DISCLAIMER: In this story, there are scenes, bits of scenes, and dialogue taken from Season 2 and 3 of The L Word that both move the story along and explain events that unfolded. At the end of each chapter, I will identify what parts are directly from the television version.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for The L Word Seasons 2 and 3.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Laid Up: Another Season 3
By Portia Richardson


Chapter Ten

The Next Morning (1 Month and 4 days after Angelica's birth)

Bette was asleep in the bedroom she had shared with Tina for all but one of the past eight years. However, Tina's side had been undisturbed for over four weeks. Bette's nights were restless—she worried about the baby, worried about Tina, and the new financial burden brought on by her insurance company. She hoped that Helena's lawyer might solve that problem. She went to sleep each night with a great deal on her mind. Last night, she had the added thoughts of her memory of when things were idyllic between the two of them, when she was bursting with new love, filled with insatiable passion, and a promise that their future would be more of the same. When she took Tina back to that time in Nepal, she easily was drawn into those romantic days, too.

Hours earlier

When Bette had opened her eyes in Tina's room at the Center, nothing had changed. The feeding tube remained, the monitors were still there, and Tina was still in a coma. Bette had gathered the food and put it back into the brown bags. She had packed up the portable CD player and box of incense; she had blown out the candle; she had kissed Tina goodnight, and had walked out of the room, down the corridor, through the doors, to her vehicle.

In the car, driving home, her eyes had watered, then a few tears fell, by the time she turned onto her block, a full flow of tears poured from her eyes. She had felt foolish and wiped her fingers over her eyes the way a hurt child might. Sitting in the driveway, not ready to face Theresa or Kit, she had dabbed at her eyes with a facial tissue. She had taken a few deep breaths and tried to set her face with a neutral expression. It took several minutes before Bette had felt prepared enough to open the car door, walk to the stairs, and up to the front door.

Theresa had been stretched out on the sofa reading one of Tina's books, "Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope" with Angelica on top of her. Theresa held the book in one hand and her other hand rubbed Angelica's tummy while Angelica was trying desperately to reach her toes. Bette had opened the door slowly and peeked in, not wanting to disturb a sleeping baby.

Angelica's Nani had looked up. "Hi, Bette."

"Hi." Bette had walked over to Angelica and kissed her tummy. "Was she all right?"

"Perfect as always. How'd it go this evenin'?"

She had hardly been able to speak when she stood up. "I'm-I'm sorry, Theresa. I'm not feeling well." Bette had touched Angelica's cheek. "Excuse me."

Bette had made a quick stop in the kitchen and threw the uneaten Nepalese food into the trash, before walking down the hall and closing her bedroom door.

She had fallen on the bed. For weeks, she had not let herself go, but she needed to go to pieces. She needed to take this time for herself and wallow in the overwhelming sadness before picking up again. Bette had cried like she'd never cried before. Even when her father died, as she looked at family photographs and recalled her father's life, she wept, but hadn't truly grieved. She was busy getting ready for the baby, moving Tina back into the house, and then dealing with Tina's sudden situation. Dr. McPherson had been hopeful, but he had also told her that if Tina didn't come out of the coma within a month's time, the chances of a full recovery lessened significantly. Bette knew the date and she was worried. So when these tears had fallen, it was a culmination of all of the heartache she'd recently survived and was still surviving. She had sobbed into the pillow, muffling the sound as best she could. Theresa had heard, but let Bette have that time to grieve. She had nodded in silent understanding, assuaging her concern for Bette's emotional health to know that Bette could express this depth of sorrow even if she had chosen to do it alone. Bette had cried herself to sleep, something she hadn't done since she was a young teen.


Bette's mobile rang and it was the ring programmed to identify the Center. She awoke, didn't bother with a light, but fumbled for the phone, found it and flipped it open.

"Yes?" Bette was awake and anxious. In the time it took to get this one syllable out, Bette tried to prepare herself for dreadful news.

"Bette Porter?" a male voice asked.

Bette was tempted to reply negatively. If she denied being Bette Porter, then she wouldn't hear bad news. She wondered for a moment if she was in the middle of a dream, but knew she wasn't. "Yes. Has something happened to Tina?"

"Yes. My name is Jack Samuelson. I'm the night nurse at the Center. I'm calling about Ms. Kennard..."

Bette reached and turned on the light and interrupted. "What is it?" She felt nauseous. Her stomach lurched as she waited. She swung her legs over the edge of the bed.

"Ms. Porter, at 9:37pm, our night orderly witnessed Ms. Kennard blink her eyes. At that time we began to visually monitor her in her room."

"She's awake?"

"At 10:26pm, Ms. Kennard blinked her eyes again and seemed to groan, but lost consciousness at 10:28."

"She came out of the coma?" Bette was trying desperately to wrap her mind around what was and wasn't being said.

"At 11:55, Ms. Kennard opened her eyes again and appeared to try to speak. Brain activity spiked, we saw an increase of electrical impulse leaving the brain."

Bette sat on the edge of the bed, biting her lower lip, her head cocked to the side, her own eyes blinking repeatedly.

"At 11:56, lip balm was applied to Ms. Kennard's lips and was given some small ice chips. She lost consciousness at 11:59. At 1:30…"

"Is Tina out of the coma?" She asked again, this time impatience transmitting plainly in her voice.

"We waited to contact you to see if Ms. Kennard could sustain wakefulness. As of this time, she has maintained consciousness and has been awake for eighteen consecutive minutes."

"I'm on my way." Bette stood, walked to her dresser.

Jack Samuelson had his speech prepared and barreled through it in spite of Bette's interruptions. "This is not uncommon. Coma patients will sometimes gain some degree of alertness and then slip back into a state of unconsciousness. It is a defining moment, however."

"I'm on my way."

"Ms. Porter, I can't promise that Ms. Kennard will be awake when you arrive. We did want you to know that…"

"I'll be there in a few minutes. Tell her I'm on my way." Bette disconnected the phone and flipped it closed. She looked in the mirror and her smile was enormous. Blood-shot eyes and dark circles under them didn't take away from the supreme joy she felt at the moment. Such relief she'd never known. She wouldn't dally changing clothes. She had fallen asleep in the white outfit she had worn to visit Tina yesterday. It was wrinkled and she didn't look her best with bed hair sticking up all over her head. Her appearance was lowest priority at that moment.

Bette walked out of her bedroom, crossed the hall, and entered the guest bedroom where Theresa slept. Theresa was asleep on her side and Angelica was sleeping in the crib. Bette tiptoed across the room and sat down on the edge of the bed. She gently nudged Theresa on her shoulder.

"Theresa?" Bette whispered.

Tina's mom stirred, but didn't awaken. She simply jerked her shoulder to get rid of whatever was annoying her there.

"Theresa?" Bette said again.

She awakened. "Bette?" She yawned. She looked at Bette, saw the broad smile on her face and that made Theresa sit up immediately. "What?" Bette's smile was contagious. Theresa wasn't certain why she was happy, but she had some idea.

"Tina's awake. I'm going to see her. She came out of her coma. She might lose consciousness again, but she's awake and has been for a little bit."

Theresa grabbed Bette and pulled her into a hard hug. "Honey, I'm so happy. I thought I saw something from Tina yesterday mornin' when the physical therapists were workin' with her. I thought I saw somethin', but I wasn't sure."

"Tina's awake." Bette started to cry, but it was all joy, not the sobs that had rocked her the night before. "Do you want to go to the Center with me?"

"No, honey. You're ready to go. You go ahead. I'll see Tina later on this mornin'."

"They don't know if she'll stay aware. They can't promise anything."

"I know Tina. She'll stay with us. You go on, now."

"Okay." Bette grinned, kissed Theresa, and stood. She tiptoed to Angelica and looked at her sleeping daughter. "Your Mama's back, Angie. She's back with us."

Bette stepped out of the guest room and left the house.


Lara and Dana had been having a serious make out session for the past two hours on Dana's sofa. Lara was stretched out on top of Dana. Dana's legs were spread and Lara was situated between them. Initially, they had gotten together to talk about their relationship, but somehow their lips met and then they met again and the kissing didn't stop.

Lara sat up. "God, we're supposed to be talking?"

Dana grabbed her and pulled her back down. Both women were clad in shorts and T-shirts and as they kissed their bodies slowly moved against each other. Dana's hand grazed against the outer side of Lara's breast. Suddenly, Lara stopped again and sat up.

"Why don't we go into your bedroom?" Lara said suggestively. She pulled on the hem of her orangeshorts, pulling it from where the seam bunched and pressed against her center.

"I'm not ready," Dana explained as she grabbed Lara's arm to pull her down again, but Lara wouldn't have it.

"How can you not be ready? I'm aching." Lara's nipples were hard and visible through her sunshine yellow tank top. All of the kissing had made Lara shake with need. Dana was an awesome kisser and she loved what she could do with that mouth. "Let's make love."

"I can't," Dana whined.


Dana sat up. "I feel guilty."

Lara turned and looked at her. "Because you broke up with Alice."

"Yeah. Duh."


"And that I'm with you."

"You feel guilty about being with me? Why?"

"I just broke up with her. She'd be so hurt if I started seeing you so soon after. Al and I were a couple."

"And she matters why? I really don't understand." Lara stood up. "I'm finished with this."

Dana looked up at her. "What do you mean?"

"I'm finished with the two of us and this kind of crazy. You feel guilty and can't make up your mind, but you're doing really well at jerking Alice and me around. I've pretty much had it with that. I've been reasonable. I've been supportive."


Lara picked up her backpack and headed for Dana's front door. "You said you wanted closure. How's this for closure? It's over. I'm not going to keep doing this with you, Dana. Just go back to Alice. You obviously love her and are in love with her. This is just not worth it to me."

Dana followed her. "Wait. Wait, Lara. I walked away from you before and now you're going to walk away from me? Don't leave," Dana begged. She paused, watched Lara open the door. She needed to de-escalate this before there was no turning back. "Anyway, I don't want you to be the rebound girlfriend. Those girlfriends never last." Dana laughed.

"I guess I'm the rebound girlfriend, then."

Lara walked out leaving Dana alone again.


Bette's foot touched the black rubber entrance mat that automatically opened the glass sliding doors of the main reception area of the Center. Standing at the front desk was Dr. McPherson. He wasn't dressed in his usual dark pants and white doctor's jacket. In their place were a pair of faded jeans and a retro yellow and green striped Polo shirt. He was wearing loafers and no socks.

