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Tina continued to hold and rock Bette in her lap for the next hour. Bette had calmed down after about 20 minutes but after sharing the extent of the abuse she suffered at Candace’s hands for the first time she was left feeling exposed and vulnerable, so she stayed in Tina’s safe and protective arms. Bette was the first to break the silence; her voice barely above a whisper, but strong and sure. “Thank you, Tina… thank you for listening to me, and comforting me, and giving me strength and safety.” Bette pulls her face from Tina’s neck and looks deeply into her eyes. “Thank you for being here… thank you for not leaving me… I love you T.”
Tina lightly sweeps hair from Bette’s face as she smiles. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.” Tears well in Tina’s eyes. “I feel so… honored… special… important… that you would trust me with such a difficult part of your past. I know thinking back to that time was difficult for you Baby, but I’m so grateful that you were able to push through the discomfort and pain to tell it all. I think it was healing for you to release part of that trauma by speaking your truth out loud and being validated, and now I know how to help you. I’ll be able to understand so much about you and how you react to different things, and this knowledge will lessen the likelihood that I do or say something that makes you feel unsafe or threatened.” Tina places a sweet kiss to Bette’s lips. “Mm… I love you so much Bette, and we’re going to get through all of this together. I promise I’m in this for the long haul; I can’t think of being without you.”
Bette and Tina rest their foreheads against one another just taking in each other’s presence. Bette feels stronger somehow. She feels like she’s overcome a massive hurdle by finally opening up to someone and feeling safe while doing so. With her own pain temporarily sated by the final release of her truth, she turns her focus to her beautiful love. “How are you feeling Baby? You are in the midst of your own struggle and it must not have helped to hear my story.” Bette says.