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    Another Left Turn – Chapter 3

    Tina, however, presented an array of reasons not to go this route: a litany of risks and probabilities, all of them bad, but Bette was gently, sweetly adamant. She just wanted to try. Could they not at least try?

    So they tried. And nothing happened. Bette knew that Tina was having to stand with Bette in wishing for an outcome that she, Tina, didn’t actually want, but she did it. She attended the inseminations, gave Bette the hormone shots, scheduled ob-gyn appointments. She also stayed at work late sometimes. And drank a little more wine. And went back to Xanax. In the end, after a year of frustration and disappointment, and with Angie starting to act out a little at school, Bette agreed to stop. She fell into a depression, which was made more difficult to endure because the only people who knew she was even trying for a baby were her doctors, Marcus and Kit. Then another year went by, and another. They were busy. Money was pouring in, Angie was healthy. Adoption would pop into Bette’s head often, but it didn’t feel how it had felt before. It had now become the symbol of her failure. So she decided the glass was half-full and let the dream go. And as she did, Tina slowly became happier again too.

    Bette stared out the window of the car. It was, objectively, a good thing that Tina felt sufficiently secure with Carrie to have told her that they kissed. That was what Foxworthy would have called ‘real growth’.

    She picked up her speech again and scanned the text, which was now swimming about through a film of tears. Rapidly, she blinked them back. Whatever the reason was that Tina could not be honest with her throughout their marriage, and before, didn’t really matter now. They’d never grown together, at the same time. That happens to some couples.

    She cleared her throat. ‘Okay. Now, this part here,’ she said, pointing with her pen. ‘I hate the word unleash, what about “encourage”?’

    ***

    After lunch, Tina and Carrie headed to the airport. On the flight, Carrie couldn’t stand having a secret from Tina, so she told her about going to see Bette. Initially, Tina was puzzled and angry. She felt it was a controlling thing to do. But then, when she saw that it had been born out of something she’d done – Carrie needed reassurance because Tina had kissed her ex – she climbed down off her high horse and felt that it was overall a good thing that Bette had given Carrie a courteous reception, listened to her, and answered her truthfully.

    Back in Toronto, they arrived at their apartment around ten-thirty local time. It was still early in LA, so they didn’t feel quite ready for bed. Carrie put together a tray of wine, cheese, crackers, grapes and olives, and they got into pyjamas and watched a Seinfeld rerun. Then, just as they were switching off the living-room lights, Carrie saw her bag and remembered.

    ‘Oh,’ she said, putting the light back on. ‘Wait a minute . . .’ She went to the bag and got the envelope. ‘Bette gave me this for you.’

    Tina was standing in the doorway between the living room and the hall as Carrie went past and handed her the envelope and walked towards the bedroom. As her footsteps padded softly away, Tina’s eyes fell on Bette’s handwriting. Bold, confident letters. The slight whip-curl on the stroke of the capital ‘T’ of Tina’s name thundered with familiarity. How many times had Bette written that, on every kind of document, from notes telling her they were out of almond milk to inscriptions in books to countless cards with countless gifts of flowers and jewellery and . . .

    The ache was back. The longing. The deep, deep gravitational force that kept pulling them back to each other was rising up again as the silence in Tina’s living room allowed her to hear her inner voice.

    I belong with her.

    She closed her eyes and, almost in a panic, tore the envelope open. Inside it was a single sheet of luxury notepaper, rolled up tightly inside a golden ring. Bette’s wedding ring.

    A gasp caught in Tina’s throat. She could hear Carrie in the bathroom. The tiny hum of a sonic toothbrush.

    She pulled the paper out, gently unrolled it and saw these words written in Bette’s unmistakeable hand.

    ‘If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me.’

    Be happy.

    B x

    Comments

    1. This was a fantastic piece of writing…..great descriptions….full of the past and the present…and laced with the confused feeling of both Bette and Tina. Tina is getting more confused by the hour. Remembering and analyzing her own past behavior and not quite sure what to make of her own actions and reactions. Bette too trying to make sense of Tina’s behavior past and present.