"Bette," Dr. McPherson greeted her, extending his arm, pulling her in to give her a hug and also to guide her down the hall. "I was ecstatic to get the call this morning. I thought that we were going to see something within the next few days."

"Is she still awake?"

"Yes, she is. I know she wants to see you." They moved down the hall. "There is so much work to do now. Tina's going to need extensive rehab. She's going to have to start over on some things. There will be days when her health will seem quite poor. There might be times when the medication she takes will have terrible side effects, but the meds are more beneficial than not. You will become impatient…"

"No, I won't. I'm too grateful for that," Bette said emphatically.

"Bette," Dr. McPherson said softly, turning on his bedside manner. "You'll get frustrated. You'll want to see the recovery happen overnight. It won't. It will take weeks, maybe months. Remember, Tina had brain swelling, she lost oxygen to her brain, her limbs haven't moved on their own accord for over a month, she hasn't spoken just as long, she had a major infection that she had to overcome. All of these things mean a long, uphill climb. You'll want the old Tina back, but that's going to take time. I believe she'll get there, but…"

"Will-will she know me? Will she know our daughter?"

"Yes, I'm certain she will."

"Then that's all I-I need for now. We'll take the rest as it comes." They were standing at the room door.

McPherson looked in and turned to Bette. "She's still alert. Go ahead; she's been waiting for you."

Bette nodded at their doctor, took a deep breath, and walked into the room. Tina was still hooked up to monitors. Bette wasn't sure what was different, but the entire feel of the room had changed. There was real energy in here and the sadness that cloaked the room was gone. She walked over to the bed where Tina lay and she saw something she hadn't seen in weeks—Tina's brown eyes. "Oh, my God. Baby."

Tina blinked a few times and groaned.

"Don't. Don't try to talk." Bette bent to kiss Tina's cheek. She grasped her hand and held it tightly. "Baby." Bette blinked back tears. Her lips were together, but Bette's smile was large, covering her face. "Baby." Bette felt Tina's fingers moving against her hand and they seemed to be reaching up Bette's forearm. Bette bent closer. "I'm here, Tee. I'm here with you, baby." Bette hugged her and when she did, the blue rope necklace that she wore around her neck was within reach of Tina's fingers. Tina struggled, but touched it and Bette looked up, stood.

"Tee, you recognize the necklace?"

Tina didn't answer. She simply stared.

"Baby, blink once for yes and twice for no, all right?"

"Do you recognize the necklace?"

Tina blinked once.

"It's from our trip to New York?"

Tina blinked twice and Bette grinned. "Is it from our trip to Nepal?"

Tina blinked once.

Bette laughed. "It is. It is. I was here last night and I talked to you about it. Do you remember that?"

Tina blinked. Bette was silent, relishing this moment, being able to look into her lover's eyes. She thought she had remembered how beautiful those brown eyes were, but her memory wasn't close. Tina's eyes said so much—they told Bette that she knew she was loved, that she loved Bette, that she was curious about things, and there was something else.

Tina groaned and her eyes shifted left and right seeking something or someone out.

"What is it?" Bette paused, then realized. "Our baby? Angelica is at home with your mom. Your sister and mother are in LA to see about you. Tee, Angelica is beautiful. She's so sweet and notices everything."

Tina blinked once.

"Baby, did the doctors tell you what happened? You've been in a coma for a little over a month. You were really sick when you delivered, but Angelica is healthy and happy. I'll bring her by later today. She's at home sleeping now.

Tina blinked one time and tried to lick her lips. Bette reached for the cup of ice chips and rubbed them on Tina's lips. "Does that help?"

Tina gave Bette a single blink.

"Tee, I don't know if you were aware, but you were able to breast feed Angelica for a while, but then they had to put you on some medication and you couldn't continue. You did a very good job, though. I think you'll be able to start again, soon."

Bette could see Tina's neck moving, her face twitched, her eyes blinked several times, and she seemed sad. "It's all right, baby. You've been a great Mama for Angelica. Now, you'll be able to be with her more. She sees you everyday, sometimes several times a day. She knows this place I think. If she's napping, she wakes up as soon as we get here."

Bette held her hand, her finger tracing over the loose skin from Tina's rapid weight loss. "I know it's hard right now, but you'll get your voice back and they'll unplug all of these machines soon. Everything will be as it was, Tee. I promise."

Tears formed at the corner of Tina's eyes and Bette used her thumb to wipe them away. "Don't cry."

Tina closed her eyes and Bette waited for her to open them again, but she didn't. "Tina? Tina?" Bette whispered.

Dr. McPherson came in and walked over to Bette who seemed bewildered. "Bette, this is to be expected." He turned to the monitor. "Look, see how she's charting?" Bette stared at the display.

"There's not much there."

"Right, but moments ago, this is what it looked like." He showed her the paper copy of Tina's monitoring that he had pulled just before Bette's arrival. "Bette, this is going to happen over and over."

"Is she in a coma right now?"

"She's slipped into unconsciousness. One doesn't just wake up from a coma. It's a very long course to recovery."

"How soon before she awakens again?"

Dr. McPherson sighed. He knew that she was like any other spouse—concerned and optimistic, but she needed to be realistic, too. "I don't know. Since I'm here and we have such nice electrical impulses shooting off in her brain this morning, I'm going to stay and run some tests. I think you should go home. Sleep, come back later today."

Bette thought about it, then said, "I think-I think I should stay. If she wakes up again, I need to be here. She needs to know I'm here."

"There is so much going on in Tina's head and we'll have her working hard. We're going to stimulate her brain through intense sensory development challenges. Please, Bette, go home, get some rest. You look exhausted."

"Just five minutes. If she doesn't wake up in five, I'll leave."

Dr. McPherson smiled at Bette's bargaining. "Okay, we've got a deal."


Tina had never felt weaker. People were prodding at her when all she wanted to do was sleep. She was drifting in and out.

"Amanda Heflin," One of the nurses said to the other who was turning knobs on Tina's monitor. "Got the biopsy back."


"Malignant. They've moved her to the oncology ward at the hospital. As soon as they get permission from next of kin, she'll have a mastectomy." The nurse was flipping through Tina's chart.

"Do you think it's too late?"

"I think it probably is."

Tina's eyes closed again and she slipped back into unconsciousness.


Dana hadn't been able to sleep. She was tired of trying. Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling was a waste of time. She got up, grabbed a liter of water and bottle holder, and left the house. Stretching out her hamstrings on the front steps, she thought about how easily she had screwed up her good thing with Alice and messed up what could have been nice with Lara. She pushed the water bottle into the holder she had attached to her shorts waistband and took off heading north toward the Hollywood Hills.

She didn't know why she made a right onto Doheny, but she did. Dana supposed it was just a route she was used to, familiar, routine, a habit. With a good clip going, she glanced down at the Accusplit pedometer to check her calorie count, speed, and distance. It paid to be upset—the run or workout was always better. Dana ran up the slight incline and looked to her left. There was her building. She looked up at Alice's window. It was dark. Alice was not an early riser. For a moment or two, Dana jogged in place as she glanced at the window, remembering how cute Alice looked waking up in the morning, how she'd yawn and wrinkle up her nose, stretch, and greet the morning with the cheerful word, "Motherfucker." She laughed, then Dana felt like she might cry as she turned and ran up the hill.


"Motherfucker!" Alice shrieked while reaching for the incessantly ringing telephone. She plucked the receiver out of its cradle. "Hello," she said without hiding her irritation at the early morning call.

"Alice, it's Kit."

Alice sat up and her voice softened, "Kit, hey. What's…?"

"I've got great news, Bette just called. Tina's out of her coma. Sorta."

"You're kidding." Alice smiled. "That's fantastic."

"So, are you awake enough to call Shane and let her know? Bette wants us to go over around 8-- the whole group of us."

"Okay, yeah. Definitely. I hope I'll be able to drag Shane and Carmen out of bed that early."

"For Tina, they will." Kit paused. "I already left a message on Dana's voicemail."

Alice had been secretly thrilled that she would have an excuse to call Dana. "Oh, okay," she said dejectedly.

"See ya at 8, Al."

"Bye, Kit. Thanks for calling me." Alice hung up, then picked up the phone and called Shane.

Shane's head was positioned somewhere between the foot of the bed and the middle of it, whereas Carmen's head was between the middle and headboard. They were asleep in the classic 69 position. When the phone rang, Shane awoke, but was disoriented. She reached out to her right, but should have gone left. The phone was still ringing and Carmen groaned, grabbed a pillow, and put it over her head to drown out the sound. Shane continued to search for the phone. Her hand touched it and she opened her eyes to look at the clock.

"It's 6:15 in the fucking morning," she growled into the phone.

Alice was beyond peppy. "It's 6:36 in the morning AND Tina's awake, Shane. Tina's awake."

"Fuck. Get outta here." Shane pushed on Carmen, waking her up. "Tina's awake. When did this happen?"

"I don't know. I don't have all of the details, but you and Carmen need to pry yourselves out of each other's arms and meet us at the Center at 8. We're all going to see her at the same time."

"We'll be there." Shane hung up and grinned.


Dana still hadn't burned off enough energy. As she ran her mind went from Alice to Lara. Both women had qualities she loved and some that drove her nuts. She had no idea what to do. Dana wanted to believe that somehow she could make it right. God, she was in love with both of them. If only we were living in 1968 or '69. The three of us could live in a commune type house together. We'd all be lovers. Lara could cook for us, Alice could make us laugh, and I could be the breadwinner. Of course, my parents would kill me if I lived in a commune. Dad would have a total conniption. Mom would want to disown me. And then there's the matter of endorsements. I'd have to lie about my living situation. Dana Fairbanks eats Wheaties—the breakfast of gay hippie champions who live with and screw two women. Lara would hate living a lie, living in the closet, and that would be a problem. I could hide Al and everyone would think that Lara and I are the couple. No, Alice would go ballistic if she thought she was second fiddle. Okay, I could…. Dana was deep in thought. This fantasy, once the logistics were worked out, could be a lot of fun. Suddenly, she pictured the three of them in a king-sized bed, Lara kissing Dana, Dana kissing Alice, Alice kissing Lara, hands on everyone, mouths everywhere. Alice would love Lara if she'd give her a chance. She shook her head, her long hair whipping against the side of her face as she tried to shake out the thoughts of sex with the two women she seemed to be in love with. She focused on her run and before long she had arrived at the Center where Tina was staying.

