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    Chapter 2: Personal Growth

    Chapter 2: Personal Growth 

    “Jesus, Bette. Who would have ever thought there were so many different names for grey? They all look the same to me. Escape Grey. Techno Grey. Mineral Grey. Sedate Grey. Here’s one: At Ease Soldier. Oh my God. Then there’s the tans. Avenue Tan. Malabar. Utterly Beige. Realist Beige. What’s the difference between tan and beige? Oh, look Dapper Tan and Quiver Tan. Now I do like the sound of that.” Shane was in official meltdown mode. Information overload. “Why can’t you just say I want to paint my bedroom and bathroom grey and tan and white? Be done with it. I bet there isn’t even a simple basic color white anymore is there?”

    Bette watched Shane’s eyes slowly begin to glaze over as she attempted to explain color families and coordinating colors. Bette smiled and gently took hold of Shane’s arm. “It’s okay, honey, I know this hurts your brain.” Bette and Shane exchanged soft, knowing, sincere smiles. That special kind of smile reserved for only the most important people in your life.

    For the next few minutes, they walked around the Sherwin Williams store in silence. The great thing about their relationship was that they could talk about anything or nothing. But the silences were also comfortable, sometimes even preferred, and always welcome. Bette seemed to be in a fairly good place and all that mattered to Shane was that her best friend stayed in a positive head space.

    Shane knew Bette was sometimes prone to introspection but today had been different. Bette had been outgoing. In fact, Bette had been laughing and joking the entire morning. This warmed Shane’s heart as the past few months had been very hard for her friend. Shane watched and smiled. Finally, Bette, who had been a permanent fixture in Shane’s life for as long as she could remember, seemed to be re-emerging. Bette’s light hearted mood and aura of peace and contentment was indeed refreshing and gave Shane hope. Yes, Bette seemed to be coming back.

    As Bette waited for her paint samples to be mixed, she slowly turned to her best friend. “I owe you big time, Shane. I love you so much and I know you know that, but I still need to say it. I should say it every day. You’re my best friend, Shane. You’re my sister. Forever and always. Buddy, too.” Shane smiled. Shane looked at Bette through her long dark bangs: “Ditto, Missy. All of the above.” Shane hit Bette’s arm. “You’ve got nothing to thank me for. I was in a pretty bad place when Quiara left and living with you and Angie these past few months has been a tonic for me as well.”

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    1. You know I love Tina but my word I am so falling in Love with this Bette and her growth. Please don’t loose sight of TiBette though, I think Tina could benefit from the Billy treatment!

      Thank you for this story and the regular posts.

      • The hardest part of my story for me is the pacing. The time that needs to take place. There will be Tina centric chapters. We need to understand what happened to Tina. That is why I am posting five chapters quickly. Then slowing down. No harm will come to Tina but they are as broken as they can be. Putting them back together will require a lot of time, patience and rebuilding of trust. But they get there. They totally get there. I would never disappoint you SG. Ever. That bring said – If you can survive Chapters Four and Five and stick with me that’s all I ask.

        • Honestly Billy, I’m intrigued by Authors who can manage all the time-lines of their literary tapestries in “any” sort of decipherable pattern. Let alone, when to insert the past stories with the present .

          How do y’all do that?!!! And pace? Didn’t even know that is one of the elements of telling a good story! HeHeHe!!!

          How you’ll unravel the mystery that is Tina is beyond my pay grade . . . .

    2. Billy – this is a gift, to have two chapters in the same week. I love all the new stories on the site and the creativity puts the writers at GQ to shame. I will comment more when I have time to marinate in your chapter. It is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time and I need to breathe and absorb all the goodness like a sponge.
      I will say I agree with SG – Bette has done tremendous work. Tina… oh lawd. Tina. Enough said for now….

    3. Bette and Shane are hilarious together. They are so different in their approach to life and problem solving and yet they can still communicate to the other without fear. Everyone needs a friend like Shane.

