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IS THIS LOVE
Tina was connecting her computer up – plugging the keyboard and mouse in and then getting under the desk and switching on the wi-fi box and the computer. The beep sounded that told her that the computer was starting. She stood up and looked around the room – this room was really going to be somewhere that she would spend a lot of time in the next 18 months. There was going to be a lot of long hours studying and researching her essays. But if there was anything that was going to make her studying easy it was working in this room – it was perfect.
“You want a coffee ?” Bette said
Tina turned round “Hey – I thought you were working ?”
“I was but I fancied a coffee “
“Thanks “ Tina accepted the coffee from Bette and rewarded her with a kiss.
“Its looking really good – have you got your broadband working yet ?”
“I haven’t tried it – I just got my computer set up “
“Well the engineer tested it and he said that it should work “
“Should and does isn’t always the same thing “
“That’s true – is there anything else you need ?”
“No – I have everything – I was just thinking how I am going to be spending at lot of my time up here “
“I have often wondered how I would get on going back to college again – you know less raging hormones and all night getting drunk and smoking weed “
Tina smiled “That’s what I was thinking – you know – how much different its going to be compared to the last time “
“You will still get hit on “
Tina sipped her coffee “I can be hit on as many times as they like – I am not interested. I only want you Bette. I don’t doubt myself – I know that I am going to be faithful to you “
Bette smiled and touched Tina’s face “I know that Tina – I really trust you. I guess I have always managed to trust the wrong women – not trusted the women that I should have and trusted the utter bitches. But there’s never been any doubt for me that you are different in that I trust you and I know that its right to trust you. You and I just – just click together “
Tina kissed Bette again “I love you and I know that no woman is going to lure me into breaking my fidelity “
Bette put her arms around Tina and they kissed for a few minutes. Finally Tina ended the kiss
“You hungry ?”
“I could do with something light and then you can get on with your stuff and I can do the same. Why don’t I get my laptop out and see if NYU have sent me anything”
“Okay – bring the coffee “
They walked downstairs together.
“Please nag me until I empty all my stuff and throw the boxes and crates away”
“How much nagging do I get to do ?”
“As much as it takes – I do like things being tidy and smart – I think I will be fine once I get into the habit of being organised”
“Look – if the worst thing that I can say about you is that you are untidy then we aren’t doing too bad are we ?”
“That’s true “
They had just reached the bottom of the stairs when someone knocked at the door.
“Wonder who that is “
“Open the door and find out “ Bette replied smiling
Tina unlocked the door and opened it
“Hello girls “
As always Peggy looked immaculate – a smart suit and a long warm overcoat plus her usual high heels.
“Hello Peggy – come in “
Peggy swept in “ I thought I would come and see the two of you “
“You are always welcome Peggy – would you like a drink ?”
“I thought you would never ask “ Peggy replied sweeping into the house and removing her coat. Bette took her coat and winking at Tina she hung it up and gestured for Tina to show Peggy into the sitting room.
Bette followed Tina into the sitting room. Peggy had sat down and Tina was pouring Peggy a large gin and tonic.
“Do you want a drink Bette ?”
“I think I will have a beer “
“Can I have the same ?”
“Of course “ Bette smiled at the blonde and went into the kitchen. So much for having a quiet, simple lunch and then spending the afternoon getting on with paperwork and slowly getting used to the fact that they were now living together.
Bette returned with the beer and handed one to Tina who had sat down on the sofa. Bette sat beside her
“So Peggy – how’s life ?”
“Fine darlings – what’s life like co-habiting ?”
“So far its great “ Bette smiled at Tina
“Its only been 24 hours but no arguments so far “
“If only because we fell asleep in front of the TV at 9 o’clock last night “
“Well moving is always tiring “
“It was but the firm of female removers we used were brilliant “
“Female movers – how quaint “
“They are a good company “ Bette said “Don’t dismiss people just because they do not conform to a stereotype “
“Lesbians are they ?” Peggy was grinning
Bette chuckled “Yes – so what mischief have you been getting up to ?”
“I went down to Florida for Thanksgiving to see a couple of old friends “
“Was it fun ?”
Peggy sighed “I missed Helena to be honest “
“If you hadn’t gone away I was going to drag you to my parents apartment – you would have enjoyed it – lots of good quality brandy was drunk “
Peggy smiled “I am sure it was good for the two of you to spend time with your parents Bette “
“You would have been welcome and you have spent Thanksgiving with us before”
Peggy smiled “It was a memorable day “
“The reason it was memorable “ Bette told Tina “was Peggy brought a few bottles of booze from her personal collection “
“That would make any event memorable “ Tina said laughing. She took Bette’s hand and just held it. Peggy saw the movement and smiled – that had just been a gesture that Tina felt comfortable doing and Bette had squeezed her hand back but that was all – nothing else needed to be said or done.
Bette was about to go into another of her attempts to formulate a peace between Helena and Peggy when the door bell sounded
“I will get it “ Bette stood up and went through to the front door.
“Hello there “
“Helena – Emma “
Well this was going to be interesting
“We are off to do some shopping but we thought we would pop in first to see how the two of you have settled “
“Come in – come in”
Both were carrying large looking boxes. They came in and removed jackets and hung them up
“I shall tell you both now that your mom is here Helena – so please play nice”
Helena looked at Emma and shrugged “I am looking forward to seeing her”
“Play nice “ Bette warned again
“We always do “ Emma said
“I mean this “ Bette said firmly “Do not spill any blood “
“Heaven forbid “ Helena said
They all went into the sitting room.