She jogged into Tina's room and was surprised to see an orderly raising Tina's bed and then moving the sheet to massage her legs and arms.


Josh turned and looked at her. "Well, hello," he said. "Hey, I know you. You're Dana Fairbanks, the tennis player."

Dana nodded her head in embarrassment. "Yep, caught me."

"Man, you have been killer lately. You had a bad couple of years, but I caught your matches in San Luis Obispo. You rocked."


"Oh, you're quee…I mean gay, too. So, are you a friend of Miss Kennard's?"

Dana didn't bother to hide the sneer. "Yeah."

"You heard she's out of her coma, right?"

"No, I didn't hear that. Really?" Dana moved to the bed. "Tina?"

Josh kept rubbing the sole of Tina's foot. "She's just asleep, but she's conscious. I think."

Dana stood beside Tina and took her hand. "Hi, Tina."

Tina groaned and her eyes opened. Dana laughed. "Hello, sleeping friend."

"God, you guys are gay. I so don't get it." Josh said while shaking his head.

Dana focused on him. "Just because you're not getting it doesn't mean I want to hear about it." What a jerk, she thought. She did catch his mocking expression before turning back to Tina. "Tina, how are you? It's so good to see you. The doctors told me that you could hear us talking while you were in the coma, so I guess you know what's been going on with everyone. Your daughter is a beauty. Bette's been missing you like crazy. Carmen and Shane are still going strong. Before you know it, those two will be married. I suppose you know what's been happening with me, too."

Tina frowned.

"Yeah, it's so not good. I just don't understand how life could take such an ugly turn for me. I was on top of the world and now this. I've been trying not to think about it—you know, still workout, still practice my game, play, but I can't keep my mind off of it. It's just devastating. And as much as it hurts me, I know it's hurting Alice. She shouldn't have to deal with it. Lara tried to be supportive, but she's finished with me. I'm kind of a headache."

Tina tried to speak. She wanted to comfort Dana in some way.

"Tina, don't." Dana shook her head. "You've got your own worries. I don't want you thinking about me. I'll survive. I'm sure I will. Things will be okay."

Tina's eyes fluttered closed and her head fell to the side as she fell asleep.

7:46 am

Bette was holding Angelica in her arms. She and Kit stood in the reception area waiting for everyone to arrive. Shane and Carmen walked in at 7:50 and Alice joined them five minutes later.

"Are Tina's sister and mom coming?" Shane asked.

"I'll bring Theresa over later and Stephanie will show up around eleven."

"Are we waiting for Dana?" Alice tried to sound nonchalant.

"Dana's been here already? She talked to Tina an hour ago. The nurse told me that Tina was awake and knew Dana was there. Listen, Tina's still not even close to being herself, but we can go in and say hello. She needs to see our faces to help her remember. We don't know what kind of brain damage we're dealing with. In a way, this is harder than seeing her in a coma. If you don't think you can handle it…"

"Bette, we're here for you guys. Let's go see her."

Bette led the way. Bette had her arm around Kit's waist. Shane walked directly behind them, and Alice and Carmen held onto each other as they followed.


Tina's eyes blinked awake, but she was groggy and uncertain where she was. She glanced around the room and realized she was at the hospital. Her eyes closed.

In the waiting room of the hospital, the West Hollywood family had gathered to show their support to Dana. Everyone was in shock that Dana was ill. She hadn't wanted to confide in anyone, but the truth had come out. Tina stood off to the side. Bette had given her a look that told her she wasn't wanted near her when Tina had arrived. Last night, chatting about their vacation to Nepal had been good, but there was a coolness between them now. Tina knew that part of the problem was that her mind had been on that filmmaker, Josh again. She didn't understand why the feelings she had for Bette couldn't stay in the fore and her feelings for men fade into the background.


Bette was so excited to be walking into this room knowing that her spouse was slowly returning home. She knew that Angelica needed her other mother. She sniffed Angelica's head, taking in that sweet baby scent. She rubbed her back as she and Kit entered the room, followed by Shane, Alice and Carmen. They stood at the foot of Tina's bed and looked at the semi-conscious patient. Kit took one small step toward the bed. She was relieved to see Tina awake. She had missed her because over the last eight years, when Bette was being typically judgmental and critical, Tina had always been an ally and defender. She loved Tina and having seen her in this condition for so many weeks caused her eyes to well with tears.

She tried to sound carefree. "What are you doin' in here, Baby girl?"

Tina's eyes fluttered a moment, but then closed. Bette handed Angelica to Kit, then left the group of friends who smiled nervously or wore expressions of fear. She walked to the bed and took Tina's hand. Tina awoke and her fingers wrapped around Bette's. Bette smiled and bent over to look into Tina's eyes. "Sweetie? We love you. Do you know that? Do you know I love you?"

Tina blinked her eyes once.

Bette turned to Kit and Kit returned Angelica to her. Bette placed Angelica face against Tina's. Tina's mouth contorted as if she wanted to kiss the baby, but she was unable to figure out how to put her lips into the position. Bette moved Angelica's face up and down against Tina's cheek. The baby laughed.

"She laughs all the time, baby. Angelica is very happy." Bette took Tina's hand and placed it around Angelica's tiny hand. "Here's Mama, Angelica. Your Mama Tee."

Tina groaned. She seemed to be in some sort of pain. Bette stood, pulled Angelica to her in a motion that seemed protective of the baby. This seemed to upset Tina even more. Bette's eyes blinked.

Dr. McPherson walked in and the women made a path for him.

"How are we doing, this morning, Tina?"

"She seems upset. I put Angelica near her and she freaked."

"Tina doesn't have a way to communicate her feelings right now. What looks like upset, might very well be feelings of deep happiness. I realize that all of you want to see her and spend time with her, but she needs restorative rest."

McPherson slapped a thermometer on Tina's forehead and listened to Bette while he waited for the reading. "So I'm wondering if-if we should keep to the schedule we've been using. I'm here, her mom and sister come in, and all of her friends each day."

He glanced at his chart. "All of you have done your part, now it's Tina's turn to shine. She will need your support, but her next tasks are hers alone. Tina won't be in the room much starting tomorrow. We're arranging appointments for her for rehabilitation—physical and speech throughout the day, everyday. The sooner we can get her on her feet and acclimated into her old life, the better." He looked at her temperature read out. "98.7. Good. I'm sorry, but I think Tina probably needs a break. It's all been a bit much for her."

"What about her mother and sister? They'll want to see her today."

"That's fine. Starting tomorrow, we'll have to re-work the schedule."

Bette thanked him and then guided the group out of the room. Everyone called out their goodbyes and left.

Tina's eyes blinked and she looked at the doctor who now sat on the edge of the bed. He held her hand and smiled down at her. "Tina. Hello. I'm Dr. McPherson. I've been taking care of you for the past few weeks. You're doing well and I'm going to do everything I can to make you feel better."

Tina groaned, her mouth twisting as she tried to form a word.

Dr. McPherson smiled. "Good girl. Dr. McPherson is hard to say. You can call me Henry."


Helena Peabody walked into Tina's room as if she owned the place. Her head was held high and when she nodded at the nurse in the room, the simple head gesture exuded superiority. She dropped her black, Fendi leather Selleria tote in the chair and walked over to Tina's bed.

The nurse, who really didn't like Helena Peabody, but loved her clothes, smiled at her, admiring the ice blue Italian wool jacket. Under the jacket, Helena was wearing a grey ribbed sweater and grey pleated skirt with a ruffled black petticoat underneath. Ms. Peabody was stylish, but haughty. "That's a beautiful outfit."

"Yes," Helena answered, not acknowledging the compliment, but agreeing with the assessment. Helena focused on Tina. "Good morning, Tina."

The nurse turned back to what she was doing, wrapping the monitor's cord around the body of the machine and starting to roll it out of the room. The position of the bed seemed different and it hit Helena that only one of the three monitors remained. Just as the nurse was leaving, Helena stopped her. "Pardon me. Why are you removing the monitors?"

"Miss Kennard has effectively come out of her coma. She's aware, has shown an ability to communicate on a simple level, blinking yes and no. She's…"

"Have you notified her partner?"

"Miss Porter was here in the middle of the night. I believe she saw her around three or four this morning and again around eight am, Ms. Porter arrived with their child and some of their friends." The nurse gladly passed this information to Helena. She sensed that it would infuriate her, being excluded, but the woman deserved a taste of her own medicine. Helena always made the nurse feel like she was an irritating pest that couldn't be swatted away.

"I see." Helena paused, trying to decide what she should do. "Very well."

The nurse left the room and Helena pulled the chair up next to Tina's bed. "Hello, darling." Helena was seething, but she pretended for an awakening Tina. "This is the best news. Tina, I'm thrilled. You'll be up and about in no time. Head of Development is still yours, of course. You did hear that, didn't you, love? And there's a woman I want you to work with. Her name is Dylan and if I can convince her, you'll work hand-in-hand. Tina, I do care for you and only wish you the best."

After leaving the Center, everyone drove to The Planet. Kit was having a celebratory breakfast for the group. They sat a large table. Shane passed around a basket of muffins while a waitress placed fruit plates in front of each woman. Kit was walking up the hallway that led from her office to the main seating area when Angus sauntered in. He saw her right away.

"Kit?" The way he said her name made her weak.

"Hi, Angus."

He walked to the hallway and moved her back in the direction she had just come. "How's it goin'? I just heard that your sister-in-law has seen the light at the end of that dark tunnel."

"Yeah, last night she started coming out of it. I'll tell you, Angus, my sister is magic. She knew what it would take to reach Tina and she did it. I'm always telling her about the bridges of love this just proves my point. Nothing happened until Bette crossed that bridge and went to get Tina, reminded her of their love."

"Wow. Cool." He stared at her like she was the most fascinating person alive. "You really believe that? That love conquers all, can bridge any gap?"

"I do. I definitely do."

"I might be reminding you of that someday."



"I was just going out to sit with Bette. We're all so excited."

"Okay. I came by to wish you guys well." He stared at her. "I'm so lying. I came by because I woke up this morning wanting to see you." He laughed. "There's something about you, Kit Porter that I'm finding hard to resist."

Kit laughed nervously. "Oh, Angus. You're so funny." She walked in front of him. "See you later, okay."

"You can count on it."

He watched her walk into the main room. His eyes took her in and he gawked at her round ass with a look that said he'd be holding it soon.

