DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to the fabulous
Ilene Chaiken & showtime.
SPOILERS: Spoilers include all of season 1, leaning heavily on the season finale.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written in Tina & Bette's pov, enjoy!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
How Tina Must Have Felt
People make mistakes, granted that's the biggest excuse in the world, but when I look for a reason as to why I did what I did it's the only thing that comes to mind. Because that's what Candace was, a mistake. The biggest mistake that I have ever made. I can't believe I've been so stupid, so selfish.
I think of the past few days, and then I think of the past few years, and I know I must be the biggest idiot in the world. I sacrificed the one person in my life that I need and love the most. I broke Tina's heart, and for what? For a few gropes, a few moans, a few fucks with a woman that I can't even stand to look at anymore. I feel betrayed, even though the only emotion I deserve to feel is guilt, I feel betrayed by myself. My body practically begged me to give in, and take, and be taken by Candace when my mind knew all along that what I really wanted was the kind of attention Candace was giving me but from Tina.
I wanted my Tina, my beautiful, amazing Tina, without the problems, without the miscarriage, without the trouble from Provocations. I guess you could say that I was jealous. Here was my Tina with her new blossoming career, and her new reason to want to carry on, and suddenly I knew how Tina must have felt. How useless she must have felt as the house wife. Tina loved me in a way that nobody else ever has. She put up with my mood swings, the arguments we'd have when I'd take a stressful day out on her, she'd put up with it and she'd comfort me. She would look into my eyes and I'd know, without even having to ask, that I was hers, and she was mine.
But now I've ruined it all, and I want to fix it, want to put a band aid over the hurt, and kiss it better, but there isn't a band aid or a kiss big enough. I don't know what to say, or what to do. I can't see her, I can't call her, because at least while I'm lying here in bed, gazing up at the blank walls, and seeing Tina's face, she's not screaming at me that it's over. While we're apart, at least there's still hope, there is still a chance that we can be together again.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror the other day. Sitting on the bed, our bed, holding her black sweater to my face and crying in all the nostalgia. Smells trigger the most powerful memories. I was smelling this sweater and it was like she was here, caressing my cheeks with those hands that are as soft as silk. I looked pathetic, clutching at this garment as if it really were Tina. But then I realised how much more pathetic it was that this was the closest thing to Tina I have. I've wasted so long being afraid, procrastinating when I should be fighting for her. Tina deserves to be fought for, and I know I'll fight for her, fight until I'm dead. I might aswell be if I never get her back.
The crying never stops. Even in my sleep I wake up and I've coated Alice's pillow case with my tears. I sleep in Alice's bed with her because I'm so damned afraid of being alone. I think Alice is afraid to leave me alone even when I'm sleeping, especially when I'm sleeping. She's taken care of me in a way that makes me realise just what an amazing friend Alice really is.
But even that makes me think of Bette. What she's done to me has made me realise how happy Bette made me. You take everything for granted once it becomes routine, and I suppose that's where we both fucked up. I hate what Bette did to me. I think of what she must have done with Candace and it makes me sick. These things shouldn't be allowed to happen. Even through our bad patch, and I know that we were having one, I still never in a million years would have thought Bette would have been capable of this. But I still can't bring myself to hate her. I get these flashbacks of the two of us, of the two of them, and I don't know when I'm feeling disgusted or missing her like hell. A part of me just wants to run back home, throw my arms around her and tell her that I forgive her for everything, and no matter how much I try to deny it infront of Alice, I would. She could kiss Candace infront of me and I know that I would still want her. But I can't let myself. If I'm going to have any dignity left then I can not let her get away with this. She's broken my heart, and still I'm petrified that the reason she hasn't rang, she hasn't been by, is because she's with her.
'She's giving you time' Alice reassures me, but I don't believe it. I don't believe anything anymore. At night when I lie next to Alice, pretending to be asleep, while she's pretending to be asleep, I think of Bette and I wonder if my heart's still beating, if she hasn't just ripped it out entirely.
It used to be that no matter what the situation anything could be resolved with a kiss. Bette would make love to me and I would feel all of her and all of me together, connecting in this perfect amazing way. She would kiss me and it would blow my mind. But when my mind replays the last time we touched, it makes me shudder. I was so angry, if she hadn't pinned me down to the bed I think I would have beaten her with all the hate and sadness I had.
