DISCLAIMER: The L Word does not belong to me, but belongs to Ilene Chaiken and Showtime.
SPOILERS: Only if you haven't seen the first season of Showtime's The L Word.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
We Are Family
By Ms. S. E. ("Gargy") Hammond
The pain that Tina had physically inflicted upon Bette was nothing compared to the mental-emotional turmoil she had under went for 9 months. The time in which it would've taken Tina to get pregnant again and deliver the baby in the birthing tank Tina bought for the son that they lost. But instead she was at the CAC more than ever, indulging herself in her control freak, work-a-holic tendencies. She had even managed to dismiss Candace by simply avoiding to see or talk. Bette knew that if she ever ran into Candace again, it'd all be over with. She guessed she was more like Kit than even she'd like to admit to, except her addiction was Candace. Alcohol and Candace, two deadly sins for the Porter Women, and neither too good for a healthy relationship of any kind. Both will ruin your marriage, friendships, family-relations, and your own self-worth. Kit and Bette spent the better part of the 9-months coming to terms with new realizations about themselves. Kit for her part realized that being in-love with someone isn't necessarily defined by your sexual orientation or the person's gender. Bette realized that she'd cut herself off from people because she was too judgmental, thus making herself a hypocrite, and she definitely had control-freak tendencies, that she was a total work-a-holic, and she also had a "daddy" complex concerning Melvin-that was none too healthy. The sisters were able to draw closer and they understood each other better. "At least, one relationship is going right in my life! I ruined the rest." Bette would find herself thinking, almost sarcastically. "Thank God, for my Baby Sister, Bette and Ivan." Kit would have a beaming smile across her face as she contemplated how good her life was becoming.
Two evenings shy of the 9-month anniversary of The Provocations Opening. Bette found herself sitting at the dining room table preparing for the next big board meeting. Spring 2005 Exhibition was going to be as huge, if not more so, than the 2004 show was. Thanks to Peggy Peabody, Bette had more of a solid foundation to stand on, professionally at least. She was confident she'd pass this by the members, especially Franklin, without having to do too much ass kissing. Bette sat back satisfied with her work, perhaps impressed with herself would be adept. A smile spread across her face, thinking that this should be a cakewalk compared to last year and Provocations. And she began to recall the events of the day this time last year.
**" With all due respect, I don't understand what I am doing here, if I wasn't hired to choose the artwork to be displayed here in the CAC." Bette tried to explain to Franklin and the rest of the board.
"You're here to do what's best for the CAC." Franklin smugly iterated for the other board members more than for Bette's benefit.
Bette's ego sure took a bruising then. Her huge, stubborn ego was going to get the better of her that day. She had immediately called Shelly Tomlin to un-book the Impressions in winter, the Spring Exhibit for the last 5 years at the CAC and whom Franklin went behind her back on and booked anyway. Taken a huge risk in a time in her own personal life, that was insane but definitely unacceptable-had been anyone else but herself. She knew that Gina Feral was the curator of the Peggy Peabody Collection and she also knew that Gina had a damn good reason not to allow her to have Provocations. Tina was trying to become pregnant and eventually did. It was at the very end, as the fat lady was beginning to take the stage, that Bette actually started to worry about the consequences of her actions. What would she have done? Tina would be pregnant and unable to go back to work; she'd have the reputation for being cocky and professionally suicidal, no gallery would take a risk on her ever again. If, Peggy Peabody hadn't stepped in when she did. Bette was positive that she'd be waiting tables at the Planet, just to make ends-meet.
"You know I am glad I took a chance with you, Ms. Porter. I knew I liked you from the beginning. And it was nice to see someone with my outlook on life, it's such a rare occasion to do so now days. That smug smile of your's in that board room was absolutely radiant." Peggy admired Bette verbally before leaving the CAC and finally allowing Bette to return home.
Bette hated therapy and she had the group therapy more. Never one to be open about what she thought and felt, Bette was a model of discomfort and impatience. Boy, she couldn't wait for it to be finally over with. During every session that Tina had dragged her to was absolutely dreadful for Bette. Then long came an argumentive Yolanda, Bette should've known the first time she butted heads with Yolanda-that the woman was going to be some form of trouble or another for her. It was Yolanda after all that introduced Candace to her.
And when the Council for Concerned Citizens, led by none-other than Fae Buckley herself, and everything was coming down on Bette to hold everything together. Tina was pregnant with their first child and both of them were excited about it. But when the Bible Thumpers started in on her, that's when Tina had lost their son and everything all at once hit the fan. No mere mortal could've withstood all that anxiety, sadness, and stress alone, what possessed Bette to think she could-no one (especially Bette) will ever know. Tina was withdrawn and depressed, as a grieving mother should be, and Bette felt like she couldn't put her troubles on her. Perhaps, that's why she began to take Tina forgranted and wasn't as available as she should've been. Then, it was when Tina threw herself with volunteering with Oscar at the foundation, that despite her insistence that Tina have something of her own (to be strong again) so Bette wouldn't have to worry about Tina as much and hoping because of it her own stress level would be lowered. It wasn't until Tina was up and heading out the door before she was even dressed for the day and asking about Jill Taylor suit and having Tina pick-it up for her, with Tina being to busy telling her no she couldn't and to get James to do it. That was when Bette realized that she became dependent on Tina for way too much and the sad part is Bette didn't like it, she didn't want to give it up, and felt like Tina was abandoning her. Of course, they had been loosing themselves for a while now and growing further and further apart, not knowing how to get back to it. That's why when Candace paid attention to her and was there, that Bette began to reason with herself, that being to attracted to Candace wasn't a horrible thing, fantasizing about Candace wasn't cheating on Tina, and the mind fuck she and Candace gave each other in jail did not cross a line.
