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IS THIS LOVE
Helena could see that Emma was watching her from across the room. She really wasn’t too sure what to do about the woman that she knew she was in love with. The party was going well and she loved the fact that so many people had changed their plans at such short notice to be there to celebrate her 30th birthday. One of the things that she was fully aware of was how many of her exes were in the same place – that could get awkward if anyone of them made a move on her. There was Dylan who Helena had a bad history with – she simply adored the short haired documentary maker but she had hurt Helena and her bank balance about four times. She knew Dylan was bad for her but there was something about her eyes and just her entire presence that rather overwhelmed Helena at times. Then there was Anna who she had dated only a year ago when they had gone from friends to lovers and then drifted back again to the platonic stage.
“Hello Helena – happy birthday “
“Phyllis – hello darling “
Helena hugged Phyllis and smiled to see one of her real friends at her party –not one of her exes or anyone who had exploited her because of her surname.
“Its good to see you – you look really well and this is a great party “
“It is – thanks for coming “
“Well – I said to Jodie last week that I was surprised that your mom hadn’t arranged anything “
“Mom is really busy – doing a reorganisation of the empire and shuffling people around like they were pieces on a chess board – you know what the old bat is like “
“The old bat as you call her is looking sensational – what’s her secret ?”
“Probably something either illegal or immoral knowing Peggy “ Helena replied chuckling. As she scanned the room she saw Bette and Tina coming back in holding hands. They had been missing for about half an hour – dirty devils. Anyone would think they couldn’t keep their hands off one another. Obviously Tina’s flirting had worked exactly the way she had wanted it to and Bette had fallen into line- she really was smitten. They strolled down into the main area of the party and walked across to the bar – Helena looked across at them – God it must be fantastic to be as utterly secure in your love as those two were. Phyllis followed Helena’s gaze
“She seems a really nice woman “
“Yes – I don’t think I have seen Bette so happy. She even swotted Jodie to one side when Jodie made her usual suggestive remark “
Helena smiled – Bette usually floundered when Jodie came onto her. It was telling that she hadn’t been as at sea this time – Tina had jumped to conclusions and got it wrong.
“Bette is happy “ Helena said “ Tina is really good for her “
“And how do you feel about playing gooseberry ?”
“Its not that bad – there are times when they both go missing but when they emerge they are good fun and Tina knows how to have a good time. Her mom went to college with Bette’s parents “
“Really – the infamous Emma “
Helena tried not to react – she looked across at Emma who seemed to be making her peace with Rosemary and Melvin
“Why do you say that ?”
“Katherine is swotting up for an interview at her law firm so I have been doing some digging. It’s a stroke of luck that she is at the same party as me – I am trying to work out how to introduce myself “
“Just go over and say hello “
“She’s got a reputation of being a fierce old misery “
“She lost her wife three years ago “
“All the same – she’s a rich lawyer who could have her pick of every woman over about 40 “
Helena raised an eyebrow
“You think she’s attractive ?”
“I know that you cannot see it – I wouldn’t expect you to “
Don’t bet on that Phyllis
“But there is something about how powerful she is and how she carries herself. Supremely confidence just oozes from her – she knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. That is a real turn on “
“You think that’s only a turn on when you are over 40 ?” Helena asked smiling
“No – but Emma just is the poster girl for all of us over 40 who are looking for a good time. Is she really not that scary ?”
Helena shrugged – given the way the conversation was going she wasn’t about to tell Phyllis how intimately she did know the well over 40 Emma Kennard.
“She is Tina’s mom. I know that for a while she didn’t really think that Bette was right for Tina”
“Nuts – how can any woman – and a gay woman at that not see what a catch Bette Porter is”
“She thought Bette was a player who would hurt Tina”
“Mm – really – well if she thought Bette was a player that kind of implies that it takes one to know one. I wonder how many women she gets through in a year – she can check my briefs any time she likes “
“Phyllis “ Helena remonstrated
“Well look at her “
“I know what she looks like “ Helena was amused but it was a struggle to keep up the pretence that she barely knew the woman they were discussing
“She is a very fine woman – how old is she ?”
“Mid 50’s “ Helena replied
“See – that proves my point “
“It does ?”
“Yes –she looks in her late 40’s”
Helena looked across at Emma “Yeah – I suppose she does look young for her age”
“Who do you think is the best person to introduce me to her ?”
“Probably Bette or Tina “
“Yes – that’s a good idea. Did I tell you that Nat Taylor is one of Tina’s exes ?”
“Nat Taylor “
“You know Natalie “
“Do I ?”
“Of course – she was working on that wildlife documentary at the same time as Dylan was doing that piece on the history of Central Park – they were sharing editing facilities”
“Oh yeah – long red hair ?”
“Yes that’s the one “
“Right – so this matters how and why ?”
“Well “Phyllis looked across at Bette and Tina who were talking to Marina “Nat told Dylan that Tina is an absolute firecracker “
“In what way ?”