      I love Bette asking Shane about her “shitload of friends” who were once exes. But I also think that it was a reasonable question to ask Bette if she would ever be friends with Tina. Tina is marrying Carrie and will live a good part of her life in Toronto. The only reason for contact with Tina is Angie and once Angie is away at school, the communication will probably go to no more than a half dozen calls per year. It appears that they have had very little communication since their divorce and none since Tina’s announcement of her pending marriage. The current communications do no seem to be conducive to a friendship. But generally those who divorce are not prone to become a part of each other’s social circle.

      Bette does not appear be looking for romance at this moment in her life. She seems to be simply not ready. Sex and intimacy are simply not on her priority list. Getting her life in order and moving forward is what she wants. Being able to accomplish the goals she has for her life without Tina in her life is what she is preparing herself for. Maya seems to be a good fit for Bette, but the timing appears to be just too soon. I must say, that I admire Bette for choosing not to use Maya for some temporary gratification but chooses to cultivate a friendship instead. She does not want a relationship with anyone in which she cannot give herself to totally. And at this point, her heart still belongs to Tina.

      I like Maya…. intelligent, educated, and a good listener. She is willing to share some of her own background and is not afraid to suggest a potential relationship with Bette. There is hope that this may turn into more, but you never know.

      Excellent chapter… humorous – full of Bette’s knowledge of music, literature and popular personalities. I love the Lewis Carroll quote from Tweedledum and Tweedledee. In this world we live in today, sometimes these non-sensical quotes become really meaningful.

      We now know more about Bette, Shane and Maya…. cannot wait to see where this goes… Thank you…

      • Martha I don’t know what to say. You have captured all I was trying to convey. I am so glad you got the humor. Bette so needs to laugh, let her hair down. Shane is just the one to hang with. I almost wrote that Shane could have filled Dodger Stadium with her exes. Their easy banter is exactly what I wanted to convey. From Bette talking about having a baby to preparing for the zombie apocalypse. No topic off limits. Bette is a very multi dimensional and literate individual. I intend to use that. And let’s remember – Tina loves this part of Bette.

        I wanted to keep Maya in the story, and she becomes very important to Bette. We know where Bette’s heart is and she is definitely not ready for any relationship. Really want to show a Bette getting her act together as Jennifer often laments. Just one more piece of this challenging puzzle. No bed hopping Bette in this story.

        The Lewis Carroll quote happens to be one I taught to my son and now to my grandson. It’s a favorite. I truly look forward to your reaction to Chapters 4 and 5. Thank you dear friend!!!

    4. Gosh I love that u’re taking time to hash out the details that really make the characters and relationships blossom!! Shane & Bette have a sweet understanding and both are stepping out of their comfort zones in letting the true inner workings of their personalities come to the surface and release. They are really good at just letting each other “be”. Quirky & humorous is their friendship.

      I’m liking the friendship that Bette is developing with Maya and really like that Bette realizes that she needs Maya as a friend at this point. She’s “open” to the possibility of more . . . but doesn’t have to have it right now. She’s not pressured by her previous “playah” label.

      Keep going Billy . . . we’re more than observers, but intertwined for the duration!! Let’s go crazy!!!!

      • That you so much. I love Shane and Bette. I want to hang with them. It’s going to take some time and Bette is lucky to have both Shane and Buddy. There are a few other amigos who will enter in very short order. And of course, what is going on with Tina? Chapters 4 and 5 get into that big time and will post before the series airs. Then there will be a slow down. Thanks for reading and commenting my friend.

