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Vacaville, California, the following day, Tuesday…
Just like a few days before, Bette slid herself into the passenger seat of Tina’s car for another off-book fieldtrip, only this time she wasn’t distracted from any bittersweet moments with her daughter. She had started to heed Tina’s advice, who had made her see that she could never be Avery, nor could she expect to be. Instead, she just had to be herself and trust that the love that she and Reagan had for each other would be enough to forge a stronger bond.
Today was quite different. Bette was even optimistic that she and Reagan would become closer, and that she and Tina would soon find the one thing that would lead them to El Caco. She felt like she was one step closer to standing face to face with the man who likely killed her wife, and that thought alone was enough to sustain her energy to see herself through to the end.
Just after they crossed the Bay Bridge and Tina navigated through the MacArthur Maze on their way to Vacaville, Bette asked. “So what was your excuse for leaving work early today? Mine was parent-teacher conference.”
“Dental appointment,” Tina grinned when she replied. It was refreshing to have Bette initiate idle chitchat. It meant she was beginning to claw herself out of her grief. “Works every time I need a little time to myself.”
Bette grinned in return, admiring how Tina kept things real with her. So, I’m not the only one. Bette was never one to take a full hooky day but taking an hour or two to go for a run when the weather was perfect or to meet Avery for a special early date was never out of the question. “I’ll have to weave that into the lineup,” Bette joked. Suddenly her grin disappeared. Who was she kidding? She realized she wouldn’t be running anytime soon, nor would she be sneaking away for early romantic dates.
Tina glanced at her. The gloom that was absent this morning had reappeared. “Did I say something wrong?”
Bette shook her head, knowing full well she had to break this cycle. “No, it’s not you. I just have to get used to my new reality, that’s all.” A change of subject was needed. “I got a hit on that unknown number that Caco’s phone, or what we think is Caco’s phone called. It’s another burner. I added it to another case Eric and I are working on, and the company will send me the records tomorrow.”