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”K…” Angie happily says.
Bette starts to gently push Angie and smiles at her daughter’s laugh/squeal…”
Bette then looks up, makes eye contact with Tina, and mouths thank you.
Tina gently nods as her tears flow…
About twenty minutes later, Bette walks over and sits on the bench beside Tina.
Tina glances at Bette and smiles. ”She finally gave you a break, huh?”
Bette laughs. ”Yeah…. uh, she mentioned something about wanting one of those Icey things…”
”Oh, yeah, there’s a little stand down the street…it’s usually a good way to cool off…”
Bette glances down shyly. ”Um, would you mind if I took her? Would that be an inconvenience? I don’t know what you have planned after this, but—”
Tina shakes her head. ”No, we don’t have anything planned….and you can absolutely take her….”
Bett smiles sheepishly. ”Thanks…”
”You don’t have to thank me….” Tina drops her head. ”You shouldn’t thank me, actually…” Tina tries but can’t stop her emotions from overflowing.
Bette drops her head and then looks at Tina. ”I know we have a lot of shit between us, Tina…a lot of very old and hard, unresolved shit, but as we discussed before, it’s all about Angie now….”
”I know, I just…. the guilt gets me sometimes. Especially when I see you two together….”
Bette looks over and watches Angie laugh with other kids on the playground. ”We both have guilt for different reasons, Tina…hopefully we can one day get past it….”
Tina nods as her tears continue to flow.
Bette looks over, reaches out, and puts a comforting hand on Tina’s. ”We’ve made mistakes, Tina, but all we can do is try to rectify them, and that’s what you’re doing, right?”
Tina gently nods. ”I’m trying….”
Bette gives Tina an appreciative smile. ”And I appreciate that….so thank you…”
Tina gulps as she looks into Bette’s eyes; she gently nods.
Bette slowly slides her hand away from Tina’s as she turns her attention back to Angie.
Tina glances at Bette and forces herself to move past the residual tickly sensation left behind by Bette’s touch. She clears her throat and stands up. ”I’m uh…I’m gonna say bye to Angie and then leave you two to it…. I’ll send you my address. Feel free to take your time…”
Bette smiles. ”K, I won’t keep her out too long…”
Tina gently smiles and then turns and walks towards the playground, still trying to shake off the effects of Bette’s brief touch……
About fifteen minutes later, Tina pulls into her driveway, still a bit distracted by the interaction with Bette. She is looking down, sifting through her keys, trying to find her house key as she walks up her walkway. When she rounds the corner, she gasps when she sees someone sitting on her porch.
Danielle stands up and smiles sheepishly, and waves. ”Surprise….”