    5. Bette and Shane spending the day discussing life and the difference between beige undertones and other shades of brown?? Pop me some popcorn and save me a chair. Good Lord. It’s like the scene in Shane’s kitchen with Bette cooking asparagus (weird but ok) while they smoke pot and sign Shane’s divorce papers… on her birthday. That was one of the top two best moments of GQ. Notice I said top two. Anything Shane and Bette warms my heart and makes me want to call my best friend for where are we without those that know us best? The good, the bad and the ugly. Friends who create space for you, who are present without being overbearing, who see the best in you when you are at your worst. The fact that Bette is making jokes, getting out in the community, thinking of redoing her home… all good signs.
      I also love Maya. I liked her on the show too, pretty, smart, kind – why the writers for GQ didn’t keep that actress is beyond me but I could write a thesis entitled “Why Did the GQ Writers…” and still never unravel the horribleness of that show. This is where you step in, Billy. Bold, careful, detail oriented, building a case for reconciliation one brick at a time. And that takes time. I suspect we, the readers, are in for a delicious ride. And I for one can not wait until we learn more about Tina and meet Carrie. We are less than two weeks away from whatever GQ will bring us. Your story is helping pass that time and gives us the whys we all so desperately need.

      • Hey BK. I wanted to show them making their way through the store just talking about anything and everything. The paint colors are all real. Having gone through a renovation trust me. Made my brain hurt too.

        Maya is an important part of my story. She becomes a very good friend. And at this point in her life Bette needs a good friend more than a lover. Right? Really want to show Bette’s personal growth. And frankly, Bette was, is and will always be hopelessly in love with Tina. Bette wants nothing more in life than to be with her beloved. But she has been brought to her knees with the knowledge that Tina no longer wants her. And so, she is being classic Bette and attempting to formulate a plan to move forward.

        This is a middle aged Bette. Gone are the days of the Planet. Hanging out at home watching tv, taking long hikes with Buddy or now with Maya is a good day. And is not boring. What will Tina make of such a chill and settled Bette?

        I wish we had a forum to discuss your stories in detail because I would love to also share my vision of this Bette and when the time is right – my Tina. I cannot begin to compare to your version. And I would never even try.

        In this story? The road back? It’s going to take a good long while. For them to be forever and never go through this again – it has to take time. Thank you so much for commenting and for supporting my writing and this story. You are my hero. By my calculations we should be anticipating more of RWYA? The anticipation alone makes me smile.

    6. Finally found the time to read your story and I am delighted to see that you continue to write !

      I do have a question though: is this a fic about co-parenting like the GQ Season 2 snippets suggest? because quite frankly I had a hard time finishing chapter 2 if you know what I mean …

      The friendship between Bette and Shane is so beautiful but … I thought I was in season 3 of the first show: Tina is the devil incarnate, Shane hesitates to call her, she maybe even cheated on Bette, she did not understand that Bette wanted to be the biological mother of a second child, Angie is reluctant to go on vacation with her mother and Alice wants to cut ties, isn’t that a bit too much ? Why is Tina always the bad guy ?

      That said, I’m happy to read your story but I thought you would write the rest of your first fic which was very interesting with a lot of potential.

      • I am not sure where you are getting that Tina is the bad guy in this story…. so far she is really pretty much an unknown character. And from Gen Q, I would say the same… we have Bette and Tina so in love and so supportive of each other and so excited about their new lives in New York at the end of TLW to 10 years later being divorced at Tina’s request and Bette and Angie not knowing how they ended up that way. And Bette is definitively still in love with Tina. Trying to explain how that happened and then trying to reweave a coherent story to where they find their way back to each other is going to be the Mount Everest of writing in my opinion. So let’s wait for the next chapter or two and see where this takes us. After all, Billy has promised to get us to a reunited couple with a happily ever after ending. But she also cautions us that the path to get there will not be easy.

        • It may take longer than that Martha. See my reply to Izzy. We shall see how well I succeed or fail. To be determined. And yes, Bette is totally in love with Tina. Forever.

    7. Izzy,

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your candid reply. Yes, this is a complex story. But I can assure that at no time do I portray Tina as the Devil incarnate. The truth is, I go out of my way for Bette to be totally respectful. The fact is, very little is known about Tina. We know that Tina initiated the divorce. We know that Tina has agreed to marry Carrie. Me know that Tina lives in Toronto. We know that Bette is the primary parent. We know that the divorce was at least two years ago. We know that Tina did not attend Kit’s funeral. We know that Bette is still in love with Tina. And that’s about it. My story is based on these facts.

