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The next month had passed quickly. Bette had found herself a job as a bartender at one of the restaurants in Silver Lake and had been busy working there daily, every so often staying for two shifts in one workday. She also had been attending parole meetings weekly and, despite Franklin’s prejudiced and sometimes even unkind disposition, the meetings had gone relatively well, for Bette had learned to appease the officer when necessary and above all had been abiding by each parole condition so far.
Her connection with Ayola had been flourishing by the day. Thanks to Ayola’s selfless and generally positive nature and Bette’s gradual willingness to open up more, they had created a very special relationship, and even though they hadn’t had an opportunity to spend much time with each other anymore due to their frantic working schedules, the bond uniting them had developed and their friendship had become stronger.
They had become accustomed to go for an early morning jog together, which Bette tended to call her therapy session since their jogs were always more than just jogs. It would begin typically with an inconsequential chat before transforming into something more intimate, something that involved deep reflection and soul-searching as well as leaving a trail of emotional baggage behind.
On one of the jogs Ayola finally broached the subject they both had been avoiding, purposefully as it seemed.
”Bette, have you ever been in love?”
Looking at Ayola over her shoulder, Bette stared for a moment before turning her gaze straight ahead. She took her usual pensive pause and then answered plainly, ”Yeah, I have.”
”What did it feel like?”
”I mean, what did you feel loving someone?”
Once again Bette fell deep in thought. She began slowing down until she stopped altogether. Ayola followed suit. She studied Bette curiously as the brunette gazed elsewhere, her dark eyes far away and distant.
”It felt like madness.”
Not expecting such extraordinary reply to a simple question, Ayola found herself lost in thought, too. ”But madness is not a good thing,”she pointed out.
”Love is not always about good things,” Bette said matter-of-factly.
”So, you’re saying it didn’t feel good?”
”I wasn’t saying that,” Bette answered and took up jogging, leaving Ayola behind.