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    Chapter 8 – Tinseltown Holiday – Part 2

    “My lovely Bette, the gift of presence is truly worth its weight in gold. I have enjoyed our time together so very much. As always.” Peggy reached for Bette’s hand. “I love you dear heart. Now, tell me. How are you doing? Really. No need to maintain that brave face with me.” Bette shook her head and squeezed Peggy’s hand. “It’s not easy. You know this. So many memories. Kit used to say that there was no need to put big pressure on ourselves this time of year and the best presents were simple ones given with love. She was right. Oh, I miss her, Peggy. God how I miss her.” Peggy slowly nodded. “I know, you do. I do know. As you know, my Marilyn loved the holidays and she would have totally approved of our little excursion. Given you two big thumbs up. She would have also echoed Kit’s sentiment to be sure. Marilyn used to say: ‘Whether a pair of fluffy socks or simply a note in a card with beautiful words, keep it simple and remind yourself about the value of a simple act of kindness.’” Peggy sighed. “And she was right. I will remember this little trip of ours forever. And what am I doing? Hosting an over the top holiday party that would have those beautiful blue eyes rolling.” Bette laughed. “Now, Peggy. Marilyn loved your holiday parties and it most certainly will not be over the top. You, my sweet, are not capable of over the top. Tastefully festive.”

    Peggy laughed as the two continued their drive home from Joshua Tree. Peggy to make arrangements for her party and the arrival of Helena and Dylan and Wilson and Jang Yin. Bette to greet her beloved daughter and Shane and Maya and Buddy. Bette and Angie would soon visit Kit and place flowers on her memorial at Forest Lawn and walk the hills where they had scattered some of her ashes. Nothing could ever make up for the loss of Kit but this ritual with Angie always managed to ease the pain and bring Bette a sense of peace. The clock was now ticking until Angie left the nest and went off to the college. Spending some quality time alone with her baby girl was also a major blessing.

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    1. This is the first story in which the effect of the divorce on Angie is being explored. Being a child of divorced parents, I do remember thinking to myself when I was Angie’s age – why were parents divorce…what made one decide they needed to leave the other and why can’t they just get back together and try again. And this is the age in which children start to ask why the divorce; what happened that brought this about; how did you meet; what was life like for the two of you and how did having children change that? At Angie’s age, my greatest fear is that the children were somehow the cause of their discontent which resulted in the divorce. Children are observant… just as Angie is in this story. They sense moods and emotions and when things are going along well and when they are not. And is does need to be blaring alarms and billowing smoke to indicate that things are not idea for her Mama T and her fiancé’ Carrie O’Neal.

      The talk Angie insists on is so multipurposed – first to tell her mother in no so subtle ways that Tina still cares for Bette and Bette still cares for Tina. And secondly to tell her mother how grateful she is to have Bette as her mother. She loves Tina big time, but there has been this drifting since the divorce cause by time and separation. And third – that she does not understand the underlying causes of the divorce which is the most impactful thing in her life which has occurred since she was born. Unfortunately, Bette is in the same boat. This is a huge part of the plot line for this author. It is one of the most consistent with that which was presented in Generation Q, Season 1 of any Generation Q story lines I have read.

      The part which I truly like in this chapter is where Bette explains her grieving process and how she has avoided the anger which is usually generated when 20 years plus relationship breaks up. Bette has yet to show any anger to anyone about loss of her relationship with Tina. She has yet to say one derogatory remark about Tina and is having a rough time with this “had to happen at some point” meeting of Carrie.

      Fortunately, Tina and Carrie will probably not live in Los Angeles once they are married and probably not visit very often once Angie is in college. I am sure that maintaining a respectable distance from Tina and Carrie will be much easier once Angie becomes more independent of her parents. We the readers are not happy with that…. But, if we were in Bette Porter’s shoes, what are the options? Tina made her choice in her life’s path. Until she indicates there has been a change in that path, there is nothing for Bette to chase after. And if Tina did express an interest, would it not be Tina’s burden to convince Bette that there was a reason to have her back? To explain what happened? To reveal what caused the breakup and most important why it would not happen again. It is obvious that they love each other immensely. Bette and Tina are ones who do not know that. And they are able to communicate when they make an effort.

      It is also obvious that they have a good number of friends who are working on their behalf and are doing things; little things to keep at least a peaceful co-existence between the two. Alice and Sally point out Tina’s misinterpretation of Angie’s phone call about her soccer match. The gang’s agreement to meet Carrie and extend to her a warm welcome to Los Angeles and including both Tina and Carrie in activities appealing to them during their visit to LA. It does not mean that the gang is in favor of the Tina and Carrie wedding. But after meeting Carrie and seeing the soon to be married couple together, we can only imagine the response they will have to Tina and her chosen replacement for Bette Potter. As Shane said “Definitely not her type.”

      No one pressuring, even Angie is not pressuring merely suggesting from her point of view, there is still hope and a path.

