once I get better. I'm tired of being afraid of my own shadow and all the rest of it."
"I don't think I could have gotten through something like this," Miranda confessed.
by Anonymous on June 14th, 2007
Sorry to hear that. What a bummer for you.
by Katie on June 15th, 2007
There really wasn't much else I could do," Frank remarked. "I was starting to get depressed but then when I found out you were coming I kind of cheered up a little," he smiled.
"You wanted the person who almost killed you hanging around reminding you why you were hurt in the first place?" She asked with confusion.
"You're Miranda Farrell," he said. "Who wouldn't want you around!?"
"Your mother, for one," She groaned.
"She just wanted you to accept responsibility for what happened," Frank said. "I know it hasn't been easy."
"I've been humbled by all this," Miranda admitted. "Oh, I was complaining and acting all narcissistic from the moment it happened but that was mostly to block out the fear, terror, horror, guilt and embarrassment I felt. I had never been so humiliated in all my life."
"Well, I appreciate you being here."
"I thought it was going to be punishment but it's sort of kind of actually been kind of nice," Miranda admitted, giving him a look he had never seen from any girl before.
"I wish you ran me over a long time ago," Frank joked.
She peered at him with interest. "We really didn't know each other very well, did we?" She realized. "I remember you were our paperboy once."
"You remember that!?" Frank asked with surprise, having assumed she had never noticed.
"Sure, why wouldn't I?"
Frank shrugged. "I just didn't think you'd pay attention to something like that."
"Oh, so you think I'm stuck up and arrogant just like everybody else," She said with angry resentment.
"Actually, I meant I didn't think you'd notice a boring nobody like me," Frank clarified.
"I remember your Science Project in tenth grade," Miranda let him know. "What was that robot's name again?"
"Robbie," Frank answered, his jaw dropped open. "I can't believe you remember that!"
"I thought it was a great project."
"You never told me," he said.
"I'm kind of shy when it comes to that sort of stuff," Miranda revealed.
"Yeah, right," Frank said dismissively.
She shot out of her chair. "You don't know how I feel!" She yelled. "You think because I'm pretty and rich I have it made but you don't know nothing!"
She bolted from the room despite Frank's pleas for her not to go.
"I'm sorry!" He hollered but that didn't stop her from leaving.
It was a half hour before Miranda returned to the porch. Frank was lying in the bed feeling like a total asshole.
"I guess this is why I've never had a girlfriend," Frank sighed when he saw her standing in the doorway. "I don't know anything about girls."
"I overreacted," Miranda said apologetically as she plopped back into her regular chair. "I'm sort of sensitive about some stuff."
"For the record, I don't think you're stuck up or arrogant," Frank told her.
"Not a day goes by that I don't hear the whispers around me," Miranda sighed. "I know people talk about my looks and my family's status behind my back and they think I'm some sort of snob because of it but it's not really true."
"I just thought you were too good for me," Frank admitted honestly.
"Oh, please," Miranda groaned. "You think I'm shallow enough that I wouldn't want to be your friend?"
"You're smart and beautiful," Frank pointed out. "I'm a geeky loser."
"You're wrong on all points," Miranda informed him. "How I feel on the inside is not what most people think."
"If I were as good looking as you are I'd figure out a way to be more confident about myself," Frank said.
"When I look at myself in the mirror I don't see pretty," Miranda revealed. I see the inside of me as kind of ugly. I may look good on the outside but on the inside I'm pitiful. There are days I feel invisible. The clothes I wear and the car I drove don't mean anything if I'm not happy."
"You're not happy?" Frank asked with surprise.
"Every morning I struggle with my appearance," Miranda told him. "Sometimes I wish I had the guts to come to school dressed the way I really feel. That would surely shock everyone but at least I wouldn't be a fake anymore. If only I could show the real me but no one would like that part of me either I suppose so I never risked that idea."
"How come you're not happy?" Frank gently asked.
"People think I'm rich and yeah my family is well off," Miranda said. "I might have everything I need and even want but that's not my idea of richness."
