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She took the ball to the tee, went halfheartedly through her pre-shot routine and then hit it – well, shanked it – straight into the side netting.
‘SONOFABITCH!’ she yelled, smacking the astroturf with her Callaway Big Bertha Riva 21 and then following that with ‘Owwwww!!!’ as six hundred bucks of golf club simply rebounded and sent vibrations zinging up through her arm and shoulder. She dropped the club and held her arm, tiptoeing on the spot in agony while golfers one and two and three areas away stopped and turned and stared. And then . . .
She heard her name, but was in too much pain to register that that was odd.
‘What?’ she said irritably, looking round for who’d spoken.
She saw a tall, dark figure approaching on the other side of the back-netting.
‘Oh my God . . .’ she breathed. ‘Bette?’
The two women stood staring at one another, dumbfounded, while an official of the club came over and discreetly reminded Tina that there was a policy against foul language.
‘I’m sorry,’ she told him, still massaging her arm, ‘I had a very challenging morning at work, but that’s no excuse, I promise it won’t happen again.’
The man seemed placated. He asked if she needed medical attention, Tina said no, she was fine, and he left – which meant Tina could finally and fully take in the bizarre fact of her ex-wife showing up at a golf resort in Orange County on a Wednesday afternoon.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Are you okay?’
‘I’m fine. What are you doing here?’
Bette looked shifty. ‘Nothing,’ she said. Tina raised an eyebrow, but Bette ignored it. ‘Are you done? D’you wanna get some coffee?’
The brunette smiled coyly, looked down, but then couldn’t help but start laughing. ‘Seriously, I heard they did good coffee . . .’ She looked up from under the peak of her cap. ‘Thought I’d give it a try.’
Her face was flushed, her dark eyes sparkling with mischief. Tina studied her, still genuinely baffled but mainly just so, so pleased to see her.
Bette insisted on carrying Tina’s clubs to her car while she went to get them a table in the clubhouse restaurant. When Bette came back she found Tina seated in a corner, behind a pillar.