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Bette was shaking. This was the first time she had uttered her name in 8 years. She continued to look into Tina’s eyes, the safety, comfort, compassion… the love… overwhelmingly present. The thoughts of her previous perilous relationship running rapidly through her mind. The details never shared nor spoken; the isolation of the unshared trauma daunting. Her thoughts racing: can I really trust her with this? Will she mock me? Is she here to hurt me too…?
Bette grips Tina’s hands tightly in her own. “Tina?” She says timidly; her voice shaking with fear and anxiety.
Tina’s thumbs caress the tops of Bette’s hands. “Yes, Bette? I’m here, you’re safe.”
Bette ruminates over the words. “Safe…” she says, mostly to herself. She tries to express her thoughts to the indomitable woman in front of her. “I want… no… I ne-need to…” Bette struggles. She tries to reel her emotions in. “Um… I tr-trust you Tina… and I know you’re experiencing something so… unimaginable… the pain, betrayal, shame… but, if you could… I need you to hear me and lend me some strength… can you do that… please?”
Tina brings Bette’s hands to her face kissing them all over. She brings her left hand to Bette’s right cheek caressing it softly. “You can have my strength Bette, I give of it freely; tonight, and whenever you need it, it’s yours. You are safe with me Baby; your history, your trauma… your scars. I will listen and I will hear. I will comfort you and I will help heal you. Tell me Baby, tell me how she hurt you.”
Fresh tears fall from Bette’s eyes. “I’ve never told anyone what happened. Shane, my friends… they have a general idea of what happened, but they don’t know details. I want to tell you Tina… I need to tell you, but… I’m so scared… you’ll judge me, think I’m weak… leave me…”
Tina brings her other hand to Bette’s cheek cupping her face between her hands. “Never Bette, never. I promise you right now, I will never leave you, I will never judge you; I will never let you feel abandoned by me physically or emotionally. Weak? I could never think that of you Bette. Do you remember how we met?” Tina chuckles causing Bette to smile. “You are the strongest woman I know.” Tina leans forward and kisses her tenderly, reassuring her. “Let’s sit in the bed. Let me hold you as you open these wounds. I think it will be easier for you to express if you don’t have to hold eye contact the whole time, and I want you to feel my strength flow into you as you tell your story.” Tina stands up and helps Bette up as well. Tina sits on the bed and moves back until her back is against the headboard. She opens her legs and taps the space. “Come rest in my arms Love.”