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
A month after Angelica's birth
Only part of The Planet was open for business. There was outdoor seating and a path leading from the coffee bar to the patio. Every few steps were signs that said, Pardon the Mess. A New Planet Coming to Your Universe. There was a skeleton crew and a few regular customers, but it was still busy. On the patio at one large table were Dana and Alice, Shane and Carmen, and Bette holding Angelica. The table was covered with coffee mugs, cappuccino cups, and baskets of various breads.
"We've got everything set up at Tina's new place. I think she's fairly acclimated now. If you guys could spare some time to see her..." Bette began.
"God, Bette, you don't have to ask," Shane interrupted. "We've been waiting for the word."
"It took some time to get it all together."
Kit walked over and took the empty seat next to her half-sister. She played with Angelica's tiny toes.
"You know what I think, Bette? I think we should put together some kind of schedule. That way Tina's not freakin' with all of us there at the same time."
"That's a good idea, Al. You guys don't have to go by everyday."
"Sure we do. We love, Tee," Alice said.
Kit's clipboard where she was keeping track of ordering and inventory was on the table. She picked it up and looked at Shane and Carmen, "Okay?"
Shane turned to Carmen, "What do you think about Noon to 2?"
Carmen stared into Shane's eyes. "Do you think we can make it out of bed before 11:15?"
"Really? We didn't today." Carmen brushed the bangs out of Shane's eyes. "We didn't yesterday. We didn't the day before." She reached for some part of Shane's body under the table and Shane jumped, grabbed Carmen's hand and put it on the table.
"How about from 1 2?" Shane suggested and Carmen nodded before kissing Shane's cheek.
"Does that interfere with Tina's lunch," Carmen asked stupidly.
"No," Bette whispered.
"Carmen, she's hooked up to an IV. She's being fed intravenously," Shane explained.
"Oh, yeah. That's right. I forgot. Sorry."
"Dana and Alice?" Kit continued with the schedule.
"Honey, do you want to do it together or separately?"
"I guess separately," Dana commented, then sipped her coffee.
"Why don't you want us to go together?"
"Okay, Al, together. Whatever." Dana looked straight ahead, focusing on Angelica.
"No, if you don't want to."
Kit rolled her eyes. "You two decide and call me later. Baby sis, I'll stop by before 11 and drop off your lunch, but I'll visit with Tina in the afternoon between 3 and 4. That good?"
"What about Helena?" Alice asked in an almost fearful voice.
"What...about her?" Bette's lips were tight and pursed holding back an explosion she felt building whenever Helena's name was mentioned.
"Bette, I know you hate her guts," Alice began. Bette stared at her. "It's just that Helena and Tina did have a relationship and I know for a fact that she cares about Tina and her welfare. Helena's in my yoga class and do you know she asks about her every time I see her? She does. She wants to visit her."
"Al, how come it's okay for Helena and Tina to remain friends, but other exes can't."
"One, DaneTina isn't really in any condition to have a relationship with Helena." She looked at Bette in apology, but continued. "Two, Tina and Helena don't have any unfinished business just like Bette and I don't, whereas some exes apparently are forever unfinished. Three "
"That's okay." Dana stood. "I've gotta meet my trainer at the gym. Talk to you later." She started to walk away, but got less than a foot when her afterthought came to the forefront of her brain. She bent to kiss Alice goodbye. "See you tonight." Dana turned and jogged off.
"Are you, guys okay?" Bette's brow was furrowed. She had so recently been a part of this politeness in a relationship and knew it wasn't a good sign.
"Yeah, great. Great. So what about Helena?"
Kit looked at Bette wondering what would come out of her sister's mouth. "Fine. As long as I'm not there. Angelica's starting a newborn play group. It's from 9 10 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday."
"I sure don't wanna see her after what she did to Bette. Ain't nobody responsible for putting Bette outta work but Miss Helena."
Bette smiled at her sister for being a protector and her support.
"I'll see if she can visit at exactly 9 o'clock. Okay?"
"If she wants to." Bette remained noncommittal.