I'm still working, although how good a job I'm doing is another thing entirely. The nights are lonely enough, I don't want to have to spend my days thinking over everything too.
Apparently Oscar says that I'm withdrawn and that if I ever need a sturdy shoulder to cry on, I'm to pick his. I thanked him, and said that Alice's is like steel.
Everybody's helping me. Alice, Shane, Dana, Marina, Jenny, I've got an entire support group. But I feel guilty because I know that Bette has nobody. Alice has spoken to her, and Shane has tried to, but she's unreachable. I don't like to think of Bette alone. I know that I should hate Bette, and a part of me does, but I can't hate her. I can only hate what she's done. What she's done to us both.
The phone rings somewhere in the distance and it will be seconds before Alice answers it. "Bette?" My heart stops in my chest and I half walk half run to the bedroom door, and press my ear against it. "I don't think so Bette. It's been weeks, you can't you just ring up like you're asking her to meet you for lunch" She sounds so serious. I wonder what Bette sounds like. You know I'm like some wounded, needy animal, crying out for my owner to pet me. I've always been the one to do the running. So when my brain tells me to snatch the phone from Alice and talk to Bette, I ignore it and crawl back into bed.
I stare at the phone. What had I been expecting? That I'd talk to Tina and within minutes she'd be back in my arms? I couldn't even get past Alice so how the hell am I going to get to Tina? This whole thing seems so impossible. But then looking back now what I did seems so impossible.
I wander out into the garden and sit by the pool. I just want silence. There's so much running through my head, so many difficult questions, but I can't think of a single answer. I dip my toes into the cold water. How long has it been since Tina, and I swam in here? I can't even remember the last time.
I remember the first time though. We had just finished decorating the new house, christening every room. The bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the spare room, the kitchen, and finally the swimming pool. It hadn't been intended. It had been so hot that summer and we had gone into the pool to cool off. The sun had shone down on Tina's damp body like droplets of gold, and she had smiled at me with complete satisfaction. I wish I had a picture of that smile. Then our lips had joined, our bodies had entwined underneath the water, and I felt the lust fill me to the brim. She'd slid onto the pool side and I'd slipped off her bikini bottoms. I hadn't thought about it at the time but anybody could have seen us.
Neighbours, people passing, all they had to do was open their eyes in the right direction and they would have seen my hands secured against Tina's hips, her hands clutching at my hair while I made love to her. The sex, even as infrequent as it had become, has always been amazing. I've never had a more passionate and tender lover.
God I miss her. I miss just being able to call her and tell her how much I love her. I miss making love to her in our bed. I miss holding her while we sleep. I miss her.
As I look down into the clear water I know that my eyes are filling up. I must be a masochist to take so many painful trips down memory lane. I'm losing Tina by the second and all I'm doing is dwelling over it.
"Erm...Bette?" The quiet voice is unfamiliar to me. I look around to find Jenny nervously walking towards me. I have avoided people for so long. I've ignored Alice's calls, Kit, and Shane's visits, but strangely Jenny doesn't make me tense up like everybody else does. "Can I...?" She gestures towards the space beside me and I shrug. "Thanks" She sits down beside me, crossing her legs like a child. "I heard about what happened..." My head snaps away from her. "...and I saw you sitting here, I thought maybe you'd want somebody to talk to. Somebody who's actually going to let you talk?"
I look up at her through my long lashes and she mimicks me. "Did somebody send you? Because I told Kit the only person I need to talk to is Tina"
"Nobody sent me. I'm here because you made the same mistake that I did, though mine kinda worked out better for me in the end. Not that, not that being apart is going to work out better for you!" She sighs. "When I came here I thought that Tim and I would be together forever. I moved here to be with him and things felt perfect until I laid eyes on Marina" She shakes her head thoughtfully. "The other woman, I understand why you let it happen, at least I think I do. Because I imagine that perhaps Marina is alot like this other woman? You don't want to want her but somehow she looks at you and you lose your way. I just want you to know, I've seen Tina and she's a mess but I think I'd bet my mind that she still loves you. You just have to clean a few things up"
"When did you see her?" I blurt out.