It was 3 days before the Provocations Opening and Bette was feeling the stress of her entire life weighing down on her. The normally control-freak Bette no longer wanted any of it, she wanted to just go home and hold Tina captive with her in their house together for the rest of her life. Fuck the rest of the outside world. But Tina was off again on another "just cause" battle to fight and Bette was left to feeling weak and absolutely miserable. Maybe that's why when she got to the CAC and Candace pulled up in her car, she desperately had Candace take her to that secluded, private B&B. Relenting control to Candace was easier than she thought possible. Giving herself over to her bodies desires was a lot less traumatic then she considered it to be. However, that was during the throws of passion, afterwards when was forced to deal with herself and the stress of her life again that's when it all came crashing down around her, the true enormous weight of the consequences of her actions and infidelity.
When she found out about Tina contracting Candace to do the carpentry work on the shelter, she lost it. Bette was the shellfish one, she had felt threatened of the possibility of having Candace telling Tina about their affair (which Bette had the full intention of continuing), she wanted both her women at her beckon call, and she felt threatened by Candace being any where other than at the CAC at her beckon call. Bette was intoxicated by Candace and Candace's desire for her, however, there was the scared little girl any her that when threatened and pushed becomes very territorial, like a wild animal almost. That was why Bette slept out on the couch and was rudely awaken by a very angry and frustrated Tina the next morning. It, of course, didn't stop her from allowing Candace to fuck her in her office that afternoon. Neither did the guilt, knowledge that they were making so much noise banging up against the wall that anybody with two ears in the gallery could hear. It was an unavoidable and in the end absolutely empty, despite how good it felt to be fucked like that, animalistically. She was so emotionally drained that she absolutely did not want to go to the Provocations Opening, she just wanted to keep Tina there and make up all her stupidity and infidelity (even though, she had no intention of ever telling Tina-couldn't risk loosing the best thing in my life, irregardless of how far apart we are, Bette thought). She wanted to make love to Tina all night, "to make a baby" even though it was biological impossible (Melvin's words spoke loudly to her, and she thought back "Fuck you, Melvin! If, anyone could pull a miracle like that off, it'd be me-old man, bigot!") and Tina wasn't going to stay home with her. Hell, Tina had to dress and do Bette's hair. It wasn't even until she got to the parking garage at the CAC that Bette was able to put the stone face on again, the one she presented to the world.
Of course, Candace was there and watching her and Tina. At the end of the show, she found Candace and was alone with her, it was her undeniable attraction and territorial nature that was truly her own un-doing. That was when Tina discovered the truth, perhaps Bette wanted her to see her for exactly as she was, a hypocrite. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Getting home and Tina confronting her was bad enough. Bette knew the reasonable thing to do for a sane person in-love was to let the person they love the most in the world and just hurt the most, is to let them go. Not Bette, she was never one to be strong enough for that, her controlling nature took over, and she became threatened by the possibility of Tina moving on without her-with someone else, territorial is the best way to have described it. She didn't care that she would fragment and ultimately destroy a core base of friends, that it would send each and every one of her friends fragmenting off, that this very same friends would loose something they held in such high regard and would lesson each of their individual friendships with each other. Hell two of them were moving into a more intimate stage together and she totally was going to cause distrust amongst these best friends. It was her infidelity with Candace that hurt Tina and the rest of her friends. Bette just knew one thing, grab Tina and hold on for dear life-make her believe that I still love her and that I am truly sorry, was all that went through Bette's mind as she was slowly loosing her mind. It was too late when she realized that she had pushed Tina way too far. Her mind didn't register Tina saying "No!" "Stop!" all her brain knew was desperation to not loose Tina. She penetrated Tina and Tina thrashed and screamed, Bette was screaming "Stop it!" but not in the way in which Tina had meant. She meant as in to say stop pushing me away, stop ignoring me, stop leaving me to take care of myself and stop threatening to leave me. Tina had gained the upper hand and was seriously pissed, but apart of her went animalistic and territorial too. All rational human thought left her and she was left feeling anger, pain, and a sadness that seemed like it'd be apart of her forever. The wolf in her knew that Bette was her mate and instinct took over. The need to mate and the need to mark Bette as her's and only her's (as if, to tell Candace and all other's, that Bette is permanently off limits) so she marked Bette twice. One on Bette's neck for all too see and the other right over Bette's heart for Bette to know for all eternity that she belonged to Tina and only Tina. Then the need to mate took over, and the mating part was quick and effective, because it brought Tina back to the world of humanity.**
The sadness that filled Bette's eyes and caused the pain to surge up through her body was the same sadness when she watched Tina take her wedding band off, get dressed, and walked out of their home.
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