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    Chapter 6

    ‘Timothy Dwight College, Yale’s ninth residential college, opened on September 23rd 1935 at an over-budget cost of $2,000,000. It was—’

    ‘Alice?’

    ‘What?’

    ‘Shut up.’

    Tina spoke with her eyes closed, her face tilted up to the late summer sun as the two old friends sat side by side on the lawn in the courtyard of Angie’s new school.

    ‘I thought you might wanna know what kind of joint you’re leaving my Earthdaughter in,’ Alice said.

    Tina half-opened one eye and saw that she was still scrolling down her phone.

    ‘Just enjoy the sun a while,’ she said gently.

    Alice dutifully clicked her phone shut. Tina closed her eyes again. Focused on her breath. In, out. In, out. I am exactly where I am meant to be . . . I am exactly where I am meant to be . . . I am—

    The sun moved behind a cloud. A synthetic, fruity scent tingled Tina’s nose and she opened her eyes. Alice was sitting cross-legged, vaping and watching the freshmen crisscrossing the courtyard. Some were trailing huge suitcases, some reading their phones, some just staring up at the college’s elegant Federal-style facade, the russet-brick and the rows of windows with black or white faux shutters.

    ‘What time is it?’ Tina asked.

    ‘Oh, I’m allowed to use my phone now?’ Tina rolled her eyes. Alice picked up her phone and checked it. ‘Eleven-thirty.’

    They were waiting and minding Angie’s luggage while she went to the residence office to collect the key to her accommodation. She’d been gone a lot longer than Tina had expected. If she’d known it would take an hour, they could’ve gone and got coffee. Also: no update from Bette.

    ‘The students of Timothy Dwight were originally known as “Prexies”,’ Alice read, back on Wikipedia. ‘Weird, sounds like cereal . . . Oh, but wait, now they’re “Lions”, after their mascot. I guess that’s kinda cool. I wish I’d had something like that, but my mother thought I should live with her . . . Our mascot was a bottle of Kahlua and an air of permanent shame and disappointment.’

    She kept scrolling. Tina watched, aware again just how fortunate Angie was.

    ‘You turned out okay, though,’ she said, nudging Alice’s knee.

    ‘Huh. I tell you, I’m just glad I’ve got your daughter. She’s the best thing in my life right now, except for the booker at the Home Shopping Network and my – whoa, listen to this! They’ve got a song. “Ring the bell, ring the bell! Goddamn, fuck, hell! Horseshit, assbite, nobody’s better than Timothy Dwight!”’

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    Comments

    1. OMG??? Tina! Why oh why would you bring this up now? Have you no desire to be with Bette at all? Is that what you believe the best path for the two of you is to find something that you know will knock the other to their knees and reduce them to pile of rubble and guilt? Tina? If it is your desire to never have another relationship, then you are on the right path. Passive aggressive behavior is not enough to take Bette down… you have to drag her through the mud…. What is it that you want Tina???

      Thanks for the chapter….

      • I know, Martha, I know…. it’s a rough chapter for our girls. I started the story when all we had was the S2 cliffhanger from GQ, so the canon in this story has nothing beyond ‘Can I come in?’ The Tina of that time is, I think, still a woman with a *lot* of issues. The fight in this chapter kind of gets away from her, but they’re both really strung out and not able to articulate what they need or want very well – as you absolutely spotted!

        There will be a point to this. I think Tina’s line about ‘a little humility and a good memory’ is fair, in context, but the effect on Bette is profound. There is growth coming…. it will be lovely when it happens….

        Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s appreciated so much. :-)
        L

    2. Hey friend,

      Wow, what a chapter.

      Before I get to Tina & her sad segway down memory lane, I have several questions –
      1 – What happened at the Porter Kennard family dinner?
      2 – What reason did Bette give to take the job – money, prestige, legacy??
      3 – Why is B sending Tina a text with a ‘kiss – X’ sign at the end?
      4 – Did Bette breakup with P? When? Like it was a mistake from the get-go??

      So, Bette admits to Tina she still loves her & Tina responses by bringing up the past & Bette’s cheating?? What the hell?

      I can understand & sympathize with Tina – but bringing this up now? and for what?

      Both women have paid the huge price for that mistake – both contributed to it happening – the breakdown of their marriage.

      I know you’ll find a way for them to reconcile in the end, but wow.

      They need to TALK & NOW. STOP running from each other & TALK & LISTEN to each other.

      As you know, this was a hard chapter to read & I’m sure a harder one to write.
      Hang in there!

      • Hello, my friend! *waves* Some answers for ya…..

