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    Moment After Moment

    Bette watched as Tina ladled small pieces of roasted chicken and mashed potatoes onto each plate, the three children sitting glumly at the table. Rowan age four, Peter almost three and little Gracie, not yet two, all staring blankly at the food.

    It was supposed to be their favorite meal, but nothing could penetrate the sadness around the room, the pall of grief that permeated the air, sitting at the back of Bette’s throat like a puff of smoke. Rowan picked up his fork to move the chicken around on his plate, Peter watching Tina intently, and Gracie simply burst into tears.

    Bette approached the table as Tina rushed to soothe the little child, “no no, it’s ok, it’s ok. Oh, sweet Gracie….”

    She nudged the oldest boy, “just have a bite or two. Try, Rowan please…” Tina begged, hugging the little girl to her. “Gracie, Honey, you love potatoes…”

    It was hard to watch, hard to see the despair from the children, from Tina. Taking the heavy pot from Tina’s hand, Bette pulled out a chair for the blonde to sit in, but Tina ignored the offering, wanting to reassure the children, make everything better, make the pain go away. She hovered over Gracie, running her fingers through the soft hair.

    “Rowan…” Bette said softly and the little boy looked up at her, his eyes red rimmed from crying, his nose running slightly. His chin quivered, but he did not look away. Her voice was deep, firm, and garnered his attention. “You are the man of the house now, and you have responsibilities.”

    “Bette…” Tina chastised, not sure what the Captain was trying to do right now, on this day, of all days.

    Leaning on the table with both hands, Bette looked back and forth between the two brothers seriously, talking slowly, like she would to a startled horse or panicky oarsman.

    “Tomorrow I need both of you to watch a litter of new puppies in the barn. And you need to eat to have energy to do that so that means you have to try some of your dinner. You too, Peter. It’s a very important task. What do you think? Can you help me?”

    The boys studied her, thinking.

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    1. Was just headed to bed and saw this. My absolute favorite story. Well along with RWYA. I will read it tonight and comment tomorrow. Really needed this, BK. We all do.

      But there is just this one little thing: “And so it was that Captain Bette Porter, swashbuckler and buccaneer, Master of Adventure and Terror of the Seven Seas inspected the outer walls of the castle with her Steward, her Commander and…. three small children, one of whom slept through the entire event, cradled in a sling over the Captain’s heart.” My heart is smiling!!

      • totally feel ya Billy on this scene! It tickled me to no end Tina directing Bette into the baby sling so fast that Bette couldn’t even object. Hehehe!!!

        Of course Tina thru in some distractions like: “This goes over your head, there . . . let’s get your curls out from under the strap, YOU SMELL SO GOOD HONEY . . .

        This part really doubled me over sideways LoL:
        “Put your arm thru, no . . . BABE, the other arm . . . there . . . yes . . like that . . . ok, hold this . . . hang on . . . She’ll never fit, it will squish her . . . Tee . . . this is . . .”

        “Open that end, hold it like that . . . there . . . pat her bottom, BABE

        Also, StirFry did a marvelous job of distinguishing the differences of personalities of the boys. Rowan, gregarious & demonstrative, and Peter, silent & hesitant but VERY observant. Makes me wonder what future cumulative events will combine to bring introvert Peter out of his silence.

        Bottom line, this was a fun chapter!!!

        • DT – this is so funny the way you capitalized the words to highlight Tina distracting Bette into doing what she wanted her to do. Haven’t we all done that at some point? This was a fun chapter and you are not the only one to comment on our sweet silent Peter, seems he has his own story evolving. Stay tuned, stay posted, buckle your seatbelt we are just getting started!

    2. I’m liking this Bette a little better than the previous couple of chapters. She has finally decided that a life of peace rather than a life as a pirate is much more inviting. And as long as she is with Tina, what more could she ask for. I was beginning to wonder if Bette was actually going to realize how really stressful her life as a sea captain really was. And I know that Tina would follow Bette anywhere however the constant danger and competition would eventually take her life and probably in front of Tina. As good as Bette is with a sword, at some point there would be someone better, luckier, younger and stronger. There always is. Its the laws of nature. Better to get out of the buisness than to have the buisness take her out.

