DISCLAIMER: All belongs to the great Ilene Chaiken and Showtime.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: For season one.
The next evening Tina was stepping out of a taxi and heading into her hotel when a gentleman dressed in black stopped her. "Miss Tina Kennard?"
She looked at him. "Yes."
"Please come with me." He pointed to a large town car.
"I didn't call for a car." Tina said. She was tired from her trip, followed by a marathon of meetings. She was hungry and she wanted to get out of this suit.
"No Miss. But there is someone who would like to speak with you." He took her arm.
Tina started to panic. She didn't know anyone here in New York. "Let go." She pulled her arm away.
The door to the car opened. "Jesus, George I asked you to tell her I wanted to have dinner with her, not scare her to death." Peggy Peabody yelled as she emerged. She gave the man a horrible look and walked to where Tina was. "I'm terribly sorry. You know what they say about help."
Tina nodded. "Mrs Peabody?"
Peggy Smiled. "Peggy, please." She motioned to her car. "Would you like to have dinner?"
Tina nodded. She didn't know what to say. She had only seen the woman once or twice and barely spoken to her. "Thank you."
"Wonderful!" Peggy said leading Tina towards her car. They got in and the driver mumbled an apology before closing the door.
"So, I heard you were here in New York doing some work on a film?" Peggy smiled.
"Uh yes." Tina said softly. How did she know that?
"Isn't New York wonderful?" Peggy asked, but before Tina could answer, Peggy pushed on. "Now I don't usually get involved in the affairs of people who work for me, but you and Bette seem to need a little help."
Tina stared at her. "Work for you?"
Peggy looked at her. "Of course. Bette is amazing. I asked her to come work for me. We're still working things out with the CAC, but I'm sure that won't take much longer. Franklin knows what's good for him." She smiled. "Would you like a drink?"
Tina nodded. "Anything you have."
"Wonderful, I'll have a Gin and Tonic." She pointed towards the mini bar. "Now where was I? Ah yes. You and Bette have to work things out before she can concentrate on my projects. It's a must. She needs to be happy!" Tina handed her a drink and made a double for herself.
"So your concern is for the work?" Tina asked.
"No. I like Bette. She's a smart cookie." She looked at Tina. "Now, since you two aren't talking what needs to happen to get you talking?"
Tina looked into her drink. "I don't know."
Bette sat in the office of a person she had never met. She hated this. She looked out the window. The sun was out and it was beautiful. This place bothered her. She looked at the diplomas on the wall. College, Medical school, awards. She frowned. Same old crap.
"I'm terribly sorry to keep you waiting." Doctor Jamie Wallace entered the room. She was a pleasant woman in her mid fifties. She smiled at Bette. "You can take a seat, or do whatever you need to make yourself comfortable."
Bette nodded. "Are you Jamie?" She asked. She had assumed, stupidly, that Jamie was a man.
She smiled. "Yes. My parents wanted a son."
Bette nodded again, and found herself a comfortable place to sit, in a chair across from the desk. "Ok, now what?"
Jamie looked at Bette. "Are you comfortable in that chair?"
Bette looked at the chair. "Yes, why?"
"Well if you'll notice, I have lots of different chairs around the office." She motioned. There was a big comfy couch, a large overstuffed chair, a hard wooden chair, and the chair that sat in front of the desk. "I think where you sit says something about you."
Bette raised an eyebrow. This is where her sister thought would be good for her to go? "What does this chair say about me?"
Jamie looked at her. "The way you sit and where you sit tell me that you are a person who hides your feelings. You try to be the strong one." She walked around Bette. "You are practical and responsible.... or you like to think you are. You think you can handle any situation... am I close?"
Bette looked at her. "Yes."
"So is that why you are here?" She asked.
"My sister said this would be a good place to come." Bette said.
Jamie nodded. "Is that the only reason you are here?" She motioned to the door. "Because if it is, you can just leave before we waste each others time."
"Excuse me?" Bette asked.
"Look if you are not here for you, and you alone, this will do no good." She looked right at her. "I'm not going to pull any punches. You either have a reason to be here or you don't."