        1. At the dinner, Tina and Angie told Bette that if she wanted to say yes to Zakarian then they would support her and try and work around her absences for travel/work. Bette, in return, promised never to put Zakarian ahead of important family events.

        2. Her reason for taking the job were that she felt that, with Zakarian fully behind her, she could truly champion the marginal art that she felt so passionately about. And secure Angie’s future financially (although with Tina’s earnings, that was a much lesser issue).

        3. My B&T would always sign off with a ‘x’. It’s just a casual thing!

        4. Yeah, B&P broke up at the end of Ch4, when Pippa left Joyce’s party without Bette. Bette describes it as a mistake from the get go because she knows she wasn’t in love, she was just dazzled by Pippa as an artist. That, and the fact that Bette was still in love with Tina. In this chapter, Bette is kind of trying to lump herself and Tina together, to imply it’s always a mistake either of them to get involved with other people because they’re still not over each other.

        What happens here is that the conversation gets away from Tina, and Bette pushes her buttons by presuming to know why she was with Carrie. It’s very much an old pattern they’re enacting. Tina brings up the carpenter because she thinks Bette is being sanctimonious with her ‘actions speak louder’ on the very day that her ‘actions’ made her late for settling Angie in properly at Yale – including being so jet lagged that their dinner was shorter and less fun than it should have been. I think Tina is not unfair in warning Bette more than once to let this go, but Bette ploughs on and then Tina snaps.

        My Tina has a lot of issues, and I feel that she has to have them, otherwise her behaviour makes no sense. If she was just still in love with Bette and Bette was just still in love with her, that would be TLW canon (and of course is the jumping off point for my Real Tibette stories) but this is GQ S2 canon. In my writing (and this is just me), I can’t put them back together without addressing why Tina left, why they were divorced. That’s not authentic. So what’s Tina’s deal? What is the stone in her shoe that means she can’t ever settle with Bette? I think it’s the infidelity. A deep, deep betrayal of trust that also preys on Tina’s insecurities about Bette maybe being a little out of her league.

        So….. I’m sorry, lol, I know she’s not an easy read in this chapter, but what I’m aiming for is something that seems real, and not too easy.

        Thank you so much for reading it and giving me your thoughts, as ever. Really appreciate it!
        L

    3. Hey Largo,

      Finally caught up and then you bring me to tears

      Why Tina, why oh why did you bring that up, Bette was absolutely crushed and i am too.

      I know you are a true Tibetter and will give us the happy ending we want but i really don’t like or understand your Tina sometimes.

      Look forward to the next chapter.

      • Hi Bibi! *waves* I’m so sorry, pal, I know this isn’t an easy chapter. Please see my reply to Collins above for some explanation of why their convo goes the way it does, and of course be assured that they are going to be okay. They just have stuff they need to fix in themselves first.
        Thanks for reading and commenting, as ever. It is so appreciated. :-)
        Have a good day
        L

    4. OMG ! FINALLY i find a realistic fiction of GenQ ! Thank you !
      I love your story, I love your writing, the angst … and what is remarkable here is that you portrayed those characters so well. You know them well enough to write about them. And I thing you found their truth (or at least the way I see them).
      Bette and Tina not gonna get back together just like that, even if they still love each other. It would be too fast, too simple.
      You’re absolutely right when you say that you need to explain things : why Tina left ? Why was she acting this way in season 1 and two ?
      I’m afraid GenQ season 3 won’t do the same the same courtesy. I’m afraid (given the trailer and everything) that Bette and Tina are just gonna confess their love, kiss or whatever just like that and get back together. And this is not authentic, this is not enough for the fans who expect answers.
      Well, you’re doing that in you’re story and I’m so grateful.
      We can really feel how Tina is torn between the sensations that Bette woke up and the certainty that she’s gonna ruin everything. That’s very moving. And the way Bette loves her unconditionally…
      I really trust you when you talk about growth : I hope those characters will make some progress and, step by step, find their way to each other but in a good way, in a true way.

      So THANK YOU so much, I can’t wait to read the rest of the story.

      PS : what do you mean by that ? “If she was just still in love with Bette and Bette was just still in love with her, that would be TLW canon (and of course is the jumping off point for my Real Tibette stories) but this is GQ S2 canon” – sorry English is not my first language ;-)

      PS 2 : Would you have some fanfictions to recommend?