Shane watched Kit cross the room and saw the way the guy stared at her, too. "Kit, who's that back there?"

"That's Angus, Tina's music therapist."

"Did you hook up with him?"

"No." She laughed. "No. No, no, no."


"He's just a man."

Bette smiled at her knowingly. "Protesting too much, Kit." Kit was predictable in many ways. She always loved musicians; she preferred men slightly younger, when a guy paid attention, Kit was usually giving him the go ahead, and when she protested this strongly, all systems were go.

"Nu-uh," Kit uttered behind her grin.

"I'm going to have to take off soon," Bette said. "I've got to go back home and get Theresa, then…"

Bette watched Helena stroll into The Planet. She made a beeline to their table. Bette sighed audibly. At the Center, she had realized that Helena hadn't been contacted. Alice, Shane, and Carmen looked up to see what had drawn Bette's attention away.

Helena walked directly up to Bette. "A word?"

Bette stood, handing Angelica to Alice who immediately started to play with the baby's fingers. Bette walked across the room with Helena, but when Helena continued to the outside deck and farther still to the table at the most eastern end of the restaurant, Bette knew she was in for a serious dressing down. "Helena?"

The two women stood face to face and eye-to-eye. "Bette, it is bloody amazing that you'd have the audacity to ask for my assistance and then choose to ostracize me and not notify me of this change in Tina's health. I have to tell you, I don't appreciate it."

"Helena, it was an…an oversight."

"It was done deliberately. I will not tolerate it."

"You won't tolerate it?" Bette stared her down. "You… don't run…" Bette shook her head, "or own my life. I know that you're under the misguided impression that you do have that kind of control over me considering all of the damage you managed to cause in my life, but you're mistaken." Bette crossed her arms and stared at her. "I asked you for help, not for me, but for Tina. You were in a relationship with her not two months ago. You were fucking Tina for nearly five months and I assume that you'd still be fucking her if she hadn't decided to reconcile with me. So, yes, I went to you, but I don't believe that I owe you anything. Any favor I've asked of you is for Tina. Anything you choose to do regarding Tina is for Tina, not for me. I don't owe you anything."

"Is that so?" Helena was not going to just give in or back down. She showed up at The Planet ready to go at it with Bette and she wasn't going to allow Bette to lecture her, then return to her seat in triumph. That would not be the case.


"When you rang me the other night, you sounded rather desperate, Bette. Perhaps you didn't say the exact words, but you certainly implied that despite our differences, you were coming to me because you needed my help. Not Tina, but you. I agreed to help you and we had a fairly decent conversation. I was the one who offered an olive branch and you were the one who chose not to accept it."

Bette's expression changed. Helena spoke the truth. "Helena, when you walked in here, I knew you were pissed and I knew why. I swear to you, it was an oversight. But you don't want to hear that. You walk in here with this attitude and then try to turn it around on me. Look, I'm feeling better than I have in weeks. I'm not going to let you take that from me today. It will never be easy for me to think of you as one of the group, but I know that you've befriended Alice and I accept that you and Tina now have a history together. We have had a tight little family for years. You're an outsider."

Helena looked over at the table of women. "Carmen?"

"It's different. She's the girlfriend."

"And I am…the interloper, the uninvited guest?"

Bette didn't respond which was an answer in itself.


Theresa Kennard sat next to her daughter's bed. Tina had had her daily sponge bath and shampoo. Her hair was shiny, but it was tangled. Theresa took her time gently brushing the tangles out.

"Honey, you remember when I used to do this for ya when you were a little somethin'? My lord, if you weren't a holy terror. You'da thought I was stabbin' your head the way you carried on, jumpin' around, screamin' 'bout how I was hurtin' you. I'm not hurtin' you now, am I, honey?"

Tina blinked twice.

"Good." Theresa finished Tina's hair because only one side needed to be brushed. The other side was still mostly stubble from where it had been shaved weeks ago when Tina had the tube inserted to drain spinal fluid.

Tina's eyes shifted back and forth.

"What is it?"

Tina frowned after trying to get her mouth to form words. Theresa leaned in.


"Bette? You're askin' for Bette?"

Tina blinked her eye once and said, "Beh…Beh…Beh."

"She just stepped away. She'll be back in a few minutes."

"Beh. Beh." Tina's voice sounded thick and cottony.

Theresa recalled thirty-five years earlier when her little infant had said her first words, "ma-ma" and how thrilling that had been. There had never been a word spoken that had meant more to her. She had a feeling that Bette would feel the same way when she heard Tina calling for her.

Harrison, Dana's mixed doubles partner pulled his convertible BMW into a parking space in front of The Planet. Dana looked at him with complete annoyance.

"Harrison, I just told you I didn't fucking want to come here."

"But I want one of those protein smoothies and they're awesome here."

"God, why can't you ever just listen to me? Why couldn't we just get smoothies at the Club?"

"Because the smoothies are better here, Dane. What's your prob?"

"Nothing. I'm not going in." Dana crossed her arms over her breasts and pouted.

"Fine. I'll be right back." Harrison jumped out of the car and ran around the back and headed for the door.

"Get me one, okay? The mango," Dana shouted.

Alice was walking down the street, heading for her car when she heard Dana's voice. She turned and saw her ex sitting in Harrison's car. It took Alice two seconds to decide to backtrack. Dana was an obsession. She needed to see her, talk to her, even get a whiff of the Shower Fresh Degree deodorant that she used. God, she just had to be near her.

Alice trotted back down the street and when she was about ten feet away, she called out to her, "Dana? Hi."

Dana's eyes enlarged. Guilt colored her expression, but in moments, profound happiness seized her heart and moved up to her face. Dana sprung from the car. "Hi, Al. How are you? I was thinking about you."

Alice lowered her head, but her eyes shyly gazed up at Dana. "Yeah? What were you thinking?"

"I don't know. You know."

"No, what?"

The two were playing a game, but neither of them realized it.

"I miss you, Al. The last couple of days have been hell."

"What are you saying?" Alice hoped that Dana was having a change of heart.

"I don't know. I'm really confused."

"How's Lara?" Alice wasn't sure what kind of answer she'd find acceptable. She supposed she wanted to hear that Dana had no idea how Lara was doing because she hadn't seen her. She knew she wouldn't hear that.

"Lara's all right, I guess. We're not really speaking."

"Hmmm. Wow. I thought you were going to start seeing her and…"

"Alice?" Dana hesitated. "Alice?"

Alice stared at her.

Dana closed the space between them, put her arm around Alice's waist, and pulled her to her. "Alice," she breathed into Alice's neck. "Alice. Alice, I'm sorry. I'm a moron. You're a wonderful person. You're my very best friend."

Alice stepped back. "What are you trying to say, Dana? What are you telling me?"

"Alice?" Dana looked at her. She didn't know what she wanted to say. "Do you want to get together tonight?"


"Yeah, uh-huh. We can go to dinner or for a drive or…whatever you want."

"A drive would be good." Alice stared at her. She thought she probably shouldn't ask, but she wanted to know what was going on. "Did you change your mind about us?"

Dana stared at the ground. She kicked it with the toe of her shoe and Alice waited, wondering if Dana was going to end this bit with an 'aw shucks.'

"Al, I want both of you." Dana let out a sigh.

"You want to date me and Lara?"

"Not exactly."

"I don't know what you're saying."

"I'm in love with both of you. Al, I'm miserable without you. Ever since I packed up my stuff and left, you're all I can think about."

"But you're thinking about Lara, too?"

"Yeah, I can't seem to help it. I want to be with both of you and I don't mean date."

Alice was beginning to put two and two together, and what she was coming up with didn't equal four, but three. "You should tell me what you mean."

Dana looked into The Planet and saw Harrison giving the cashier money for the smoothies. "He's on his way back. We can't talk now. Can I come get you tonight? We'll go to the beach and watch the sunset?"

"Okay. See you around what? Five?"

"I'll be there."

Dana hugged Alice goodbye and opened the car door just as Harrison came out.

"Hi, Alice. How's it hangin'?"

"Okay. Yeah, okay."

It was almost 11am and Bette continued to hold Tina's hand.

"I love you. You mean everything to me, Tee. I learned so much this past year. I realize what's important. Losing Daddy and almost losing you has shown me something. I was always a good student and these lessons have been painful, but I did learn. I am with you one hundred percent, baby. I almost lost you because of my own foolishness, then to Helena, and finally this coma. I've learned. I've learned. Fuck my dry cleaning. Fuck my career. Fuck me for asking you to take care of everything. Do you hear what I'm saying, Tee? Do you understand?"

Tina blinked once.

"We'll start anew. Maybe, we'll go away when you're well—the three of us back to Nepal or to wherever you want. We'll get away and…" Bette bit her lower lip. "I love you." She glanced at the Willitis clock by Frank Lloyd Wright that she had placed beside Tina's bed. Her time was running out. Bette didn't want to leave Tina, but she couldn't stomach Stephanie who always arrived just after eleven. "Baby, I'll be back later. I love you." Bette stood, kissed Tina's lip balm-covered lips, and started to turn.

She turned back to Tina when she heard her say, "Luh…Beh."

Bette's head tilted to the side. Her bottom lip quivered. "Did you tell me you love me?"

Tina blinked.

Bette grinned, holding back the tears she felt rising from her heart. She squeezed Tina's hand, then got her things together, and left. She and Angelica were gone by the time Stephanie arrived. Bette didn't care that her sister-in-law was for some reason offended by her very existence, but the way Stephanie shunned her only niece was undeserved and as far as Bette was concerned, unforgivable.

Tina was sleeping when Stephanie arrived around eleven-thirty. Theresa looked up from the Jonathan Kozol book she had started the night before.

"I've been trying to reach you on your cell," she said to her youngest.

"I can't get that thing to work out in the Valley. I can't get a decent signal. Maybe I need Verizon or something." Stephanie walked to the table and picked up the book that her mother had just placed on the table. She looked at the cover and frowned thinking it was some liberal trash.

Theresa ignored her daughter's scowl. "There's good news. Tina's awake now."

Stephanie marched over to the bed and looked at her sister. "Hi, Tina. It's me, Steph. You awake? How are you? We've been here everyday. Mom and I are so worried about you. We came out as soon as we could." Stephanie bent to be closer and whispered in her ear, though Tina wasn't showing signs of being alert. In fact, she was sleeping. "We want you to get the proper care. We're doing what we can to make that happen. Bette Porter's tried to help, but she's not really equipped. She's still not working and can't afford to take care of you. We have to work fast, Tina. We're going to help you, but we've got to do it quickly."