Bette looked at her hand. No ring. She had placed it in Kit's safe keeping. "I'm here because I lost myself." She said softly. "And I would like to get me back."
Jamie nodded. "No promises, but I would certainly like to help you if I can." She smiled warmly at Bette.
Tina sat at the most expensive restaurant she had ever been to. She looked at Peggy. "Order what you want." Peggy said closing her menu. Tina looked back at the menu. "Tina, have you tried therapy with Bette?"
Tina nodded. "We tried. Or I should say, I tried." She picked a dish from the menu and closed it. "I got very little effort from Bette." She took a sip of her water. "We tried group, but that backfired."
"Backfired?" Peggy asked.
"Candace was Yolandas' ex girl friend. And Yolanda was in our group. That's how Bette met her." Tina found saying the names and talking about it, wasn't as hard as it used to be.
"I see. So therapy isn't the best option." Peggy frowned. "Do you want her back?"
Tina looked at Peggy. "I uh, I haven't decided." Tina said softly.
"Nonsense. You either love her and can't imagine life without her, or you can imagine life without her." Peggy looked at her.
Tina looked at her glass. "I can't imagine life without her."
Peggy smiled. "See that's not hard. The hard part is figuring out how to save your relationship." She looked over at the waiter. "I'll have the lobster."
Bette looked at Jamie. "You don't know anything. I don't loose control."
"You mean you don't let yourself loose control." She went to her little fridge. "Drink?"
"Diet?" Bette asked. Jamie took two cans of soda from her fridge and handed one to Bette. "You can't loose control. Not when you have to be the one who makes the decisions."
"Ah... You were the bread winner in your last relationship?" Jamie asked.
"Tina was trying to get pregnant and I was working." Bette said looking at the can in her hand. "For a time I felt like I was falling out of love with her."
"When did that feeling start?" Jamie asked.
"I don't know." Bette grumbled.
"Yes you do, think." Jaime sat on the edge of her desk, her look challenged Bette to find the time. Pick the moment.
"Maybe when she..." Bette let her sentence fall off.
"When she what?" Jaime challenged her. "Say it, if it's wrong you can say it's not, but don't stop yourself from saying anything here. Just because you say it, doesn't mean it's written in stone."
"When she was upset about using a black donor." Bette remembered being hurt. "It was a slap in the face. Why would she not want to raise a biracial baby with me?" Bette fought the tears back.
"I don't know. I can't answer these questions. Only she can." She reached over and picked up a new note book and pen. She handed them to Bette. "I want you to write these questions down. Questions you need to ask others. Questions you deserve to have answered."
Bette took the pen and book. "She left me because I'm biracial." She whispered.
"Who?" Jamie asked. "Tina?"
"So Bette was the first woman you were ever with?" Peggy asked, surprised.
Tina nodded. "There was something about her." She smiled. There was something about Peggy Peabody. She was warm and friendly and made you feel like you could tell her anything.
"Yes, I agree there is something about her. A softness just under the surface, but you have to look to see it. And a wonder about her. A passion." Peggy smiled at Tina.
Tina nodded. "Bette is amazing." She sighed. "I can understand why people would fall for her."
"Dear, do you think that Bette had forgotten you felt that way?" Peggy asked.
"I, uh... get this feeling from you that you're so proud to be with me." Bette rolled over toward Tina and smiled. She put her hand on Tina's belly. Tina continues to stare up at the ceiling. "And it makes me feel really safe... and... loved. It's great." Bette smiled warmly at her. "But lately, I... haven't been feeling it." Bette pulled her hand away and rolls onto her back again. "So, I've just been, uh... trying to concentrate on myself, and, uh... been trying not to get scared about it."
Tina looks at Peggy. "Yeah, I think I may have let her feel that way." She looked at her plate. "But I think she let me forget how important I was."
"What do you want me to say?" Bette looked at Jamie, angry. "I was twelve, I got up early to see if I had any gifts out yet. I heard my mother tell my father he would have to keep me because she couldn't deal with having a biracial child. She couldn't deal with what people would say." Tears fell from her eyes.