      The children are a nice touch. Bette and Tina will be incredibly good parents. Having lost their mothers at young ages, they will do all they can to be sure that Rowan, Peter, Gracie and Ella have all the love and nurturing they need to make self-sufficient successful adults. Now since the boys have their swords, let’s see Bette make a new doll for Gracie and perhaps one for Ella during one of these snow bound winter days….

      Very nice chapter…. thank you.

      • Martha – Bette will always have the call of the sea and the lure of a good swordfight in her system. It is inherent to who she is and she will always be a target given the people she has encountered during her long raid of the seas. Plus there is one remaining Bates brother out there. She can’t ever let her guard down fully. Just like someone who lived as a doctor or accountant or social worker – the tendencies to render aid, categorize or support are always there. She is smart though and surrounds herself with a crew that adores her and knows what she wants. Hopefully she can find some balance.
        No promises about Bette making a doll but who knows! Maybe the girls want to take up swords too and one of the boys cooks or has an artistic touch! This is not a story that follows traditional norms or is set in any particular setting. I wanted a story that was outside the box, to dream big, to take our favorite couple away from the confines of LA and modern day. A little bit of escapism mixed with the fantasy fiction that I enjoy reading myself (think Game of Thrones, although I am no George RR Martin).
        As always, I appreciate your comments Martha – have a great weekend

    3. I had the pleasant opportunity to sleep on this chapter. There is so much to unpack. So this is a long one. Tina is operating on instinct and emotion and even a touch of guilt. She could not save Lily. And she is remembering the loss of her own mother. Bette is overwhelmed and trying to do the right thing. Get Tina to rest. Figure out a placement for the orphaned children. I find it heartwarming that the boys will eat for Bette, go to sleep for Bette and always look to Bette. They sense they are safe with Bette, and they are. And it seems Captain Bette is also a baby whisperer and has the calming touch with both Little Bit and Gracie. I would imagine the love and calm and quiet strength that Tina has come to know is now being experienced by Gracie and the baby and the boys. Still, Bette thinks she has done the right thing by finding them a safe home. Shane knows the horrors of the orphanage system. Bette has found a good place. But she also sees what Tina wants. As unsure as Bette might be it doesn’t take long for her to realize that the children already have a home, does it? No. Not at all. And why?

      “My sword didn’t sing for me today.” Our Captain has found another song. Well four songs to be accurate in the form of Masters Rowan and Peter, Lady Gracie, and the precious Unnamed Lady. Soon to be Lady Ella, named after our dear Captain. Well five songs as the Captain would most certainly put his Lady Christina at the top of the list. The Captain has found another song and everyone knows it. “God, I am going to miss watching her fight…” Tina did a double take at Carmen’s words having not considered what it would mean if Bette really did hang up her sword for good. And she had to admit… she agreed. There was something primal about the way Bette moved, her limbs shifting easily, like an unfolding, a bird in flight. The sword was one with her arm, her body relaxed, her back straight. It’s effortless, Tina realized. Effortless, timeless, instinctual. And beautiful, the long mane of curly hair tied away from her face, her skin dark against the black of her outfit, her eyes flashing. It was not unlike watching a dancer or a very accomplished surgeon. Delicate yet intentional, patient and aggressive at the same time.” I love that Tina appreciates and respects Bette for who she is. She enjoys watching Bette in her element. Watching her sword fighting. Tending her wounds. Not wanting to change Bette. But as Bette proclaims, the sword did not sing. She listened and trusted her heart. Just as Tina had asked.