      The final gesture of sending Tina her wedding ring to signal that the relationship which was their marriage is truly over was really sweet and heart breaking. She is truly making an effort to honor Tina desire to move on. However, if Tina gets more involved in Angie’s life, emotionally Bette will still very much have problems moving on.

      Tina has still not addressed the response she received from Angie. It was the same response she received from Alice. And its the same response as Shane has but is respectfully keeping to herself. Tina is right – she is the bad guy in this little saga. Hopefully, she will come to her senses before they actually have a ceremony.

      So Carrie is a lawyer? That is freaky! Wonder how she met her?

      Love that smell of bananas references – laughed my self silly. Great humor!!

      This is truly a five star chapter…. I’m impressed with your talent and your ability to link in the backstory to the current progress of the story. Your story line has real depth and understanding of the complexities of human nature. I look forward to whatever you wish to publish. I am just blown away with this chapter….. Thank you for making my week.

      • Wow – thank YOU for making MY week, Martha3128! What a really lovely comment for me to read. Thank you for taking the time to write it and for following the story so closely.

        I’m glad you, like me, enjoy weaving the past and present of the Tibette story together. Great love affairs are rare and fascinating, and much more fun to write about than they would ever be to live, I’m sure.

        Tina is waking up. She’s been asleep a long, long time.

        Glad you found the bananas funny too. Such an Alice thing to do. I loved writing that.

        Many thanks again. x

    2. Thank you for continuing to post this story.
      I am really loving your take on the new Show and how you are bringing in the past.
      Love how you write, you have a great talent.
      You make me laugh, bananas, and you make me cry, notes in rings!

      Looking forward to more
      SG

      • I’m so pleased you stuck with it, SG! It means so much to me that people are reading and coming along for the ride with these two.
        Thank you for commenting and I’m glad I made you laugh :-) I love writing Alice, she’s so huge and colourful

    3. Oh my gosh. W.H. Auden. One of my absolute favorites coming at me like a train in the night in this story. I read this at work and had to take a minute to process.
      What a fantastic chapter. I can not. I love this story. I love how we can hear Tina’s unraveling,.. her unbecoming… as she wraps her brain around her own role in the demise of their relationship, her need to hurt overriding everything. It looks like she is coming to terms with the changes she needs to make to give Bette the partner she deserves. Isn’t Carrie a poor substitute with all the same tendencies the old Bette showed but that the new Bette has overcome;…

      And Bette! Woah. She just laid it all on the line and…. I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT.
      So very glad you kept writing. I will wait patiently for the next installment as Tina draws ever so closer to Bette.. …. thank you for this beautiful story.

      • Thanks, BK! I love your writing too. One thing I’m realising is that writing fanfic is leaving me much less time for *reading* fanfic, so I have to fix that and catch up!

        I’m glad you see Tina this way. Unraveling is the right word. She’s been running too long. (I just realised I made her meet Carrie because of running… haha, the subconscious strikes)

        And yeah, that Auden quote is killer, isn’t it? So tender and beautifully phrased. I’m glad it resonated with you. Thanks so much for commenting and encouraging me to push on. It means a lot. X

    4. I think it’s time for Tina climbed down off her high horse not only about Carrie attended Bette, but most importantly about all Candace thing. Because frankly be hypocrite don’t very suit her very much – thinking how she was hurt about carpenter and forgetting all Henry thing, really?
      Maybe if before they married in NYC Tina also asking Bette about if she forgiven her too – maybe things could be different.

      • Yep, that’s a really good point, Zhenya. Self-awareness and responsibility is a powerful cocktail and Tina is taking a sip! Maybe someone will help her to drink more deeply?

        Thank you for reading the story and for commenting. I appreciate it.

    5. What a great story. You captured the essence of Tina and Bette’s relationship wonderfully. Can’t wait to see where you take us on this journey. BTW loved your choice of lawyer for Carrie. Let’s see the alphas go at it.

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