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    Another Left Turn – Chapter 9

    In the velvety silence out on a track round the north-eastern perimeter of the vines, Tina’s feet struck a steady, crunching rhythm. It was six-thirty on Saturday morning and the sky was endless indigo slashed with flaming scarlet as the sun geared up for another day in paradise.

    She slowed to a stop and looked around. This trail was a godsend. Since leaving Toronto, Tina had been so involved in sorting out her head and her heart that she’d all but forgotten about her body. But her body had not forgotten how to run.

    ‘Watch out for snakes,’ Helena had told her when she asked where was a good place to go on the estate.

    ‘I will,’ Tina said. ‘Where’s good, though?’

    ‘I mean it.’

    Tina had glanced knowingly at Dylan, who smiled and said, ‘Honey, you grew up in Buckinghamshire. Tina grew up in Arizona. I think she’ll be okay.’

    And so now she scanned all around, listening keenly, watching the shadows. Rattlers sometimes came out to warm up in the sun. She’d seen rabbits, there might be bobcats, maybe a coyote.

    She took out her water bottle and looked down the row in front of her. About a three-minute run straight back to the house.

    It had been completely silent when she left, a stark contrast to the night before. Bud-break was one of the most important, almost sacred, events in the winemaking calendar. Hagan had stayed on, Helena’s son Wilson had flown in from Boston, Bette and Angie had arrived from LA, and almost everyone who worked – or would work, seasonally – at the vineyard was gathering the next day for a party with food and music and celebration.

    Tina studied the nearby vines. Even a week ago, these were spindly grey-brown skeletons but now they were festooned with tiny indistinct tufts of green. The effect of looking across their multitude at ground level was uplifting.

    She sipped water, sweat cooling on her back. It had been hard getting to sleep last night, knowing that Bette was in the house. She ached to be close to her now. Was caught staring openly by Helena, by Dylan, by Angie.

    She looked out at the sky. There was no need to look up: the estate’s elevation meant sky was everywhere, a ridiculous throwaway daily riot of molten orange, turquoise, fuchsia, lilac. To her right the sun was blazing white behind a black silhouette of distant mountains. She’d wondered over the past few years how someone like Helena could enjoy a rural life, but the more she saw her, the clearer it became that the vineyard was really about passion, and savvy, and craft. It brought out the best in Helena. It had been clever of her to gamble that it might.

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    1. It would appear that its going to take these two a while to really get in-tuned with each other. Bette is not ready for physical intimacy and Tina is anxious for it. Bette still has so many questions about the past which have never been resolved. I do not understand what was going on with Tina while she was pulling the “don’t you remember” on a concert that she went to with Alice. It was somewhat a cruel way to tease Bette. But okay…

      These two are so complex. Bette cannot possibly move forward with some adoption without finding out what her future holds with Tina. She also needs to decide if her pursuit of an adoption is for the right reasons. Accepting responsibility for raising a child should not be taken just because you are afraid you might be alone some day. The fact is, someday that child will be an adult and move on to live their life. What then?

      I do not understand why Tina had a sudden thought of ending therapy. It another indication of her stop and bolt for the door tendencies. That is not good. I wonder if she realizes it?

      And the question of whether Tina can deal with a Bette who is vulnerable and needy? I found that question very intriguing. And the question was coming from Bette. Bette will need to know that Tina can if she is to build the appropriate trust which will lead to intimacy.

      Great chapter….. nice and long which I love. Love to see more.

      • I agree about the concert part. Bette was clearly trying to be sweet, romantic and Tina turns it into a cruel jab at Bette. So hurtful and unnecessary. There were a million other ways Tina could have teased Bette about wanting to share a moon with someone you love but she twisted it. Weird.
        Looking forward to the next chapter and hope Tina continues with therapy. She has a chance, a last chance, to make something good out of the ruins of their relationship if she will do the hard work. I am glad is holding off on the physical aspect of the relationship, if only so that Tina will start being kinder, always. Thanks! Post soon!

        • Hi BK! Thank you for reading this chapter. :-) As I said to Martha, I totally see why Tina’s teasing came off the way it did. It wasn’t my intention, so that’s just bad writing on my part. Aaargh. Oh well. I was trying to show that they were slightly coming down from the high-point of their crisis – that they had enough trust to tease one another again – and I thought it was clear that Tina didn’t let it go too far, once she saw Bette go from confused to scared, but yeah, it could’ve been done better!

          I think Tina will keep seeing Wendy (I love Wendy, so *someone* has to keep seeing her, haha).