      The Captain will most assuredly always have the desire, the need to practice her footwork, her swordplay, maneuvers, hone her skills. Teach Rowan and Peter (and probably the girls) to spar and defend themselves and their home. Strategize. Be ready for a fight. Teach them to work towards the staircase. Being prepared to fight and defend your family and your home is a reality in that world to be sure. Plus Bette has enemies. There will always be walls and those walls will always need to be checked. The difference is the Captain feels a sense of peace and is also ready at times to take off the sword. To let it hang. Let others take on some of that duty. She doesn’t feel quite so threatened. The Captain is also willing to let Tina take off her various knives and let them also hang. How symbolic is that? “In all of her adult life, no one had ever unbuckled Bette’s knives for her before. Ever. Not even Shane. Tina’s hold on her hands was so light Bette could have easily broken free to reach in front of her, but she was incredibly turned on by Tina taking charge, every time. So she left her hands were they were.” This is so huge. So huge that my favorite line comes early. Short of reprinting the entire story this is very tough. And I think the one I am choosing may seem surprising. But not really: “And as it had all week, Bette’s sword was left hanging on the hook by their door, safe in its scabbard. This time, the knife straps joined it.” The sword no longer sings for the Captain. She now listens to her heart and sees the possibility right in front of her to have that different life she dreamed of. The emotional, physical, sexual connection between these two is powerful beyond words.

      And now Bette has another connection. A familial connection. Not that Shane and Carmen and Alice and Dana and James aren’t family. They are. But? The sword did not sing. “Something twisted inside Bette, something foreign, unwieldly, insistent. Something she had never felt before. It felt like it wanted to take root in her gut, live there permanently. And when Tina lifted Gracie’s arm to wave at her and Gracie blew a sloppy, exaggerated kiss which was her newest trick… well… the lump took up residence and she felt frozen, her past in front of her in the form of a swordsman, waving his weapon and prancing while her future sat across from her…. as well as stood behind her with wooden swords.” The sword no longer sings for the Captain. Now the song will be Rowan’s complete adoration, Peter coming out of his shyness through his love of the Captain, now also his mother, Gracie and her doll who I suspect is going to become a mini Tina and Little Bit Ella/Elizabeth who will be the best of both her mothers. And Tee. Always, always, always, her beloved Tee. I suspect, well I know, Captain Bette will always crave the sea and the occasional sail and will need some reminders of her pirate’s life, the spirit, the comradeship, the thrill of a friendly sword competition. As it should be. But these five, they will be her new songs. They already are.

      And what’s next? Well it certainly won’t be boring. They have found the final piece to the map. Bette’s quest continues – and this is also just as it should be. Bette offers Tina a proposition. “I know you love the children. I know they love you too. Long ago I told you I wanted a different life, a life away from the fighting and the piracy, a life of calmer waters far from danger. A family, Tee. And I never thought it possible…” her eyes were burning a path to Tina’s heart, her voice throaty. You found a way to give me everything I wanted, even the things I was too afraid to speak of out loud. Let’s see what the map says now, Tee. Let’s see what route is laid out for us to follow and let’s take the children with us, as a family.”

      I for one can’t wait for the family to meet Helena. And for the adventure that awaits. As Captain Bette finds her way as wife and partner and lover to Tina and mother to their four children. And Tina the Healer settles into her life as wife and partner and lover to Bette and mother to the children. What will the map reveal? Is there a grandmother in their future? Yes, let’s see what that map says. Time to set sail. Until we meet again. So so so so excellent, BK.

      • Billy,

        wow just wow!!!! You have really mentioned everything I would like to say! Your commentary is as good as the story itself!

        I want to let you know that I am stealing your comment

      • Billy
        Excellent excellent comment. Not only did you unpack but you put all the clothes away and folded up the boxes. I love that you see this chapter, this story, for what it is – FUN.
        You mention that the children see the strength and security that Bette offers and that also drew Tina to her when they met. I think this is the core of who Bette is at the end of the day. Yes, she has chosen (or it was chosen for her – debate that?) a life of adventure and violence and danger. She is complicated but I think she has to be in order to be so ruthlessly successful in her career.
        And you are 100 percent correct. She has found a new song. One Tina perhaps saw the very hints of when she first asked Bette to listen not to the sword but to something more organic – her heart. Bette wasn’t ready then, her heart felt black, untrustworthy because in the past her loved ones let her down. Now though, it is safe for her to hear what her heart is telling her, and ironically she is better swordswoman because now she has something meaningful to fight for.
        There is so much more to come. So much. And I for one am glad you are on the ship with me. Thanks!

