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For the rest of the day Tina wondered about texting Bette, but she couldn’t find the words for what she wanted to say. How to explain that she was just so tired. That what she wanted more than anything was a little peace. And that the surest way to get her life straightened out was to stay the hell away from . . .
Well, what? The word that popped into her head, now, as she lay half-submerged in a warm bathtub filled with wildly expensive bubbles, was ‘romance’.
But come on, she thought as she played her fingertips on the surface of the silky, fragrant water, that’s such a silly word for it. To Tina, at this point in her life, ‘romance’ conjured up grade-school crushes and desperate lonely hearts ads and the huge stack of tatty old Harlequins in her Aunt Peg’s house in Pinehurst.
‘Who needs it?’ she said as she reached for her glass of wine.
She sipped. Just because Bette felt compelled to announce that Pippa was not her ‘person’ – so what?
‘That’s just information,’ she said to the taps at the end of the bath.
She raised her right thigh and watched her hand as it glided over her skin. Hmm. The scent of oud and rose and sandalwood wafted into the air. The Maybourne always had lovely toiletries. One of the reasons Tina had chosen it when her company wanted to keep a hotel suite on retainer. That, and the fact that she’d never stayed here with Bette. Part of what she called Operation Clean Slate when she moved back to LA. Restaurants, hotels, cafes, theatres – as far as she could, she made these memory-free. And it worked.
‘Of course, now I have a bunch of other ones I can’t go to because of Carrie,’ she muttered . . . but then she wondered. The truth was, Carrie had never gotten under her skin the way Bette had. How could she? Bette was her first love. Angelica’s other mother. The woman she’d married.
‘I really thought we’d make it,’ she said as the tears pricked her nose. Tears of sorrow, yes, and regret, of course, but also bewilderment.
Why did I ever leave?
The weekend came. Tina took Angie clothes shopping and told her over lunch that she and Carrie had decided, with the help of their therapist, to go their separate ways. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. She hoped Angie wasn’t too upset.