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“Alice, are you okay? I heard-… Holy shit…” Shane whispered; stopping in her tracks to have Jenny bump into her back.
Tina stood up to see the group enter the room; her gaze drifting from Shane, Kit, Jenny, Helena, and then Bette.
Bette stood still as she looked at Tina; her heart stomping in her chest; her head getting dizzy as she stared at the blonde. She looked different; her face slimmer; eyes darker; hair longer; more beautiful.
Tina’s gaze examined all their faces; locking onto Bette’s. The brunette was still as gorgeous as ever; her hair was shorter than the last time she saw her; her face aged- but still flawless in its appearance.
“Tina…” Bette whispered the blonde’s name before Will’s face appeared at the door.
“Sorry to interrupt but Tee, your phone was ringing; it’s Hailie,” Will said, reaching the phone into the crowd of women blocking the entrance.
“Thanks,” Tina smiled before hesitantly nodding at the girls. Walking towards the door, she reached forward for her phone, briefly brushing against Bette as she exited. Putting the phone to her ear, “Hey, baby.”
“There’s always a glimmer in those who have been through the dark.”
“Mommy!” Hailie smiled widely into the speaker of the cell phone, “where you?”
Tina laughed softly, briefly looking at the clock on the wall as she closed the conference door behind her, “I’m working sweetie. Why are you up so late?”
“Not late,” the little blonde girl shook her head, putting her finger up to her mouth to shush the person in front of her. “Mommy, when you coming home?”
“After this case, baby,” Tina sighed into the phone, “now; honey, it’s late. Want to tell me why you’re not in bed?”
“Umm…” Hailie bit her lip in concentration. “Well, Ryan and me had some Ital-Italian ice?” the little hazel eyed girl’s face scrunched up in remembrance. “Yeah, I think that’s what it called.”
“Italian Ice, huh?” Tina questioned, her eyes narrowing playfully in her lap before looking up to see Will coming through the door. “You know that has sugar, honey. I told you no sugar before bed.”
“But mommy!” Hailie sighed dramatically, “you not here.”
“So that means you can have it then?” Tina asked, shaking her head at the logic of her daughter. “That’s not how that works. Where is your Auntie Claire?”