"I'll stop by at 9:30. I guess Dana will either be with me or without me. Depends on her training schedule or practice or you know " Alice was embarrassed by their public tiff. It was more than stress about her upcoming tour. Dana was being really moody lately and Alice didn't get it. She was trying to be everything Dana wanted. She adored her.
"We need to get going, guys. Jenny's plane leaves this afternoon and it'll take us forever to get down Sepulveda at this time of day." Shane and Carmen stood.
"Tell her good luck."
"Give her our best," Bette added.
Later that day
Jenny stood at the airport curbside drop off watching as Shane removed Jenny's large suitcase from the back of her Jeep. She placed it beside Jenny's carry-on bag. Carmen was leaning against the car watching the two roommates hug goodbye.
"Shane, thank you for everything. For dropping me off, for staying up at night and getting up in the middle of the night, for you know, helping me," Jenny whispered.
"You call us if you need anything. We're a call away." Shane held Jenny at arms length. "You don't have to worry about anything."
Jenny was about to answer when they heard a horn blowing insistently. They both looked up to see Mark's car parked behind the Jeep. Mark waved, then put his flashers on and jumped out.
"Jenny! I was afraid I'd miss you."
He ran to the curb, his loose fitting jeans nearly falling off of him, and pulled her into his embrace. "Be careful," he said loud enough for Shane to hear. His next words were whispered in Jenny's ear. "If I did anything to cause this, I apologize. I was stupid and insensitive, but I've learned. I don't want you hurting. You're a good friend and you accepted me back when you didn't have to. Thanks."
"Okay. I've gotta run. I'll call you guys when I get to Chicago." Jenny waved at Carmen, hugged Shane and gave Mark a one-armed hug. "Bye." Jenny turned and made her way into the terminal. At the glass sliding door, she muttered to herself, "Bye, Mark, you big ass."
Mark waited to see Jenny disappear into the world of the airport, then turned to Shane and Carmen. "Where are you guys going now?"
"We don't know," Carmen said dismissively and hopped back in the car. Shane walked to the driver's side and got in.
Shane turned the ignition and steered the car back into the airport traffic. "You don't have to give Mark all that attitude, Carmen."
"How can you stand him?"
"Let it go."
"He taped you, Shane. You know, Mark isn't finished with you. He's just waiting for a chance to do somethin' else."
"He is not."
"He is. He's like one of those guys who beats his wife and then promises he won't do it again. He's gonna beat you down, baby."
"I don't think so," Shane said ending the conversation.
After Dana left the gym and a tough but excellent cardio workout, she drove back to her place and checked her mail. She went through each envelope delaying her departure. There was some heavy stuff going on with Alice. Since their talk at the Heart concert, Alice had calmed down and was willing to let their love move naturally, but lately she had been clingy and impossible to communicate with. Every activity that Dana did that didn't include Alice was a direct punch in the stomach as far as Alice was concerned. If Dana locked the door to the bathroom, they'd spend fifteen minutes out of their life discussing why Dana was shutting her out. Dana was getting more than a little sick of it. And Dana didn't like the idea of hiding her friendship with Lara. She had even lied to Alice about her choice of foods at The Planet. Twice she had ordered things not on the menu, but Lara had made them per her request. Alice didn't like it and threatened to tell Kit that Lara wasn't following her menu.
Dana grabbed a protein bar from the basket on the kitchen counter and left her house. She had to face Alice.
"Get in the house, woman," Shane said while standing behind Carmen at the front door.
"After you bee-atch."
"Who you calling, bitch? You're gonna be my bitch tonight."
"Night isn't even close, Shane. I guess you'll be my bitch now." Carmen turned around to face Shane and her hands went to the buttons on Shane's button fly jeans.
"What are you doing?" Shane laughed. "Carmen?" Carmen unfastened all the buttons and yanked her 501s down until they rested on her calf, displaying her bare ass to everyone walking or driving down the street. "Carmen, everyone can see me."
"That's cause you're not inside taking care of me, baby."
Shane took a step forward and tripped rushing to get inside the house to her woman. No neighbors saw, but Mark's car had pulled up and he held his foot on the brake as he stared at Shane's tiny ass.
