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    Another Left Turn – Chapter 11

    Chapter 11

    From: ben@onepointsix.com

    To: tina@onepointsix.com

    Subject: Checking in

     

    Dearest Tina,

    How is everything? Hope it’s good, going well. Could we have a catch-up on skype tomorrow? 0830 your time works for me but please suggest alternatives.

    We miss you round here! 

    Big hug from me.

    Ben x

    Tina read the email and then shut her phone. Before she saw it, she’d been strolling a row of vines, pushing a mountain bike alongside her and trying not to obsess over the phone call she had with Bette after her meeting with Wendy.

    ‘Good,’ Bette had said.

    Good . . . Tina had been sitting out on the balcony of her room, straining every last sinew to decipher exactly the tone in her voice. Good? Tina closed her eyes. Was she being tactful? Was she keeping it short because she was driving, or resented Tina having called, or because she was hungry? Maybe she was overjoyed but thought it unseemly?

    ‘I’m glad,’ Tina said quickly. Bette didn’t reply. ‘I’m sorry, I . . . Should I not have called? I thought—’

    ‘I just need a little time to process it, Tee.’

    A drumbeat of distant panic had begun in Tina’s chest. She pushed it down. 

    ‘I’ll call you when I get home. Back to LA.’

    The way Bette clarified ‘home’ as ‘back to LA’ buzzed like a mosquito in Tina’s awareness. What did it mean?

    ‘Mhmm.’

    Silence. Tina’s jaw was trembling. She didn’t trust her voice.

    Then Bette said, ‘You didn’t tell me she collects photographs.’

    ‘Does she?’ Tina said, too loud.

    ‘Yes. They’re amazing . . .’

    The rest of the call was a blur. Tina’s ears pounding as Bette spoke about photographs, which Tina didn’t give a fuck about, and she stood up, pacing and screaming at herself not to panic, it didn’t mean Bette had spent the whole session being avoidant, which maybe she was entitled to do anyway, since this meeting was originally supposed to take place next week and it was Tina who brought it forward because Wendy had a space on Thursday. Maybe it would be good to have it out of the way? Good for who? Was that controlling? 

    Bette had sensed something wrong on the call. Tina said she had to go. Bette told her she loved her. Some moments later Tina had heard someone calling her name. Kurt was down on the driveway, astride a mountain bike. Did she want to go with him to collect samples on the south-west side? Act as if . . . Float past . . . Take the body and the mind will follow. Tina knew them all, and sometimes they worked. 

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    Comments

    1. You are doing such a great job unpacking where we stand with GQ – and beyond, This is quite a chapter. So many layers to contemplate. This is one of the first times I have read a plausible account of why Bette and Tina may actually be better off apart. Tina clearly has a passion to make Indie films and she deserves to pursue that passion. Bette finally vocalized her desire to adopt a child. This probably does not fit into Tina’s life plan. I am going to have to re-read to see where I missed the Dylan connection. They seem awfully close. Who is Doc? The book means an awful lot to Tina. And another child means a lot to Bette. She worries a lot about perceived mistakes with Angie. Is she trying to fix that with another child? Regardless, Bette has never hidden wanting more than one child. She has nothing else going on career-wise and does not seem to be in any hurry. Still, in order to be together it appears one of them will have to give up something they want very much. Not a great recipe for a positive reconciliation. A lot is still up in the air. “There was a job she could go back to, or not, in a city she could go back to, or not. Adoption was left open. Tina’s mistake over Kit could be in the open too . . .“ Am I wrong? I love them both so much and I really would love to be totally wrong.

      One final comment: I love and respect this story so very much but Alice taking time away from Bette and Tina talking is really bothersome. Frankly, Alice does not matter right now. Even Angie is giving them space. Alice will get over being upset or she won’t. Bette and Tina are fighting for their lives. Bette should not have to stand in line waiting for Tina to get back to her and maybe endure yet one more ‘Alice says’ comment. Tina needs to remain focused on Bette – is her happiness with her or apart from her. The last thing needed are distractions like Alice. Bette was ‘processing’ as Tina said and got interrupted. They need to be off alone somewhere. Too many distractions.