      So, what do we have? We have Bette and Tina trying to make their own way in the world and then there is Carrie. We all know Carrie’s days are numbered, just not how many. They both have their support teams which are doing their best to keep them on a reasonable path. Then there is Angie as I believe it was BK who said in a prior comment that she represents us the readers. She sees what we see – her parents love each other but are not following a path which will converge. She’s seen the pain, the anguish, the love and desire. And if providence has provided a path for this couple, it all goes through Angie Potter-Kennard.

      I love this Bette – courageous, polite, considerate, and doing what she can to live a full life. And Tina? Tina is so torn apart with her personal life and choices. Her career is could not be going any better. But what good if you are working all your waking hours and enjoying very little that life has to offer? Where your work causes you to miss those big moments in your child’s life? When you end up choosing someone because they make you laugh, but that is only temporary? And you are now in the final half of your life? The question is always why and what is it that you want from life? What will they say at your funeral? She was a wonderful producer and boss and look at all the projects she made a contribution to or she was a wonderful spouse, mom, and friend and was rather successful in her career as well. Tina, this is your dilemma which you must decide for yourself…. What is going to make you happy Tina? That is what you need to get into your life.

      Tina has made the first decision – get an apartment in Los Angeles and spend more time with Angie. And more time with her friends…. And hopefully some time with Bette. But what of Carrie? How does an apartment in LA work for Carrie? Looks like another discussion for her and Carrie. Does Carrie really know the woman she has asked to marry her? At this point, I would say no. And if I could interview Carrie, I would ask her point blank “Why do you want to marry Tina?”

      I find the character development wonderful. I feel I really know the main characters – Bette, Tina, Carrie, Shane, Angie and Peggy. They are all maturing and showing the results of their experiences. Good and bad experiences. And they are sharing what they have learned with each other. And as truly a band of unique people, but their friendship is something we all wish for in our own lives. They truly are Dames of the Round. Now, if we can just get Tina to do a little more self-examination and make a few moves to put her path toward Bette and Angie, we might have a true romance in the making.

      Thanks for the chapter… really enjoyed it and look forward to Part 3.

      • Martha,

        What an incredibly well thought out comment. Writing Angie as an integral character was a real joy. Too often she exists but is kind of abandoned. Given no voice. I wanted Angie to be the voice of the reader. Asking the questions the readers want to ask. As I am basing this story on OG and Gen Q season one, Tina’s talk with Angie is integral. And dare I say maddening.

        Next to nothing is known about Carrie. I had to invent a last name as she wasn’t given one in the first season. So I based by Carrie on ROD. As such, Carrie is quirky but not a bad person. Not at all. But she is – unique. No, she is not Tina’s type in any way. Again, based upon the types we had seen prior to season two. So, in my story the whys are very much in play. And hopefully and eventually answered to the reader’s satisfaction.

        Bette is the tough as nails business woman and away from work sweetheart those who paid attention knew was there. She is a loyal friend. She is not a liar or a manipulator. She is a straight shooter. So the forgiveness factor is very important. Integral to the story. None of Tina’s actions make any sense to Bette. Until they do, she will love Tina but will protect herself. And she will survive.

        Angie – so much to say. I am so glad I did not begin this story later and have to deal with season two. What they did to Angie is criminal. It helps that my Angie has Peggy, a more mature depiction of Shane and Maya in her life. But as you say the divorce has been very hard on her. Angie has questions. Lots of them. And memories of a very happy life. And Angie is a central character. Her questions and feelings aren’t going away. She sees that her parents still love one another. As viewers of the series we want to take control and just fix it. This is what Angie wants. Just fix it. Sadly, it will not be quite that easy or that fast. But the love between our couple is most definitely present. Everyone sees it but them. So there is hope.

        I have to read your comment a third time but wanted to at least reply this much. Your spot on in your observations. Are you inside my head? And your support is overwhelming. Thank you, Martha. Stay safe and warm and healthy. B

    2. Hey Billy,

      Where to start? So happy to read this chapter, it mad me feel so sad, even had tears in my eyes the first few chapters, the way you described Angie’s and Bette’s talk, the why’s of the divorce and both not understanding how a few months later after that picture was taken, Tina walked out on them. Bette still struggling and asking herself if she could forgive Tina for leaving her and divorce her. Like Martha i liked the part where Bette explains her grieving process and how she avoided the anger after splitting up with the love of her life and not by your own choice but because of her love for Tina she let her go, set her free. I wonder if the anger at one point will come up, i think it will because she needs to deal with those feelings and anger if she ever wants to move on and be able to move on and forgive Tina.

      Bette is a class woman in your story, god i love your Bette, so sweet, gracious, considerate, strong and so loved by her daughter, Peggy, her friends and Tina who is still living her chosen life and is making the biggest mistake of her life by denying her true feelings and for whatever reason stays on the pad she has chosen.

