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Bette put her arms around Eliza. “Sweetie. Isn’t it a beautiful day? The best day? Today is also a great day for making new friends. Don’t you think?” Eliza looked down. “Sure, Bette. I guess.” Eliza was suddenly a little shy so Bette softly took hold of her hand. “Well, pumpkin pie, it is. And I’d like you to meet a very dear friend of mine and your mommy’s. Baby girl this is Shane, Shane McCutcheon. Shane, I’d like to present Miss Elizabeth Fairbanks. Eliza to her family and friends. Or little Liza Jane to me.” Shane held out her hand and the little girl laughed and gave her a hearty handshake. “I’ve seen your picture. In a storage chest of my mommy’s things.” Eliza stood between Bette and Shane as Harrison approached. Bette ruffled her hair. “Ohhh Eliza, little Liza Jane…” Bette sang. “Oh, Bette” she giggled.
Eliza stopped and looked up at Shane. “There are lots of pictures of you. And some of a very pretty lady with long blonde hair who is usually hugging and kissing Bette.” Eliza smiled at Bette who tried to disguise her emotions. “And some other ladies I don’t know. And some with Bette’s sister Kit who died. You all look very happy.” “We were.” Bette replied. “Very happy.” Eliza looked up at Shane. “And you knew my mommy.” Shane looked down at the beautiful young girl who already owned her heart. “Very, very, very well.” Eliza took Shane’s hand. “And you and my mommy were friends.” Shane smiled. “Much more than that. We were the absolute best of friends.”
Eliza smiled at Bette who slowly nodded her head and then the little girl smiled up at Shane. “And now, we’re going to be best friends, too. Here’s Harrison. Harrison! Harrison made me. With my mommy. He’s just the best. He’s our tennis coach. We’re working on my back hand right now. I’m going to be as good as my mommy. She had the best back hand ever. My mommy was a great tennis player. She trained really hard. She would have played in Wimbledon. That’s what Harrison says. That’s what everyone says. Right, Bette?”
Bette nodded and Shane jumped in. “She was Eliza. Your mommy was great.” Shane quickly grabbed some of the load from Harrison as the two hugged. Harrison kissed Bette and Eliza. Off in the distance the umpire could be heard calling the third strike. “Yes!” Eliza and Harrison did a high five. “Jamey rocks!” Harrison yelled. Eliza smiled and did a little dance. Shane watched as Eliza’s arms and legs awkwardly flailed and instantly began to laugh. Bette raised her eyebrows. “I know. Right? It must be genetic.” Harrison rapped Bette on the arm but joined in the laughter. “Stop! Both of you. It’s endearing. Always was. For the record, Bette, that’s not part of my gene pool. Just saying.”
The happy group made their way towards Sharon when Eliza broke their revelry. “Bette? When do I get to meet the really pretty lady with the blonde hair who is in those pictures with you? She sat of your lap… a lot!” Eliza was now giggling. Shane and Harrison both looked at Bette who bit her lip and cleared her throat. “Soon, honey. Really soon I hope.” Bette smiled softly then looked down at her phone.
You don’t have to come all the way to Toronto. I have business in LA next week. Available on Wednesday after 4. Dinner? When and where?
“We’re all going to be the very best of friends, right, Bette?” Eliza smiled and in that moment all Bette could see was Dana. And the light; Dana’s light. She exchanged broad grins with Shane and winked at Harrison. She took Eliza’s other hand and helped carry some of the drinks. Bette would tell Alice and Tina everything. The entire story. She caught site of Sharon and waved as the foursome neared the stands. “That’s right, baby girl. The very best of friends.”