"And what you heard that day. Do you think that had anything to do with the way you took Tina's news of being uncomfortable with having a biracial baby?"
Bette shrugged. "I don't know."
"I think you do know." Jamie sighed. "Look, you have to admit things to yourself. No one else is going to do it for you."
Tina looked at her watch. She was exhausted. "Thank you so much for dinner." She smiled at Peggy.
"You're welcome." She handed her a card. "Here is the way to get a hold of me here in New York. Call me and we'll chat again."
"Thanks." Tina waved as Peggy pulled away. She turned and went into her hotel. She just wanted to shower and go to sleep.
"Shouldn't time be up at some point?" Bette asked, glaring at Jamie.
"Whenever you need a break. I'm your personal therapist." She smiled. "Right now you are all I have on the agenda."
Bette set her empty can down on Jamie's desk. "I need a break." She stood. "When do I have to be back?"
Jamie gave her a device that looked like a pager. "Push this button if you want to talk to me. I'll then meet you back here and we can talk. Otherwise you should be back here 9 am tomorrow."
Bette took the pager. "Ok." She headed for the door. She had her book and pen in one hand. "Write questions?" She asked.
"That and anything else you need to write." Jamie said.
Bette nodded. "Thanks."
Tina looked at the blinking light on her phone. A message? She picked it up and pushed the button. "Hi Tina. We just wanted to make sure you were ok. It's our fault we made you late for your plane yesterday." Alice's voice was soft.
"Well actually, it was... no it was definitely Alice's fault." Dana's voice came over the phone.
"Hey!" Alice yelled. "We just were making sure you were ok. And that you weren't lonely there in the big apple."
"So hurry and finish your business." Dana called.
"Please please don't leave me alone with them for much longer. Hurry back." Shane's voice came on.
Tina couldn't help but laugh. "We love you Tina!" And then there was silence.
"Do you think you should have told her about Bette?" Shane asked. "Should she know about it."
Alice shook her head.. "No. She needs to have time with out worry."
"You think she's there not worrying?" Dana asked.
"Well I hope she is." Alice took a swig of Dana's coke. "Besides, Bette is under the best care. I know, I helped Kit find the place. We did a write up on the best mental health spas in a past magazine."
"Mental health spa? What's she doing there? Getting her brain polished?" Shane asked.
Alice rolled her eyes. "It's just a nice way to say looney bid."
"I thought that's what this place was called." Shane smiled as Dana gave her a dirty look. "Anyway guys, I gotta take off."
"See ya Shane." Alice said as Shane headed towards the door.
"Oh, you have to go?" Dana suddenly realized that would leave her and Alice alone, finally. Except she was suddenly scared.
"Yeah, places to see, ladies to have." She winked. "Bye Dana." And with that she was out the door.
Dana walked into the livingroom. She gave Alice a small smile. She sat down on the opposite end of the couch. "So what would you like to watch?"
Alice smiled. "Dana?"
Dana looked at her. "What?"
"We are finally alone." Alice moved closer. "Do you want to talk?"
Dana sucked in a nervous breath. "Ok."
"Well maybe you should start with why you kicked Tonya out." Alice said.
"Well, your ... uh... kiss made me rethink the whole getting engaged. I mean I hardly knew her. It would be better to wait until I got to know someone better." She looked at Alice. "And I uh, think she forgot to give Mr Piddles his pills."
Alice put a friendly hand on Dana's arm. "I wondered about that myself."
"And I felt something when we kissed." Dana swallowed hard.
"So did I." Alice looked down. "Dana, I think I was always attracted to you, but I thought it was just because you are attractive."
Dana furrowed her brow. "Thanks I think."
"I mean, like there are people who you are attracted to when you see them and you think, oh yeah I would so do that." She looked into Dana's eyes. "Then there are those people you see and think that's a very attractive person, and then you get to know them and you think WOW, That's a person I would love to spend some quality time with."
Dana let it sink in. "I'm quality time?"
Alice smiled. "Definitely." She leaned in to kiss Dana.
