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The turmoil that was unleashed on the opening night of Provocations had slowly begun to subside after a few arduous months.
Bette and Tina were working through their problems. They were still living separately, but the communication lines were finally opening up thanks to a little help from their friends, and Dan Foxworthy. Always in love, even in the darkest hours, Bette and Tina began reconnecting, amazed at how much they had lost touch over the years. It was almost like a courtship again for both of them. A rediscovery of all the little things that made them fall in love so many years ago. They had not been intimate since that fatefull night, but were content with taking things one day at a time. Cherishing the second chance they had been given, and not taking anything for granted.
Alice and Dana were still in that honeymoon stage. After that kiss, and months of contemplation, they realised that they were meant to be together. Tonya was given her marching orders by Alice in no uncertain terms after Tonya had become emotionally abusive toward Dana. It affected her tennis, her friendships and her health. So demanding was Tonya of Dana that she lost all self respect and became a virtual recluse at Tonya’s insistence. She guilt-tripped Dana into staying home for “fiance’s time”, went with her to training sessions and was a constant annoying presence at her many tennis tournaments. Not only did this keep Dana busy, it kept her away from those who genuinely cared for her … her friends. But now Tonya was out of the picture, and Alice and Dana were a fresh new couple. They became inseparable.
Shane was … well … Shane. After having her heart and dignity shredded by Cherie, Shane took a little time to get back into the game. It had always been so easy for her to slip from one bed to another, but she had become a different person. One night stands were unfulfilling to her, but she wasn’t willing to open herself up to anyone again. She was afraid, on so many levels, for a long time. As the days, weeks and months passed, Shane realised she needed release, in more ways than one. She became part of the club scene, drank herself to oblivion and tried to have fun whilst the alcohol kept her under a clouded spell. Women came, and Shane went … just like old times. Now she was immersing herself in lust so that she couldn’t become a victim to love. It hurt too much, and Shane was supposed to be tough, or so she thought.
They were all in dire need of a break and a change of scenery. Destination: Aspen, Colorado. A wintery week of snow, skiing, socialising and some ***** on the side. It was the morning of their flight and they were each preparing to go in their own particular ways.
Bette was meticulous about the assortment of fashions for the week and the arrangement of those garments in her suitcase. Carefully folded and stacked to minimise creasing and shifting during transit, the order of her suitcase was a stark contrast to the chaos of her mind. Thoughts fluttering back and forth and triggering emotions she desperately tried to keep in check. This would be her first opportunity to be living with Tina again, they would be sharing a room on this trip. Bette spoke to herself in soft whispers as she traversed her home picking up necessities for Aspen.
“Don’t blow this Porter …” she pep-talked herself as she picked up her hair dryer. “This is a big deal, but not a big deal …” straining to reach the top of the bathroom cabinet for her toiletries bag.
She looked into the mirror at her reflection, taking a deep breath and sighing as she released some nervous energy. A moment of calm as she studied her appearance. She was able to look at herself now without feeling disgust. Bette had truly punished herself over her infidelity and took on the blame for her relationship collapse. She had to learn how to love herself again so that she could in turn be loved. Only one person was on her mind as she made her recovery … her one love.
This was her chance to take a step closer to regaining her life, and she knew its importance. She looked herself in the eyes, strong and full of belief she spoke to her reflection as if testing her resolve.
“T … I won’t let you down again”.
Tina was ready to go. Always the most organised one, she had packed the night before and only needed to fill her toiletries bag and slot it into the space she made specifically for it in her suitcase. She was sitting on the couch in her small appartment, suitcase by her side, thinking about the things she needed to say to Bette at some point on this trip. She clasped her hands together, fingers interlaced, staring at the untanned line circling her ring finger, where her wedding band once was.
“Bette … I love you … and I want you back in my life …” she breathed, rubbing her hands out of habit, slightly nervous as she heard the words she had not been brave enough to utter before.
“… for good.”
An empty suitcase lay open on the bed, rumpled inside-out clothing strewn over the floor. Alice and Dana lay amongst the carnage, their glistening bodies shuddering in the aftermath of yet another frantic lust-filled climax. As they gasped for breath, still softly exploring each others skin with their nimble fingers, Dana giggled as she looked around at the mess.
“I told you your clothes would look gorgeous on my bedroom floor, Al”. Alice giggled and pulled her lover in for a hug, purring huskily into Dana’s ear. “Not as gorgeous as you look laying naked amongst these clothes, Dee”. Dana mmmmm’ed in response and started to gently nibble at the nape of Alice’s neck, causing Alice to lightly drag her fingernails up Dana’s back with pleasure. “Ya know honey … as much as I love what you are doing to me … this isn’t getting you packed any faster” Alice whispered, trying to regain control of her senses.
Glancing at the clock she practically jumped out of Dana’s arms as she saw it would be ten minutes before the airport shuttle arrived. “Jeeeezus we have ten minutes Dana … move! move! move! get dressed!! get packin’!!!” Alice ordered, scrambling for her own clothes as she tossed a bra toward Dana. She sat giggling at Alice’s frantic movements, suddenly breaking into full laughter. Alice turned around to glare at Dana and give her the hurry along, but couldn’t help joining the laughter as she saw Dana sitting there with the bra splayed perfectly across the top of her head. “Nice shot!” Alice laughed, as she took the bra and handed it to Dana, placing a soft kiss on her smiling lips.
“Now upsy daisy Daney, move your ***** *****” Alice helped Dana up and ushered her off to the bathroom with a light tap on her butt. Dana was giggling as she strutted into the bathroom, swaying her ***** *****. Alice shook her head as she opened drawers and flung garments backwards toward the bed, landing in the open case. “Oh Lord I have a crazy hoochie momma for a girlfriend”.
Shane burst through her appartment door looking quite dishevelled. She reached up to the top of her closet and pulled down a suitcase, setting it on the bed and opening it. Shane tripped over a pair of boots on the floor as she stumbled to her dresser and pulled out drawer after drawer, emptying them into the case. Her favourite jacket pulled from the closet and shoved carelessly ontop of the clothing heap. Shane went into the bathroom and grabbed her essentials, carelessly shoving them into her case and flinging the lid closed.
“*****!” Shane exclaimed, dragging her fingertips through her unkempt hair, staring at the mountain of clothes propping open her case. She swiftly pulled out a few items then sat on top of the case, struggling to slide the zipper on the bulging bag. Taking a deep breath she relaxed for a moment, giving it one last big effort and zzzippp it was closed. She leapt off the case as she heard the honking of a car horn. Reaching into her pocket for her house keys, she instead found a crumpled piece of paper.
“Hey *****, 555 2469, call me! Erin *****”.
Shane scrunched up the paper again as she walked toward the front door. She tossed the paper into a bowl that was filled with business cards and other hand-written notes, picked up her keys and left.