Dana entered the bedroom, dropping her keys and wallet on the table beside the bed. She was surprised to see Alice fast asleep in bed. Her laptop rested in Dana's spot and Dana picked it up to move it. When she moved it, the screen went from the Screensaver of Wonder Woman to the program Alice had been working in. What Dana saw was an image of Alice's living room. She sat on the bed and clicked play. The video started, but then Dana rewound it a bit. She saw the footage of her and Lara talking over the meal plans and what looked like a not-so innocent exchange between the two. Dana stared at the images in shock, then pushed the laptop between them on the bed. She knelt in the bed and moved next to Alice's ear and shouted, "Wake up!"
Alice jumped and screamed. "What? What?" She didn't feel an earthquake, but some disaster was taking place. "What is it?"
"What the hell is this on your computer, Alice? You've been videotaping me secretly. Jesus Christ. What the fuck is this?"
Alice sat up, awakened from a sound sleep to have to jump into the middle of a major rage from her lover. "What?"
"I saw what's on your laptop. You've been taping me?"
Alice looked across at her laptop and tried to figure out what to say.
"This goes way over the top, Alice. Way over. I feel totally violated."
Alice tried to calm her with a gentle touch on her forearm. "No, Dana. It's not what happened. I bought Bette and Tina a Nannycam and I set it up in the living room to see if it worked before I took it over to them. I didn't expect to get anything of any importance on there. I was just testing it."
"Is it still up there? Is it?" Dana didn't wait for an answer. She leapt from the bed and stormed into the living room going directly to the bookcase where she guessed the camera would be. She pulled the anteater from the shelf and looked behind it. "God, it's still here and still on." She tucked the stuffed animal under her arm and returned to the bedroom. "Can I tell you how outrageous this is? This is nuts, Al."
"Dana, I forgot about it."
"No. No, you so didn't, Alice. Are you checking this every night to see if I've had another woman up hereTonya or Lara or something? When I leave the house you go get the latest data to examine. This is un-fucking-believable."
Alice was going to lose this fight that much was evident, so she did what she had to do. She turned the tables. "You know, Dana. I'm wondering why you never told me that Lara was up here. What I don't know won't hurt me?"
Dana's eyes bulged out of her head. She was the one who was completely justified in her anger and now Alice was going to play the blame game. "C'mon, Al. Lara being up here wasn't even a big deal. Your spying--that's totally huge. It's really demented."
"I said I was sorry and I told you it was an accident."
"It was an accident to tape it, maybe. It wasn't an accident to keep it and it certainly isn't an accident that you're still taping me."
"You know, this is my place. How was I supposed to know that you'd be trying to hide things from me, Dana. I think that's what you're pissed about."
Dana grabbed her keys and wallet from the nightstand. Alice watched her in desperation. "Dane, where are you going?"
"Home. My place. Away from you." Dana was gone and two seconds later she heard the door to her apartment slam and then lock in place.
"Ms. Peabody, you can't run it like you have your Foundation."
"Of course, I realize that. I have no intentions of doing so. The reason I called this meeting was to get information from people who have had long flourishing careers in the film business and can perhaps pass on some sage wisdom. However, I won't tolerate being treated as if I were an idiot."
"I was simply thinking aloud. By no means do I think of you as unintelligent." Helena glared at him, but Jeffrey Shepard continued, "If you're looking to diversify, you might consider publishing. Many women have success with that venture. Moving into film requires far more experience."
Helena narrowed her eyes at him. The second he strolled into the room, she knew what she'd be up against. He was arrogant with his pot belly, chemically enhanced tan, comb-over hair and shirt opened to show off the gray hairs on his chest and two large gold chains. He wore pinky rings, too. He was appalling in the worst way. "Bullocks. I am well aware of your intent. I've watched you nudge one another, laugh before responding to my questions like school children. This is a fact-finding meeting. In order to find facts, one is required to question. If you and your colleagues are unable or unwilling to participate in this way, then my assistant can show you the door. Shaolin Film Studios really doesn't need you. Do you realize how many film executives and former executives there are in Burbank?"
