I'm starting to hate my friends. Once one gets what they want, the rest come like vultures. I'm already working hard on a one-shot for another and this one I'm curious to see how it turns out. It's Frary again, guys. Netflix kept daring me to rewatch Reign for the bloody billionth time so I do in my downtime. I keep getting emotional, skipping through episodes to get inspiration. I miss the gang, they need to do a reunion quick. I still can't believe they killed Francis off, he lives on in my heart with Mary and their kids. I can't believe they split Kennash too and I read an old article after the show ended that one of the writers implied Bash dying after season 3 and reuniting with Kenna in the afterlife (like Frary did at the end), implying she died over the years before season 4 happened, perhaps in childbirth. I'm a mess, they broke my heart with both my OTPs really. Anyway, enjoy this little story of mine.


Mary stares down at the promotional poster for her new movie, pulling a face when she sees her airbrushed, shiny face centre front. She looks fake but it doesn't matter since glossy sells. Perfection sells.

But her nose.

"Why does my nose look thinner?" She asks, studying the damned poster. "Mother-"

"We'll edit it," her mother says dismissively as she taps away at her phone. "You need to find a dress. Go shopping."

"A dress for what?"

Her mother sends her an eyebrow raised. "The charity gala, of course. The hosts are the gracious Valoises."

"Oh," Mary says. "Wait, Francis Valois is a part of that family. The singer."

"Yes," her mother says as if it's a known fact and surprised that her daughter is only learning of that fact now. "He's sold millions around the world. And speaking of Francis, he and his mother are coming over tomorrow."

Mary gasps, tightening her robe around her body as if her mother's just announced that tomorrow is today. "What, why?"

"Nothing you need to worry about right now," her mother says, returning her gaze to her phone in excitement. "Just go shopping for that dress. And make sure the paparazzi get decent photos of you. We need to do everything to make sure this movie is successful. You'll be able to branch out in other roles rather than the damsel in distress."

"Hopefully, I'll be a spy," Mary says, checking the magazine website on her one where it's announced that her best friend's spy TV show got a second season. "Who knows? They'll probably have me guest-starring in 'Spy of Hearts' to get a leg up."

"Huh-uh," her mother hums, totally not listening. "Get showered, dressed and go shopping."

Mary glares at her mother but doesn't even get a reaction in the form of a bat of an eyelid. So she pushes her breakfast away, stands up and heads upstairs to her bedroom. She doesn't even know why her mother stays over if she's just going to be working all the time. Apparently, she's lonely in that old, big house of theirs and coming to stay with her favourite daughter - her only daughter - is better than being a loner alone.

By the time she's finished showering, brushing her teeth again and got dressed, her mother is getting ready to leave herself. Some meeting with the director of the movie, just smoothing down a few issues she has nothing to worry about.

"Just call the girls and have fun shopping," Marie says, kissing both of Mary's cheeks before leaving.

Mary rolls her eyes, clicking her tongue.

...

"...I hate it."

Kenna scoffs, standing up to round Mary as Lola and Greer give her disbelieving looks too. "What's wrong with this one?!"

Mary gives her a look, suddenly becoming self-conscious. "It's too exposed. This suits you more than it suits my fat arse."

"Excuse me?" Lola pipes up. "Where on Earth are you-"

"The bloody poster thinned my nose and my cheeks but I knew my mother would blow a casket if I told her about my cheeks," Mary says, slapping her hands onto her cheeks and pulling at them in disdain. "I feel so urgh."

"She is joking, right?" Greer asks the others. "Mary, you're stunning. You have stans for a reason."

Mary blushes, turning to face them all. "It's not my face or body they like. It's the fact that I make good company for their favourite actors on-screen."

"Mary..." Kenna drawls, spinning her to face her as she cups Mary's cheeks. "You are so beautiful, you're more than a bloody love interest."

"Says you with your leading role in that show that's picked up its second season," Mary mutters, crossing her arms. "I have to look for something amazing. Francis is going to be there."

"You so do have a crush-"

"He's easy on the eyes," Mary squeaks out. "But isn't he taken by that model from Italy? What was her name? Yes, Olivia."

Greer snorts. "Everyone including blind people know that was fake," she says.

"Poor guy looked like he wanted to run every chance he got," Lola adds.

Mary shrugs. "Anyway, it doesn't matter if I fancy him or not. Mother says he's coming tomorrow for some reason and the charity event is in less than a week and-"

"You want to be desirable," Kenna states, turning them so they face the mirror. "Leave this with me."

Mary's eyes widen. Not another makeover, she thinks. The last one had her almost flashing everyone on live TV. "Ken-"

"Don't worry, no short skirts. We learnt that you aren't good with those last time," Kenna says with an excited giggle. "Ladies? We've got work to do."

...

