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    Day Four, Letter Four

    Tina
    Alice and I went to buy pumpkins today. The girls all came over to carve them and play poker. It was nice to laugh and relax and enjoy each other’s company. We had a fire going in the living room, pizza on the coffee table and a bucket of beer nearby. We have the best of friends, Tina. The absolute best. They are such a source of comfort. They would do anything for either of us. I am not the only one who misses you but I think everyone agrees that you need to care of yourself before you can come back to us. Thinking about you today, hope you feel loved.
    Bette

    4

    They sat in oversized massage chairs in the middle of the mall, their bags on the floor between them. Bette leaned her head back, her eyes closing for a moment.

    “Oh, fuck. That lower back pulsating setting? To die for. Can we sit here all afternoon? Do they think they would let us spend the night?”

    Tina laughed. “We can sit here for a while. I like the shoulder setting, the one that ripples up and down… fuck, that feels good…” Tina snuck a look at Bette, who had her head tilted back on the headrest, eyes closed. “I can give you a massage when we get home, Babe” she said softly, reaching for Bette’s hand.

    Bette nodded, her eyes opening slowly to meet Tina’s. “I’ve missed those massages. Would you?”
    “Of course, I would. I will. I’ve missed giving them…”

    “Alice is going to love her gift, Tee. And Kit! I can’t believe you found her that soundtrack. She will be so happy… should we plan a Christmas Eve dinner for everyone?”

    “If you want. Or Christmas Eve Eve. I kind of want Christmas Eve to be just us. It’s… our first Christmas Eve back together. Right? I envision a good meal, beef tenderloin… or something. And you, Bette. Just you. Under the tree with the lights blinking on your naked body. Back arching. Toes curling…”

    “Jesus, Tee.”

    “Yes, well… sure. Jesus on Christmas Eve…”

    Bette’s laughter bubbled up from the pit of her stomach and it was the best sound Tina ever heard. She smiled too, happy that Bette was happy.

    Page 1 of 41234

    Comments

    1. Both are getting better & better at recognizing the affects of old behaviors. Tina, for example, realizing that boundaries have to be drawn between her and Alice when it came to sharing so much stuff. Bette always wanted to be the “1st to know”, but, in the past, she often responded with a dismissive hand and didn’t really “hear” and value Tina’s opinion . I think Tina grew to expect her rejection in some ways.

      Anyway, Tina began to learn to take a chance and sharing stuff with Bette first. It really worked and helped Bette to take a chance on vulnerability. A funny example is Bette agreeing to go skating. Just on a whim by Tina. We KNOW she didn’t want the possibility of “looking clumsy and/or falling in front of everybody”, but she agreed and didn’t put up a fuss.

      Yet what do we see, Tina skating backwards (into unknown calamity) and Bette, saying watch out you could get hurt. Just a true-to-form reveal of their personalities, but together, it will still worked out.

      Lawdd, how many times have we feared to step into an “unknown” only to find that the calamity feared, did NOT come AND the experience somehow was fun & thrilling???

      Anyway, then their little talk on the bench:

      “ It’s about love, Tee. We loved that baby. Every tiny little part of him we loved. In our hearts we were already creating space for him in our life. In your womb he felt that love, grew because of that love. And the price of that love was the incredible pain we felt in his passing. Like a receipt if you will. The only thing we should have done was cling to each other and talk about it. But I wanted to stop you from hurting and you… you… disappeared. I thought I had to pretend I was fine so I didn’t make your pain worse. I was so, so wrong. I see that now.”

      “ That’s beautiful, Baby. So beautiful. Why didn’t we talk like this before? We both responded the only way we knew how, Babe.

    2. Sorry to hog the Comments box, but one thing raised a ??? It was said right after the
      “ That’s beautiful, Baby. So beautiful. Why didn’t we talk like this before? We both responded the only way we knew how, Babe comment and that was: “I think we were falling apart before then”.

      Really I say??? Was that referring to when they were in the group therapy Season 1 with Dr Foxworthy, and there came a time when the camera showed what each person was thinking with doubts about their partners, but trying to show everybody else that “everything was OK”?

      Hmmmmm yes, that must be it. After all, they were in therapy and we know Tina had to persuade Bette to attend with her.

    3. A beautiful chapter that shows that they are communicating open and honest and more important they really listen to what is said.