      • Hmmmmm you pierced my heart with this exquisite insight on the meaning of Tina’s hanging FIRST Bette’s primary sword (her baby) on the inside of the bedroom, near the door where she could retrieve it on her way out!

        I wonder, if a part of removing all Bette’s body knives ,her hidden armor, (to be left also at the door) was Tina’s way of sanctifying their bedroom where she, her naughty talk, her delightfully playful tongue, and her roaming hands would become Bette’s CLOSEST weaponry.

    4. Hey bk,

      What more can I say than what Billy has already written?! There were so many bits that I thought I’m going to copy and emphasize in my commentary, but there were so many that I didn’t.

      One thing that really touched me is when Bette prepared for the sword fight, she took the time to do a playful fight with Peter and Peter said something for the very first time when she pretended to be dead. The way Peter hugged her and Bette took him in her arms, melted my heart!

      Bette for all she is is just a gentle woman who shows her gentle and caring side by meeting the love of life. The children feel so safe with Bette and watch and listen to her with immense trust, just as Tina trusts and loves her.

      And that moment when Bette had the baby in a sling, playfully forced by Tina and Rowan tells the guards they’re not needed because he’s there to protect her, my god if my heart wasn’t melted already this was one of the moments when it melted. For more thoughts i ask you to read Billy’s comment.

      I am looking forward to the next chapter!

      Stay save and healthy!

      • BiBi my friend – I love your comments because you always notice the interactions with the children, whether this story or RWYA. I melted too when Peter finally spoke three words to Bette and she scooped him up in her arms. I love that you zeroed in on those moments and enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them. Stay tuned, more to come!

      • I am copying and pasting Stir Fry’s comment below because 1. I LOVE IT and 2. it really captures the essence of this chapter and how I envisioned it…

        I love this story so much. I look forward to it because it is unlike any other Bette/Tina fan fic out there. You have captured their voice, this I know, but to move it to a completely different time, genre even? and still keep the essence of who they are and their love for each other so fresh and on point? amazing.
        this chapter. I love the growth. you could feel it happening but this chapter you have bette figuring it out…letting herself believe that her dream is possible. thanks to tina…and now these little nuggets. bette does not need her sword to rule her life when she has love and family and peace (inside of her as well as around her). the act of tina taking off bette’s knives…so that she can love bette and bette letting her…letting those knives go…the symbolism is not lost. I loved that.
        I love how great bette is with the kids…figuring it all out, not freaking out, giving them time. the kids see right through all the bravado and while the boys especially may admire it, they trust bette…rowan probably wanting to be part of the adventure that is bette, Peter probably appreciate that quiet strength of bette, and Gracie just feeling safe with bette…all the kids gravitate to a different part of bette. that’s how I saw it…oh and the baby! ahh. how great is bette with the baby…who just wants warmth and safety and peace…and finding that with bette. all pieces of bette that make up bette.
        I love how bette and tina just work together. and bette assuming that the kids should go to an orphanage thinking thats what was best for tina, and what tina would want…is very bette. but bette realizing she should have talked to tina (communication!!!) before making any plans is also very bette. and being sorry and wanting to make it right is also very bette.
        I love the turn in the story. I love that bette is realizing that she can have it all…with tina. she can sail the seas but also have this home and family. the only thing is that she may be more vulnerable…love will do that. that moment when she lost concentration during the training duel bc one of the kids cried…could be another Achilles heel for her in the future. but we shall see! all I know is that I would love to see where you take Bette and Tina…we still don’t know for sure what Bette’s mom left her. I cant wait to find out.
        thanks for this story, BK!!! I hate to rush you but…you know…I wouldn’t mind another chapter soonish. and that’s only because I love it to death. x”

        • thanks for posting my comment for me, BK!! see? no inappropriate word that I can see.