"Yesterday at the planet. Everytime someone walked through the door she would look up. I think maybe she was waiting for you" I nod teary eyed. I hug my knees to my chest, and try to hide my tears from Jenny. "I'll...I should go now, but if you need to talk I'm here, and if you don't want to talk to me then you have other people that care about you" She touches my shoulder, and I thank her. I wonder if Jenny knows I hardly talked during that entire conversation? But she's right though, all I'm doing is being talked to. I need to stop being so afraid. I've made a mess of everything but I've made a mess of everything with Tina, not with Alice or Shane or Dana or Marina. It's time for me to come out of hiding and face my fears.
I get up and walk back into the house. I think maybe it's time to visit the planet.
"Come on T" Alice whines pulling on my arm. I shake my head. I am not going anywhere. "You need to be with your friends, you need to get out. I'm seriously started to worry about your social life" I smile at that and Alice smiles back. "Please. Are you afraid of seeing Bette?" I shake my head.
"I just don't feel like it Alice"
"Well tough because I do. We're going to go down to the planet and you are going to socialise with your friends, and you're going to like it" She releases my arm. "I'm going to wait in the car. Ten minutes T" She warns, playfully smacking my backside. I groan loudly as she leaves the room. Alice is turning into her mother, I think I'll tell her that later.
I change out of my sweats and t-shirt, and put on my blue sun dress. I wonder if I'm only choosing this because Bette never really liked it? I run a brush through my hair, but it's no fun dressing up when you have nobody to dress up for. Stop it T, hold yourself together. Alice is right I need to be around the people that love me.
I walk miserably down the stairs and out of the apartment complex. Alice is waiting in her car grinning like an idiot when she sees me. She wolf whistles, and winks at me. "Its a start Kennard"
I get into the car. And Alice drives off quickly. "I'm not going to jump out of the car Alice"
"Not if it's moving you're not"
"You know Al..." I begin buckling up my seat belt. "...you're turning into your mother" Her face screws up in disgust and I laugh.
"I might change my mind about the whole you not jumping out of moving cars" But she's smiling as she talks. "See this is what we need. That smile on your face"
"I've been thinking, I think it's time I talked to Bette. I heard you on the phone to her yesterday if she rings again maybe I'll answer it"
Alice glances sideways at me exploring my face with concern. "Only if you're sure hun"
"I'll talk to her it doesn't mean we're in a relationship again"
We pull up outside of the planet. I get out of the car and find myself clutching Alice's hand as we walk into it. Marina greets us with what I take to be awkwardness. She envelopes me in a hug, smiling nervously. I hate sympathy. "I'm just going to go to the toilet" They both smile and nod but as I turn away from them I hear Marina tell her that now isn't a good time.
"What? It took me an hour to get her here now is the perfect time" Alice says.
"Bette is here" She whispers. My heart seems to freeze in my chest and stop moving as I scan the room. I look to the back of it and my eyes meet Bette's. I stop breathing, stop everything except looking at her. She looks different, we both do I suppose. She looks smaller, she looks like she could break, we both do I suppose. Alice is at my side.
"We can go. I honestly didn't know she'd be here we can just..." I hold my hand up cutting her off mid sentence.
"It's ok Al I need to do this"
"Do you need me to come with you?" I shake my head and give her a hug.
"But if things get rough then you might have to come and save me, or Bette"
"I'm proud of you T" Alice tells me, and Marina nods in agreement.
To be honest this is the last thing in the world I want to do because just looking at her brings everything back. But the weak thing to do is to walk away and give up seven years of love. The weaker thing to do though is to let her get away with it. I walk over to the table and I have never seen Bette so scared. She stands up her hands fidgeting nervously. It makes me feel better because for once she's the Tina. I sit down without saying a word. I can't believe how beautiful she is even when she looks like shit. Bette is usually so flawless, ironed suit, immaculate hair and make up. Today her hair is tied back messily, her make up looks like yesterdays make up, and the power suit is gone. She looks almost serene in her moss coloured cargo pants, and white vest top. Her eyes bore into me, sending a guilty shiver down my spine. "If you ask me how I am I'll walk away right now" I warn her. She looks down at the empty cup infront of her. Clearly that was what she was about to say. "I don't want to talk about her..." She looks up her brow creased with confusion. "...yet" She gulps.