"Ms. Peabody, I'm trying to treat you with respect because of your mother. Peggy and I have known each other for three decades. I think she would be pleased to know that I'm involved with this project of hers."
"Of hers? Bloody hell, this is my business. I am at the helm of this studio, just as I'm at the helm of the Peabody Foundation. Unlike my mother, I am more hands-on. I'm not going to simply throw money at people and say here you are, better the world, take care of children, here's some more, feed the hungry, we need art without the fear of censorship, so take this fundingall under the Peabody name of course. No, Jeffrey, that is not how I do business. That is not what I want of this studio.
"It's still Ms. Peabody, love. I'd like you to leave. I'm finished with you. Please see yourself out, yeah?"
"You're not serious?"
Helena leaned back in her chair and waited for Jeffrey to stand. After long moments, he did, shut his briefcase, and huffed as he made his way around the oblong table. At the door, he turned to make a final comment, but Helena pointedly shifted in her chair, turning away from him completely. He opened the door and walked out, wanting more than anything to slam the door which shut quietly on its spring.
"Is there anyone else who needs or wants to leave at this point?" She waited and the six remaining executives sat quietly. "Good, then. Let's move on."
Shane was nearly naked. Her boots were off, the leather jacket and muscle shirt she had been wearing were strewn on the living room sofa. Now, she sat on the bed pulling her jeans all the way off while Carmen stood in front of her watching intently.
"What are you waiting for? You want me to take those off for you?"
"No. I want you to rip it off, Papi." Shane's jeans were off and on the floor.
"For real? I'm your Daddy now?"
"Please, Papito, rip my shirt off. "Carmen was wearing a light green T-shirt with a large dark green marijuana leaf in the center. The shirt said Chronic Candy. There was already a tiny tear at the collar. "Show me how much you've gotta have me." Carmen stepped over Shane's jeans and stood between her lover's legs. She grabbed the seated woman's hand and raised it to her collar. "Rip it, baby."
"Carmen, I like this shirt." Shane shook her head.
"Then you can get me a new one." Carmen stepped back. "No, I guess you don't want this. Never mind." Carmen turned, but Shane reached out and grabbed her and when she did, it was by the shirt.
In the hallway, Mark heard their conversation. His ear was to the door and he leaned in more to hear the sound of Carmen's shirt being ripped.
"Now what?" Shane had ripped the shirt down the middle and it hung from Carmen's shoulders and down her back, revealing full and luscious breasts. She leaned back on locked elbows and took in the view. "God, you're fine."
"And?" Carmen stared directly into Shane's eyes challenging her to take those next steps.
Shane reached up and palmed Carmen's breasts, then slowly moved down her chest, sliding lower over her abdomen, and then she unzipped Carmen's Daisy Dukes' jeans shorts. She slid them down her smooth, tanned legs leaving Carmen in a tiny, lime green thong. With her hand's on Carmen's hips, Shane jerked Carmen closer, moved her face against Carmen's stomach and kissed her before using her teeth at the waistband of the thong and tearing it with her mouth. Carmen's head tilted back and she laughed, then she looked at Shane and frowned. "I loved this thong. I can't believe you ripped it apart." She pouted.
"I'll give you something to cry about." Shane pulled Carmen down and over her lap; Carmen's ass making a perfect target for her hand. For a moment, Shane hesitated. Carmen turned her head and the seductive smile she had on her face was all the push Shane needed.
Mark stood in the hallway, brushed his hair out of his eyes with his hand, then ran that hand over his mouth as he listened. He heard a slap of a hand against skin, then a small moan, another slap, a groan, a slap, a grunt, a slap, and he heard Carmen's voice melt and turn to liquid as she moaned again and said, "Oh, baby." There was another slap and soon he heard the slaps and the response to them mixing and no longer reacting to each other--repeated slaps and at the same time, Carmen panting and crying. He felt movement in the front of his pants when he heard Shane say, "Are you going to be my good girl?" and Carmen groaned, "A little harder, Shane. Harder." Slapping, slapping, slapping. This went on for several minutes and Mark was getting more and more uncomfortable thinking about what these two lesbians were doing on the other side of the room.