"Wait." Dana put her hand on Alice's chest to stop her. "Are we... uh.. Dating now?"
Alice looked at her. "I think we have to. At least try."
Dana nodded. "Ok." She moved her hand from Alice's chest to her back and pulled Alice into a warm and loving kiss.
Bette sat starring out the window. She hadn't slept very well the night before. She looked down at the notepad in her lap. It was crumpled and beat up. She had taken her aggression out on the notebook last night. Then she turned pen to paper. She wasn't sure why she had brought it with her. She was pretty sure the doctor didn't care if she brought it.
"Good morning." Jaime said as she entered the office. "How did you sleep?"
Bette looked at her. "Not so great."
Jaime nodded. "I hear that from a lot of our first night patients." She looked at Bette, the dark circles, sweat shirt and jeans told her this was a woman who really didn't know what to do next. She looked at the notebook. "Did you think of some things you wanted to ask, or just needed to say?"
Bette looked down at the notebook. "Yes." She gave a little laugh. "Actually, I need another notebook."
Jaime raised an eyebrow. "Oh really?" She went around and pulled out another notebook and handed it to Bette. "Have you ever kept a journal?"
Bette shook her head, then paused. "I tried when I was a kid. It was a faze and didn't last."
Jaime nodded. "Well perhaps it's something you might consider doing now."
Bette nodded. "Did you want to look at it?" She asked softly.
"Is there something in there I should read? Or do you want my approval?"
Bette looked up sharply. "I don't need anyone's approval." Her defenses rose quickly. She frowned at her therapist. "Why would you say that?"
"Why do you jump to defense so quickly over that?"
Bette looked hard at the woman before her. "I do not now nor have I ever needed anyone's approval."
Jaime nodded. "Ok. Let me ask you this. Why do you think that is?"
Bette looked at her. "I'm a strong enough person that I can make my own decisions."
"Ok. So then in all your past relationships did you make all the decisions?"
"No." Bette thought for a moment and remembered the birthing pool. She looked down. "Maybe I made a lot of decisions that didn't really leave room for question."
"I see. And did anyone in these relationships fight back?"
Bette nodded. "Tina did. I'm sure the others did, but I don't think I cared."
"Not like you did with Tina?"
Bette nodded. "Everything with Tina was different, even from the beginning." Tears welled in her eyes. "I just wish I could take back what I have done."
"We can't take back the things we have done. But we can try to make amends and learn from our mistakes." Jaime picked up a few pieces of paper. "I took the opportunity to read about your CAC and the exhibition, as well as the protests and the debate you gave."
Bette looked at her. "Is that standard procedure?"
"Only when I need to." Jaime looked at her. "Did the infidelity start before or after Tina lost the baby?"
Bette looked away. "After." She whispered.
"Before or after you were hurt openly on a public forum?" Jaime knew she had to push this woman, if she didn't this was all for nothing.
"After." Her voice was barely audible.
"So tell me, how did you feel while it was happening?"
"Hurt... confused... scared... alone." Bette could no longer stop the tears.
"I meant the infidelity." Jaime said.
Bette looked at her. "So did I."
Later Bette found herself walking the grounds. She couldn't figure out how she felt. She felt beaten and bruised inside. But she also felt like maybe she could heal. And maybe she could be the woman Tina fell in love with.
"Bette?" A man's voice brought Bette out of her thoughts.
She turned and her mouth almost dropped open. "Eric?"
Eric smiled. "Hi."
"Hi?" She looked at him. "Uh, what are you doing here?"
"Oh, my sister comes here sometimes when life gets her down." He looked at her. "Uh, what are you doing here?"
She gave a small smile. "Life got me down."
He nodded. "I see." He didn't know what his place was here. "I heard Provocations was a hit. One of the best exhibits you have ever done."
"Where did you hear that?" Bette asked.
"Tina." He looked away.
"You've seen Tina recently?" She asked, trying to keep her voice even.
"Yes." He didn't know how much Tina wanted her to know.
"Oh." She looked at her feet. She decided she needed to leave the area. "Well I had better get back in."