      • Hi Billy. I’m sorry this chapter fell short for you. I feel a bit sad about it, to be honest, after how well Ch9 was received, but maybe I can explain.

        I started out this story with a simple mission to take the Tibette handed to us by canon at the end of GenQ and somehow get them back together, credibly and permanently. Realism, to me, means they live in a world full of long relationships, workplaces, etc. Alice and Shane are Tibette’s chosen family, so their wellbeing is very, very important to them. All of that seems obvious to me, and a massive part of why I loved TLW in the first place.

        I’ll try and explain what Dylan means in my reply to Zhenya, so the only other thing I’d add here is that I am a Tibetter. Completely. I just want to write an enjoyable – and credible – journey for them. But again, I’m sorry if it’s frustrating. Thank you very much for reading anyway, and for commenting. x

    2. This is a fantastic chapter…. As to whether Bette and Tina will ever reconcile, this chapter definite points that it could go either way. Bette’s declaration that Tina could make her happy as her wife, partner, lover or whatever was a given. However, if Bette was not going to make Tina happy, then she would rather remain her friends. This is what has held Bette back from sexual intimacy with Tina. Bette sees a return to intimacy as a declaration of a return to the relationship. And until she see that definite return to the relationship commitment, she is not willing to cross that line. So when Tina says “we just have to determine what happiness looks like” I see that she means that they determine what happiness looks like individually first and then as a couple. If their individual happiness conflicts with their couple happiness then they will remain friends. If it overlaps and conjoins then it is possible that they can become life long partners, lovers etc. All of this is still to be determined.

      This is a fantastic story arc. This story sets the conflict of individual goals, desires for pursuit of happiness vs the relationship goals, desires and pursuit of happiness. What has been brought to bear is the nature conflict which occurs in all relationships – the individual vs couple. As long as there is give and take and sharing and valuing of the those in the relationship, then there will be a flourishing of the relationship. But should one feel deprived, hampered or restricted, the relationship falters. But if both parties willingly forego some part of their own self fulfillment for preservation of the relationship will flourish, The key word being willingly – without reservation.

      Tina when she says that she never been truly happy since she was a very young girl. I think that is true for every human on earth. As humans, we always second guess ourselves. And we have to accept we bring our own happiness. We define what happiness is, what disappointments are, what we love and what makes us angry.. No human is perfect and no life can be lived without flaw. We all make mistakes and we personally judge those to be mistakes.

      So will Bette and Tina get back together in this story? Depends on how they each define what happiness is and their prospects of obtaining that happiness with and without each other. Can Tina be truly happy with Bette? Can she truly be happy without Bette? You tell me.

      • Hi Martha, thank you for commenting again, and for reading this looooong chapter so quickly! I love what you say about Tina’s attitude/beliefs regarding her own happiness. So true. But you know the more I write her, the more I start to wonder if the way Bette and Tina *present* obscures what they’re really like? For example, Tina has been ruthless, controlling etc. But it’s Bette who gets labelled with those qualities, even while her actions are loyal, caring, insecure etc. Of course, what they have most in common is LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS, lol. Although Wendy is helping with that.

        You’re right too about relationship vs personal goals. They can only fix this by taking the risk of discovering that it isn’t fixable – which is what they’re beginning to do. In TLW, do you remember after they slept together at Tina’s apartment, Tina said to Bette, ‘You need to figure out what you want, and I need to figure out what I want.’ All those years ago!

        I’m a Tibetter, as I’ve said, so at the risk of sapping tension from the master arc of the story…. The destination is decided. ;-) It’s how they get there that keeps me writing, and I appreciate very much the time and care you put into your comments. Thank you x

        • Largo,

          There is one more option – they can fix what can be fixed and they can determine what cannot be fixed and abandon the efforts and then they can determine whether to accept that which cannot be fixed as a part of who they are and chose to accept it as a part of the relationship. It is what it is and we are moving on, together, so to speak.