"I guess not," Frank agreed.
"I discovered recently that I don't have one true friend," Miranda told him. "Do you know that Amber and Kate and Joanie went to Boston without me that day? They didn't care that I was in an accident and almost killed somebody. That I was upset and in trouble and needed some support and understanding. I never felt so alone as I did that day, I can tell you that much. Bradley didn't even show up."
"I'm sorry," Frank offered.
"And my father was all pissed off as usual, telling me how irresponsible, undependable, immature and self-centered I was, right there in the middle of the cop station in front of everybody," Miranda sighed, her eyes watering up. "My mother was too ashamed to even come."
Frank stared at her with sympathy and pity.
"I don't feel close to anyone," Miranda said sadly. "You think I've got it made and that somehow I'm better than you, but you're wrong!"
"I used to sit in the cafeteria and watch you eating lunch with Rosenberg," Frank revealed. "I'd fantasize that one day you'd come over to me and talk to me."
"You could have come over and talked to me," Miranda pointed out.
"No I couldn't," Frank sighed.
"People think that girls with looks have it easier but I'm miserable," Miranda said. "Guys never take me seriously, girls treat me with suspicion, and just about everyone assumes I'm a stuck up bitch even if they've never even spoken to me."
"I never thought you were an asshole," Frank let her know. "And I don't know why you let other people define you. Start defining yourself."
She looked at him, partly insulted and partly amused. "Wow, I guess you told me!"
"Everybody just wants to be liked," Frank concluded, surprised that Miranda Farrell had such challenging esteem issues.
"Do you like me?" She asked.
Frank nodded. "I'm glad we're getting to know each other."
"Me too," she replied. "You know," she said after a few moments of quietness. "I still haven't heard from Bradley. Do you think he dumped me?"
"Maybe you should dump him," Frank suggested.
"Maybe I should!" Miranda agreed, her eyes wide and a smirk written across her face. "Why am I holding on to that jerk for?"
"I don't know," Frank said.
They stared at one another for a long moment.
### ### ###
It never would have occurred to Frank that nearly getting killed could become the best thing that ever happened to him! But that's exactly how he felt each day when Miranda came into his house at 9:00 and stayed until 5:00. He was actually disappointed when the weekend came and he had to wait two whole days to see her again.
They played Chess when she first arrived each morning and a second game after lunch. They talked, they watched television, and mostly they just hung out. He had been a bedridden cripple before Miranda strolled through the door that first day but now he felt dignified, cared for and even special, perhaps for the first time in his life.
Miranda left the porch to prepare lunch on this day and Frank took the opportunity to quickly relieve himself. In the many weeks Miranda had been coming, he had managed to avoid the awkward embarrassment of having her around when he had to use the bed pan or portable urine bottle. It was embarrassing enough that his mother took away his crap and pee - Frank would have died if Miranda had witnessed any of that. He had trained himself not to have to empty his bowels during the day but it was hard to last the whole day without having to take a leak and he usually did it while Miranda was in the kitchen, keeping the plastic bottle under his pillow or covers.
Frank retrieved the flat plastic bottle with the wide neck from behind the pillow and dropped the gym shorts he wore nearly ever day, sticking his member into the tip of the neck to do his duties.
"What kind of cheese do you want on your hamburger, Frank?"
He froze when he heard Miranda's voice from the hallway, praying that she wouldn't stick her head around the corner but sure enough she suddenly appeared in the doorway and her eyes went wide when she saw him exposed.
"Oh, sorry!" She said, red faced but she didn't move as she stared at him with his wang hanging out.
"Oh shit!" Frank cried, frantically trying to pull up his shorts.
"Be careful," she warned. "You don't want to spill."
Covered, he quickly put the cap on the bottle and shoved it under the sheet.
"There's no door," an embarrassed Miranda tried to explain.
"Let's just drop it," a humiliated Frank suggested. "American cheese is okay."