He nodded. "I understand."
Bette hurried away from him and into someone she hadn't expected. "Marina?"
Marina looked up from her chair. "Bette?"
Bette looked at Marina's appearance. She was haggard and tired. "This is probably a dumb question, but are you ok?"
Marina gave Bette a small smile. "I was more than I little stupid."
"But you came here for help." Bette said softly. She sat down in the chair next to Marina.
"I was brought here." She looked at Bette. "I tried to overdose on a some pills. I couldn't stand that Jenny didn't want me and couldn't forgive me."
"Oh God." Bette put a comforting hand on Marina. "Don't ever give up."
"I'm not as strong as you Bette." Marina looked at her hands. "I could not do what I needed to hold on to Jenny." Tears flowed down Marina's face.
Bette hugged her. "You can still keep trying."
"No. It's done for Jenny and me." She looked at Bette. "Don't let Tina get away."
Bette sighed. "I'm not sure if it's too late for that."
Marina shook her head. "Not for you and Tina. You have something."
A week later found Tina at LAX. She looked at her watch. "Where are they?" She had told Dana and Alice they could pick her up from the airport, but so far they were almost an hour late. She had tried Alice's cell, but couldn't get through.
"Excuse me." Tina said bumping into someone.
"Excuse me... Tina." Kit said surprised.
"Kit.... Hi." Tina smiled. "What are you doing here?"
"I was seeing Ivan off. He's got a gig in San Fran." She looked at Tina. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm just getting back from New York. I was there on business." Tina looked at her watch.
"Waiting for someone?" Kit asked.
"Yeah, Dana and Alice. They said they were going to pick me up today." She sighed. "Maybe I should get a cab."
"I'll give you a ride." Kit smiled. "Or you can drive."
Tina nodded. "Let me try Dana and Alice one more time." She picked up her cell phone and dialed Alice's cell.
"It's yours, get it." Dana said pushing Alice off the bed. "It's disturbing me."
Alice crawled over to where her cell phone lay and picked up. "Hello?" She said, groggily.
Alice's eyes popped open. "Tina?"
Dana popped her head over the side of the bed. "Tina?" She mouthed.
"Oh shit we're late." Alice said.
"Yeah you think?" Tina said annoyed. "Look I'm at the airport and Kit is here. I think I'm going to drive her back to her house. Do you think you two can pick me up there?"
"Yeah, fuck, yeah. Tina we are so sorry... we had a late night... fuck. I'm so sorry." Alice kept apologizing into the phone.
"Yeah yeah, ok I forgive you." Tina rolled her eyes. "So meet me at Kit's."
"Ok. No problem." Alice said before Tina hung up. She looked at Dana, who had half her body hanging off the bed. "I can't believe we over slept."
Dana looked at her. "I can't believe we fell asleep in the middle..."
"Before the middle Dana." Alice said tossing her cell phone over by her jeans.
Bette looked at Jaime. "Thank you for personally escorting me home."
"Well I was coming down to the area to visit my ex girlfriend anyway." Jaime said as they walked into the house.
Bette looked at her. "You're a lesbian?"
Jaime laughed. "Yes I am. Well I am currently not seeing anyone, but when I am."
"I didn't realize."
"Why should you?" Jaime laughed. "Actually the woman I referred you to is my ex. She is wonderful with your kind of cases."
"My kind of cases?" Bette asked tossing her bag onto the couch.
"The kind where parents contributed to the over compensation in life which results in a mental break down." She smiled. "In not so many words. She's a wonderful therapist and handles a lot of Lesbian and Gay singles and couples in her practice."
Bette nodded. "Can I get you something to drink?"
"No thanks, I want to get going." She gave Bette a small hug. "Don't be so hard on yourself all the time. You are not perfect and you never will be, accept that and move on."
Bette returned the hug. "Thank you."
"My pleasure." Jaime said before turning back to her car.