The next day, after spending two hours in her home gym, Mary stops the treadmill and heads to the coffee table to grab her water bottle, downing half. She leaves the room, wiping sweat from her face as she rounds the corner and halts in surprise.

"Oh!"

"Uh, hi?" Francis says, waving nervously. "I-I was looking for the toilet. Your mother waved me off and now, I realised I didn't exactly get... directions."

Mary swallows hard, watching as his eyes land onto her chest area before he averts his gaze. Then she realises she's wearing a sports bra and really tight lycra leggings. When did they get tighter? But then she realises that Francis Valois is in her house. Earlier than expected.

"R-Right here," she says, gesturing to her left where a door is. "I'm going to... head upstairs."

She walks past him, getting a whiff of his expensive aftershave and a small, grateful smile before he rushes into the downstairs bathroom, the door closing with a click. Breathing in relief, she hurries upstairs, almost tripping on her trainers as she locks herself in her bedroom, shakily typing out a text.

{To ScotsStarlets All: He's here. He's bloody here and saw me in all of my disgustingness. My current state being snapped and posted soon.}

She takes a snap of her sweaty, messy self and posts it up.

{From Kenna: Lmao, it's crazy how you don't realise how sexy you look right now. Bet Francis will need a cold shower, watching all that sweat glisten off you.}

{From Lola: I apologise on the behalf of everyone present for Kenna's words. Also, you look sporty, maybe he likes that ;)}

{From Greer: You disturbed my morning mimosa to show me a pic of you looking like a damn goddess? Bye!}

Mary scowls, they're only trying to boost her ego up. She stinks as well so that doesn't help matters. She chucks her phone onto her bed, stripping off as she hears her mother call her.

"Thirty minutes, Mum!" She calls back, disappearing into her en-suite.

When she's finished getting ready, she heads downstairs, trying to make the top button of her knitted dress stay closed but it's suddenly hellbent on exposing the top of her bust but she can't be bothered to get dressed in something else. She knows Kenna probably widened the damn hole, wanting her friend to be more explorative in her clothing decisions.

"Wear sexier things, trust me," she can hear Kenna say in her mind.

Maybe it's her mind subconsciously agreeing. It will help her get a boyfriend, she always seems to choose bad apples, the ones who would like to blag to the media about their trysts.

"Fuck it," Mary mutters, giving up on the button as she enters her living room. "Hi."

The three people turn to her and Mary tries not to waver under Francis's warm, blue-eyed gaze. So handsome in real life too. What a blessing to see, she thinks lightly as her heels echo on her marble floor when she walks closer, pulls her dress down a little and takes a seat beside her mother.

Elegant, Mary. Just keep calm, collected and elegant, she tells herself, turning to her mother.

"Now, that she's here," Marie says, raising her brows at Mary's choice of clothing as she smirks. "Mary, darling, meet Francis and his mother, Catherine."

Mary slides a little to reach over and shake their hands. "Nice to meet you both. I hope my mother welcomed you both into my home graciously."

"Aren't you both just the sweetest hosts?" Catherine asks coyly as she takes a sip of her pinot.

Early drinking. I need a glass too if everyone's down, Mary thinks jokingly.

"Mother refuses to tell me what's going on," Mary continues, turning to her mother accusingly. "She knows I don't give just anyone my address."

"Well, we're here for business," Catherine says, making Mary realise that she's the boss in all of this and Francis is probably a pawn, absentmindedly looking out into her garden where Stirling's chasing birds.

"Francis has an album," her mother starts now, gaining his attention. "Everyone's expecting it to go number one."

"And you," Catherine starts, pointing at Mary. "Have a big blockbuster coming up. Everyone's expecting that to make a lot of money."

Oh, I see, Mary thinks, eyeing a surprised Francis as it dawns on him. "You want us both to boost each other's projects up," Mary says for them all. "Apart, we have huge fanbases. Together, we'll be a 'power couple' and increase each other's success."

How is she so clever, Francis asks himself. "Is that true? Is this why we're here?"

His mother laughs wryly. "Got it in one, Mary," she says, making Francis gape.

"Mother!" He cries out.

"Sweetheart," Catherine starts, taking a sip of her drink. "This broody bachelor persona has really got to go. I'm sure Camilla and Shawn are in the same boat. Who knows? You might make a song for one of her projects' soundtrack."

"I'm fine with getting a number one, myself-"

"You're really not," Marie says, surprising him and Mary as Catherine nods in agreement. "You're losing interest. People think you made only two hits and you're quickly becoming last year's news. As for Mary, people are bored of seeing her be the love interest in every role she gets. Typecast, we call it in the show business. As for you, Francis, one-hit-wonder. Well, two but we don't need to go into specifics."