          Not everything is fixable. Some things you just have to decide whether you can live with it and be happy. Personally , I do not think that at this stage in life, they will ever truly be happy without the other as their partner in life. There is no job, no desire and want that either of them would not give up if they thought they would give up the love of their life as a result. They will never be totally happy. Are they happier together than they are apart? And as they move through time, will that happiness continue?

          We are all on this journey from cradle to grave in search for our place, our happiness. One of the essential elements to finding happiness is finding someone who will share this journey with us and we share with them. For without that shared experience, happiness is very fleeting. This is what I see Bette is doing by considering adopting a child. The journey she had hoped for with Tina is not assured. The journey with Angie is almost complete. What better way than to have another child to share the balance of this journey?

          • Aw, that’s a lovely way of putting it! I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen with the adoption. It is set up that it could go either way, and I did that deliberately because I think ‘my’ Tina would genuinely be intrigued to know why Bette has this desire? But you are absolutely right – remember what Wendy said to Bette: Some conflicts resolve themselves acutely, others rumble on to the grave, barely noticeable in the end. (I loved her saying that!)

            Thank you, Martha! X

          • Great discussion. My only comment is – what about Carrie? How could Tina walk away from Bette and get into that relationship so quickly and to the point where she accepted a marriage proposal? What if Bette had not sent the ring? Tina’s therapy is coming to an end. Are we to assume she discussed everything with Wendy including Carrie?

            • Ooh, no – Tina still has almost as much time with Wendy still ahead as she’s already had (and the option to extend, albeit not so intensively).

              I have been aware of Carrie for quite a while., and tried to drop a mention in, like Bette’s concern about what Angie made of that etc., but I agree there’s a lot to ponder, to say the least! Of course, Tina’s relationship with Carrie was not inconsistent with her other non-Bette relationships: too fast, too much, too soon. She’s becoming aware of her patterns, though.

              Re the ring… For me, the point is that Bette *did* send it. I have SO much to say about this, Billy, lol – it will be resurfacing again in the story, trust me!

    3. I don’t know – in Tibette relationship I don’t see big progress in this chapter, so I don’t know what to tell about them. But Tina who missed Dylan, really?

      I want to talk about Alice. I never get why she hold grudge about Bette didn’t tell her about Felicity – because frankly it’s not her business. I understand that Alice still considered herself a gossip girl, who supposed to know everything, but in reality personal life friends sometimes it’s only their business.
      And second – it’s maybe a good thing that Bette insisted that Shane come to her house – but I think that she don’t have to do more than that. All that Lenore deal – it’s only between Alice and Shane and they need to deal with it alone. And Bette needs first to decide her own problems – Tina, adoption, job, before she can help other people with their.

      • Hiya Zhenya, thank you very much for reading this chapter and for your comments. I’m obviously forming the impression that I didn’t do a very good job with this one! Oh well. Let me see if I can briefly explain.

        In my story, Tina tried to set up her own indie film studio, but it failed. She is in the film industry in the first place because, like Bette, she has a passion. In TLW we see her fight very hard to make Lez Girls a radical queer film, not a commercial compromise. So that’s where her heart is. Dylan was one of the first people Tina worked with at Shaolin with Helena. Dylan was making edgy documentaries, which Tina respected. So when Tina goes to stay with Helena in my story, Dylan and Hagan represent ‘the cool kids’ in her industry, and it means a huge amount to Tina that Dylan does not view her as a soulless corporate sellout, but as a passionate, engaged ‘artist’.

        On Felicity – you do know what Bette did, don’t you? She used Alice’s show to get out a message that she (Bette) was a trustworthy candidate, whom Alice could personally vouch for, and then risked getting caught doing exactly what she’d denied doing. It was not how you treat a friend, in my book, and Alice had every right to be hurt.