      I am glad, like DumplinT already mentioned, that Tina put some bounderies between her and Alice, it was like Tina only shared everything with her and not Bette. Worst was that Alice knew as first Tina was pregnant and thanks to her Bette was second to last before she heard it from Tina. No matter how it is going between spouses, lack of communication or what else, this was a special moment that needed to be shared and celebrated between Bette and Tina first.

      Here are some pieces that i loved:

      “If you want. Or Christmas Eve Eve. I kind of want Christmas Eve to be just us. It’s… our first Christmas Eve back together. Right? I envision a good meal, beef tenderloin… or something. And you, Bette. Just you. Under the tree with the lights blinking on your naked body. Back arching. Toes curling…”

      “Jesus, Tee.”

      “Yes, well… sure. Jesus on Christmas Eve…”

      This was so hilarious and moving because Tina wanted it to be their special time.

      With this piece it seems as if Tina realizes for the first time that Bette always looks out for her, wants the best for her and keep her save. Actually sad that she only now seems to realize it but she sees it now!

      “I won’t get hurt…” Tina said quietly, “you are always looking out for me, aren’t you? Even when I don’t notice or pay attention, you always want to give me everything, keep me safe.”

      And this part, i can’t describe how beautiful, sad and true it is. This whole piece touched me deeply, so beautifully written and so true:

      “Your skin always looks so soft in that light, like if I touched you my hand would sink into you and be absorbed. And I thought back to how hard it was when we lost the baby because I didn’t know how to reach you. I thought if I could have just take away all your hurt then we would not have fallen apart. But it doesn’t work that way does it?”

      “We aren’t meant to take each other’s pain away… we are supposed to help carry it, together. Losing the baby is not something that can be erased or wished away, it is about something bigger.”

      “What do you mean?” Tina said, a whisper. She was completely drawn in by Bette’s words, riveted to her seat, the cup of hot chocolate forgotten in her hand.

      “It’s about love, Tee. We loved that baby. Every tiny little part of him we loved. In our hearts we were already creating space for him in our life. In your womb he felt that love, grew because of that love. And the price of that love was the incredible pain we felt in his passing. Like a receipt if you will. The only thing we should have done was cling to each other and talk about it. But I wanted to stop you from hurting and you… you… disappeared. I thought I had to pretend I was fine so I didn’t make your pain worse. I was so, so wrong. I see that now.”

      “That’s beautiful, Baby. So beautiful. Why didn’t we talk like this before? We both responded the only way we knew how, Babe. I think we were falling apart before then. I love what you just said. Really love it. We just need to keep talking to each other.”

      BK, you are blessed with a great writing talent, the way you describe everything, the emotions, the heavy topics that are discussed, the variation with the light fun they can have together, the relaxation and the flirting with each other. Really great to read!!!

      Enjoy your Christmas tree, stay save and healthy!

    4. I agree with all of the previous comments. I especially appreciate the juxtaposition of Bette and Tina regarding Alice. Bette’s note mentioned pumpkin carving and having the absolute best friends. Friends who would do anything for them. Yet Bette was the one who was gossiped about. Bette was the one they were hardest on. Tina spent her time preparing for pregnancy and essentially hanging out with the group at the Planet. And often talking about Bette. Maybe not intentionally complaining but sharing way too much personal and private information. For example, they should not have known anything about Foxworthy. Too much familiarity! This sharing of information led to Bette being one of the last to know Tina was pregnant. A heartbreaking moment in the series. The audience knew what was coming and could scream at the screen- just shut it Alice!! But to no avail. I have always believed that Bette tolerated Alice’s antics due to a misplaced sense of guilt. A Bette guilt card that Alice kept in her pocket and brought out when referencing the fact that they had briefly dated. And that Bette broke up with Alice to date Tina. It’s just my opinion but I always felt that Alice exploited Bette’s sense of guilt. Maybe not.

      Now to the story: Tina has recognized that this sharing of private relationship information is a mistake and is taking steps to rectify her actions and set clear boundaries: “Christmas Eve Eve sounds good…” Tina continued… “that way if Alice drinks too much, we don’t wake up Christmas morning with her on our couch like last year.”“I like that you are setting boundaries with her. It means a lot to me.” “I should have done it a long time ago, Bette. She is a really good friend but that doesn’t mean she has access to everything about us 24/7” Bravo, Tina. Amen!!! This is seriously one of the best gifts she could ever bestow on Bette: simple understanding of and respect for Bette and her feelings. So incredibly important. I love that they are learning that the more they talk the…more they talk. And the easier it gets. No judgements. Simple attentive listening and thoughtful understanding.