Shane looked down at Carmen's ass and the usual bronze color had a bright pink tint to it. Her butt was hot to the touch and that made Shane as wet as she'd ever been. She had never played this sort of game, never wanted to, but Carmen made everything fun and normal, and totally sexy. Shane was alternating now between slaps and long caresses, moving lower and lower. She noticed that Carmen had spread her legs giving Shane access. Shane slipped her hand between her lover's legs and discovered that the effect this game was having on her was having a similar result on Carmen. "Carmen, you feel this?" Shane asked as she sloshed her fingers in the wetness.
"Fuck me, Shane. Fuck me now."
Mark's eyes grew larger and so did the front of his pants. He groaned, but kept his ear to the door.
"Shane, baby. That's it. Shane. Shane. Shane. Shane."
The slapping had long ago ended and Mark could only use his imagination when suddenly he heard what sounded like a body falling onto the floor. He was startled, but heard Carmen and Shane laugh for a few moments and then, nothing but panting and the sound of Carmen enjoying a good fucking.
"Hazme tuya!" Make me yours. Carmen groaned.
"Ah, Carmen. You feel good, baby."
"Metemelo mas, mas." Give it to me. More, more.
He heard Carmen begging Shane to keep doing what she was doing and he wondered what exactly that was and he wondered about the expression on Shane's face at that momentwas she removed from the scene as she had been in many of the videos he had shot, was it a look of determination as she worked toward getting Carmen off, or was it a look of desire and anticipation. Mark was constantly watching Shane, trying to figure her out, wanting to understand her, so he knew her looks, and the one he had seen when she looked at Carmen was always desire, need, and lust and it was always barely controlled.
Jenny was halfway between LAX and O'Hare airports. As crazy as she had been feeling in Los Angelesthe skanky strip club, the cutting, the craziness with Tim and Marina and Gene and Robin, even her carnival nightmares were just little bumps in the road when she thought about what would be greeting her in Skokie. It was a mistake to go back to the place that was the nucleus of this abyss she swam in, but that was exactly why she had to go there. Throughout the flight, she had been clutching the airline's barf bag, but she couldn't make herself throw up. She wanted to. She wanted to purge herself of everything that was making her crazy, but it wasn't going to be that easy. Jenny was clear in her mindshe would stay in the Midwest, in Skokie for however long it took. That goodbye at the airport might very well have been the final goodbye. She didn't see herself going back to LA.
Jenny exhaled and closed her eyes.
Later that day
For some reason, Helena couldn't stay away from these types. In boarding school, she and her friends had traveled to the city to party and there was always a fun visit to a psychic. That is, her friends took it as fun; for Helena psychic advice helped her make life-altering decisions. In London and New York, she had tarot card readers on call and both women were paid a monthly salary from her. Since landing in Los Angeles, she had searched for someone who could tell her what her future held in store. This day, Helena had been driving down Hollywood Boulevard when a storefront sign caught her eye. She pulled over. Now she sat in the waiting room casually flipping through a magazine. She was surprised when a young man dressed in Levi's, a white Polo shirt, and tire tread, brown sandals entered the room and looked at her.
"Are you here for a palm reading?"
"Yes, is it a long wait?"
"No, I'm ready for you right now. Come with me."
"You're doing the reading?"
"I have a gift. Don't puzzle over my age or gender. I'm good and I'm always right." He turned and Helena followed him. He pulled back a colorful Moroccan-style curtain that was a room divider. The room he entered was quite small with just a table and two chairs.
"So how long have you been doing this?"
"For about twenty-five years."
Helena laughed nervously. "You look twenty-five."
"No, I'm twenty-eight. Give me your hand." He grasped her hand, turned it palm up and stared at the lines rubbing a finger over it gently. "Well, I won't tell you that you're filthy rich because I'm sure you know that already."
"I saw your Benz when you pulled up and you smell splendid. I've only smelled knock-offs, but my guess is you're wearing Jean Patou's Joy. That'll set you back."
"Yes, it is Joy."
"Nice. Okay. Let's get your $25.00 reading out of the way. Ready?"
