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NEW YORK MINUTE
“Well it was Alice’s idea that I contact you both “
Tina was half annoyed and half amused – first of all – what a fucking cheek from Alice of all people. What amused her was this was a very rare sighting of the old Bette – the Bette who wouldn’t put up with any sort of nonsense – this was the alpha Bette Porter.
“Alice said that there was no way-you wouldn’t help because blood is thicker than water and regardless of anything else – you have never walked away when your friends and family need you “
Tina wasn’t sure if Roger believed this himself – would he be that naïve about the complexities of Bette’s relationship with her sister.
“My sister told me I was the stupidest dumbest ass bitch on the planet and nothing she had ever done and would ever do in the future would match my infidelity. She told me I didn’t deserve the friendship of anyone because of what I had done. She also vowed that she would do everything she could to stop Tina taking me back if she was ever stupid enough to forgive me. THAT is what my sister said to me when I was at rock bottom. I have no idea why she decided to invite me to the wedding – she probably expected me not to show up because according to her I should be still ashamed about. what I did. I never walked away from Kit but that was before she didn’t just walk away from me but did her best to rub salt into the wounds of my own self-inflicted scars.
Roger – it really is unwise to listen to Alice on any subject -least of all one that is as complicated as Kit and I. My father left her mother to live with my mother – she saw me for years as the kid of the bitch who had broken her family. This is the same Alice by the way who was a spiteful cow to Tina when she went there on her own and when the three of us walked into The Planet – she was vile – and she upset Angie – that is why I do not feel that I should help my sister “
“You have to help her “
“Because she needs treatment – there are places we can get her into – I need help to get her into their “
So it was about money- Tina had feared that was at the root of the reason her had contacted them. Bette was silent for several minutes – Roger looked between Bette and Tina. Tina wasn’t going to be the first to speak – this was Bette’s battle because it was about her family. She would be there to pick up the pieces if this went wrong but this was Bette’s decision to make. Bette got up and walked over to the bar.
“This is not going well is it?” Roger appealed to Tina
“What the hell do you expect? – invoking Alice is not smart – Alice hates Bette”
“She doesn’t – she talks very fondly about her “
“Would this be the same Alice who accused Bette of buying Angie’s love back in January when we were over there? Its fine – we have come to terms with Alice being bitch to us – she’s just not a part of our lives anymore but don’t think that it doesn’t hurt both of us – it does. I might deserve it – she doesn’t. Bette has paid for what she done – she has paid a thousand times over. She’s done paying for what happened and I will not let her get hurt by what was one mistake.
“She has been kind to Kit – she cares “
Tina sighed “Well she might have been but she’s not shown Bette much kindness to her – or to me”
“I don’t want to lose Kit “
“She has to want to change “
“She does “
“I lost count of all the times Bette bailed her out of jail and Kit would stand on the steps of the court building sobbing her heart out and telling us that she would never touch another drop. After five times I stopped believing her – I don’t think Bette ever did stop believing and every time she broke her word to Bette she broke her sister’s heart “
Roger went silent – Tina sighed. Well Roger was right about one thing – this wasn’t going well. She worried about the effect it was having on Bette. After a few minutes Bette came back with two beers and another ginger ale for herself
“Let’s cut to the chase – you need money to take care of her – to get her into rehab if that is what it takes “
“Okay “Bette said – Tina swallowed – please do not give in.
“Okay – here’s the deal “
“You need money and you have one thing that I want “
“The café – we get three quotes on the café – we take the middle one and I give you 30% of that price. The café becomes mine to do with what I want “
Roger looked shocked “The café “
“I know it’s a lot to take in – so you can have some time to think about it. She’s only got a 25% stake in the café and I haven’t had any of my profits from it – so this is more than generous. I am offering to buy her out – once the deeds are re-drawn she ceases to work there. I will make my own arrangements for a manager to take over”
Tina had always known that Bette was a brilliant business woman but this idea was genius. Kit and Roger got their money and presumably then they got the hell out of their life. Bette got control of her own asset again – and it would be an asset.
“I will have to think about it “
“Don’t wait too long “Bette warned “My offer is a good one and one that under the circumstances is more than Kit actually deserves”
“I need to think and to talk to her “
Bette handed him a copy of her business card “Come and see me and we can talk about the practicalities of everything. I will be spending Thanksgiving with my family so come and see me next week. Your priority is to save Kit – I cannot help you in any other way than this “
“Thank you for this Bette “
Bette nodded and picked up her ginger ale and stared into it for several minutes – she obviously was done talking. Roger got the message and stood up – Tina got up as well
“Good luck Roger – you are going to need it “Tina offered her hand to him and they shook hands.
He nodded “I just want to save her from herself “
“I hope you succeed – we both do. We are not being mean out of spite – genuinely we cannot do anything else “
Bette stood up and offered him her hand as well. He shook her hand and sadly walked away leaving Bette staring after him. Tina sat down and took a long drink of her beer. Finally, Bette sat down
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah – I am fine “
“No “Bette said laughing “But I will be – I have you and Angie “
“Where did that idea come from?”
“When I was running on Sunday – I dismissed it as crazy but its keep coming back to me and gradually expanded to what I can do to the café without Kit. I should have talked to you about it”
“No “Tina said “It’s your café -well it will be – you are a bloody smart cookie Bette”
“You like it then?” Bette asked
Tina leant forward and stroked Bette’s face and kissed her fully on the lips. The kiss lingered for several minutes – wonderful minutes
“I did like this sighting of the old Bette”
“You think I have turned back into the old Bette?”
“No – but it is a really hot sighting of her. I loved the way you sorted out my mom – and this – this is brilliant and inventive. I am so fucking lucky – I love you Bette”
The kissing resumed again – Bette held Tina’s face to stop her ending. Finally, they both had to break for air.
“Wow – you are turned on “Bette said
“I am sometimes I miss this “take-no-bullshit from anyone” Bette – it’s nice to get a glimpse of her”
“I am not sure she should be let out too often – she is my Jekyll isn’t she?”
“It is who you were – this is who you are now – I have always loved both sides to your personality. The Jekyll side just went a little nuts that’s all “
“That’s putting it mildly “Bette said – she sighed and sipped her ginger ale.
“What will you do with the café ?”
“Well I have only had a few ideas – we can talk about it. I would like to get some pictures of the place – maybe it needs a refit “
“It’s in a good area and it’s got a great reputation”
“Well that will be under threat if she is acting the way we both know she can. Let’s get Thanksgiving out of the way and then we can talk about it. It will be a good investment”
Tina took a long drink of her beer
“You know – I am hungry “
“Me too “
“Let’s go home via a hot dog stand “