Theresa stood up. "What are you sayin'?"

"Welcoming Tina back to us, Mom."

Theresa stood at her chair for a moment. She figured that Stephanie couldn't do much if she stepped away for a few minutes. "I'm going to get a bite to eat. Do you want anything, honey?"

"No, I'm good."

Theresa walked out and Stephanie bent to Tina again. "You've been working so hard. I don't know if anyone appreciates all that you've been doing in there." She tapped on Tina's temple. "I know you don't want to hear this now, but we need to get the ball rolling. You've come so far, but you have a lot more to do. I want to help you. I don't think Bette has your best interests in mind, right now. You're the mother of the baby. I think that's what's important to her. Mom and Bette will tell you that she is only concerned about your welfare, but I don't know. I mean, think about how she hurt you. When I think about all that she did and now, how she has no desire to find work, but knows that you need care… I don't get it, Tina. I really can't get behind her on this, no matter how much I like her and honestly, I have nothing against her."

It was a nice Southern California morning. It was late enough in the morning that the clouds were beginning to burn off and the sun make itself known. Bette was sitting at the pool, her feet dangling in the water. She held Angelica and every few seconds, bounced her feet in the warm, chlorinated water. Tina was in the house, but she could hear Angelica squeal and Bette's amused, maternal chuckle as she was getting ready to leave. It had taken a while to choose the right outfit, but she finally decided on a skirt and a men's cut shirt that had her nursing breasts practically tumbling out. Tina knew she was running late, but still had things to do. Funny, when Bette was working full-time and Tina was home, Bette never had to worry about getting clothes together, preparing a decent breakfast, and she certainly wasn't pumping milk. Bette had it easy and much of that was because Tina contributed in a way that facilitated a breeziness to their routine. Now that their roles were reversed, Bette did virtually nothing to make Tina's life easier. While she was racing around the house, Bette played with Angelica by the pool. It was ludicrous.

Tina walked into the backyard to bitch about Bette's lack of awareness and assistance.

"What are you doing?" Tina took a quick gulp of coffee and then put on her shoes.

"We are cooling our tooties."

"I've got a meeting in 40 minutes and I haven't even fed her yet. I haven't even set up the pump." Bette could have at least pulled the pump out, connected it, so that Tina could breastfeed. But, no, Bette was just playing with the baby as if nothing else was going on in the world.

"I'm sure they'll hold the meeting for you. You're the boss now, aren't you?" Bette's lackadaisical response to everything that was important to Tina infuriated her.

"That might be how you treated your subordinates, but I don't like to keep people waiting."

"Well, I never called my colleagues my subordinates." Bette wasn't even bothering to speak to Tina. She was much more interested in Angelica and all of her comments were addressed to the baby. "But you know what? Your Mama Tee is a little stressed right now. She has her very first big staff meeting."

"I don't even have time to pump now. I'll just do it later. Can you pick up my dry cleaning, please?" Tina asked, but she assumed Bette would squawk about that. She couldn't count how many times she had dropped off Bette's expensive Dolce and Gabanna suits or her Dana Buchman silk blouses at the cleaners. She never complained, never said a word because that was her contribution to the family, making sure that Bette was taken care of. Tina didn't even bother waiting for the affirmative answer she knew would never come.

Bette whispered to Angelica, "And now she thinks that just because, for this once, she's the one to bring home the bacon that we should jump through burning hoops."

Angelica cooed and laughed at Mama B's words.

Bette didn't understand how hard she was working. It was true, Tina enjoyed working at the studio, but that didn't mean it wasn't hard work. It was intense and she spent just as much time soothing egos, as she did greenlighting projects or nixing them, dealing with creative filmmakers like Josh or that new intellectual documentarian, Dylan that Helena told her about in their last meeting. She was the one jumping through hoops at work and at home since she wasn't getting the help she expected there.

Bette needed to find a job. That couldn't be anymore apparent.

Carmen was in the converted garage/studio putting together a new demo CD. Through Kit and her contacts, Carmen was getting a new set of clientele. Russell Simmons was a definite and Shane had said it was okay with her if Carmen missed her opening at Wave to deejay Simmons' party. She wanted to support Shane on her big day, but this was bound to lead to bigger things for her. This was what Carmen had been wanting as much as Shane had wanted her own shop. If she brought the house down with her mixes, she could be assured that she'd get work with Beyonce, Kanye West, Pink, Pharell, Marc Antony and Jennifer Lopez, and Usher. Sean Combs was known for his parties. If you worked one of his—catering, florists, swag gifts, or deejaying, you'd be on the A-list for service the rest of the year. Carmen guessed that she could easily bring in six figures before the end of 2006 if she played her cards right.

Carmen's ear was pressed against one headphone, her head moved to the beat, as she mixed, re-mixed, and turned Mariah Carey' and Snoop Dogg's three minute and forty second "Say Somethin'" into a fourteen minute sexual dance beat. Carmen was lost in the sounds rushing into her head that she didn't hear Shane enter the room or slip up behind her. When Shane's arms encircled Carmen's waist, Carmen jumped two feet, but turned into Shane to face her.

"Hi. How's it goin'?"

"Totally fuckin' great. Check this out." Carmen rewound the tape she was using to practice on. She hit play and leaned against the table while Shane stood in the middle of the room listening.

Shane's head nodded. "It is hot, Carmen."

Carmen danced over to Shane, and shook her hips and ass to the music. She turned around and made her butt vibrate against her lover, before turning again to grab Shane's head and try to swallow her tongue. Shane stepped back, "Whoa. Baby, I can't. I came out to tell you I have to go to Wave to work on my space. I'll be back by seven."

Carmen smiled that seductive smile that always made Shane melt and obey. "Are you sure?"

"I'm not sure, but I know I should." Shane backed away.

"You know what my music does to me."

"I know."

Carmen slipped her hand down her tight shorts. When her fingers came out, she showed them to Shane. "I'm so fucking wet."

Shane's resolve was…no, Shane had no resolve. She moved closer, grabbed Carmen's hand and held it tightly. She brought her fingers to her nose and inhaled deeply. "Ummm. " She was just about to lick them, when Carmen pulled them from her grasp.

"Go to Wave, but know what's waiting for you when you get back."

Shane nodded robotically. "I'll be back by six." She laughed at the change in hour.

Same day, around 6:20pm

Dana had picked Alice up at her apartment at exactly five o'clock, so they were hitting rush hour that was heading west on Santa Monica Blvd. Dana was nervous and weaved in and out of traffic.

"What beach do you want to go to?" Dana asked. Her heart pounded in her chest.

"I talked to Helena Peabody and she gave me her security code. She said it would be fine to go to her place."

"I kinda wanted to walk on the beach with you."

"She has a beach right outside her back door."

"Uh-huh. I don't really want to go to Helena's house."

"We'll just walk through the side. We can get to the beach from there. It's almost a private beach. I mean it's accessible, but people know that it's somebody's backyard, so it's quiet. That's what she told me anyway."


"Dana, what's going on with you?"

Dana turned onto the #1. The Hondas and Toyotas were becoming few and far between and now she passed Jaguars, Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, and even a few Bentleys. "I feel kind of queasy."

"Do you want to stop?"

"No. I'll be fine once we get there."

They drove in silence the last 15 minutes. Alice figured that if Dana was going to suggest what she thought she was going to suggest, that was reason enough to feel unsettled. All morning and afternoon, Alice had thought about the possibility of what Dana had hinted at and circled around. Lara was cute and if it meant being with Dana, maybe she'd try it. Then she reconsidered—because Dana couldn't choose, didn't mean that Dana should have her cake and eat it, too. How was that fair to Lara or Alice? And these polyamorous relationships never work—there's jealousy, cheating, and what would their friends say? Alice sat in the passenger's seat and rolled her eyes. Maybe she was reading way too much into what Dana had said. Dana would probably be shocked to learn that Alice had thought Dana wanted a three-way.

Alice directed Dana to make a U-turn at the light, then head south on the #1 about two blocks.

"Pull in there. That's her place."

Dana pulled the car into the gravel driveway and drove all the way to the end where there was pavement. She turned the car around to make it easier to depart and get back on PCH. She got out of the car, went around to the back, popped the hood and quickly pulled a small package of Trident out of her jean shorts. She unwrapped it and chewed it as she pulled out a small wine basket that contained a bottle and two glasses, and a blanket. She tossed the gum into the bushes, laughed, and went to the passenger's side of the car where Alice stood gaping at Helena's house.

"It's incredible, isn't it? So typically Californian."

"Yeah," Dana stared at it, too. "It's like something Mike Brady would have built."

Alice turned and looked at her incredulously. "You're kidding, right? You think Mike Brady was a good architect."

"Yeah, he totally was."

"Ugh. He wasn't."

"The Brady house was way cool, Al."

"Think about it. Even if Carol and the girls hadn't moved in, they didn't have enough room. Three boys and one bathroom? Nah. What was Mike thinking? And all of that time he could have built on, at least added another bathroom, he never did. So Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Bobby, Peter, and Greg shared. Tell me that isn't disgusting?"

"It was cool."

"I bet you didn't share a bathroom with Howie."

"No, but..."

"That's my point, Dane. Your Dad's not even an architect and he knew you needed bathrooms, plural. It's not like Mike couldn't afford it. He was bringing in good money as an architect."

"Well, they did have three and a half. One for Mike and Carol, one for the kids, one for Alice, the maid, and that one by the front door."

"Yeah, one for six kids who turned into six teenagers. Gross."

Dana nodded. "Then what about Samantha and Darren. I mean, she was a witch and they only had one bathroom. She could have easily waved her arms around and they could have had twenty bathrooms."

"Sam and Darren had a master bathroom. I'm pretty sure Tabitha had one. I've never counted Adam as part of the family because he was a toddler when the reruns got stupid, and there was a bathroom off of Darren's office on the first floor."

"I dunno." Dana shrugged. "I was watching Bewitched for the magic."

"Oh, please. I've watched Nick at Night with you. You were so not watching the magic. Dane, you were watching Samantha's cousin, Serena."

Dana grinned. "God, she was so hot. You know that was really Elizabeth Montgomery, too?"

Alice stared at Dana and shook her head in exasperation. Dana smiled at Alice and her heart doubled its rhythmic beating. Even a conversation as silly as this one had been was fun and exciting with Alice. How could she walk away from her? She couldn't.