        With Lenore, you’re quite right – Alice should be and is more angry with Shane than with Bette, but Shane wasn’t at the vineyard, so Bette took the flak. Also, Alice is trying to be a good daughter, but she never told Bette or Shane before now that she actually worries about her mother. That was new, and (I thought) quite a nice development!

        But okay, I’m genuinely sad and sorry you didn’t like it. Thank you very much for keeping on reading my writing, if you do. Take care x

        • Hi! I’m not telling that I don’t like this chapter, I like, but just few moments in it for me seems strange.
          About Dylan – well, apart that they working in same industry with Tina I just don’t see nothing more common between them. Dylan never had common scene with no one besides Helena in TLW and that’s why I just don’t see her like close friends with Tina or anyone else. So for me Tina, who missed person with whom she can talk only about working seems strange.
          Second – well, like I said I’m not watching GQ besides Tibette and few scenes with Bette and Angie, so I maybe not quite understood story about Alice and Bette about Felicity. In that case – I can say you’re right about Alice can be upset about it, and that Bette was typical hypocrite herself.
          And of course I’ll continue to read your story – I love it in generally)

          • Thanks, Zhenya. :-) I work in publishing, which i think has some similarities with film and TV, and it’s an industry where you’re always working some of the time on things that just pay the rent and occasionally on things that make your heart soar. So ‘my’ Tina really loves being able to talk non-mainstream stuff with someone like Dylan. I probably underwrote that aspect, though, in the interests of length, lol

            Thank you again for staying with the story! X

    4. Largo,

      Sorry about the length. The truth is that I love your writing very much. I am anything but disappointed. You have taken on a Herculean task. Remember – I did not expect to like this story. In fact, I did not WANT to like this story. I am a die hard TiBetter as well. The fact that your story actually got me to even remotely consider the possibility that they might be better off apart is a reflection of your powerful writing. Martha explains it so much better than me. But I do have it in my head that Bette deserves the opportunity to parent another child if that is what she really wants and needs and Tina deserves to make the film she wants to make. Can both happen? Maybe. Maybe we can’t always get everything we want in a relationship but I believe we can sometimes get pretty darn close. Given their history I just don’t want Tina to ever be able to use the ‘your time table’ or ‘you take up so much space’ lines with Bette ever again. Why? Because Bette is my person. Closest to me in personality. I love your depiction of her so much. She is often portrayed as being so very complicated but her love for Tina is anything but that – it is so pure. Hence her heartbreak and reluctance. That is also why I reacted to Alice the way I did. Alice and Tina have always been close. I know Bette did wrong but Alice is also hard on Bette. I confess I am very protective of Bette even when she might not deserve it. I just want Tina once and for all to realize that she wants a life with Bette because she really believes it is what is best for her. No more doubts, no more running, just unconditional love, trust and for both – contentment. I also love the way you are writing Tina. Of course I want them together forever. And the fact that these two iconic characters might actually be able to live out the rest of their lives as friends breaks my heart. But your writing has shown that for both of them to find what they think they are looking for at this stage in their lives it has to at least be considered. And that is not a bad thing. Maybe in some strange way that is what needs to be hashed out to enable them to truly find their way back as lovers. The fact that you took the terrible premise that GQ presented and have used it and turned it into such a plausible story is a credit to your writing ability. Never confuse anyone not being happy with the direction of a story with not appreciating the writing. Given how bad GQ truly is it takes a lot to even try to fix what they did to our B and T. Your story may end up being one for the ages.

      • Hiya Billy, thanks for getting back to me again. :-) I’m heartened by your message! I was still very close to the writing when I posted it late Sunday night and I was just a little perplexed to discover that it didn’t quite go across the way I thought of it? But it’s cool. I do learn a lot from such things.