      Lastly, as someone who really sucks at ice skating I can attest to the fact that skating in pairs requires a major leap of faith and trust. “I won’t get hurt…” Tina said quietly, “you are always looking out for me, aren’t you? Even when I don’t notice or pay attention, you always want to give me everything, keep me safe.” For me, the ice skating is symbolic of Bette having wanted to be there for Tina’s fall after the miscarriage. To take away her pain and not being able to do it for her. And ultimately learning an important lesson:

      “It’s about love, Tee. We loved that baby. Every tiny little part of him we loved. In our hearts we were already creating space for him in our life. In your womb he felt that love, grew because of that love. And the price of that love was the incredible pain we felt in his passing. Like a receipt if you will. The only thing we should have done was cling to each other and talk about it. But I wanted to stop you from hurting and you… you… disappeared. I thought I had to pretend I was fine so I didn’t make your pain worse. I was so, so wrong. I see that now.” They are now clinging to each other – connected – watching out for one another both on the ice and in their lives – confident in feeling safe and protected and loved. So so so excellent.

      Excellent chapter!!!

    5. I do not know what else can be said after these comments. What Bette said was her truth… her thoughts on the matter… I wonder if Tina agrees? She said what Bette was saying was beautiful… but that does not mean she agreed that Bette summed up the situation realistically in Tina’s eyes.

      Thanks for the story….and for this chapter….

    6. Hiya BK,

      Have a serious consideration for you –

      Since you have given us this treasure of the 12 days leading up to Xmas – you have a FULL notice of how you are going to top this for NEXT year!!!!!!

      So good my friend – so happy that Tina wanted to spend their Xmas Eve with just each other – how romantic!!
      How could this get any better???? – ‘Bette’s laughter bubbled up from the pit of her stomach and it was the best sound Tina ever heard.’ Awesome thought

      The Tina/Alice boundary line – that always bothered me in OG. And I know BK, that you know my opinion of Alice & her behaviors. But yes, in certain situations Alice could be a good friend, but to me she was also sooooooo many times the person who put doubt in Tina’s & Bette’s mind about each other. Her manic behavior did more harm than good in so many instances. If she was the TRUE friend that she claimed to be for Bette, there were plenty of instances she could have stepped back & encouraged Tina to talk to Bette first. That’s what TRUE friends do.

      Yes, you could say that Tina was the one to confine in Alice, but there is responsibility on both parts in a friendship & I believe that Alice used hers for her own benefit, amusement and agenda.

      Yes, and the skating scene – trusting & so telling. Beautiful. And this –
      “I won’t get hurt…” Tina said quietly, “you are always looking out for me, aren’t you? Even when I don’t notice or pay attention, you always want to give me everything, keep me safe.”

      “Tina… I would have done anything, anything, to take away your hurt from the last year. I was thinking about it last night after you fell asleep…”

      “We aren’t meant to take each other’s pain away… we are supposed to help carry it, together” – How true this is in any relationship & certainly for them moving forward with their lives. Truly touching.

      I’m ready for this too – “Let’s go home, Tee. I will grill you the best burger you have ever had and then we can cuddle by the fire with the tree lights on and Ella Fitzgerald on the speakers. Ready?”

      Thanks BK for a lovely chapter & a peek inside their feelings & thoughts.

      Looking forward to tomorrow!!!

      Collins

    7. A general reply to everyone – I LOVE LOVE LOVE these comments. I feel so honored that you all take time out of your day to read these little chapters. A lot of time goes into each one and we are building into something special. You all are loyal commenters on all my stories and it really motivates me to keep writing. So a huge hug and thank you from me to each of you. Cheers!

    8. I love this fic, I especially love how Tina is setting boundaries where Alice is concerned. For couples to thrive they need some things that they do and say to be just between the two of them. No friend should have the authority to say when a couple is boring or have access to everything pertaining to their sex life, and the others should not let her badger them into joining her madness so it doesn’t look like she is the only one being nosey and intrusive. Please keep this lovely story going, I am enjoying it immensely.

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