      I felt Bette’s pain and sadness when Tina introduced her to Carrie, still she made every effort to do her best and welcome her just like the rest of the group did. Alice and Shane try to do their best to be friends for both Bette and Tina but they are on Bette’s team and i love that all of them, including Angie, are doing their best to protect Bette and be there for her.

      What in the heck is their acctraction to each other? Like Shane said ” Definetely not her type”. No affections shown between them and my god how can Tina allow Carrie to call her Teenie, i would die of shame. Carrie for sure will have some good things what Tina likes but to marry her because she made her laugh isn’t enough and will never be enough to marry someone. Even in this chapter Tina has to set her straight how she should act when meeting Bette, Peggy and the others. Carrie acts like one big kid that is love struck and in awe of stars instead of a grown up woman. Tina wake up before you make the biggest mistake of your life!!!! Everyone, including Angie sees how both Tina and Bette still deeply love each other. Get rid of Carrie and fight for your one true love Bette, do whatever to win Bette back and heal the hurt and trust you inflicted on Bette and Angie too, fight for your family!!!!

      Besides the tears that welled up because i felt the pain and sadness in the beginning of this chapter, i really had to laugh at this part at the end of the chapter:

      “Bette took Buddy for a long walk and gave him a much-needed lecture on behaving himself as company was coming. “Listen up. No crotch sniffing. You already know this. No licking your balls. Totally uncool. No humping. Legs or furniture. Even if Angie laughs, it’s not funny. And stay out of the trash. Now here’s the big one. You know I can’t even bring myself to say the p word so…. about you and that not so little red rocket of yours? No one needs to be seeing that, Buddy. Got it? I know your proud but be a gentleman. And no matter what Grandma Peggy says, I’m in charge. Oh, and remember, Daisy is going to be here for a few days. So, play nice.”

      A good way to end my thoughts about this chapter.

      Billy, you really have a talent and i am so happy you share it with us! I look forward to read the next one!

      • Thank you, Bibi for the kind comment. When I envision Bette I do not see a selfish, my way or the high way woman some like to claim she is. Phrases like serial cheater drive me crazy. Since I am following canon I see the happy and settled Bette in season six sitting in the kitchen telling Tina and James she might be happy as a stay at home mom. Why some assume their time in NYC was totally unhappy is beyond me. So this is my Bette. Older and trying to learn from her mistakes. And loving Angie more than life itself.

        And yes, always and forever in love with Tina. That will never change. Remember, I don’t have the luxury of the Carrie makes Tina laugh comment from season two, so my take on Carrie is limited and based on Tina’s talk with Angie from season one. In many ways I am glad to not have to incorporate season two as it was a royal mess. Trying to make sense of the nonsensical that is season two is better left to more talented writers than this author. Just remember, Tina will find her way. Carrie will be dispatched. Soon. But the answers as to why Tina did what she did is going to take some time. Bette won’t be making any of the first moves. But she will never ever abandon Tina. And for them to reunite? It’s up to Tina to figure out. And ultimately it will be left to readers such as yourself to determine if my solution makes any sense.

        Can I just share that this story was a joy to write with Angie and Peggy as major characters. Both Bette and Tina need a mother figure in their lives and Peggy is there for both of them. And I also like Shane living with Bette and Angie. Nothing will make up for the loss of Kit but Bette is much more settled with Angie and Shane and Buddy in the house.

        I am glad the chapter made you laugh a little. Life is a blend of sorrow and joy. Laughter and tears. A little humor is important. Stay safe and healthy, Bibi. As always, I appreciate your support. Thanks again for your feedback. Happy holidays!! B

    3. Billy,
      Thrilled to have this wonderful gift and oh what fun it was. Angie tickled me when she pondered whether the plush restaurant they had decided to dine at would become a “crime scene” and even cool hand Shane feeling that they could easily claim “justifiable homicide” should Carrie’s quirky, brash personality get the best of one of ‘em!!!

      But U know what? The paragraph below is one of the ones that jerked my head around bc I wonder if it might be at the heart of what could have saved Tina from making the senseless decision that she made to divorce/leave Bette.

      “Tina could not believe what she was hearing. There was a time early on in their relationship when Bette would have gone crazy withOUT a PLAN. And without a big Christmas dinner with all of the trimmings. Yes, she had certainly mellowed OVER the YEARS. BUT STILL, here she and Peggy were . . . LITERALLY WINGING IT . . . TOGETHER . . . And NOT MINDING it one little bit. You can have Angie’s room. I’ll even change the sheets . . .”

      To me, all along Bette had been the one that wanted to change, to somehow temper her intense responses (when feeling exposed or threatened) while somehow maintaining the PASSIONATE HEART which was really the CORE element of her being.

      And while Tina understood Bette in this way, she (Tina) never bothered to see herself as having any faults that warranted inspection, reflection or need of correction.