"Ready? Let's go."

They walked the narrow path to the beach. Alice led the way single-file, but Dana reached out her arm and grabbed Alice's hand, holding it all the way to the sand.

Helena was seated behind her large desk at Shaolin Film Studios. Dylan, a tall, thin, short-haired, brunette sat across from her and in the other chair was Danny, some non-descript guy who Helena had barely noticed. Helena had already decided she wanted to hire Dylan in her Documentary Film Department. Helena took a sip of tea while Dylan drank from the bottle of Perrier she had been given.

"What I've been thinking is a string of films with a good, strong message about the underdog. There's no reason Michael Moore should walk away with all the top honors for documentary. I want Shaolin to do films that will change people's outlook and change the world."

"My expertise is something grittier than a Michael Moore type production and nothing as manipulative as Born into Brothels."

"Fahrenheit 911 and Born into Brothels are both excellent films, Oscar winners.

"Sell outs. Establishment docs," Danny chimed in with disdain.

Helena ignored him. She just really didn't like men. They were boring and always thought that they could outwit her. She hadn't met one who could. Women were far more interesting. Winnie had been eccentric, playful, and unconventional in every way with her theatrical leanings, Tina was fascinating with her nurturing and earth mother ways; her grant proposal had absolutely captivated her, even Bette Porter was intriguing because she could bring out such extreme reactions in her. Dylan was mesmerizing. Self-assured, confident, and brilliant. This Danny was taking up much needed oxygen. Helena wondered why Dylan was wasting time with this sodding idiot. "I realize, Dylan that your work is grittier. I could see that with your rap and hip hop films, however, those documentaries really have a small niche. I'm trying to reach the masses. That is my idea."

"That's all in marketing, Ms. Peabody. I think there's a voice and room for success with our films, too."

"Again, please call me Helena, Dylan." It could have been a normal, hormonal boost in her libido, but she suspected there was a real attraction there. As they talked in her office, Helena was thinking about a good old-fashioned shagging with Dylan. She had gone without for a while. She and Tina hadn't made love weeks before their break up and when Helena pursued Leigh Ostin, Leigh was still recovering from Valerie going back to New York. She wasn't ready for a sexual relationship. Alice had caught her eye momentarily since the tarot card reader had said that a woman with a blue car would come her way, but she really felt nothing more than friendship for Alice. The only other woman she felt sexual toward was someone she wanted nothing to do with. The idea of making love to that woman was so forbidden in her mind that she was repulsed when she had those thoughts. Dylan was a welcomed distraction, but she was more. At least, Helena wanted it to be so much more.

"What Dylan is saying is that you can sell our documentaries just as easily as you can…" Danny, the boyfriend/filmmaking partner said.

"Please," she held up her hand to stop him. "You needn't tell me what Dylan said. She was quite clear."

"But what I wanted to mention..."

"I believe I've heard enough." Helena stood and began walking toward the door. She made sure the man was well out of her office as she held Dylan back. "I want you to be the Head of Documentary Development.

"What about Danny?"

"This isn't a team effort. I want you." Helena looked into Dylan's eyes and her hand rested on Dylan's back. "I can send you the papers today."

"I need to think about it. Danny and I have worked together for years, we're partners, we live together."

"Give it some thought, yeah? I think you'll find the package quite attractive."

Helena could feel all kinds of sexual vibes bouncing off of Dylan and landing all over her. Dylan had said no fewer than six times that she and Danny live together and are boyfriend/girlfriend. Still, Helena was picking up something else there.

She touched Dylan just above her wrist. "You will be given complete freedom here to do with this position as you wish. You'll have total control." She hoped that Dylan took this in both the ways she meant it.

Dana and Alice had walked up and down the Malibu beach for an hour. Every time Dana started to say something, she'd stutter and say, "Never mind."

"I'm getting tired. Can we sit down?"

"I thought you'd never ask. My left arm is going to be monster size compared to the right. I've been holding wine, glasses, and a beach towel."

"Why didn't you say something?"

Dana shrugged. She found a nice, quiet spot and spread the towel out. The both plopped down and Dana made every effort to open the bottle, but was having no luck. "This corkscrew is crap."

"I'll do it." Alice took the bottle and easily opened it.

"I got it ready for you."

"Yeah, right."

Alice poured each of them some Chardonnay. She took a sip. "This is good."

"From my father's wine cellar."

"Ooh, how do I rate? Does he know? Will he come after me?"

"Don't worry, Al. My father likes you."

Alice nodded. "The Fairbanks are good people."

Dana stared out at the setting sun as it pressed itself into the ocean and Alice stared at the Pacific waves. The sun was as bright as Alice's smile, as warm as her skin against Dana's. The waves moved close and then moved away, so much like Dana—promising intimacy, but withdrawing at the last moment. For long moments they watched nature's version of each other. Finally Alice couldn't take it anymore. "Why are we here, Dana?"

"Alice, I don't really want to break up with you."

"But you did break up with me and you totally broke my heart. I feel like everything's broken and right now I'm feeling hopeful and maybe I shouldn't. Cause, I don't know what you want so I think you might break my heart again if I let you in."

Dana moved closer, turned to face her. "I'm broken, too. I want to make it all right."

"Maybe this is a conversation we should be having with Lara."

"What do you mean?"

"Dana, you said that you want both of us, but you don't want to date us. There's only one thing that can mean. Is this some kind of Big Love thing? Are we supposed to all live together as a triple?"

Dana sipped the wine. She scratched the space between her nose and upper lip. "It sounds strange. I love you guys. What am I supposed to do?"

Alice laughed. She nearly howled. Her head was thrown back and she laughed heartily. "Dana, you slept with two people in your whole life until last year. Melissa and the tennis star whose name we dare not speak. Then last year, you crashed through that wall—Lara, Tonya, me, and now you want me and Lara together. Jesus!"

"It's a stupid idea. I don't know what I was thinking. It's insane. It sounds even more stupid when you say it aloud."

"I just want to be with you. I don't want to share," she said decidedy. Alice thought that if Lara and Dana weren't speaking, then now was her chance to change Dana's mind. She leaned in and placed her hand behind Dana's neck, pulling her toward her. Alice scooted closer and kissed her. She put everything into this kiss. Her mouth opened wide and her tongue thrust deep and hard into Dana's mouth. For Dana, Alice's kiss felt like she was being mouth fucked. She moaned and started giving as good as she was getting.

Dana's hand moved to Alice's breast. She massaged her breast through the pink, cotton, spaghetti strap tank top. She pinched her hardening nipple and her heart skipped a beat when she heard that throaty groan that was all Alice. They were still kissing and if Dana thought that Alice couldn't go deeper with that tongue of hers, she was about to find out how wrong she was.

"Holy shit!" Dana gasped. "Oh, Al."

Shane walked into the house she shared with Carmen at exactly 6:03pm. "Don't blame me, blame Sawtelle Boulevard. Every friggin' person knows my shortcut." Carmen didn't answer. "Carm? Carmen?"

Shane headed to the kitchen, on her way to the garage to check for Carmen when she heard music coming from the bedroom. Shane turned and walked to their bedroom. When she walked in Carmen was listening to the demo CD she had made. But this wasn't some innocent scene where a deejay was checking out her work. Carmen had headphones on and that was all. Shane almost fell to her knees as she watched Carmen move. Shane managed to walk to the player and pull out the headphones. Carmen pushed the headphones off her head, but never lost her beat. Mariah and Snoop were in the middle of singing and Carmen was singing along with it as she moved to the beat:

I'm over here
Looking at you
You're over there
Watching me too
Both painting pictures of
Of how we'll kiss and hug

So what we gonna do?
(So what ya gonna do? What ya gonna do?)

Shane stared at Carmen and while she did, she slowly unbuttoned her white shirt.

Tell me why we're standing here
The moment's passion's all so clear
You've got my mind blown
And baby, I'm ready to go

Shane watched Carmen's hips move while she toed the heel of her Converse sneakers and pushed it off, then did the same to the other shoe.

Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey
If it's worth your while
Do something good to me

(Let's make it)
Hot as you can stand it
Something like volcanic

Shane felt the tension. She glided off her jeans and pulled her boy shorts off, too. Carmen, though wrapped up in her dance, was piercing Shane with her stare.

Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey
If it's worth your while
Do something good to me.

Shane pulled Carmen to her. "You want it? You want it this bad?"


She threw Carmen onto the bed and leapt in next to her. "I want it, too."

7: 05pm

Theresa and Stephanie were out with Stephanie's soon to be relatives-in-law. Stephanie's fiancé's cousins took to the chain of family Mexican restaurants called Acapulco for dinner.

Bette was home alone with Angelica. Bette had read 'Pat the Bunny' and Angelica had fallen asleep in her arms. She put Angelica in her crib and then walked into the bathroom to shower. Dressed only in her pale blue robe, Bette stretched out on the sofa reading ARTNews for the first time in over two months. She sipped a glass of wine and listened to Cecilia Bartoli's Mozart Arias.


Kit was standing in the alley behind the Planet watching as a small delivery truck dropped off an order of coffees and teas. The back door opened and Angus stepped out.

"Angus, what are you doing here?"

"This is the only place I know I can find you," he said with a smile.

"Did you need something?"

"Other than you? No, not really." Angus wondered if she could really be this dense. He was so hot for her that a person sitting on a park bench 3000 miles away in Central Park could see it. The newspapers should be covering the story.

"So what's up?"

"I…wanted…to see you, Kit."

The delivery guy walked in front of them and through the door leaving Angus alone with Kit in the alley. "You know, maybe I should just get this over with. Once this is done, then we can move on to something else."

"What?" Kit said cluelessly.

"This." With that one word, Angus moved in, leaned in, pulled Kit to him, and kissed her soundly on the mouth.

It came as a surprise to Kit, but she returned the kiss and deepened it. Suddenly she pulled back and said, "What the fuck?"

"It's called kissing and it's something I love to do."

"Uh, well you're good at it, too."


"How am I going to do the right thing when you keep trying to get me to do the wrong thing?" Kit stared into his eyes.

"I think you're confusing the wrong thing with the right thing. This is right. As much as I'm feeling it, you must be feeling it, too. I'm not wrong, Kit."

"No, you're not, but Angus, you're a lot younger and…"

"And nothing. You feel good in my arms. He pushed her against the stucco and brick wall in the alley and pressed into her, kissing her hard. Her arms came up and wrapped around his neck. She gasped and pushed him away slightly, looking down at the front of his pants.