Helena liked this guy. He wasn't pretentious and he seemed honestas honest as those in this business could be. Helena had run into a few grifters and scam artists in her day, so she knew the signs. "Yeah, I'm ready."
He looked down at her palm. "You've doubted yourself. You won't have to now. You've either made a big change in your life or you're about to. It's a good decision. Go with it. You'll be successful. Here, your love line. This is interesting."
"What is it?"
"A new lover. You won't see her coming. You are lesbian, right?"
"Yes," Helena said, wondering how a line on her palm could possibly 'out' her.
"You won't see her coming. You'll feel something, but you won't believe it. You don't really want her, but you won't be able to stay away. You'll be forced to spend time with her. This relationship will make you uncomfortable, but if you give yourself over to it, you'll find ultimate happiness. You're going to doubt her motives. She won't trust you."
He held her hand tighter, gripping it inside his own. Helena stared at her hand. "Who is it?"
"I don't know."
"Do I know her already?"
"I suppose. You have some perceptions of her. I don't know if that's from knowing her or if it's a stereotypical perception you have about her type."
"Is it something I should pursue?"
"With all your heart."
Bette sat in the administrator's office at the rehab center. Agatha Benson, a crone of a woman sat behind her desk and listened to Bette who sat across from her with Angelica in her arms.
"This list is far too long. We aren't equipped to have people roaming in and out of here all day long."
Bette knew she'd have problems with this woman. She had been complaining about everything and Bette could tell that the woman had a problem with Bette being the female partner of her newest patient. Bette chuckled in annoyance. "They won't be roaming around. We're talking adults who have fairly busy lives. They're taking time out of their very full schedules to come in to help Tina. My understanding of this center is that emotional and familial support is utmost."
"It is. However, these are friends, not family."
"If Tina could tell you, she would. They are very much her family. And Dr. McPherson thinks that these visits will be helpful in her recovery.
"Well, then. I'll check with the doctor. If he chooses to permit a group of women " Agatha Benson said the word women as if she were talking about a pack of disease-plagued rats.
She lifted her body from her leather chair, straightened her skirt, and said, "I believe we're finished now. If I have any questions, I'll contact you, otherwise..."
"The schedule starts in the morning." Bette stood, pressed Angelica a bit closer to her, then turned and walked out of the room.
Alice didn't bother knocking. Over the past few weeks, Alice had really grown to depend on Shane and Carmen for relationship questions regarding Dana. She and Dana were still kind of new and Shane and Carmen were just beginning. Problems kept coming up between she and Dana and it helped her to talk it through with them.
Alice walked through the living room, past the dining room, and into the kitchen. She opened the fridge, took out a box of Tropicana orange juice and reached for a glass in the dish drainer. She shrugged, deciding not to dirty another glass, opened the spout of the box, and guzzled a good eight ounces. Alice closed the spout, put the box back in the refrigerator and shouted again, "Shane? Carmen?"
Glancing outside, she saw a lamp on in the shed, but no one was on the deck. She walked back through the house, down the hall to Shane's bedroom and as she opened the door said, "I'm coming in, stop fucking." She walked in and found them on top of the sheets completely nude and fast asleep. Alice pushed Shane's legs over and sat down. "You guys, I've fucked up again. Man, I can't get this more wrong if I tried." She waited for them to answer. "A crisis moment. If you could pay attention." Shane groaned in her sleep and pulled Carmen against her. Alice looked at Carmen's ass and saw a handprint. She lifted Shane's hand and rested it on Carmen's butt. "It's a match." She sat for a while longer, then stood up. "All right, later." She stepped over the torn T-shirt and thong and walked out. As she closed the door, Alice muttered, "Freakazoids."
Bette and Dr. McPherson walked down the corridor toward Tina's room. She carried Angelica in a product she had fallen in love with, the Ultimate Baby Wrap and not only did it provide Angelica with security and safety, but it did wonders for Bette's back since she was carrying the baby almost always.
Dr. McPherson listened to Bette and answered her questions. He politely and thoroughly explained procedures, treatments, and the various medications that Tina would receive via fluids.
