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    Oh Deer

    “Tee, have you unpacked yet?”

    “Not fully. It’s been hectic. I’m barely here.”

    “For the love! Unpack. Tonight. I can just picture you all sad and pathetic living out of one suitcase with your five cats.”

    Tina rolled her eyes. “I don’t have any cats, Al.”

    “Sure you don’t.” This time Alice rolled her eyes.

    Tina hadn’t had time to do much of anything. But now that the movie was back on track, ahead of schedule even and under budget, she had room to breathe a little. With the way things had been moving, they might be able to finish production in a couple of months. No more than three. Tina worked a miracle. Everyone knew it including Bill. He told her during one of their weekly status calls that if she wrapped this movie up in seven months, that partnership was as good as hers. Tina said if she did it in six, he’d better be ready to up the bonus they’d discussed. Lots of zeros she’d said. Bill laughed and told her she had a deal.

    Alice was about to start telling another story when Tina said she had to go.

    “Unpack! TONIGHT!” Alice repeated. “You have two days off.”

    “Okay. Okay. You’re right, Al. I will.”

    Tina walked into the bedroom with a bottle of wine and a glass. One suitcase was open on a bench. The other two mocking her in the corner. Alice was right. She was going to be there for at least another three months. Might as well get cozy. Tina threw on the Yale sweatshirt and a pair of her favorite running shorts and spent the rest of the night putting away clothes. Bette was meticulous in the way she packed. Tina knew her system. Eerily organized. So, it was easy to put everything in its place. Two down. One to go, she thought.

    She poured herself a heaping serving of ice wine. The studio had stocked the apartment with a variety of wines indigenous to British Columbia. Tina loved the sweetness of the ice wine. She took a long sip and unzipped the last suitcase before her brain went down the Bette rabbit hole. To her surprise, there was a package nestled on top. She sat the wine glass on the dresser. Tina pulled it out slowly and could tell it was protected by bubble wrap. She had no idea what it possibly could be.

    Tina gasped and took a step back. It was the KiKi Smith Fawn print. She couldn’t believe Bette did this. But then again, she could. Tina knew how much Bette valued this piece of artwork. She slowly lowered herself to the bench that was at the end of the bed as one tear trickled down her creamy cheek.

    “Oh Bette.” The tears came faster.

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