        I love your comment about the way that Bette loves Tina. This is how I feel about it as well, that it’s pure. Not to say that isn’t frightening. I think I covered that in a previous chapter, that Tina can sometimes intuit her effect on Bette and find it too much power? But love is a fantastic subject, isn’t it? I have had to continually frustrate my OWN desire to get them together, in the service of what Martha calls the master arc. So yes, I hope you’re right. – I hope this does end up being a Tibette tale for the ages, because it’s going to take bloody ages to write, lol

        I agree as well that Tina can never be allowed to level those accusations at Bette again. Tina is going to have to take responsibility for her own happiness. Bette had made it clear that that is what she wants them both to do.

        Thank you again for elaborating on your comments. I appreciate it very much and I’m sorry if I was initially a bit dejected. I’ve had a nap or two now! Take care x

        • It seems more and more like we might not get a season 2 this year which given how the writers treated Bette and Tina might not be such a bad thing. As far as I am concerned your story is my season 2. No pressure. Lol.

          • Aw, that would be a bummer! I really hope they can still get it done at some point? I guess there might be ramifications for the art exhibition opportunities for LH too? Oh well. I’ll keep writing anyway! :-)

    5. There is so much going on in this chapter. Firstly, Bette and Tina need to focus on their potential reconciliation, Angie and possible addition to the family. Secondly, Bette and Tina haven’t truly given all of themselves to each other if they haven’t felt comfortable to confront fears and anxiety. I absolutely am proud that Tina is finally after 40+ years worth of dysfunctional behavior committing to therapy. Bette has suffered enough heartbreak in her life to go around for many lifetimes. I feel like her soul dies with every breakup with Tina. It’s gonna take a lot of breaking through walls for Bette to trust if at all, Tina.

      Alice/Shane/Lenore…that situation needs to be between the 3 of them. I’m with Bette on it wasn’t her place or her story to share Shane/Lenore event. Yes, Alice is royally pissed of Bette was still sleeping with Felicity, however. Alice has often put her own words and action and nose into other people’s business for sport. Sometimes, I feel like she thrives on have the pulse of Hollywood and if she doesn’t get to know first her feelings are hurt.

      So glad Angie dropped Jodi like a hot rock. Angie has a great moral compass which is an testament to phenomenal parenting.

      Helena is making an honest living while doing the hard labor to grow a budding (pun intended) business.

      So….what’s up with the Tina/Dylan connection. Is it as simple as love of film?

      Great chapter. More soon. This story makes me very happy.

      • Hey Deanna! Thank you so much for your comments. :-) I think I might like Alice more than some other L Word fans, haha. I think she is complicated but fundamentally a good person? But yeah, she’s just a bit stressed and lashing out, I think. She doesn’t know how to express her complicated feelings about Lenore.

        You’re right about B&T: what a huge task to win Bette’s trust again. But she is changing (Tina). I am hopeful! And like you, proud of her. She’s suffered a lot

        Helena is just lovely in my world! And yes, it’s not a spoiler if I say that Dylan and Tina are NOT going to be any more than good friends, maybe collaborators

        Thank you again for reading this story. It means a lot and keeps me excited about it. Take care x

    6. Can I say straight away that I like this Story and will be continuing to read whilst ever you write!

      However this story unfolds will be up to you as the storyteller.

      Notwithstanding the above I am a complete TiBetter and will be quite heartbroken if the end of the story sees them apart:-)
      so no pressure:-)

      I enjoyed this post a little less I think because there was a little less interaction between T and B and, I hardly dare say it out loud, I have never liked Alice much!

      Nice to have Peggy in there and, to end on a positive, I didn’t think the post was too long.

      Thanks for posting, stay safe and post again soon.
      SG

      • Hi SG! Thank you for these comments! You don’t like Alice? Haha, that’s noted :-) I’m glad you enjoyed the Peggy appearance. I love Peggy.

        I know it’s a bit spoiler-y but I’ve said it before – I am a Tibetter. So don’t worry. Your heart (and mine) are safe. You can enjoy the journey!