      Now REALITY was jerking the slack out of Tina and we see that she forgot how much Bette had changed over the years

      I wonder how much a growing Angie helped draw the gentler, “go with the flow” willingness out of Bette.

      • Hey Dumplin,

        Thank you so much – as always – for your insightful comments and support. I have been second guessing myself left and right about this story and it means more than you will ever know to receive the feedback.

        To my mind, Angie absolutely made Bette learn to go with the flow. Season six Bette sitting in the kitchen talking to Tina and fixing Angie’s meal says it all to me. Bette is truly thinking she could be a stay at home mom but is also freaked out by Sonny peeing in the toilet. Both Bette’s co exist in the same body. I so wanted to write a story in which Bette is raising a boy. Taking Angie to the ER in the middle of the night is another example of relinquishing control. Absolutely Bette learned quickly what schedules and plans truly mean when a child is in the house.

        I think Bette was very settled in NYC. Away from the drama. In her element. With family. Peggy and Marilyn. Yes, Bette definitely learned to be more easy going. But Bette remains a thinker, a planner, a doer. Like moving back to LA. And when she sees something that needs done or said she jumps right in.

        When Tina left Bette had two choices: give in the the grief or find a way to move on. For a time she was giving in to the grief. But she has found a way to do the second. And now? Tina scares the you know what out of her. And Tina? Tina is in a world of hurt. Gen Q put her there. And if I hadn’t made that darn promise to myself I would pluck her out of this so fast. But I can’t. So I’m stuck trying to make sense of that which makes zero sense. Square peg. Round hole.

        Thank you again, for being you. Be safe and healthy and happy. B

    4. Aarghh … is my first though,t the second is that this story, however excellent it is, makes me so sad! how can 2 people so close, so in love find themselves in such a situation? I still think that Tina’s spirit was broken after Marilyn’s death …

      I’m really amazed at the reaction of the whole troop towards Carrie and especially Carrie’s attitude, I expected a disaster and finally it turned out better than I thought and Bette, oh my god, what a classy woman, despite a most difficult situation she was able to welcome her ex-wife and her rival with so much class and elegance !

      I hope your health is improving and I can’t wait for the third part. BTW I sent you a PM a while ago, did you see it ?

      • Izzy,

        My dear Izzy. I feel your pain. When I set out to do this experiment, as I call it, I made a promise to myself to do it as completely and honestly as possible. I knew it was going to be tough stuff and a tough read so I said from the beginning – there will be a happy ending. But it will take some time.

        I thought trying to figure it all out was hard after just one season of Gen Q when all we had been given was a divorced, broken hearted, confused Bette and Tina’s odd little speech to Angie about needing to find herself and her rationalization to Bette about skipping Kit’s funeral. I needed to imagine a Carrie and fixated on ROD. Most of this was written one year ago before we had even seen how Carrie would be portrayed. So yes, Carrie is not embraced by the group but, out of respect for Bette and for Tina, is not flat out rejected either. My Carrie is not the Carrie of season two. Which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s quite easy to dispatch that Carrie isn’t it? What a witch! But the viewer is still left at a loss to understand Tina. Understanding Gen Q Tina. There’s the real mystery. What is going on in that beautiful mind of hers? In this story Marilyn’s death is a definite catalyst.

        I wanted to depict a Bette who would pull herself together and put Angie above all things. And I hope that comes across. My Bette is working overtime to set her anger aside. She wants to understand more than anyone what happened. And she is willing to wait for Tina. Again I am glad not to have to deal with season two. I’m not entirely sure I know that Bette.

        I agree that it is sad. It was sad to write it. Hard to write. I can’t imagine trying to get inside Tina’s head after season two. This gets me back to one of my original ideas which was to publish the entire story at one time. There are over thirty chapters to get through. Trust me, Carrie is gone soon. But Tina has a lot of work to do. And she wants to do it! And she does. And she succeeds.

        I readily admit this story may not be for everyone. Not yet anyway. I have the luxury of knowing what’s coming. In the meantime? I hope you can hang in there and trust it does get better. I really appreciate your comments. Your candor and honest feedback mean a lot. I will check my messages. Have not done that in a while.

        Stay safe and well and have a happy holiday. Izzy, thank you. B

    5. Wow. So beautifully written, but heartbreaking too. I am in awe. Maya is a lovely woman, so generous of spirit and I’m sorry that she will lose in the end, but even she realises that Bette will never truely love anyone but Tina. I love the interaction between all the “family” , so sadly missing in GQ except for an occasional tryst between Bette, Alice and Shane. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas!

      • Agree Valerie Ann. GQ really missed the mark by not including more scenes with the “family” in the last two seasons. The new characters just don’t have it. I wish Maya had hung on in GQ as well. She was lovely.