          Thanks again for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it. x

          • Largo, I never once considered the exchange between Tina and Bette over the Indigo Girls song to be bad writing. You are an amazing writer, and when I see your story pop up, I make sure i have a nice comfy seat, an ice cold diet coke and time to marinate in the chapter. The longer the better. (seriously, love the long chapters…) It is all part of the process and this is not the writing olympics – we are all just putting our work out there – which is a very brave thing, in my mind.
            Glad to hear Tina will keep seeing Wendy, I really like the Wendy moments because she calls Tina out on her bullshit.
            Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!

            • haha, writing olympics! quite right ;-) thank you for the perspective

              And thank you again for reading and commenting on this story. I’m honestly so happy and humbled that you look forward to the next bit. I hope your writing is giving you fun too x

      • Hi Martha! Thanks you for reading the chapter and for your comments. I think I can see why Tina’s teasing struck you as cruel. It wasn’t my intention, but I read that bit back and I can see where you’re coming from. I thought it was clear that Tina was careful not to let it go too far and that Bette wasn’t hurt by it once she realised it was a wind-up, but I could have done it better, lol

        You are so right about them being complex! They make my head hurt in the most lovely way sometimes. Tina’s bolting tendencies are, to me, a symptom of someone who’s lived a long time in crisis-management mode, snatching at quick fixes. It was her misfortune, and Bette’s, in a way, that their destinies lay with another person who had the same weaknesses. But that’s what I’m trying to see if they can fix.

        I’m glad you said you don’t mind long chapters! I worry a lot about writing too much. Thank you very much again for all the feedback you give. It really helps! x

    2. Oh gosh, Largo. This was sooo good and sooo believable. Humor, banter, great tenderness, teasing, shared memories—the things that all couples share that B&T must have had but we never saw it.You are so correct—they will need all of that to have any chance of success. And thank you for a self aware Tina.. I think I am feeling the beginnings of tibette optimism which, as you know, is an unfamiliar (maybe even a bit unwelcome, darn your good writing) to me..If you make this work out, I’m going to have to figure out a way to remove my “tibette4neva” tattoo. And yes that is a joke.

      • Hi Spu! Don’t you dare remove that tattoo – it’s the Joker to my Batman, the only thing keeping me writing, lol

        I agree so much with what you say about what we rarely saw (yet) on the show between B&T, their lighter side. There are a couple of videos on YT that show it, actually, and it’s a good guide to the type of people they are in canon. Of course, I am using my writer’s licence to make them MY people (hence Bette’s wardrobe changes – I can’t stand JB’s costumes).

        Tina’s self-awareness… Truth be told, I only post about half of what I write when I’m in Tina’s head! I think her fear of her power is a big insight for her.

        Thanks, as ever, for your comments. They mean a lot x

    3. Thank you for this chapter!

      But i still doubt about Bette’s idea of adoption – ok, what happen if they be back with Tina together, but Tina wouldn’t want it? Bette would do it alone, but how if they are couple with Tina? Eventually they all live together but Tina didn’t participate in anything with this child? It’s never working out and Bette wouldn’t not have both – she would need to make a choice.

      And second – i glad that Jordie is gone and Angelica can like a male too.

      • Hi Zhenya! I’m glad you’re pleased to see Jordi is on the outs – me too! Bad influence, with skipping school and weed etc. :-o

        On the adoption, you are 100% correct – those are exactly the problems Bette is steering herself into. Her heart is still all over the place, she still needs something no one can take away, but where will she find it? These are my questions to myself!

        Thanks for keeping on reading and commenting. It means a lot to me and encourages me to keep writing x

    4. I would not have pegged Tina for a “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” fan! I wonder if her copy is as dog-earred as mine. ;)

      I love the depth and maturity you give Bette and Tina. (Tina has more work to do, but she’s on the right track.)

      • Hi slntrdr! Thank you very much for reading and commenting. :-)

        I chose those books on purpose, of course, and I had in mind the Tina of TLW S1, a gardener, rather than the power-suited Tina of S5/6. PATC was published in 1974, when (my) Tina was only a girl of about four or five, so I think she probably read it at high school or college, and may have been drawn to AD’s complex spirituality? I think Tina loves the natural world, for sure. But yeah, I love that book, and all Annie Dillard’s writing. Great to see it meant something to you too.

        Thank you again for commenting. It means a lot. x

    5. I think Bette is right with taking things slow and not jumping right into sex again. They did that the last 2 times they broke up and never resolved anything really. I just hope it doesn’t cause more drama further on.
      I loved the interaction between B&T, it is fun to see them in love and happy with each other, even though there is still a long way for both of them to go.
      Therapy is hard and I completely understands Tina’s tendency to want to quit when things get rough or when it touches on the more sore subjects. I’m glad she did continue with it, and I’m hoping she’ll stick to it for some time.
      I love the long chapters, so much fun. Thank you!

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