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Her phone vibrated for the umpteenth time from her jacket pocket. She had been ignoring it for long enough, but finally gave in to the persistent device. There were numerous calls from her business partners, from Kit, and also a text message from Shane, which read, ”Hope you’re okay. I’m here if you need anything. If you don’t, I’m still here.” Bette’s eyes watered up a bit, but she blinked them dry quickly. Shane always knew all the right things to say. She then texted her friend back, saying she was okay and thanking her for support. She also called Kit and assured her sister that she needed to be alone for a while. Then she somehow found the strength to return all of the missed business calls, which took quite some time to finish.
On her way home Bette hoped Kit had listened to her and would not be at the house tonight. There was a reason Bette didn’t want to face Kit, being that Bette had a feeling her sister judged her, blamed her secretly for messing everything up. Surely it was true that she had messed everything up, but Kit’s judgemental presence reminded her too much of her father’s, and Bette didn’t want to expose herself to that kind of attitude right now. All she wanted tonight was a good stiff drink or two, a long hot bath, and the oblivion of sleep.
Parking the car in the garage, Bette made her way dejectedly across the front yard, observing the garden wistfully. The flowers Tina had nurtured for an entire year were so beautiful Bette couldn’t look at them without her heart aching. They were going to be neglected soon if Bette didn’t hurry to hire a new gardener. She didn’t want to keep using Kate’s services. Bette had never liked the woman anyway, had only tolerated her because Tina had valued Kate as a friend.
”I wondered why you waited for so late in the evening to come home.”
The voice called from the porch, shaking Bette down to her core. She stood motionless in front of the porch and held her breath as she watched Tina come out of the shadow and walk down the stairs to be on the same level with Bette, eye to eye.