They reached the threshold of Tina's room and Dr. McPherson stood back and guided Bette through the door first. Bette froze within the frame of the door and stared at the bed where Tina lay. Day after day, she was here with her partner, but whenever she walked in the room, even if she'd only stepped away to buy a bottled water or speak to a nurse, when she returned, Tina's condition took her by surprise.
Dr. McPherson had seen this reaction many times. "It's hard seeing someone that you think of as vibrant and active like this. It won't get easier. You might get used to it, but it doesn't get easierknowing what she was and thinking about where she is now. However, Bette, you shouldn't give up hope for a recovery. We have good science these days. She's not languishing. It'll take a while, but Tina will thrive and I do believe that she'll walk out of here one day. I can't tell you that recovery will 100%. I can't give you any odds at all. Every coma patient is different, every situation is unlike every other. But We'll do what we can for both of you."
"Thank you." Bette walked into the room and tried to put her game face on. "Hi Mama Tee. Mama B and Angelica are here to see you." Bette stood beside the bed and bent to kiss Tina's cheek. She swallowed, suddenly at a loss for words and simply stared at her.
Bette wanted to believe that Tina heard her, that Tina could somehow hear all this love she felt for her and their family. She had been reading about comatose patients and every article said the same thingthe patient hears and it is imperative to stimulate those neurons. So Bette did it, despite her own emotional exhaustion. What emotions she could call up were sadness, loneliness, and an unconditional love for Tina and Angelica. She pushed down the negative and held one side of Tina's face in her palm, "Hi, baby," she voiced that unconditional love. Bette was gentle and all of the emotions that she had so easily thrust out into the worldanger, frustration, sarcasm, irritation, ridicule, had no place here.
"Bette, why don't you look in the top drawer over there? If you could pick some materials--we're going to use them to hopefully get a reaction from Tina. We'll want to do many things to stimulate all of her senses. Our specialists and assistants will use different fabrics and textures against her skinplace them in her hand, rub them on her feet; we'll bring in different soundsrecorded music, a xylophone, musicians, sound effects; Tina will smell fresh bread, garlic, chocolate. All of this might sound ridiculous at this point, but believe me, anything could trigger a reaction. So, look in the drawer, choose anything you'd like to start."
Bette opened the top drawer and looked in. There were suede and velvet strips, rubber and leather patches, large marbles, a jelly-like squeeze toy, an eye dropper bottle containing water.
Dr. McPherson pushed the sheet up, exposing Tina's feet and legs. Bette walked to the end of the bed, still holding their daughter. "What do I do?"
"Caress the arch of her foot with the strips, move up, rub it over her calves, change textures: watch for any movement." Dr. McPherson stepped away, taking a seat across the room and giving the couple a small bit of privacy.
"Tee, do you feel this velvet? It's so soft. Let me know if you feel me touching you with it." Bette watched closely, praying that she'd see eye movement behind the closed lids or a wiggled toe or the flexing of a calf muscle, but there was nothing.
She picked up the rubber strip.
Deep in her unconscious mind, Tina and Bette were visiting a sex therapist. The therapist had just told them they needed to rekindle the spark in their long term relationship.
Tina found the sex therapist to be a joke. She wasn't angry that Bette had insisted they see her, but she was annoyed. She didn't need a sex therapist. She didn't know what she needed, but it wasn't that. She was exhausted. Taking care of Angelica took a lot of time. She was up all night holding and breastfeeding their child.
"When you do these exercises at home, Tina, she'll be naked wearing a blindfold," the doctor explained.
"Oh, no way. I'll feel ridiculous. I don't want anybody staring down at my naked bodytickling me with strips of rubber and suede."
Bette was close to tears. She said sadly, "Tina, please Tina, are you in there? It's Bette. I'm your life partner." She looked at Tina's face, recalling the sparkling brown eyes now hidden behind closed eyelids. "Tina, you're so beautiful."
Bette responded to Tina's comment,"First of all, I'm not just anybody. I'm your life partner and would-be lover and secondly, I find you beautiful."
Dr. McPherson directs Bette to use materials to stimulate a reaction from Tina at the rehab center (S3, Episode 1Bette and Tina with the sex therapist).
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