          I did love this chapter because of the clear growth that happened with bette…it is thanks to tina, who inspires bette to want more…and showing her (without even really trying) that she can have it all. at first I was like, “oh does she have to give up sailing and adventure?” no she doesn’t. she will have her family with her or know that they are there for her or have something even more, even more valuable than riches to fight for. bette had to come to that realization on her own to make it worthwhile and lasting.

          • Exactly! No need to give up sailing and adventure – now she has something more valuable than all the riches to fight for. And yes, she had to come to the realization herself, You see this story so clearly!

      • I posted your comment for you and I have to say it really made me smile! Like a grinning Cheshire cat kind of smile.
        You mentioned the growth in this chapter and I have to agree. How many of us gave a collective sigh when Bette finally accepted that her path in life really truly could go a different way? And all she had to do was trust in one tiny, unassuming blonde. Let Tina take off the knives, hang your sword by the door and hear the new song in your heart, in your blood. It’s there, Bette!
        All I can say in response to your comment is thank you for you kind words and thank you for gushing about this story. It is so much fun to write. And there is so much more to come!

        • thank you, BK!! when we meet bette in this story, she is in her element, fighting, pirating, doing all that dangerous stuff to, I think, feel something. but when she met her blonde angel? she saw more. maybe she was thinking there could be more but just brushed it off as fantasy, a dream. but her blonde healer showed her that she can have it all, that she can aspire for more than the life she was living. it’s a whole new adventure! and to throw kids into the mix? that’s an adventure in and of itself…and as we are seeing, bette is good with kids (shocker to herself as well!). but with this new family she has, she is opening herself up with…more to lose…and that could be dangerous as well. she is now more vulnerable than ever. I cannot wait to see what comes next!

    5. What a chapter! Such a powerful, emotional, fantastic chapter. Excellent writing, BK. This was especially moving to me –
      “Tina never forgot this moment. Never forgot how good Bette smelled, how soft and sweet the baby was on her bare chest between them, how safe everything seemed. It was intimate in a way neither had ever experienced before, coupled with the emotions of the day and the lingering separation from Bette’s trip.”
      “It was like nothing else existed except the two of them, united in their attempts to care for the baby, the children, each other. It was a Captain Porter no one else ever saw, except her… tender, patient, loving. That Bette shared all of herself with the blonde was not lost on Tina and it made the moment that much sweeter.”

      Just loved this line – “We could be mothers…we could give them so much love…” Such wonderful mothers they already are. Sweet, gentle, nurturing Tina and Bette with her kind firmness providing security. And I can’t resist Peter – “One day he would become the greatest swordsman ever to be seen on the seven seas and songs would be sung of his prowess, his conquests.” It seems like out of their children he will grow up to be most like Bette.

      Bette made me laugh as she wondered if the day would never end, and with the baby’s crying grating on her nerves, how her crew would never listen to her again if they saw her then, and the funniest line – “and of course she chose that moment to fill my hands with poop…”

      Their lovemaking, so hot, but even more important, such a connection between them – Was there anything better than slow, soft, lingering kisses in a candlelit room with the one person who held your heart? And this – “It was everything lovemaking should be, could be and was. An awareness. A connection. Giving and taking together.” Perfect description.

      And how deeply Bette & Tina are in love. You capture the essence of them beautifully –
      “You are so beautiful, Tee. This sight haunted my dreams while I was gone. I missed you more than you will ever know my Love…”

      “You are exactly what we need, Bette…”

      “You found a way to give me everything I wanted, even the things I was too afraid to speak of out loud. Let’s see what the map says now, Tee. Let’s see what route is laid out for us to follow and let’s take the children with us, as a family.”
      “I am happy, you sweet, wonderful, kind woman. You have given me love I could only dream of before I met you, and I will follow you to the ends of the earth if you asked me to. I love you Bette…”

      “I love you Captain Porter.” “I love you more, my Lady.” Does it get any better than this??

