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Is this love
Tina rolled over in bed and winched in pain. The pain woke her up and she opened her eyes and looked at her watch which was on the side of the bed. Midnight. God – she had fallen into a sleep so deep that when she had opened her eyes she had expected it to be 3am – they had been in bed barely an hour. She rubbed her shoulder and thought about the day they had enjoyed. Bette and Helena had decided that Tina needed to learn to scuba dive so after hiring a boat they had all gone out to a reef that was about 20ft deep. Over the next hour Tina had very quickly picked up the basics from Helena who was as excellent as Bette had said she was. It had been an amazing experience – one that she was keen to repeat. The only draw back was that when they had arrived back on dry land she had slipped on deck of the boat and hurt her shoulder. It was now throbbing like toothache and she was wide awake.
Next to her Bette was sleeping soundly – she had really enjoyed her day. It was clear that Bette was very happy to have Helena and Tina around her for the whole day and she had been in great form. Tina touched Bette’s face
“I love you so much “ Tina said softly to the sleeping woman by her side. There were times when she couldn’t believe how lucky she was. Bette was just the most fantastic partner – of course nothing was ever perfect but B.Porter was as close as it was possible to get. They got on well and slowly – and it was slowly – they were starting to open up about themselves and their past lives. Tina decided to see if she could find any painkillers, otherwise it was going to be a very long night. She put on a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt before leaving their room
Tina wandered around the house for a few minutes until she walked past an open patio door. Deciding that she was just going to have to suffer in silence she went out of the door intending to walk back along the terrace to their room
“Hello Tina “
Peggy was sitting outside on the terrace – she was sitting reading, there was a lamp behind her offering her the light she needed.
“Hey Peggy “
“Are you okay ?”
“I was hoping that I could find some painkillers “
“Your shoulder ?”
“Yes – its hurting “
“I am not a big believer in taking drugs but there are some in my bathroom. wouldn’t you prefer some pain relief gel ?”
“Yeah – that might be better – I have probably had too much alcohol to be taking painkillers”
“Would you like to sit with me for a while “
Tina sat down
“It is beautiful here “
“”It is – I have villas in a couple of other places but I really want a sunny base closer to New York and Helena . How long did it take your flight ?”
“A couple of hours “
“That’s why I think I will be making this my semi permanent base – I like the pace of life and I love the sea “
“Yeah – we had a great time “
“Helena got Bette hooked on scuba diving a few years ago – seems she has another convert “
“She does – it was so beautiful down there – it was like one of those David Attenborough documentaries – life under the sea or something. It was just amazing. Thank you again Peggy “
Peggy put her book down – she had hoped to have a conversation with Tina but hadn’t expected her to just drop by so unexpectedly.
“I will just go and get that gel for you “
“Thank you “
When Peggy returned Tina was still sitting quietly looking out to sea. The older woman had observed Tina and Bette the day before and she was in agreement that Bette seemed to have found her soul mate. There were things about Tina that troubled her and she was determined to get to the root of her seeming insecurity. Peggy handed the gel to Tina
“I have a new tube in my case – keep that – its very good – I get pain in my shoulder a lot”
“Thank you “
Peggy sat down and for a few minutes there was a silence.
“I gather that Bette and Helena were teasing you telling you what high standards I have for them “
“Yes – they waited until we were coming from the airport “
“Its true. Let me tell you something. When she was growing up Helena had a lot of friends who weren’t really her friends – people who hung around her because of her name and Helena could never figure out why her friends were so fickle. This is not a hard luck story because I have had the most blessed life possible and the same applies to my daughter. But being a Peabody – being associated with one of the most wealthy families in the country has its drawbacks and finding out who your real friends are – the genuine people is the hardest lesson possible. I was a lonely child who grew up with private tutors and even my own bodyguard for a couple of years – mind you that was because my father was losing his mind after what he had experienced during Vietnam . The women have always been the strong gender in the Peabody family. Anyway – I digress – Helena learnt the same lessons that I did – that money clouds people’s perception of you. Then when she went to college she met Bette. And Bette took no notice of Helena’s riches or the fact that she drove a better car than her lecturers. Bette would cook for her and she would make her study and she would bail her out when Helena was going wild. I don’t imagine it’s a story that either have shared with you but Bette has literally saved Helena’s life when my daughter was taking illegal drugs and Bette found her passed out one night. So Bette is very dear to me – she is my other daughter and I have been lucky that Rosemary and Melvin let me indulge my affection for their child. There is so much said about this generation and how they are all selfish and obsessed with what is in it for themselves. When I hear that – and when I see examples for myself – I look at Bette and Helena and my faith is restored. I do have high standards for them because only the best is good enough for those two amazing young women “ Peggy paused for breath and gave Tina the nicest of her smiles “After I have said all of that you must be terrified of what I am going to say “
Tina managed to nod
“You are a delightful young woman and I have to say that I have met a lot of Bette’s girlfriends and they have either been empty headed idiots or nasty pieces of work. You are neither my dear and its obvious to me that you and Bette are very well suited”
Tina’s sigh of relief was audible. Peggy smiled