DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Showtime and Ilene Chaiken. I'm merely having some fun with them.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Candace pulled away, searching Bette's eyes for the permission to continue, but not finding it.
"I should go, shouldn't I?" she asked, even though it was apparent from the look of complete horror on Bette's face.
"Yeah, you should," Bette murmured.
Candace looked at her for a moment longer, making sure she really wasn't wanted, then picked up her bag and left.
As soon as the door closed behind her Bette crumbled, falling onto the couch as she started to cry uncontrollably.
Oh God, what have I done?
It hadn't been unexpected, Candace had given her a warning, but Bette still let her kiss her. And she kissed her back, because it felt good. Because it had been a long time since Tina had kissed her with that much lust.
She had to call her. She pulled out her cell and dialled Tina's number, trying to calm herself down and catch her breath enough to be able to string a few words together.
It rang for a long time, and Bette was just about to give up hope when Tina answered, her voice thick from sleep.
~Bette? What's going on? Are you ok?~
Tina was worried. It was almost two o'clock in the morning, and she'd spoken to Bette only a few hours later, so it was only reasonable that she would be concerned when she rang. Bette silently admonished herself for worrying Tina.
"Everything's fine," she said, feeling a lump rise up in her throat. "I just I "
She trailed off, unable to find a believable reason to be calling Tina at this time. Her ears were ringing, her head buzzing, full of thoughts that she couldn't even bear to acknowledge for fear they might be true.
"I needed to hear your voice," Bette admitted in a whisper. "I'm scared I'm falling apart, and I need you."
~What do you mean you're falling apart? What's happened?~
"I can't tell you over the phone. Please baby, I know you're supposed to be having a holiday but " She took a deep, shuddering breath. " I really want you to come home as soon as you can. Please."
~We'll get on the road first thing in the morning.~
Bette closed her eyes and fell back into the coach, massaging her forehead with her hand. She had hoped that Tina would set off right then, so she would be back before lunch.
Sensing Bette's distress, Tina explained. ~We can't set off now, because we've all been drinking, so we're all way over the limit.~
"It's ok," Bette lied, upset but knowing there was nothing that could be done about it. "I'll be fine. But please as soon as you can."
~Are you sure you are going to be ok till then? Baby, I'm really scared, tell me what's going on.~
"I can't T, not over the phone."
There was a loud sigh before Tina spoke again. ~Ok, I'll call you just before we set off.~
"Thanks," Bette said softly, a small, fleeting smile making its way onto her face before it was chased away by her demons. "Tina, I love you. So much. I love you so much."
~I love you too. I'll call, ok?~
Bette ended the call and let her head drop into her hands, wondering exactly when her world had disintegrated so completely.
Tina looked at the phone with a mixture of puzzlement and anxiety. For the first time in the seven years she had been with Bette she had sounded undone. Sure, she got angry and upset, and went to Tina for reassurance, her arms and soothing words healing the wounds. But she had never sounded so desperate.
"Who wassat?" Alice slurred sleepily, and Tina turned to see her best friend regarding her with bleary eyes.
"Bette," she told her. "We need to leave as soon as we are sober enough."
Alice was awake fully now, sitting up and reaching out to put a comforting hand on Tina's shoulder. "Why? What's happened?"
"I don't know," Tina said quietly, tears springing up as her mind raced with what could have happened to put Bette in that state. "She didn't want to tell me over the phone. But Al, she was really upset. What if ?"
"Uh-uh," Alice cut her off, pulling Tina into her arms. "No 'what if's. You'll worry yourself too much and then you won't be able to sleep the alcohol off."
Tina knew she was right so, concentrating hard on not letting her imagination get the better of her, she lay in Alice's embrace and let herself dream about her and Bette's first kiss.
Bette phoned James early the next morning, and told him she would be working from home as she wasn't feeling so good. She wanted to be home when Tina got back, so they could talk straight away. She'd spent a restless night tossing and turning, and knew she had to tell Tina about Candace before it ate away at her.
After a rather feeble attempt to make breakfast, Bette made her way outside and lay in the pool lounger, trying to decide exactly how she would word her confession to cause the least damage.
Three hours later she awoke to Tina gently brushing the hair out of her face.
"Hey," Bette croaked, drinking in the sight of her wife as if it was the last time she'd ever see her.
"Hey baby," Tina whispered, smiling as Bette's fingertips drifted over her features, as if trying to commit them to memory.
They maintained eye contact for a few moments, then Bette drew a surprised Tina into a tight hug, pulling her onto the lounger on top of her. "I love you," she murmured into Tina's hair.
Tina reached up and kissed her, a sweet, chaste kiss that told Bette she loved her too. "What's going on?"
"I need to tell you something," Bette said, her voice strained, eyes skittish and nervous
Bette took a deep breath and opened her mouth to speak. But no words came out.
How could she? How could she tell her lover, of seven years, that yesterday she had kissed another woman? How could she explain that, less than twelve hours ago, she had broken the vows that she had taken as she placed her ring on Tina's finger?
How could she break her heart like that?
But, how could she not tell her? She had to. Their relationship was built on trust and respect. She had to tell her, or else it would fester in her mind until it was ready to burst out, and the consequences then would be much worse.
"I kissed Candace," she blurted out quickly before she lost the nerve.
Tina was still for a few seconds, then she wrenched herself out of Bette's grasp and stood up, her expression changing swiftly from concern to anger and devastation.
"You kissed Candace?" she repeated in disbelief, running her hand through her hair.