      Naming the baby Ella – the perfect ending to this chapter. Cannot wait to see what comes next for them all!

      • Hey Westy –
        You picked some great moments and ones I enjoyed writing – especially envisioning Bette with the crying baby and all the commotion getting the children to sleep. I really can’t resist Peter either, he just grew out of the story and was not planned but he adds such depth to the children’s situation and will continue to navigate their situation his own way. Lots more to come… hang on for the ride!

    6. BK, I am not good at critiquing as the other posters are ( which by the way I love reading) but I can tell you, you are an amazing writer. So eloquent. You make the characters in your stories come alive. Thank you not only for this beautiful story but for all your stories. I look forward to all your forth coming chapters.

      • Lee, thank you for taking time to comment. Your words are perfect and I am grateful for them. I am happy to hear that this story came alive for you, it has been so much fun to write. And don’t ever worry about not writing a good comment, it means a lot that you chimed in with what you thought. More to come on both stories and a new story circling my brain…

    7. BK,
      It’s true that we pretty much drop what we’re doing when it’s time to engage with your writings because:
      1. We’ll be treated to scrumptious 5star meal, and.
      2. The comments are just as nutritious as da meal!!!

      Tina . . . .
      What she alone gets to experience with Bette is as foundational as the air they breathe. Tina was the 1st to see thru Bette’s bravado gaining her respect & trust because she brings NO judgement.

      Tina was brave enough to ask Bette to let her see ALL of the physical scars (the treasure map that was Bette) which she wholeheartedly accepted as part of Bette. She then treated the scars with medicine and love as she prompted Bette to tell the story of each & every scar.

      So in this chapter we see her stepping up to a new level to heal emotional scars that Bette had that were protected by the sword & knives strapped closely to her body.

      Bette . . .
      Has much, much more people insight than she is aware of. She knew the healing balm that comes from flesh-on-flesh contact and she was the one that realized that the crying/wailing Lil Bit would cease when she laid her on Tina’s bared chest.

      The children:
      Bette’s idea about leaving the children in the orphanage sprang from the fact that she was the primary financial benefactor in supporting it and we can only image how many would be slayed if she heard even a hint of a child be harmed or not properly cared for in “her” orphanage right!!! Quite naturally she would just make the decision to place the children there. Bette is a decision maker, and a quick one at that!

      StirFry’s observation on the facets of Bette’s strengths that each child experienced was soooo ‘right on’. Boy did she brilliantly express for us that point. Children may not know why they are drawn or not drawn to a person, but they are 99.99% correct in their assessments. They are very spiritual, and very sensitive to the true spirit in a person.

      • DT
        This comment made me laugh! A five star meal! I agree that the comments are just as wonderful to read and my favorite part about posting! We have some very insightful and eloquent readers on this site. Your break down of Tina as being first to see Bette, really see is only matched by your thoughts on Bette, who was able to see exactly how to help the children. I agree that Stir Frys observation on each child was so right on, as my children would say she nailed it. Children are spiritual and see the underlying nature of a person. Thank you for commenting, and for staying with the story. More action to come as they read the map in the next chapter… where will that take them?

    8. I am unable to think of adequate superlatives to tell you how much I am enjoying this story! Woman, YOU ARE THE CREME DE LA CREME OF STORYTELLERS/WRITERS! Especially, for us Tibette readers. I love the way you incorporate subtle bits of humor in exactly the right places, to keep things from becoming too morbid or worrisome. Thanks so much for coming back to this story and I so am looking forward to the next chapter!!! Stay healthy and happy, friend!

      • DR A – this comment brought a huge smile to my face! Thank for the high praise, creme de la creme is lofty indeed, my friend. Hang on for the ride, the water is about to get choppy lol

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