      Of course Bette and Tina are co-parenting. The story begins after the election. Angie is a maturing young woman about ready to start her junior year. And she is thinking about college. Bette has been in a very bad place. Tina has gone back to Toronto. These are my beginning parameters.

      As I said in my author’s note, I took on this story as an experiment to see if it was possible to use only what is known and still have a happy ending. Have the writers given us a negative depiction of Tina? You bet. I cannot stomach what they have done. And that is one of my primary motivating factors. It will take time to figure it all out, to repair all that has occurred and have Bette and Tina evolve once again into our first, last and forever couple. Bette and Tina are both flesh and blood characters. They both need time to totally realize and and process all that has taken place.

      The Bette is my story never makes one negative comment to or about Tina. Bette never would. I believe Shane’s reaction to be plausible as she has been taking care of Bette. And again a lot of time has passed since the divorce. And Tina as presented in the series has been with Carrie for quite some time. Shane’s question seems fairly plausible. Tina did not understand that Bette wanted to be a biological mother of a second child because Bette did not tell her. I believe I explained that in depth. No one blames Tina. Not in any way. You don’t know what you don’t know. Angie is reluctant to go on vacation to Toronto because she is unhappy with her mother getting remarried and does not want to be around Carrie. Alice wanting to cut ties is an emotional gut reaction to Tina not attending Kit’s funeral. Again, we have very little information about Tina. Her explanation that it was too soon for her to attend is all I have to work with.

      Again, you have my word that at no time is Tina disrespected by Bette. If anything, my Bette goes the extra mile to respect Tina’s decisions and protect her. Please remember that above all else, Bette is still in love with Tina.

      Tina’s motivation is unknown. Cause and effect up to this point has been up to interpretation. I want to do right by Tina and given what the writers have done that is a challenge. And that is why I am writing this story. I hope this helps you understand my thinking. I do know that right now this is not the story you might be hoping for. If you are willing to stick with it, you may get the end result you are looking for.

      I totally appreciate your comment and am more than happy to answer any questions about this story. With regard to Finding the Light, the possibility of writing more chapters does exist.

      Thanks, Izzy!


    8. Hi Billy,

      Seriously, I can’t stop reading now that I’ve started your story!

      The bond between Bette and Shane warms my heart, I mentioned it in the first chapter but again, they are friends for life, are there for each other through the highs and lows. Nothing can break this bond.

      You do a great job staying true to what the show has taught us and putting your own spin on it. And I know you’re going to do your very best to do Tina justice, but I’m so disappointed in her behavior, thanks in part to how the show portrayed her, but then again, I can’t believe how she’s always said that Bette the love of her life and left her without a clear explanation and got Carrie into her life so quickly and is now going to marry her. I think Bette is right that she probably loved Tina more than Tina loved Bette. That breaks my heart.

      Maya, what a lovely woman she is and she would certainly make Bette happy if Bette gave her a chance. Good thing Bette was honest with Maya that she’s simply not ready for more than a friendship. That indeed shows that Bette is experiencing personal growth! A growth the show denied us to see.

      On to your third chapter!

      • Bibi my friend the hardest the about writing this story is remembering that I would use it all. My brain kept saying Tina would not do this. But I had to plow forward. My hope is to ultimately have provided the reader with a reasonable explanation for an unreasonable event. I love my couple and totally intend to bring them back together.

        Shane and Bette are forever. Their portrayal in season one was one of the only highlights, Through thick and thin. Now…. how I deal with Carrie you will just have to see. And Maya? She is lovely and she will be a presence throughout the story. But NOT as Bette’s lover. Bette is not looking for love. At least not new love. Thanks, Bibi!!

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