      • Hi clementine! *waves* Thank you for such a wonderful comment. I so appreciate that you understand and like how I’m writing this. I agree with you that S3 is inevitably put B&T together without sufficient development or precessing of their relationship, which is a shame for sure. :-/

        The bit you asked about, when I said it would be TLW canon…. I really just meant that GQ S2 canon has them apart whereas TLW canon ends with S6 of TLW, where they’re going off to NY to get married. I hope that makes sense?

        Don’t worry about English not being your first language. I understand you perfectly. :-)

        My ff recommends would be anything by BK, but in particular ‘The Beginning’, which I think is hands down the best Tibette origin story I’ve ever read. I also love Collins, SuperK, Billy, Spumoni, meloveslu, Ally Emmerson, Gumby, Seahurst and Portia Richardson. Blackbird is the writer who most inspired me to pick up my pen. Hope that helps?

        Thank you again, so much. Hope you enjoy the rest of the story!
        L

    5. I have always thought that Bette broke Tina when she cheated. Into many tiny pieces. Everytime she heals a bit another crack appears. I know Bette has apologized a million ways, but Tina has to let the process complete. Bette has to be patient and kind. It will happen.

      • Yes!! THANK YOU. I think of it like Tina had insecurities when she met Bette, and Bette healed them — that scene on the bed when Tina says that she always felt so secure and loved, but then she wasn’t feeling it any more? So when Bette cheated, Tina’s insecurities came roaring back and, as you say, broke her. She forgave in her head, but inside…. inside is different.

        Great comment. And yes, it will, as you say, happen. Stay tuned!
        L

    6. L

      Well done. Love the introspection that Tina is having. Such a difficult place for Tina to be in at this point in her life. I am at a similar age, and… I don’t know, the world seemed much easier when I was younger. Tina is facing things that she has chosen to just ignore.

      Can’t wait to see where you go with this.

      K

      • Hey SuperK! *waves* How are you? Thank you so much for reading this and taking the time to comment. :-)

        I love what you say about Tina’s age. It *is* difficult for her. So. Very. Difficult. And Bette can still press her buttons, and she can press Bette’s. I think that argument is very authentic. Not easy to witness, but real.

        I hope you enjoy the rest of this. Thanks again for reading, my friend
        L

    7. Largo,

      I have read your response to Collins….. I must say that your Tina disturbs me deeply. I cannot conceive of someone choosing to reunite with a person several times and agreeing to marry them when carrying an unhealed wound for more than a decade. And then to divorce them after 7 years of marriage because that wound has still unhealed. Gen Q has not explained the divorce between Bette and Tina. So this is your representation of what happened. And for me that puts Tina in a very bad light… she either accepts Bette for who she is or she moves on with her life. And in your scenario, Tina has yet to reconcile the Bette she wants with the Bette she is. The only change anyone can do is themselves. They can never change someone else. Tina decides she can live with Bette and her history, her idiosyncrasies and the person she is, or she cannot. And she has been working on that for twenty years and has not been successful yet. I have always believed that Tina reconciled herself to all those things which happened in The L Word and decided that was now history. It happened, it hurt, but it is over and water under the bridge. Bette was worth forgiving and living with despite her history and her somewhat disappointing habits because the positives of the relationship were so worthwhile. With the appropriate communications, the give and take of any relationship and the effort to make it work could and would result in a life long intimate relationship. But with a wound that continues to fester after 2 decades, that would not be possible. Your Bette is being the Bette she always has been. She has good intentions, but sometimes does not execute the perfect plan to fulfill her promise. She didn’t do that on purpose…. but the result is that Tina blows her gasket. Knowing Bette, almost anyone could have predicted this would happen, so why is it such a surprise or a disappointment to Tina? Its because Bette is not living up to her promise? Possibly. More like Bette is not behaving like the person she wants her to be. Bette is being Bette. And Tina wants her to be someone more perfect than that. Bette did not arrive late on purpose. She did make it. So Tina has another reason to be angry with Bette.

      Based on your explanation of your story arch, my stomach is churning. Therefore, I am going to wish you well with this story arch…. I think you have chosen a very difficult line to follow. For if Tina is still carrying the open wound of the affair with a carpenter after all this time, how could a few more conversations and a little more time ever put it into the past?

      Good luck with your story….

      • Hi Martha – I don’t know whether you’ll see this, but if you do…. I just want to say a genuine thank you for your comment. This story is a slow burn. And the Tina of Chapter 6 is not the finished article. I do believe that what I’m writing is psychologically credible. Some people are complex and they heal at different rates and in different ways. I like how I’m unpacking it, but it’s fine if you don’t, if you lose patience or you just can’t believe in it.

        Thanks for your well wishes. You are a wonderful person to have on this site and it benefits greatly from your feedback.
        L

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