Mary sends him an apologetic glance but he doesn't seem fazed. Looks like he gets enough of that from his own mother, it seems. Brutal.

"Think of it this way," Catherine says. "You'll be sharing fans. The glory will double. Mind you, if you decide against this, your label will drop you if the album flops and Mary's career will fade away into nothingness."

Mary doubts that as they're both good. Well, kind of. "Francis, why don't we go outside for a breather? Let our mothers talk things out."

She stands, heading through the sliding doors as he follows her, hands in his pockets. She runs over to her dog, grabbing a stick from the ground before scratching at his head and chucking the stick far so he can go and fetch it.

"Sorry about my mother," she tells him when he comes to stand beside her, watching as Stirling gets the stick and runs back.

"Sorry about mine," he replies. "She's... blunt."

"So's mine," Mary says, making them laugh. She turns to him. "I kind of do need this movie to go well. The critics, they're... difficult with me being in the same role over and over so I need to go out of this with a bang. If this sells a lot, I'll get offers for other roles. I want to be a spy."

Francis grins at her, something about her excitement surprising and intriguing him all the same. "A spy? Why?"

"You know 'Spy of Hearts'?"

"My sisters are obsessed with that!" He cries out, almost exasperatedly.

Mary grins a little. "My best friend stars as the main character and she keeps telling me of all the cool stunts and episodes she gets to do. She went to film in Monaco and got to be treated like royalty because her character was sourcing a mark in an 'exotic country'."

"So, you want to be in a spy role for the countries you'll film in?" He asks, chuckling.

"Well," she sings. "Not for the places. But for the idea of being someone who saves people and not gets to be the damn damsel in distress."

"Yeah, I get that," he says. "My next album's not like my first... It's more edgy."

"Ah. Like break-up vibes?"

"Totally. Ice cream in bed and Netflix alone vibes," he says, making them laugh.

Her phone buzzes in her pocket and she pulls it out, tutting when it's a text from Kenna.

{From Kenna: Have you kissed him yet?}

"Kissed who?"

"Oh!" She cries out.

Francis backs away. "Sorry. Nosey."

"I can tell that!" She says, laughing softly as she hides her phone screen against her chest. "My dog. She loves dogs and asked if I could kiss him every morning for her. Her boyfriend's allergic so she can't have one."

Francis eyes her suspiciously. "Sure..." He says disbelievingly. "So, 'him' isn't me?"

"So pompous to think so!" Mary replies, whistling for Stirling to come over. She makes a show of bending low and kissing her dog's head. "That's from your auntie, baby!"

The dog barks and Francis watches on in amusement.

"I believe you," he says even though they both know he doesn't.

She smiles, blushing when she stands back up. "I may have mentioned in passing that you're... good looking."

"Oh?" He asks coyly. "How sweet. Not so bad looking yourself. Although your dress is threatening to-"

"I know, don't even," she says, turning her head in embarrassment as she brings a hand to cover up her bust somewhat. "Couldn't be arsed, you know? It's my best friend. She's a troll."

"I can tell," Francis says knowingly. "My half-brother's on my case too. I think they went to the same school of relentless teasing and meddling."

She chuckles softly, nodding in agreement. "They both got PhDs."

He laughs now, bending down to stroke Stirling's fur. "I think he likes me."

"Same," Mary says softly, surprised as her dog's normally so aggressive with new people.

Yet, Stirling turns onto his back, letting Francis give his tummy rubs and she finds it attractive that he's giving her beloved dog attention.

"Who's a good boy? You are!" He says before blushing and looking up at her.

"It's fine." Mary chuckles.

"I want a dog," he says. "My half-brother's allergic and I'm living with him at the moment. But he's barely there, I think he's sort of moved in with his girlfriend."

Mary clicks her tongue. "Is she nice?" She asks out of curiosity, making conversation.

Francis shrugs. "I don't know, never met her. He's very secretive. Says he can't expose their relationship and he finds it nice because they're in their own little private bubble of privacy. He's not really famous so I get the need for normality. I wish I had that."

"Yeah," Mary mumbles. "I haven't met my best friend's boyfriend either. We're supposed to be like sisters but she said something about it being sexy to hold more than what meets the eye. I get it, she's famous, her face is on the TV every week on the small screen, she likes her private life to be private."

"And here we are, our fake relationship about to be blasted everywhere."

"You want this?" She asks, surprised.

"I have no choice," he says, standing up to meet her eyes. "I guess you're alright."

She snorts. "You too," she says. "Yeah, let's do this."

"Who knows?" He begins. "We may even become the best of friends."

Mary doesn't mind that, but she bites her lip, kind of hoping that they'll be more than that. She doesn't even know that he's thinking the same, using her dog as an excuse to avert his gaze as he throws the stick Stirling shoved into his hand with a laugh.

Mary doesn't mind at all.