Bette closed the door and turned towards her home. She looked around. Upon driving up, she noticed Tim's house was for sale. She wondered what was going on. She walked outside and felt the warm sun on her face, and she allowed herself to enjoy it. She looked over and noticed Tim's back yard looked empty. "Hmm"
Bette looked over at the pool. It had recently been cleaned. She knelt down and dipped her fingers in it. She remembered Jaime's words. 'Do something you normally would do. And try to do it everyday, until you find you again.'
Bette looked around, the neighborhood was dead. She quickly slipped out of all her clothes and into the sun warmed water. "Mmmmm." She couldn't resist the feeling. Why had she never done this before? She swam to the end near the radio and turned it on.
"Uh, Tina could you swing by... You ... uh... Bette's place?" Kit asked.
Tina looked at Kit as they sat at the red light. "Will she be there?"
"No." Kit said. She was expecting a call from her baby sis any day now to tell her to pick her up.
"Are you sure?" Tina asked.
Kit gave a soft laugh. "Yeah I'm sure."
"Ok." She flipped her turn signal on. "Kit, how is Bette?"
"I think she's gonna be ok." Kit said.
Tina furrowed her brow. "Where is she?"
Kit decided Tina had a right to know. "She's up at a mental health spa."
"She checked herself into therapy?" Tina asked, shocked. "Why?"
Kit looked at her. "Do you really have to ask?" Her voice was a bit hard. "After you last saw her, she lost it."
"Oh God. Alice told me she wasn't looking so good. But I didn't think it was that bad. Is she ok? " Tina asked, suddenly feeling a bit panicked. Why hadn't Alice or Dana told her?
"I think she will be. Alice and I took her up to some tiny coastal town. Where LA Magazine says is the best place if you've had a breakdown." Kit shrugged. "She asked me to help her and that's all I knew to do."
Tina nodded as she headed to her home. It was still Tina's home. She felt it. And now she felt guilty. Because she lost her temper over a big misunderstanding, Bette had a breakdown. "Can I go with you when you pick her up?"
Kit looked surprised. "You want to come with me?"
"Yes, if that's ok."
"Let me run it by Bette. I don't think she needs any shocks right now." Kit said, though inwardly she was happy. This could be a step in the right direction.
Tina pulled into the driveway. "Ok. I understand."
They walked in together and heard the radio. "Must be Shane." Tina said. "She sometimes uses the pool." She walked towards the back, and stopped when she saw Bette. Bette was floating on her back, letting the water rock her. It felt good, but she knew she would have to get out soon.
Tina watched as Bette turned back on her stomach and began to take long leisurely strokes. "Tina." Kit said as she walked up to her. Tina placed her finger over her lips. Kit looked in the direction Tina was. "I didn't know she was home. I wonder how she got here?" She whispered.
As Bette moved through the water, she suddenly felt like there were eyes on her. She stopped and looked around. Kit placed a hand on Tina and quickly shoved her into Bette's view. Then excused herself into the other room. "Tina?"
Tina walked to the edge of the pool. "Bette." She couldn't help but look over the body of the woman before her. She was more beautiful now than she ever was. Tina felt herself wanting Bette. She wanted to forget these last several weeks and fall into her lover.
Bette suddenly realized she was naked. She hadn't thought to bring out a towel. She moved closer to the pool's edge in an attempt to hide herself. "What are you doing here?" Her voice was soft.
"Kit had to do something here, so we stopped." Tina smiled inwardly as she realized Bette was a little uncomfortable. "What are you doing here?"
"I came back early." Bette was starting to feel chilly.
"So you quit?" Tina asked, hoping she was wrong.
"No. I felt I needed to return to work and my therapist said I was in a place to do that." Bette tried to control her defenses.
"So you went for five days and now you're cured?" Tina sounded disappointed. She had hoped Bette would put more into her therapy than that.
"No. I see someone 3 times a week to start, then as things progress I will cut it down." Bette looked over at the note book she had tossed on the patio chair. "I have something for you."
"What?" Tina asked.
"I uh... can you get me a towel?" Bette had to give in and ask.
Tina gave her a small smile. "Sure." She walked into the house and grabbed Bette a towel for her hair and her big terrycloth robe. She brought them out. Bette looked at her. "You have to get out of the pool for these to be of any use."