“Hello everyone “ Helena said “How’s the cohabiting Tina ?”
“Its fine – would the two of you like a drink ?”
“G&T please darling “ Emma said “Hello Peggy – how are you ?”
“I am fine – could I have another drink please Tina “
“Of course – what would you like Helena ?”
Tina took Peggy’s glass and went across to the drinks tray and busied herself pouring the drinks. She exchanged looks with Bette who was standing close by.
Finally everyone had a drink- Helena stood up.
“I think a toast to my best friend Bette and her girlfriend Tina – I just could not be happier for the two of you . May this house see nothing but happiness and love. I know that the two of you are nauseatingly well suited and you will both work very hard to make this part of your relationship a success – to Bette and Tina “
Everyone raised their glasses – Bette smiled at Tina
“Thank you “ Tina said “ I am sure that Bette and I will be fine. I know that I am the luckiest lesbian in New York to be living with the woman who apparently was never going to settle down “
Tina looked at Bette and there was unspoken communication between them. Bette nodded
“I know that Tina has some other good news – tell your mom babe “
Tina grinned “In January I start at NYU – Masters degree – it’s a combined degree – 7 units are business related and three are film studies units. it’s the equivalent of 1 ½ degrees. “
Emma’s grin was huge – she got up “I am so pleased Tina “
“You are ?” Tina said
“Of course “ Mother and daughter hugged “ Its wonderful news darling – I am so proud of you – its just the best news”
Tina smiled – Bette watched and grinned. She looked over at Helena and nodded at her – the reference had helped and Bette was grateful.
“I think its wonderful Tina – well done “ Helena said “You prepared to fight off all the students ?”
“I am not interested in anyone but Bette “ Tina said
Tina sat down and took Bette’s hand “it’s the best news – its an amazing phase of my life and I am excited. I know that I can do this and I know that I will have Bette’s support and love to help me “
Peggy was watching the two couples. Bette and Tina looked utterly settled and content. Her real attention was on Helena and Emma – she had to admit that they looked comfortable together.
“One of the reasons we came over was to tell you some news of our own” Helena said
“I should tell you that the two of you have been seen around – Shane was fishing for news yesterday “ Tina said
“I haven’t seen Shane around – I would know her anywhere – baby dykes are usually sobbing in her wake “
Helena laughed “Having only met her a couple of times I have to say that’s a wicked description Emma – nice one “
Bette and Tina exchanged looks and smiled – well this was interesting – no one had savaged anyone yet – still there was always time or would they behave themselves because they had an audience.
Emma and Helena exchanged looks – Emma nodded and Helena smiled
“Now that I am unemployed “ Helena said “I was going to sit around for a few months and sulk and spend too much money and avoid facing what I wanted to do with my life. But that’s not easy when your best friend and your girlfriend are pretty self motivated women. Bette put some ideas into my head and Emma and I have been talking about the ideas”
“Told you “ Bette said softly to Tina.
“So I wrote down what skills I had and what I was interested in “
“Massage parlour ?” Bette said grinning
Helena gave her the one finger salute without breaking sweat – which made Bette grin even more.
“So – Emma and I have set up a company and we are about to buy three nightclubs. They were all in administration so we have got them for not very much. We are going to re-launch one of them as a café bar and the other two will be lesbian clubs. I am really excited by this – this is the first time I have done something that has really scared me and excited me at the same time. “
Bette was the first to get up “I think this is awesome – I am so pleased for you Helena “
Helena stood up and they hugged “This is great – you are actually growing up Peabody “
“Do we get invites to these clubs ?” Tina asked “I am going to be a poor student and I won’t have much money so any freebies for your best friend’s partner ?”
“I think the two of you should get together and discuss getting the students in” Emma said
Bette was watching Peggy – this was a really crucial moment. If Peggy was going to rebuild her relationship with Helena then this was the time to do it. Tina looked at Bette
“Shall we get some of the good stuff out ?”
“I think so “ Bette smiled “Would you like a glass of champagne or two Peggy ?”
“Yes thank you “
“Hold on “ Emma said “We have something for the two of you – shall we Helena ?”
“Oh yeah – we better – stay there – mom – don’t let them move “
Helena and Emma both jumped up and hurried out of the room. Bette looked at Peggy,
“Do you approve ?”
Peggy looked for a second at her nails and back at Bette
“Yes – I think it could be a really good thing for her”
“Tell her that please Peggy “ Bette said
“Its time to make your peace “ Tina said “Whatever you think of the age difference – mom is bringing something out of your daughter and your disapproval hasn’t worked so far has it ?”
Helena and Emma came in with the two parcels
“Close your eyes “ Helena said
“Oh come on “
“Close your eyes “ Emma ordered Tina
“This is like Christmas at home isn’t it “ Tina said “ Regardless of how much wrapping paper was all over the presents I still had to close my eyes. We better do it “
Bette closed her eyes. There was a lot of scuffling and she heard Peggy laugh
“Lovely – absolutely lovely “
“Okay – you can open your eyes “
Bette opened her eyes. Standing nervously on the coffee table were two kittens – one jet black with big green eyes and the other one a very fluffy Siamese with blue eyes
“Oh God “ Bette exclaimed
“You told me so many times – usually when we were mourning the end of a relationship that all you wanted from life was a wonderful partner who you woke up with every morning and two cats – well here you are. Emma and Rosemary managed to get you the wonderful partner – so Emma and I are supplying the cats. You are now a family “