    6. Hi ValerieAnn,

      Heartbreaking is a very apt description. I fret a lot over having to take our couple through this. The reason Bette is surviving and able to move on is because of her family. Without Peggy and Shane and Maya Bette would be lost. Maya is in the story for the long haul. Each of those individuals contributes to giving Bette something she lost when Tina left. Tina has Sally and is going to continue to need her. She also has Peggy and that becomes quite important. I so appreciate you giving my story a read and a comment. Your feedback means so much.

      Have a safe and healthy and happy holiday season!!



    7. My dear Billy,

      I just wanted to post an addendum to my comments. First of all, I know how difficult it is to write a story based upon cannon. The characters have made decisions and taken actions in which if you were writing the story would never have happened. For our image of Bette and Tina would have never been divorced. There would never have been a Carrie. But that is not what the cannon is at this point. So, you have picked up the story from the end of Season 1 and are making a heroic effort to write what you believe in would happen to our beloved Bette and Tina. Divorce is not a the result of a happy state of a couple. Reunions take time, effort and desire. In the world you find yourself in, Tina has made some definitive choices which include to take a job in Toronto, to become engaged to Carrie and to live the life she is living. And, as much as we the reader can see that she is coming to the realization that she has made some mistakes in her decisions, the rest of world including Bette knows nothing of what she is thinking. Unlike some stories, you have chosen a path in which Bette and Tina are responsible for their own happiness and work within the parameters of what they know. I find it realistic that Bette would not talk to Tina very much after finding out that Tina was engaged. I find it entirely plausible that Tina would delay and avoid facing the truth about her relationship with Carrie and then delaying taking action to correct the situation. In many respects, that is what her work does for her…. it allows her to escape her personal responsibility of doing those things which will make her truly happy. It’s another form of running from her problems. And although being with Carrie is rather sad and unpleasant for us the readers, it is a necessary part of the story. For I have always been one to believe that you cannot just state that someone is unhappy, you need to demonstrate that unhappiness. You cannot just say Carrie is incompatible, you need to show where they are incompatible to make the story real. That is what I see in your story….it’s real.

      In quality writing, it is important that we the readers feel the emotions of the characters so that we can empathize with their dilemma or feel their joy and be in moment with those characters. You the author are doing just that. You are showing the bad stuff as well as the good. That is generally the way life works – not everything is birds singing and blooming flowers. Sometimes there is snow up to your wahoo… and the birds have all flown south. Although, we all feel better to read those nice, everything is wonderful stories… it can be equally gratifying to read a story in which the characters face their life as it exist and work with the circumstances and make the choices they feel they should make to have a better life. And you are doing an excellent job of doing this.

      I must admit that I am pleased in that none of your characters are doing anything to purposely hurt or harm another character. They may have misperceptions of what others are thinking or doing, but there is no thought of revenge or malice. No character is an enemy. They may be incompatible as partners and may have traits which are not attractive such as Alice and her insatiable curiosity. But Alice truly wants what she believes is best for her friends. I particularly like this aspect of your writing. Unlike some other commenters, just because Carrie does not belong with Tina, does not mean that she deserves to be killed off as they might do in some soap opera.

      The other thing I wanted to address is the time factor. In our world, we have become accustomed to instant gratification. You order something on line; its at your home 2 days later. In Gen Q, when a couple breaks up, they are both with new partners the next episode. This is a fairly recent society expectation – instant gratification. Please try to dismiss this and take your path and your time to tell your story.. Stay with your plan… stay with your style and tell your story as you see it. I may not like certain aspects of this story, but if it fits and is representative of how I see your characters, I will enjoy it more.

      The purpose of this web site is for people to write stories and have an means to allow the public to read. There is no guarantee that what you see will be liked by everyone or anyone for that matter. But, it allows you a means to express your thoughts and your creativity. I for one am grateful that this story is here on this site. You have been true to cannon and I feel that you have represented all the characters as I would imagine them today…. each one unique and love by most of us readers. Keep going… tell us this story…

      Thank you for indulging me…

      • Wow Martha. Thank you. Again. I confess that this has not been an easy process. I promised myself that I would not post until the entire story was complete. That slowed posting down. Thus I am woefully behind the Gen Q story line. And I have to keep reminding myself of the things I am not supposed to know. Especially about Carrie.

        When I set out to do this it was all or nothing. And yes, that means it’s going to be rather rough going for a while. Especially next chapter. I am extremely grateful to have the support of readers such as yourself. The comments mean everything. Even when being critical. It’s all good and a part of the learning curve. And no, I will never have Bette or Tina disrespect or speak badly to or about the other. You will not see that in this story. Both are hurting and struggling each in their own way. But neither will play the blame game.

        Remaining true to canon is quite tricky. We all know Tina would never have done any of these things. And if there is a season 3? I will have to avert my eyes. When all is said and done I expect you to tell me how I did. I know you will. Thank you, Martha.

        Oh – you may or may not find this amusing. I wrote the end first followed by the beginning and ended with the middle. Does that surprise you? I thought not. I always read the last page of a BK story first.