Bette had never been nervous about being naked in front of Tina before. She didn't know why she was now. She pulled herself out of the water and moved towards Tina. Tina smiled, she couldn't help herself. She handed Bette the towel first. "For your hair." She instructed.
"Thank you." Bette took the towel and quickly dried herself then wrapped her hair in it. She knew Tina was watching her, looking at her. Her body responded, without her consent.
Tina was pleased.. She saw Bette's body respond to the caresses of her eyes. She handed her the robe. "I thought this would help you stay warm."
"Thanks." Bette wrapped herself in the robe. She moved past Tina and picked up the notebook. "I was supposed to use this to write down questions I had for you. I ended up answering some of them myself and there are some answers for you in it." She handed it to Tina. "You need to read it."
Tina took it. "Alright."
"Then if you would like to talk, or come to therapy with me..." Bette left off. She remembered when it was the other way around and wished she had paid more attention then.
Tina nodded. She wondered just what was in this notebook. "Ok." She looked at the book in her hands. They stood there in an awkward silence.
"Hey Baby sis, when did you get home." Kit said coming out onto the patio.
"Just a little while ago." Bette said, grateful for the break in silence.
"You were supposed to call me." Kit said hugging her sister.
"I know. I got a ride from my therapist. I was ready to come home." She gave a half hearted smile.
"Well you surprised me." She looked from Tina to Bette. "I uh, came over to water your plants."
"Thanks Kit." Bette looked at her sister. "You've been here for me. I..."
Kit nodded. "No problem. That's what big sisters are supposed to do." She smiled.
Tina looked at her feet. "Uh, Kit, should I call and have Dana and Alice pick me up here?"
"Oh, shit. I totally forgot. It felt..." She stopped herself. "Anyway, uh You can take me home, if you're done here."
Tina looked at Bette. She would never be done here. "I'm ready when you are. But it's really ok to call and have them pick me up here."
"You don't have to. I can take you where you are staying." Bette found herself saying.
Kit looked from one to the other. She hoped this was a good sign. "That might work better for me. I just remembered I have a meeting tonight and I want to make sure I get to it."
Tina looked at Kit. She knew what her would be sister-in-law was up to. But even if Tina could forgive Bette, now was not the right time for her. "You go ahead and go Kit. I can call and get Dana and Alice to come here. I'm sure they have already left anyway."
Bette looked down. "I am going to get dressed." She picked up the clothes she had dropped by the pool and walked into the house.
Kit looked at Tina. "You couldn't just get a ride with her?"
"Look Kit, I am not ready." Tina looked at her. "Why is everyone so ready to protect her. I was the one hurt here."
Kit moved forward. "So was she."
Tina took a step back. "I know." Her voice was soft. "I do. But I'm not ready."
Kit relaxed. "I know girl. But at some point you are going to have to move back in to Bette's life, or all the way out."
Tina nodded. "I know."
Alice and Dana pulled up in front of Bette and Tina's house. "Wow, they are in there together. Alone." Dana said.
"Maybe it's a good sign." Alice said making a move to get out of the car.
"How can it be good if we are picking her up and not dropping off her stuff?" Dana looked at Alice.
Alice sighed. "I just hope it is."
Dana took Alice's hand and kissed it. "So do I."
Bette sat on the couch, Tina in the chair. They were watching mindless television and drinking iced tea. Bette wanted to say something to Tina, but she didn't know what to say. "How's the tea?"
"Good." Tina replied. She wanted to say a million other things, but the words would not leave her mouth. Tina caught a good look at Bette. She sat with her bare feet pulled up under her. Her jeans were crumpled and she wore a white tanktop Tina had picked up for her when they had gone on a date to the Pier in Santa Monica. Her hair was curly and still damp. Tina longed to be able to move to the couch and snuggle up to the woman she loved, but these weeks had made that impossible.
"Can I get you some more?" Bette asked, feeling Tina's eyes on her.
Tina looked at her watch and frowned. "Ok."
"I'm sorry you have to be here." Bette said before she could catch herself.