"T I think we need to" She trembles as she talks.
"Don't tell me what I need Bette. What I need to know is why our relationship was sinking so badly that you'd do this to me?" She flounders her eyes tearing up. "Did you hate me so much that you felt like you needed to find love somewhere else?" I practically spit the words out and she reels from them like a hurt animal. She shakes her head.
"Don't say that, don't use that word. I could never, ever hate you, and I could never ever love her"
"I don't understand how you can risk losing somebody you say you love so much for someone you don't even seem to care about"
"I don't understand how either T. I don't know what I was doing, I don't know what I was thinking..."
"You were probably thinking about the sex"
"No, yes, I don't know. When she came along everything felt like it was crumbling. I'd made a mess of everything. I'm supposed to look after you, I'm supposed to make everything better and I failed so badly. T you have to believe me when I say that I love you, that I have always, always loved you. I know that it can't seem like it after what I've done, but it's the truth. I wake up in the morning and I hate myself because I've been such an idiot." The tears run down her cheeks, but they don't run down mine. If I let myself cry then I'll never stop.
"I never thought you would do this to me" I whisper. "You've been my everything since we met. My world revolved around you and now I don't know what to do with myself. I always felt like I was your girl. You made me fall so in love with you, and now you've snatched it away"
"T" She sobs, and now I cry because she looks so hurt. "Please you have to forgive me, I can't live without you. I've broken your heart but I'll do anything to fix it again"
I look away from her to find Alice and Marina looking but trying not to. They both have tears in their eyes. I turn back to Bette. "I don't know whether it can be fixed" She buries her face in her hands, and cries into them. "I feel like it's not there anymore, I want you to make me feel it again"
She looks up through the tears. "I love you Bette but I hate what you did. Our relationship has been a mess for a while now but it hurt me to admit it. The problems are both of our faults. We've let things get to this, and even though nobody else seems to agree with me, I feel like I'm partly to blame for this aswell"
"No...baby this is all my fault. You haven't done anything wrong..."
"Bette I didn't deserve this, but I can't just pretend that I don't have some part in our relationship failing. I want us to work on this, I don't want to lose you and I don't want to hate you forever"
"Oh T" She whispers, smiling.
"Don't think that I've forgiven you Bette, you still have work to do there"
"I know, I know whatever you want I'll do. I don't care what it takes I just want you back"
"I'm going to go" She looks down the smile disappearing from her face. "I want to see you again Bette, I'm just not sure when" I want to kiss her good-bye, hug her, touch her, but I can't I shouldn't.
I stand up from my chair staring into those deep brown eyes that I'm drowning in. "I love you Bette"
She stands up. "I love you too. Let me go, you can stay here" She slides out from behind the table, accidentally brushing against me in the process. She pauses infront of me and I can smell her, feel her hot breath warming my throat. Maybe people will think that I'm stupid, that I should leave her. But I can't leave Bette, as she stands infront of me her eyes red, biting down on her lip nervously, I know that Bette and I have always meant to be together.
I cough, the heat in my cheeks betraying the lust I feel at Bette being so close to me. "I want you to sort yourself out Bette, I can't say that we're in a relationship right now but I want that to change quickly"
"I promise T I'm going to do everything I can to make things better again" I reach for her hand.
"We both need to make things better" She nods, and before I know it she's gone.
I almost fall onto a stool exhausted. Marina and Alice stand infront of me waiting for me to spill. "I was a little worried there to begin with. Bette totally broke down"
"I know. I've told her that I don't want to leave her" Alice breaks into a smile which is mirrored in Marina. Suddenly I'm flooded with relief. "We're going to have to start again. It's going to be difficult forgiving her but I love her, we need to be together" I feel Alice and Marina's arms wrap around me squeezing me tightly. "Ok now I really can't breath" They break away from me smiling, and it's amazing...I never thought I'd smile again.
I saw Tina two days ago and every time I think of our encounter the first thing that comes to mind is oh my god. My walk home from the planet was a blur. The sun is no longer an irritation now it shines with promise. Now I need to get focused, get my act together. I've decided to take a few weeks off of work. I landed provocations I deserve a little time to get my relationship back on track. I'm going to make the house spotless, I'm going to make me spotless. I'm not stupid I know that I have a whole lot of work to do, but now I know that I'm going to be working towards something.