"Sure," she said, quickly heading back to the kitchen strangely feeling sort of... turned on? She tried to shake the image of what she had seen from her mind but she was definitely feeling slightly horny for the first time in a long time and this surprised her.
Miranda was pleased at how great of a cook she had become during her time with Frank. She could barely boil an egg prior to her assignment but now she was quite savvy at preparing any meal and she was proud of her accomplishments. She returned to the porch with the cheeseburgers, pickles, some chips and a couple of coca-colas on a tray.
Frank was looking chagrined and Miranda knew he was humiliated and embarrassed but she decided to pretend nothing awkward had taken place even though Frank was unusually quiet as they ate the burgers. When they were done, she cleaned up, brought the tray back to the kitchen, cleaned up there, and then returned to Frank on the porch.
"What's wrong?" Miranda asked knowing she couldn't take his silence much longer.
"Nothing," Frank answered, not looking at her.
"Its okay, Frank," Miranda gently let him know. "You don't have to be embarrassed."
Frank's eyes narrowed in a way that let her know he wasn't happy. "Yeah, right" he frowned. His lips were pressed together tightly. "You weren't the one with your…never mind."
Miranda's eyes widened and she tried not to giggle but suddenly the entire situation struck her as funny but she knew the last thing she should do was laugh so instead she sat on the side of the bed, reached out and ran her fingers along his cast, walking her fingers up toward the top of the plaster which was only about three inches below his crotch. A surprised Frank shifted nervously on the bed as her hand reached the bare skin between the top of his cast and his shorts leg.
"Its okay, Frank," she whispered.
She smiled and leaned in, gently pressed her lips against his and she pressed harder. Frank was caught off guard by her seductive forwardness but he didn't pull away even when Miranda opened her mouth and brushed her tongue along his lower lip. Although he was a novice, Frank parted his lips and he let his tongue run against hers. His hands moved to her hair and she moaned before pushing him back on the bed without breaking their kiss. Frank's cheeks were red and he was breathing heavily when Miranda finally broke the kiss.
"Too bad I'm all busted up," he sighed.
"That doesn't have to stop us," Miranda grinned as she sat up on the bed, wrapped her fingers around the waist of her shorts and pulled them down her legs, half standing to shimmy them all the way down until they fell to the floor.
She giggled when she heard Frank suck in his breath as she stood and peered at him in her underwear. She put her hands on the top of the cut off tee shirt she was wearing and she pulled that up over her head so she was now standing in her panties and bra.
"Your skin is beautiful," he whispered. "You're beautiful. I know you don't want to hear that, but it's true."
"Thank you," she said with appreciation before leaning over and pulling his tee shirt off over his head.
She was taken by the bruises that were still on his upper body and she leaned across the bed and traced her fingers across some of the remaining marks and scars. Frank looked dazed as his eyes slowly examined her body. He reached out and ran his fingers across her tummy while his cheeks flushed pink. Miranda raised her eyebrows in appreciation and then Frank lowered his eyes to her panties and she indicated with a nod that it was okay so slowly he moved his hand to the elastic top of the underwear.
"Go ahead," she whispered.
Frank put both hands on both sides of her hips and tugged on the panties until they slipped down her thighs and he gawked with pleasure at the revealed sight.
"There, now you see me too," Miranda let him know as she reached up behind her back, unfastened her bra and let it fall to the floor.
"Oh my," was all Frank could think to say as he looked at her revealed beauty.
Miranda turned her back to him and he nearly cried when he saw the loveliness of her naked backside before she stepped back and gently sat on his lap, careful not to put to much weight on his cast legs. She could feel his bulge under his shorts rubbing against her crack. She leaned her head back against his shoulder and sighed with contentment.
The summer breeze sang through the opened windows of the screened in porch. There were birds chirping in the distance, the sound of a far off lawn mower, and somewhere a couple of young children were laughing. Frank had never felt this at peace in his life.
"I never thought I wouldn't mind being in accident," Frank admitted as he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the top of her head. "I could stay like this forever."
"Who would have thought I'd be accidentally yours," Miranda purred.