"God, I'm so sorry. Embarrassed."

He tried to turn away, but Kit grabbed him by his arms and pulled him to her again. "Don't be. I like knowin' I cause that kind of reaction."

He didn't hide his feelings when he pressed into her again.


Alice pushed Dana onto the beach towel. She quickly looked left and right and saw that they had the beach to themselves. Alice yanked off her tank top and Dana's hands covered her immediately. Dana palmed her breasts, circled her nipples, pinched them, then raised herself up to suck on them. Alice moaned, but she maneuvered away from Dana's reach and then bent to bite down hard on Dana's nipple while she pinched the other one just as hard. Dana's hips moved under Alice's body. Alice placed her knees on either side of Dana's leg and her hand traveled down Dana's thigh and then up her tiny shorts.

Dana tried to swat Alice's hand away, but Alice was single-minded. "Al, you can't do this here." Dana said weakly.

"I have to Dane." Alice knew that Dana was protesting just to protest because Dana's knees bent, her legs spread, and her hips tilted up. Alice shifted Dana's panties out of her way and slipped three fingers into her. "Oh, god." Dana started moving against Alice's fingers, pressing forward, pulling back, when Alice thrust deep, Dana pushed hard, when Alice circled Dana's hard clit with her thumb, Dana pinched Alice's stiff nipple. It was getting dark and chilly, but their body heat had them perspiring and dripping their sweat onto each other.

Alice pulled out. "No, Alice. I need you still. Please…don't stop."

Alice yanked Dana's shorts and underwear down and positioned her face between Dana's legs. She shoved her face into her; her tongue working around the inner lips, against her clit, around her hot hole. Her tongue pushed inside and thrust at the entrance. Dana was moaning, grunting, and pressing her fingers into Alice's shoulders. Her body never stopped moving. She was bouncing up and down on the beach towel which was now bunched up under her. Dana was beating her fists into the sand and Alice was moaning there, between her legs like she was having a four star meal at a fine restaurant in Beverly Hills. "Oh, Al. Al."

Alice knew Dana's body better than she knew her own. The sound of the ocean waves was louder, the traffic on PCH could be heard in the background, but nothing was as deafening as Dana's continuous groans. Alice kept licking and sucking.

"Alice. Alice. Yeah, like that, baby. Alice. Oh, god." She tousled Alice's hair with her hand.

"Come in my mouth, Dane. Come for me," Alice mumbled.

Dana screamed and fluid poured over Alice's lips, against her nose and she kept licking.


Helena drove from Burbank to Malibu in her Mercedes. During the drive, her mind was on Dylan. She liked the way the woman looked, but she loved her voice. The timbre was provocative in a way-- low and seductive. Helena could picture her voice even deeper when she was aroused by something she was doing to Dylan. The hum of the Mercedes on the LA roads was doing nothing less than turning her on. She couldn't wait to get back to the beach house.

She pulled into the driveway and saw the Subaru with an 'I Heart Tennis' bumper sticker on the back. Alice and Dana must be here, she thought. Helena entered the house and called out to them, but the house seemed unoccupied. She checked the cameras and there was no activity in any of the rooms. She guessed that they were on the beach.

Helena walked into her bedroom, pulled off her jacket and then her blouse and skirt. She pushed the snaps on the garter belt to remove her stockings. For a moment, she pictured Dylan's hands slowly sliding the stockings down her leg, nuzzling her face just below the waistband of the garter belt. God, she was horny.

She sat on the bed and took off her stockings, then got up and padded to her bathroom.


Shane was wearing a strap-on and she had Carmen on her elbows and knees in front of her. Carmen was pressing back, letting Shane fill her with the dildo. Gravity had her breasts hanging down and Shane reached around to squeeze one breast while she bent over her even more. Shane was just as much on top of Carmen as she was behind her and Shane's hips moved naturally and rhythmically like the toy was a true part of her. "Oh, Shane. Yes. Yes. Yes, baby. Faster. Fuck me faster," Carmen demanded. Shane kept hitting the right spot and Carmen was seeing stars. As fast as Shane was pushing in, Carmen was pressing against her. Carmen clinched around the nine inch tan rubber dick. She was throbbing and she could feel her juices all over the thing. Shane's hand moved from Carmen's breast and down to her triangle. She rubbed her clit fast and it was all Carmen needed. Her legs gave way as she fell flat into the mattress and Shane collapsed on top of her. The dildo still lodged between her legs. She sighed. "Fuck me," Carmen drawled as an exclamation of how spent she was.

Slowly, Shane pulled out and fell onto her back. Her entire body glistened from exertion. Carmen turned her head on the pillow to look at Shane. "You're going to kill me, ya know?" Shane laughed, but Carmen looked at her seriously. "Can I do something for you, now?"

Shane shook her head and pressed the buckle of the harness to unfasten it. "No, I'm good." She paused. "I'm starving. I haven't eaten since breakfast."

"I can make some eggs or something."

"Nah, why don't we shower and go to The Planet." Shane lifted her back and ass and pulled the harness off, the dildo flopping onto the mattress.

Carmen nodded. She pulled herself up and sat on the edge of the bed. She reached behind her and picked up the toy and shook it at her lover. "God, Shane. You know how to work that thing."

Shane laughed. "Well, you'd better hit the shower or you'll have all the lesbians at The Planet coming after you with that sex smell all over you."

"I'll wash this while I'm in there." Carmen grinned at her and stood. "Wanna shower with me?"

"Go ahead and start. I'll be there in a second."

Carmen walked out of the bedroom and down the hall to the bathroom.


Bette finished her glass of wine and placed the glass on the end table. She closed the magazine, took off her reading glasses and put them next to the wineglass. Bette reached for the light and turned it out and then she closed her eyes. It had been a long and exciting day. She had gone to bed the night before hopeless. Since this morning, she had been flying high. In only a few hours, Tina had started communicating a bit. It had taken the memories of Nepal to bring Tina back. Nepal had been meaningful to both of them. That vacation solidified their relationship. They had made love everyday on that trip and each time was more intense and more powerful than the last. They had made love outdoors several times in the cool air with a yak's wool blanket wrapped around them for warmth. They had made quick but passionate love against a tree in a secluded part of a garden. And the morning that Bette had recalled for the two of them was a morning they had made love for hours and it had been magical.

Bette remembered Tina's touch on her. Tina always glided her hands over Bette's breast a little unsure, always a bit nervous, wondering if Bette would be pleased by that touch. How could she not? Tina's hands were wonders, were magnificent, were soft, warm, and could make Bette react in a way that was wholesome on one hand and impure on the other.

Bette loosened the belt on her robe and slid her hand underneath the soft material. Her hand slid over her hip and down her thigh. Her finger traced a line up her inner thigh, over the triangle of hair, and further up, letting the robe fall open completely. Her hand gently rubbed her tummy before moving again. She cupped both her breasts in her hands, squeezed them, felt how firm and round they were. She lifted her hand to her mouth and licked her index finger, then placed it on her nipple, circling it.

She imagined Tina's warm tongue licking her there as her wet finger moved over it. She squeezed her breasts again and pulled on her erect nipples. Bette's hips started to move and her hand roamed back down and between her legs. She opened herself up and felt the heat. She wasn't especially wet, but would be soon. With her eyes closed, she recalled how Tina's fingers would make a pattern over her labia; how Tina would tease her clitoris until it poked out from between the full lips; and then, how Tina would stroke her, building the arousal, and saying to Bette, "Baby, let me hear you." Tina would push two fingers inside Bette and hold unmoving for seconds and then she'd push deeper and pull out a tiny bit before banging into her again. Bette loved it hard, fast, and deep. Over the years, Tina learned exactly what it took to please Bette in bed. Even when Bette was solely 'the top' in the interaction, Tina would sway and undulate her hips in a way that touched all of Bette's highly sensitized parts. Bette, it seemed was the dominate one, but she was the one whose body shook against Tina's; she was the one whose head fell back, eyes staring above, mouth gaping open as Tina brought her to orgasm and she was the one who'd come a second time while getting Tina off. Bette would be between Tina's legs, eating her out and grinding her own pussy into the mattress, her triangle pressing down, and the lower half of her body moving forward and back against the sheets. When Bette would hear Tina getting close, hear those murmurs and mews that Tina couldn't control, feel Tina's legs clench against her head, Bette would move faster, too. Her tongue would circle all around Tina's clit. Her teeth would gently scrape against it and Tina would begin her ascent. Bette would come with her just as she reached up and slipped Tina's nipple in the apex of her middle and index fingers, then squeezed, while massaging her breast. Tina would rise, cry out, fist her hand around Bette's long, wavy hair, and whisper "Oh, Bette."

One of Bette's hands was on her breast, squeezing and pulling while the other was nestled between her legs, rubbing and stroking. She bared her teeth and grimaced as the orgasm built and yanked her over the edge. "Thank you, baby."


Helena had pulled the privacy shade in the bathroom. She had lit two Jo Malone candles to dimly illuminate the room. The fragrance reminded her of the English gardens from her childhood.

The shower temperature was perfect and she stepped in and under the brushed satin nickel Polaris II triple shower head. She let the stream of water drum down on her, relaxing her shoulders and back. Helena picked up another Jo Malone product—154 bath gel. She poured some onto her arms and created a sudsy lather. Her mind went back to Dylan. The woman was mesmerizing. Helena loved creative, artistic types. She wished she didn't. She didn't like having that in common with her mother, but one can't help who turns them on. Dylan's eyes had met hers repeatedly during their meeting. Whenever Helena had looked up from the papers on her desk, Dylan's eyes were fixed on hers. Helena wasn't being scrutinized by Dylan, it was more like a penetrating, 'I want to know all of your secrets' gaze. Helena was ready to spill them.