“Oh come on Helena – if Natalie Taylor says that about a woman then she is something else. And according to Nat when she heard that Tina was dating Bette – she said that Bette has snared one of the few women who is more than capable of keeping her very happy “
Helena laughed “They do seem well matched “
“Bette not given you the full rundown about her ?”
“No – Bette is too much in love to want to play the old game of comparing women. Bette is deadly serious about Tina and it’s a two way thing. The great Bette Porter has met her soul mate”
Helena sighed wistfully – Phyllis put her arm around her
“You will find someone Helena – I know that you will “
Helena had thought that she had found the right woman in Emma but the way she had spoken to everyone when she had lost her cool about the picture had made her question her feelings. She loved Emma – but at the moment she really wasn’t that sure that she liked her.
“I thought I had met the right woman but I am not sure any more “
Phyllis sighed – Helena might play the tough cookie but she wasn’t. Granted compared to Bette she was made of granite but underneath all the wealth – Helena was a little girl lost at times.
“What happened ?”
“She turned vicious in front of some of my dearest friends”
“I don’t like that “
“Well it could have been a one off situation – she could have been provoked by something or someone. Has she made amends to your friends ?”
“She is starting to “
“You have to decide whether this is what its going to be like when you are with her and if that is a price you are prepared to pay”
“I am not sure if I am “ Helena admitted
“Well – I hope she realises what a great catch she is throwing away when she throws away the chance to be with you “
“Thanks Phyllis – kind of you to say so”
“I think I will go and mingle – maybe see if Bette and Tina will introduce me to the scrumptious Emma”
No sooner had Helena moved away from Phyllis and was trying to reach the bar so she could get a drink when Dylan appeared in front of her looking as cute as only she could
“Hello Helena “
“Thanks – thank you for coming to my party “
“I was surprised to be asked “
Not as surprised as I was that I damn well asked you Helena reflected
“So – how are things with you ?”
“They are fine thanks”
“No beauty on your arm ?– not like you Helena – you hate to show up to anything alone”
There wasn’t an answer to that and as much as Helena wished she was able to fire back some smart comment none came to her brain
“What are you working on at the moment ?” Helena asked politely – not that she much cared – she had funded the last three documentaries of Dylan’s and barely got more than $1000 back in return.
“Got a few ideas in the pipeline”
Helena nodded – she had heard that line more than once from Dylan. She hoped that she was immune to her now – well she was supposed to be crazy in love with another woman.
Helena looked over at Emma who was now talking to Tina
“She’s a very sexy woman “ Dylan said following her gaze.
For a split second Helena froze at the prospect of Dylan knowing her secret. How on earth had she figured that out – was she some kind of crazy mind reader ? Helena’s stomach leapt in her mouth for a few seconds.
“Shame she’s so besotted with your best friend”
Helena sighed – thank God she was talking about the junior Kennard and not the senior one.
“Tina and Bette are very happy”
“I am not surprised if what Nat Taylor says about Tina is correct “
“Yes – Phyllis was just passing on that piece of gossip”
“Yeah – well Nat was very impressed with Tina’s skills and very much regards Tina as the one that got away”
Helena looked at Dylan “Tina was with someone else for a long time before that ended and she met Bette – when was this relationship ?”
“About six years ago when Tina was home from college. Nat said that Tina was a total tiger and for someone so young she was utterly mind-blowing”
“Well I am sure that Bette is not without skills either “
“Has she not asked you to join them ?”
Helena flushed “No and there is no reason why she should – you have a nasty mind Dylan”
“You love me for it “
“Don’t flatter yourself “ Helena replied.
“Did Bette get to Tina before you did ?”
“No – Dylan what are you getting at ?”
“You are looking very wistfully at Tina – that’s all. I know you are devoted to Bette but there has always been an element of competition for the two of you – – you always have to be dating someone better than Bette is “
“I have no idea where you get that idea from “ Helena replied wishing she hadn’t invited this nasty piece of work to her party .
“I think I am right Helena – shame – I can see you and Tina together – she’s a real stunner”
Helena had long put up with an awful lot of nonsense from Dylan but lucky she didn’t have to keep doing it
“Get this into your thick skull – I am utterly thrilled that my best friend is so happy. She is totally devoted to Tina and it’s a two way thing. Tina loves Bette and they are monogamous – you might like to explain that concept to Jodie by the way – they are monogamous and they are really happy. What matters to me is that Bette is happy and she is . she has luckily found someone who is really special – I think a lot of Tina and so does Peggy “
“You are protesting too much “
Helena counted to ten and then twenty – Dylan had always known exactly which of her buttons to press to drive her insane and she was doing it again. Helena shrugged
“I cannot help what you goes on in that crazy brain of your Dylan. If you will excuse me I am going to get a drink and then I am going to check on the caterers – enjoy yourself”
With that Helena swept off and managed to reach the bar without having to listen to any more meaningless nonsense from her friends and exes. She drained two drinks in quick succession and went off to see if the catering was already to be served to her guests. She was starving and if food didn’t appear soon all the booze would start taking its toll – the booze needed to be soaked up with good food and lots of it.