Bette nodded, sitting up. "I kissed Candace."
Tina stared at her, then turned and started to walk into the house.
"Tina!" Bette called out desperately, leaping up and grabbing Tina by the arms. "Tina, please. Just, hear me out."
Tina stopped in her tracks, then slowly turned back around. "Why should I?" she asked, her voice breaking on every word.
"Because I love you. Because it didn't mean anything. Because she kissed me, and I responded, imagining it was you."
"You thought it was me?"
Bette sighed. "No, I she kissed me, ok? And, I'd been missing you all day, and I just kinda let my mind think what it wanted to. I kissed her back, imagining I was kissing you. But then, I put my hand on her neck, and she didn't feel like you. She didn't smell like you, she didn't taste like you. And then I realised what I was doing, and I pulled away."
Tina looked away, but Bette placed her finger under her chin and turned her face so she could look in her doubting eyes.
"I swear baby, I love you. I never would have " Bette trailed off as her eyes held Tina's gaze beseechingly. When she saw Tina wasn't convinced, she fought back her tears and carried on. "You are my life. I love you, I am madly, truly, deeply in love with you, and I want only you. This has proved it to me, that no one could ever take your place in my heart, my home or my bed."
Tina's face softened slightly, but the anger and betrayal was still visible in her eyes.
"Did she turn you on?" she asked, swallowing hard to stop the bile rising in her throat at the thought.
"No," Bette breathed. "The thought of kissing you, feeling that lust in your kiss, turned me on. But she she doesn't turn me on."
"Good," Tina whispered, crumbling as she fell into Bette's arms. They both began to cry, holding on to each other for dear life.
The midday sun streaming in through the windows made Bette stir from her sleep. She could feel soft skin next to hers and warm breath on her neck, and it was the best feeling in the world.
Once they were all cried out, they moved into the living room and lay on the couch, not letting go of each other. They didn't talk, they didn't need to, they just held each other until they drifted off to sleep, each simple caress speaking volumes.
They had been completely unsexual, just a reaffirmation of their love for each other. But now she was awake, Bette couldn't help but notice how Tina's thigh was pressed against the inside of hers, her hip bone pushed into the seam of her crotch.
Bending her neck she placed a gentle kiss on Tina's forehead, causing her to stir slightly and rub her chin against her breast as she tried to get comfy. Bette's breath grew ragged and she let out a quiet moan. It obviously wasn't quiet enough as Tina stirred again, this time moving her lower body, dragging her leg across Bette's core.
"Oh God," Bette groaned, closing her eyes as she gave up any attempts to be quiet and not wake her lover.
"Baby?" Tina asked sleepily, lifting her head and peering at Bette. "You okay?"
"Fine," Bette croaked. She cleared her throat and opened her eyes, struggling to focus on Tina's face above her. "Absolutely fine."
Tina looked at her in puzzlement for a few moments, following Bette's gaze down to where their legs were entangled. Then her expression changed to one of understanding, as she took in Bette's rapidly hardening nipples, her dilated pupils, and her voice deep and husky with arousal.
"I'll say you are," she agreed, smiling. "In fact, it appears you are more than fine."
"See what just being near to you does to me?" Bette whispered, reaching out to tuck a few falling strands of golden hair behind Tina's ear.
Tina's smile grew wider, and she lowered her head so her mouth was just millimetres away from Bette's, her breath teasing her lips as she whispered her reply. "No, I don't see. I think you're going to have to show me."
Gently brushing Tina's face with her knuckles as she cradled her head in her hands, Bette slowly brought Tina's mouth to hers. At first, their lips touched lightly, just teasing each other, but soon Bette moaned loudly into the kiss and pressed their lips together with more urgency as she pushed her tongue inside Tina's mouth. Exploring, tasting, their tongues intertwined as their passion ignited in a fiery blaze, leaving them gasping when they broke apart for air.
Her eyes never leaving Tina's, Bette guided Tina's hand down her body and under the waistband of her trousers. They both sighed as Tina's fingers made contact with the liquid heat between Bette's legs.
"Now do you see?" Bette murmured, biting her lip as Tina's fingertips made contact with her clit, circling it gently.
"Yes," Tina breathed, sliding one finger into Bette and watching with delight as Bette's face contorted with ecstasy, her eyes rolling back into her head.
"Open your eyes," she commanded softly, placing small kisses on the patch of flesh visible above her tank top. Bette's eyelids fluttered as she struggled to open them, but soon shut them again as Tina began to thrust her finger slowly in and out.
"I don't think I can," Bette admitted breathlessly, the feelings racing up and down ever nerve cell in her body too much for her.
"Please baby," Tina pleaded as she felt the muscles begin to contract around her fingers. "I want to see you as you come."
No sooner had Bette managed to pry open her eyes than Tina reached up with her thumb and pressed hard on her clit, rubbing it in small circles. Bette let out a strangled cry, then her back arched off the couch as she came, long and hard.
Her eyes never left Tina's as she rode wave after wave of pleasure, before finally relaxing and slumping exhausted into the cushions, her chest heaving as she fought to catch her breath. Feeling the tears beginning to come, she reached up and grabbed Tina, pulling her down and wrapping her arms round her as she cried into her hair.
"Ssshh," Tina soothed, stroking her hair comfortingly. "It's ok, I'm here."
"I love you so much," Bette told her in between sobs. "You are my everything."
"I know, I know," Tina whispered, holding Bette close. "You're my everything, too."
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