Helena spread the gel over her chest and down to her breasts. She rubbed the gel into the full orbs and as she did her eyes flickered closed. Her nipples were at full attention—big, hard, and dark pink. Easily she palmed them and licked her lips at how good it felt. Her hands moved up and down the front of her body—from her breasts to her belly, back up, gliding sensually over her body, the slickness of the gel creating a wonderfully feeling slide for her hands. Her mind went to Tina and the last time they had had sex. Tina wasn't the timid lover she had been, waiting for Helena to make every move. Tina had come into her own as a lover. She wondered if Tina and Bette had made love in such a tentative way for seven years. Knowing what she did of Bette, Helena found it hard to believe that she wouldn't have wanted more raw passion in her sexual encounters. Bette was so passionate about everything she did and said that behaving cautiously in bed just didn't ring true to her. Maybe Tina was just being shy with her. Yes, Bette would have insisted on much more. Helena had been around enough women to recognize one who could get wild in bed. Helena shook her head, clearing her thoughts and wondered if like Tina, Dylan could be molded. If she had never been with a woman, Helena would show her how to do it. She loved taking on the challenge of teaching a young woman how to please. And there was nothing like being on the receiving end of someone who was learned or someone being taught. She thought of Dylan's mouth and what it would feel like kissing her and what it would feel like having her mouth all over her body.

Water droplets were all over Helena including dripping from the dark triangle of hair that she now disturbed. She spread her lips open and maneuvered herself so that the stream of water poured against her there. Straight away, she knew that wasn't going to be enough. She pulled the handheld from its cradle and pressed it against her center. That felt good. That was what she needed. She leaned against the tiled wall, spread her legs, and moved the shower head back and forth against her vulva while the other hand pushed against her breast, squeezing and flattening it, flicking the rock hard nipple, running a finger against the spot behind her ear that excited her. Helena looked down and held the shower head with both hands using the powerful stream of water as a massager. She felt the first twitches rise from her and tried to hold back by pulling the shower head away. Helena panted and breathed deep waiting for the arousal to come down a notch. She moved the handheld back, but she started to climb again. Helena wanted to hold out. She let the showerhead drop and hang from its hose, spraying against the wall and waiting for Helena to go to it again. She used her finger on her clitoris, stroking it in a relaxed fashion, just to keep her desire high. She pictured Dylan's spread legs, her private parts open, and Helena saw her finger lightly caressing Dylan's engorged clit. All day, since early this morning she had wanted something. By the time she met with Dylan, she thought she would have taken her on the desk if that guy, what's his name, hadn't been there. The drive home had been torturous. The vibration of the car had made her wet and as she drove west to Malibu, she had reached inside her skirt to prove it to herself. Helena wanted to fuck. She wanted a lover. She was desperate for passion in her life. She feebly moved to the handheld again and pressed it to her. The orgasm came so quickly she didn't have time to pull away. "Oh, God. Oh, yes. Ummm. Fuck, yes."


Shane rolled over in bed. Carmen knew how to give a workout, but Shane hadn't come and she was still hot. Shane turned slightly on her side, raised her leg, bending her knee just above the one below, she grabbed Carmen's pillow and placed it between her legs and began to dry hump it except she wasn't really dry. Shane closed her eyes and thought about Carmen's round, sexy ass. Her mind drifted to other women she had been with. There was something to like about all of them. She remembered that hottie performance artist at the Y2K party with her full lips, broad nose, shaved head, and dark skin; she thought of Tammy who was kind of nutty, but was sweet with big tits and a tight box; Shane couldn't abandon the next thought—Cherie Jaffe, in her black, lace panties, getting her to fuck her good and hard while her husband was making his way to the bedroom. Shane loved women. She absolutely loved them and thinking about all of her late nights and early mornings with this ever growing garden of women turned her on so much. She pushed into the pillow grinding hard, swirling her hips, pressing in. Her clit rubbed against the soft cloth and she felt the orgasm she had been seeking for the past hour an a half start to creep up on her.

Carmen opened the bedroom door, but between the music that still played from the stereo, the sound of the still running shower, and her sexual thoughts, Shane didn't even notice. She just kept riding the pillow while Carmen stood there, jaw open, and looking stunned.

Shane's neck stretched and her back arched as the sharp, shock of her climax ripped through her. She bit down into the pillow and Carmen could hear the muffled, "Oh, yeah. Fuck."

When Shane came down, she pulled the pillow from between her legs and threw it back to the head of the bed on Carmen's side. She turned and swung her legs over to get out of bed. When she looked up, Carmen was staring at her.

"I hope I was the featured attraction of that."

"Hey." Shane was embarrassed. "I guess I did need it afterall."

"Yeah, and you knew it. You just didn't want that with me. You'd rather play with yourself then with your lover. That's great. Just great."

"No, that's not true." Shane stood up and went to Carmen. "That's so not true." She could never tell Carmen that in a way, it was true. She liked to take care of herself, on her terms, without any emotional crap to contend with, but that would break Carmen's heart.

"I think it is." Carmen sniffled.

"Nuh-uh." Shane ducked her head to look into Carmen's eyes that were downcast. "You're who I want." She grabbed Carmen's fingers and pushed them between her legs. "See?"

Shane was sticky and sated, but to please Carmen, she'd go at it again. "Come 'ere and fuck me." Shane dragged her to the bed and fell in first, pulling Carmen on top of her.

"What about the shower?"

"A couple of extra haircuts to pay the water bill. We can handle it."


Tina was asleep and dreaming. The anti-seizure medication she was on gave her such vivid dreams that seemed real to her.

Bette and Tina were in bed. Tina was reading 'Fall on Your Knees' by Ann-Marie MacDonald and so far, she had to agree with Oprah, it was a good book and worthy of her book club. Bette was reading about the Wight Gallery's exhibition of Joel Tauber's art, 'To Believe Much More than That.' Tauber was a Yale grad, too, so she had two reasons to be interested in the review of his work.

Bette had been with Tina for about five years and they had been living together for nearly four. They had fallen into a routine that worked for them. Every now and then, Bette would break out of the routine. Tonight, she did again.

Tina noticed as she read that Bette was surreptitiously moving toward the center of the bed and she smiled to herself. Soon, Bette was beside her. Still reading, Bette turned the page and folded the paper to the next article in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. Bette's leg rubbed against Tina's side. Tina turned to her and smiled. "Hi."

"Good book?"

"Uh, huh?"

"That's good." Bette threw the paper across the bed and she heard the pages float to the floor. "I don't want to pull you from it."

"Okay," Tina pretended she was caught up in the story.

"You just keep doin' what you're doing. All right? Is it okay if I touch you?"

"Of course." Tina offered her hand to Bette as if this could be all that Bette wanted. She smiled when she heard Bette's throaty chuckle just as she took Tina's hand.

Bette turned on her side and seemed content to be close and just hold hands, but Tina knew Bette and this was all part of her long seduction. Tina continued to read. Her eyes moved from left to right and then up to the next page. Bette was doing absolutely nothing to arouse her, but Tina was feeling it. Her green pajama shorts were suddenly uncomfortable. When she breathed in, she could smell the very light application of Jil Sander's No. 4 Eau de Parfum. It smelled so Bette—mysterious yet well-rounded—floral, spicy, woodsy.

Tina was having a hard time concentrating on the book. She wondered when Bette would make her next move.

A good six minutes passed and Tina guessed that Bette was aware that the page hadn't turned. Yet, Tina tried to read. Bette's hand moved. She slipped her hand from Tina's, then held it, using her index finger to trace over the prominent veins. The touch was light, but stimulating. She lifted Tina's arm and put it around her shoulder so that she was cuddled against her and in her embrace. Tina shifted and continued her attempt at reading. Bette moved her body until her head was near Tina's breast. She turned her body in bed so that she was in a fetal position, her face looking up at Tina, her body pressed against her. She rested against Tina's breast and still did nothing. Tina's breathing was becoming more audible as she forced herself to play along with Bette.

"What's the story, anyway?"

"Four sisters and their lives. You know, love, life, death, betrayal, marriage, children, parents."

"Sounds good."

"It is."

A couple more minutes went by before Bette did anything. Her next move was to place her hand over Tina's breast through her pale green, sateen, v-neck tank. Tina held her breath waiting to see what Bette would do. She finally sighed, exhaling that breath when nothing happened. Seconds after she did that, Bette turned her head about 20 degrees until her mouth was at Tina's breast. She moved her hand, placing it under Tina's heavy breast and lifting it to her lips. Bette sucked her lips into her mouth, covering her teeth, then sucked Tina's nipple into her mouth. Tina gasped. God, that felt wonderful. One hand held the book while the other tenderly rubbed Bette's head. The pale green top went dark where Bette's saliva licked and bit. Bette scooted across just as Tina tossed her book onto the floor. She reached and was about to remove her top when Bette stopped her. "Let's keep our clothes on," Bette whispered.

Bette was wearing an eggshell colored tank top with thin straps and a plunging neckline. She also wore thin, gauzy beige pants. Tina and Bette had moved so that they were lying side by side and touching. Tina's hand reached out and tweaked Bette's nipple, then she pushed Bette onto her back and sucked her entire breast into her mouth. Bette groaned loudly and Tina knew that their neighbors probably heard, but she didn't care. Bette grabbed Tina's head and pushed her down hard. Tina had a mouthful of tank top covered breast and she was clutching the other one with her hand. Bette slipped her hand between them, reached down, and massaged Tina's center until Tina's legs spread fully. Bette kept rubbing and soon she was concentrating on the small protrusion of Tina's clit. It felt so incredible to be touched this way—the softness of the fabric, the roughness of Bette's movement with her fingers. Her hand moved to caress Bette in a similar fashion. Tina's index finger rubbed against the full lips, but she feared the gauze being too rough for this sort of action. "Baby, can I put my hand inside your pants?"

Bette grabbed her wrist and plunged it into her pants and Tina didn't hesitate a moment. A competition ensued. They seemed to both want to be the one to get the other off first. Tina was dripping and could feel her fluid sliding down her thigh, down her crack as she lifted and heaved under Bette. "Fuck!" Bette's finger kept sliding across her clit that had grown even larger and obvious with her shorts tight against her skin. Tina grunted. Her upper lip turned up as the pay-off for their quiet evening of reading gave and gave and gave. "Oh, baby. Bette, baby."

Tina groaned and stirred in her hospital bed. Dr. McPherson had been intrigued by the readings coming out of the monitor they had set up for the evening and didn't notice that Tina's actions. Gradually, he became aware of the noises coming from the bed. He turned to look at her. "Tina? Tina? Sssh. Tina?"


"Bette's not here anymore. She's gone. It's okay. I've got you. I'm taking care of you. I've got you. It's me. Henry. I'm here. It's Henry."


The group visiting Tina in her hospital room (Season 3, Episode 6—in Dana's hospital room—Bette: "We love you. Do you know that…?"
Tina's dream sequence about preparing for work (Season 3, Episode 4)
Dr. McPherson (Henry—Season 3, Episode 9)

Part 11

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