    8. This chapter has it all. Angst. Longing. Heartbreak. Humor. Friendship. And weaving through each of those themes is hope. Hope in everlasting love, hope that two lost souls can find each other, put away all the misplaced hurt and lack of communication and just… come back and be together. Every TiBette in the world feels this hope keenly, even if it is in short supply right now.

      I love stories like this. One of my favorite authors on this site from long ago was JoBadge, who wrote some great angst-y stories about the time following Candace. Those chapters ripped your heart out but always left this twinge of hope, just like this chapter, this story.

      And it all starts with Angie. Out of the mouths of babes. My hero. “Hi Mom. Hope you had a good time. Did not want to call or text but we do need to talk. As soon as you get home if that works. Even if I’m asleep. Wake me. XOXOXO.”

      We do need to talk. Wake me.

      This is huge. For a teenager to step outside of their own life and drama shows how important what Angie wants to say is.

      Bette has given Angie a home where she is safe to leave a note like this, a home where they are a team, where they openly talk. What a gift. I imagine in the process of this, Bette learned to communicate better as well and my hope is that one day that skill will be useful when she and Tina finally talk. Because like I said, the hope is there.

      The scene where they look at the family picture of them in NY got me. Right in the feels. I read it three times. I know this scene. I have lived this scene. Looking at a picture and trying to determine when everything fell apart, when the seams began to unravel. Bette doesn’t know the answers. She doesn’t know what to tell her daughter … not when Angie frames it so perfectly, asking “With so much love. That’s how it was. All the time. And that was just a few months before everything fell apart. I look at this picture every day. Every day, Mom. And every day I don’t understand. Every day it makes no sense. I need to understand, Mom. I need for it to make sense.”
      I need for it to make sense.

      So do we, Angie dear. So do we.

      And so Bette tells Angie the only thing she can – We are a team.

      We are in this together. You and me. Me and you.

      It’s beautiful, Billy. There is so much love there. The obvious love Bette has for Angie, the patience, the gentleness. The way she tries to soothe, the way she listens without judgement. But there is also love for Tina hidden in this scene. Despite what she may be thinking, Bette never speaks ill of her ex-wife, never makes Angie choose. And the strength of that – the strength to keep the memory of Tina positive in Angie’s mind is so powerful. She is holding space for Tina even though they are apart. Telling Angie to talk to her other mother, to seek the answers, to trust both her mamas. And that is what will make their eventual reconciliation last.

      But then the proverbial record player comes screeching to a halt. Carrie meets Bette. Bette has to meet Carrie. Shane, Alice rally. Peggy investigates. Maya is an excellent wing-(wo)man. But for me, it all boils down to the holiday party moment at Bette’s house. The decorations. The cookies. The tree. Again, beautifully written. I could almost feel the yearning, taste the desperate regret from Tina, the resigned acceptance from Bette.
      Emotions are always amplified over the holidays. Will it be enough to send Carrie packing? Not yet, it seems although we can almost see the wheels turning in that blonde head.

      Her present confronting her past.

      And again, we as readers, see the love Bette has for Tina even if she can’t acknowledge it herself. Would you use an ex’s cookie recipe if you didn’t love them? Love your daughter? Recreate the decorations and the traditions unless your heart was telling you there was no other way to make Christmas special?

      Powerful stuff.

      I imagine if we were to look inside Tina’s head in this chapter, to open her mind and see the feelings… we would see nothing but confusion, remorse, and possibly hopelessness. How in the world can she explain this… let alone fix it?

      I think she can.

      You follow up the meaningful conversation about the family picture with Bette inviting Tina and Carrie to the Christmas Day meal and opening of presents. Again, Bette does what is best for Angie, putting aside her own thoughts on sharing Christmas day with the quirky Carrie. It is a kindness, again. Does she see, on some level, the fragility of Tina right now? Does she sense the turmoil?

      Carrie does.

      She knows “from the get go, (that) she was not Tina’s soul mate.” Carrie is keenly aware the luminous (great word) Bette Porter has all the chemistry with Tina that they (Carrie and Tina) lack. The others know it as well. Alice is so great in this chapter, love her. Shane is too but I am still mad at her for GQ (and Pants Pod and for generally being a lazy actor but none of that has anything to do with this chapter). And I can not adequately describe the 3-D version of Peggy that comes to life in this story. Formidable. She is the protector of everything Porter, the champion of TiBette and I can only hope that Peggy will play a pivotal role in these two knuckleheads finally talking.

      Yes, this chapter is sad. Yes, it needs to be. You are playing the long game here Billy. Personally, I applaud you for it. You are given so little to work with in S1 and your description of each situation is delightful. I am so here for it.
      Hope to see more soon!

      • BK,

        Thank you so very much for your continued support and encouragement. I love that you love Peggy. She is integral to the story. These two both need her. And yes she is with them for the long haul. I also love writing Angie approaching adulthood and she is a central character. I knew when I set out to write this story that the concept of family would be huge and would factor into any possible reconciliation. Family saved Bette. Will family save Tina?