        Thank you for your support and continued reading. It means a lot to me. Take care x

    7. I love the complexity of Bette and Tina’s relationship in this story, it feels very real and I actually like the fact that you are taking it slow between them. I completely understand Bette’s hesitation in going back to a relationship with Tina, and her conflict since she is still in love with her but is scared of being hurt again. I am waiting to see how Tina will react when it’ll dawn on her that Bette is holding back from a sexual relationship, and I wonder if she’ll think this is because of what she told her about her sister. This story is one of few, if not the only one where I saw an actual realistic approach to this storyline. it is a very tough subject to handle and I agree that extensive therapy is the only way to address it and hopefully move on.
      I loved this chapter and the writing is as good as always. Thanks for sharing 😊

      • Hi Noa! Thank you very for reading and commenting. :-) I’m glad you like the approach I’m taking. As I’ve said before, I was inspired to write because I couldn’t allow GenQ to have the last word on Tibette! It seemed like they were only ever scratching the surface with them? And I don’t buy the ‘only so much screen time for OG’ argument. It still could’ve been more grounded in reality and a celebration of a proper lifelong gay family.

        So anyway, thank you! I did mention Tina’s concern about why Bette isn’t comfortable with sex in (I think) Ch9, and Bette reassured her that it wasn’t about her past. She said she knew it wasn’t, because she’d not felt able to make love with Tina even BEFORE she knew about her sister. So that’s been covered, I think. But yeah, it’s a very serious subject and I always try to treat it so.

        Thanks again for commenting! Hope you have a lovely weekend x

    8. Largo

      Finally had time to sit and read the chapter. i am not one to piece meal reading as I believe a chapter has to be taken as it stands alone as well as it fit in the over all story.

      That being said. Life is complex and as we move through it as individuals we develop layers to who we are and how we see ourselves in the world around us. I think you have done well with capturing the complexities of this and how as we age it becomes so layered that it becomes easy to not see how we got to where we are in the journey of life.

      Bette and Tina came together as their dreams were just unfolding and they traveled a path together and along the way the lost sight of many things that have impacted their relationship, how that resolves itself will be the author’s choice as there are so many routes to go.

      Tina and her abuse history is her core as it happened so early and it will impact so much of what she becomes as she ages. You did good at capturing how at some point it has to be address, unfortunate but not an easy thing to just forget about.

      Dreams are a big part of your chapter, Tina and her indie films, Bette and the baby. Alice and family, and Shane losing her way from her dream. Even Peggy and Helena with the vineyard. We all have dreams, what would life be without them.

      Bette is in an interesting place. She is so dependent on what Tina will do. Rather interesting, but that shows her age and maturity. Can’t control everything and everyone to suit our needs. I believe Bette wants Tina as her lover, friends maybe in the short run would work, but ultimately Bette was correct if Tina left again that would be it. She needs to hold out until Tina figures shit out. Their romantic relationship is in pieces and it cannot be put back until they each do the work to put themselves back together. Bette has underlining issues as well and it doesn’t look like she has faced them either. KIT KIT KIT…..

      K

      • Hiya K! Great to hear from you. :-) And great comments. Thank you very much.

        I love what you’re saying about dreams as a theme. I could say I think that’s a phase of life thing, but if it is, then the phase is lifelong because they’re all doing it, lol

        You’re right, though – B&T are at a crossroads. My Bette is changing. Brought to the bottom by Kit and losing the election, but with a distrust of therapists, she doesn’t have the support Tina has – yet – but Wendy is so good for Tina that she helps Bette indirectly too.

        Kit is going to be pivotal. You nailed that. ;-) I find it fascinating to consider what Kit would make of this latest instalment of the Tibette saga. I did touch on that in the very early chapters. Remember Kit on the Pink Ride? Not a Tibetter, exactly, at that point!

        Anyway, thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means a lot to me and all the comments have given me such encouragement to keep wiring. Hope you have a lovely weekend! x

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