I called Kit today. I apologised for screwing things up with Tina, for ignoring her calls, for pretending she isn't standing outside my front door all night. I asked her to come round later.
I know, when I think about it now, how much I've ignored all the people that I love. I have no excuses for what I did with Candace because there are so many people that I could have reached out to. I guess that's one of the biggest problems I have to deal with. My stubborn pride nearly ruined everything. I have to realise that I'm not perfect a relationship is made of two people but I was too busy trying to do everything. Tina needs her freedom, it's time for me to face facts she doesn't need me for everything. The doorbell rings and I think about how that doesn't need to be a bad thing as I go to answer it. I wonder how Kit got here so fast? I open the door and my mouth drops open. "T?" She's stood infront of me and her dress is ripped, her knee is cut and bleeding. I panic immediately. "What happened? Did somebody do this to you? T who did this?"
She frowns "What? Oh the knee. I was walking down the street and somebody was washing their car. I walk past them trip over the hose and suddenly I'm on the floor" She grumbles looking down at her dress. "I just bought this" She complains running a hand over the gaping hole in the white cotton.
I breath a sigh of relief. "Thank god for that" She glares at me. "I mean thank god that it was only that" I usher her inside, closing the door behind us.
"I'll buy you a new one" I grimace after I've said it "I mean..."
"You should buy me a new one" She teases walking into the kitchen. I follow her like a puppy, my tongue practically hanging out of my mouth. How could I have possibly forgotten how amazing this woman is?
"I'll just, I'll get the first aid kit. You just sit down, don't do anything" She smiles in amusement as I fumble through the kitchen cupboards.
"It's the next one" She tells me. I purse my lips. I've even neglected my house. I take the first aid kit out and kneel infront of her.
"Do you want me to...?"
"Sure" I kneel down infront of her holding a ball of disinfectant soaked cotton wool in-between two fingers.
"This might sting a little" I press it to the cut, glancing up every so often to check her reaction. She smiles down at me. I place a plaster over the now clean cut and resist the urge to kiss it better. I stand up brushing down my shirt. "I've missed you" I practically whisper, looking down at my bare feet shyly.
"I've missed you too. I figured you'd be too afraid to call so I decided to stop by" She stands up so we're infront of each other.
"I'm glad you did" We smile at each other. "This reminds me of the first time we met. When you came to that opening. You looked so beautiful"
"So did you. I knew the second I saw you that you were going to change my life. I knew, even before I admitted to myself, that I wanted to be with you"
"I know I felt that too" She takes a step forward wrapping her arms around my waist and resting her head against my shoulder. I close my eyes, savouring the feel of her holding me as I hold her. This, this right here is exactly how things should be. She looks up and suddenly we're kissing. Her lips touch mine in a way that drives me wild. I kiss her hard pressing my body against her, desperately trying to feel as much of her as I possibly can. I can feel her hands slip under the back of my shirt covering my skin with goose bumps with every brush of her fingertips. I groan into her lips, our tongues touching feverishly. She pulls away panting into my ears. I have never wanted somebody so badly.
"I have to..." She clutches me even tighter.
"...I'm not ready for us to make love yet. I want us to, I just want it to be perfect"
"I understand" I say returning my lips to hers. She pulls away again, shaking her head, "I won't not make love to you if we keep kissing like that" She explains.
"Ok, ok I get it I'll just..."
"Maybe you could just hold me?" I want to cry at how soft and delicate she sounds right now. My Tina, my T, my baby. I pull her to me, my arms encircling her waist. We just stand here in the kitchen me holding her. Time has become irrelevant and I couldn't tell you whether we've been stood like this for ten minutes or an hour. All I know is that right now I'm in heaven.
"Everybody's going to milk tonight" Her muffled voice tells me breaking the silence. "I thought maybe you could come?"
"Of course" She breaks away from my embrace and I feel like I've lost a limb.
"Good. Well I have to go and get myself ready. We'll meet at about eight?"
"Eight" I repeat smiling.
"Ok well then it's a date" She grins, and so do I. She presses one last kiss to my lips and then she leaves. It's a date, my mind repeats as I smile optimistically.
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