"No. I... I'm just hot in these clothes." Tina said referring to the suit she was wearing.
"You still have some clothes here. Jeans and a t-shirt." Bette said softly.
Tina thought for a moment. "Let me change and I'll be back."
"Maybe we should give them more time in there together." Dana said quickly.
"I don't want to take too long. Tina will know we were trying to keep them together in there." Alice said looking at Dana. "And you know we are already on her shit list."
"I know." Dana looked at Alice and leaned in to kiss her. "You're on my good list." She grinned.
Alice smiled. She felt very lucky to be here and now with Dana. She wasn't sure why she hadn't figured it out before. "Mmm, I'm very glad I am." She leaned in to kiss Dana again.
"Tina?" Bette asked coming down the hall. She stopped at the open door of their room. She saw Tina standing there, jeans and no top. "Oh." She sucked in a breathe. Tina still had that effect on her.
Tina looked at Bette. "Trying to find something to wear." She made no move to cover herself. Tina had been trying to push the scenes of that night from her head. This was the first time she had been back in the bedroom since that night.
Bette moved to the dresser and pulled out one of Tina's tanks and handed it to her. When Tina reached for it, their hands met and they both felt the sparks. Bette moved to pull her hand back, but felt Tina's hand tightened.
Tina quickly closed the space between them and before she could stop herself, kissed Bette. It was a hungry kiss. She had missed her lover. Bette's body responded quickly. She wrapped her arms around Tina and felt her lover's body pressed against her own.
"Ok, we have to go in now." Alice said, almost breathless. She had no idea how long they had been parked outside the house having an impromptu make out session.
Dana looked downhearted. "Ok."
"We'll pick this up later." Alice grinned.
Dana and Alice left the car and walked to the front door. They rang the bell.
Bette had one hand entangled in her lover's hair, and one hand on Tina's back. The kiss had become more passionate. More needing. Tina had long since dropped the shirt Bette had handed her and her hands were moving to undo Bette's pants.
The bell stopped them. Bette looked at Tina. "I'll get it." She reluctantly let her lover go and quickly headed for the door.
Tina stood for a moment, catching her breath. "I'm not ready for this." She grabbed her shirt and slipped in over her head. She grabbed her suit in one hand and headed into the livingroom, where Bette was opening the door.
Bette looked at Alice and Dana. "Hello."
"You look much better." Alice said warmly.
"Thank you." She looked from Alice to Dana. "So do you two." She smiled.
Tina grabbed her bag and headed to the door. She looked at Alice and Dana. "Ok, I'm ready." She said quickly.
"Tina?" Bette asked.
She looked at Bette. "I'll read it. And then I'll call you." She closed her eyes to break contact with Bette. "I'm sorry." She said before she turned and practically ran to the car.
Bette's eyes welled with tears. "Ok." She whispered.
Alice wanted to come in and comfort her friend, but knew they had to get Tina out of here. "I'll call you Bette."
Bette nodded and closed the door as Alice and Dana turned to head back to the car. She then walked into the livingroom and plopped down on the couch. She turned her attention to the tv and tried not to think.
Alice and Dana got into the car and sat down. "I don't want to talk about it!" Tina said a bit harshly. Alice and Dana looked at one another. This was not what they had hoped at all.
Tina sat in the guest room at Dana's staring at the notebook Bette had given her. She wanted to know what was in it, but she was afraid to open it. She sucked in a breath and opened the cover. She saw Bette's handwriting. As she flipped through the pages she saw how the handwriting was angry, then gentle and angry again. She saw tear stains and scribbles and more tear stains. She turned the pages back to the beginning.
"Tina?" Alice called poking her head into the room. "We were going to watch a movie..."
"No thanks. I've got some reading I need to do." Tina looked up from the book and smiled. "But Thanks."
"Sure." Alice smiled back and closed the door.
Later that night Tina was still reading. She was beginning to see a side of her lover she never knew. Why had no one told her about Bette's mother? Why had she never learned about the suicide attempt? No wonder Bette needed to be in control.
Tina frowned. When had Bette seen Eric?
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