        Carrie is absolutely becoming aware that the Tina she met in Toronto is not the real Tina. Is not her Tina. Is there a “her” Tina at all? Who goes first in ending the madness that is their non-relationship remains to be seen but it’s coming. And where will that leave Tina?

        I totally agree about Shane. I despise Shane in season 2. Truly. I am so mad at her character and agree that Kate is a real downer on PANTS. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t know these things. My Shane is season one sitting on the floor with Bette smoking pot. Why did they do that to Shane? I also am glad you mentioned Alice. Bette needs her entire support system and Alice is most definitely important. And Helena enters the story soon.

        I will share that an important theme in the story is paying attention. That Bette decorated the house and cooked the recipes and baked the peanut butter blossom cookies – shows she paid attention to Tina. To the life they shared. She always paid attention. Tina is literally imprinted as a part of Bette. As Bette is a part of Tina. Two halves of a whole that need to find their way back to one another.

        Do you know the Japanese art of kintsugi? Repairing broken ceramic with lacquer dusted with gold? The philosophy behind kintsugi is to value an object’s beauty, as well as its imperfections, focusing on them equally as something to celebrate, not disguise. This is what Bette and Tina have to find a way to do. Fix their cracks. And hopefully what they create together will more beautiful than the original.

        I cannot imagine trying to tackle the story after the mess that was season 2. And I am so glad you have written your chapters. No one writes our couple like you do. I celebrate your talent and thank you once again for your kind comments. Have a safe, healthy and happy holiday. B

    9. Thank you Billy for another Post to bring joy laughter and tears.
      Loved it as always. This wonderful Bette and an equally wonderful Peggy.
      I am loving it, even though my TiBette is not together and that is an indication of your talent as a Writer and a storyteller. Thank you, post soon..

      Thank you also for your condolences on the death of my son. He was too young to be taken from us and will be greatly missed.


      • I’m glad you enjoyed the Shane and Alice recon mission. Shane did enjoy gathering intel. I will be very happy to retire Carrie and her saying “Teenie.” Thank you for reading and commenting. Be safe. B

    10. B

      Our poor Bette, how brave and strong she was through this very difficult situation. So many quiet reflective moments and how the family circles the wagons knowing how difficult it would be for both Tina and Bette.

      Loving Angie, caught in the middle. Not yet an adult, but trying so very hard to help her mama B.

      I had such a sigh. As I read this story and the others that talk about the separation, I become so sad. These are fictional characters, but it feels like beloved family members have broken up. The rest of us sit on the sidelines along with Shane and Alice with are hearts aching for what we know should not be.

      Looking forward to the next chapter.

      • Hey SK. I really appreciate the written feedback The concept of family and familial support is crucial to Bette and Tina’s reconciliation. We all need that kind of support in our lives. We all need a Peggy and a Shane and an Alice. And Bette needs Maya. People who have your back even if they don’t anyways understand or agree. Stay safe and healthy. Take care. B

      • Thank you so very much for your kind comment. Yes, our couple is most definitely on a collision course. I’m glad you understand that Bette is functioning but lost without Tina. That’s why her family becomes so important. But no one. No. One. Can replace Tina. Ever. Again, thank you for reading and commenting. Be safe and well and happy holidays. B

    11. This is a comment sent to me from Largo: Here is the comment I want to post on your chapter. Sorry it’s so long and feel free to submit it yourself with a note to say it’s from me, if you can get it to post before I do. Happy Christmas and all best for the new year Largo COMMENT FOLLOWS:

      Hi Billy! First of all, thank you for continuing this story. It’s so good to read things that try to grapple with the impenetrable mess that GenQ made of Tibette. And second, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to read this chapter. I was immersed in trying to write my own holiday story and IT TOOK AGES! But anyway, here we are, and here are my thoughts…. Forgiveness. Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness….. ad infinitum. That’s the key to all of this, and you are starting to unpick it so beautifully. The sections about this really jump out at me: “If she was ever going to move on with a new relationship, she would have to find a way to forgive Tina.” “But to actually forgive Tina she first needed to understand. And understanding of any kind was still out there very far from her grasp. And so, forgiveness would have to wait.“ And this too: “Forgiveness. Bette got out of bed and wondered if Tina even cared about being forgiven? Did she feel bad? Feel guilty? Feel anything? Bette had no idea.” And that leads me on to another aspect you’ve written so well here. The mystery of Tina’s behaviour, especially to Angie. And poor Bette, having to try and grasp this to help her daughter understand her other mother, to help her hold together an idea of Tina as someone who can be trusted. This is a very difficult moment. But I think you have Bette play it exactly right – Angie needs to talk to Tina. Too many people are dancing around this issue and Tina must be made to confront the consequences of her actions. I also enjoy the sense of foreboding about Carrie’s arrival in LA. It almost has a horror element to it, as if Carrie is literally a monster. And yet I think what’s great is how you are also careful to flesh her out and humanise her. “I’m not rich but I’m debt free. I own my condo and can afford to eat out if I skip the appetizer.” Actually love Carrie for this. As usual, GQ wasted the potential in Carrie for a decent examination of the class dynamics in this show. This is great dialogue. Same with “Tee-nie-a-Tina”, lol. And then I think you do another great thing: you give Carrie her dignity when you let her call out Peggy’s interrogation. Peggy isn’t really entitled to do what she’s doing, but in her defence she’d do it to anyone. Tina could be marrying the Queen of the UK and Peggy would still feel entitled to drag her aside and grill her. But there’s still this vacancy, isn’t there, this question of WHY Carrie and Tina are together? “Carrie knew from the get go, she was not Tina’s soul mate. She had convinced herself from her previous failed relationships there was no such thing.” This is very interesting. I wonder if she’s been married before, and if not, why she asked Tina now? Likewise, it’s interesting that Tina has refused to discuss with Carrie why she left Bette. Crazy relationship Tincar have, and yet entirely in line with what GQ expects us to swallow. “Tina enjoyed talking to Alice and it was the most relaxed she had felt in a while. She was sad when the evening ended. She was sad to be left alone with Carrie.” Devastating. Just feel so sad for Tina. She is lost within her own life, within her own actions. A terrible, terrible place for anyone to be. I love how much you’ve deepened and developed the Bette-Peggy friendship. “The moments of silence ascribed the same meaning as their long, heartfelt conversations.” Some other comments, just here and there….. James is wonderful. Our work colleagues can know us every bit as well as our families do. Good to see Jordi and Angie aren’t an item any more, haha (I’m bad) Maya is wonderful and Carrie’s reaction to her completely warranted. That actor is a doll. So glad Maya is in your story, but I do wonder whether Bette might decide she’s not being fair to her? Very optimistic of Maya to suggest she would bake a ham next Christmas… Helena and…. golf? It would never have occurred to me and yet I can’t say it doesn’t make sense. I LOVE A CIRCULAR TABLE! Buddy’s ‘little red rocket’… too much! If you have any sadness at Christmas, I think ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ is guaranteed to bring it out. Poor Kit. Thank you for giving Tina a little redemption there in the cemetery. I love how foot-in-mouth Tina is when Bette gives her the mushroom. Very funny. Carrie’s a conspiracy theorist?! Mind you, given that Tina’s marrying her, maybe she’s right about the tap water, lol Amen to Bette being hot in casual clothing! Bette treating Tina like a guest. Ouch. Sorry for going on at such length! I love your writing. It makes me laugh and it makes me think, and I also like how slowly you’re going. Really look forward to the next chapter. Take care, Billy, and have a lovely Christmas Largo”

      • Largo,

        I hope it makes sense that I am replying to you in this manner as you were unable to post. Thank you very much for following my story and for taking the time to offer your insightful critique. One thing I will share is that there are no villains in this story. No hidden agendas. No bad gals. Each and every character is as they are portrayed. I like to think that these women are older and have lots of life experience between them. Yes, it remains next to impossible to understand Tina’s whys with regard to Carrie. And although they are completely incompatible, this Carrie is not a bad person. As for Maya? She and Bette are destined to be friends for life. There is a plan for Maya. There is always a plan. Just as there is a plan for Tina.

        Forgiveness really is tricky, isn’t it? Bette needs to understand that which Tina cannot even begin to articulate because right now Tina does not know herself. And Bette is trying to survive in a world in which Tina has left her and is marrying Carrie. Even typing those words is totally ludicrous but that is the mess that Gen Q created. Given said mess – maybe, just maybe, we sometimes simply have to make a choice – we may not be able to ever entirely forget past events – but the time may come to set aside the hurt and find a way to move past it. Fish or cut bait. And both Bette and Tins really do want to fish.

        I was looking back over all of my notes and drafts and am astonished that I wrote the majority of this story over one year ago. I admit that it is difficult to stay the course knowing this is a long journey that is really just beginning. Hard not to begin chopping chapters and take a short cut to that happy ending. But on we go.

        I am really honored to have your support. Thank you for reading and for your honest feedback. Happy New Year! Peace and good health!


    12. Hello Billy!! I love this story, especially for the construction of carrie, because as soon as I saw episode 2.1, I thought she had intentionally damaged the mailbox. Then came the discussion in the kitchen and that weird thing about the therapy session with Angie… Anticipating what you posted, I wish you a Happy New Year, with great health and peace.

      • Hannab,

        Thank you very much for your kind comment and for your support. I love writing my version of Carrie. I wrote this prior to season one being aired and based my Carrie on how I envisioned ROD might portray the character. Wow was I wrong. But on I go. Thanks again for reading. Looking forward to more comments. Happy New Year and peace and good health to you as well. Billy

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