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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Four

    Chapter Eleven

    Days later

    Leg in a cast, unable to drive, and restricted to a couch day and night, Bette’s townhouse had become a prison. In a dark funk, she wore the same shorts and tank top for days. She’d opted for only one sponge bath since the funeral, citing the clunky cast as her primary excuse.

    Every corner of Bette’s townhouse evoked a memory of Avery. When the kitchen light flicked on, the morning ritual of cooking breakfast and sliding against each other as they danced to music floated in the air. When sunlight shined through the dining room glass door, the bay beckoned her to relive the evenings she spent with Avery in the deck chairs watching tankers float by.

    The only way Bette got through the day was by numbing herself any way she could. Janet, though, had eyes in the back of her head and made for a strict babysitter. Janet knew when she had last taken a pain pill and when she could take the next, but Bette outsmarted her. Unfamiliar with the space between the couch cushions, Janet had yet to discover her hiding spot for the Johnny Walker.

    “You’re not due for another pain pill for an hour, so I brought you another icepack, dear.” Janet applied a large blue therapeutic bag over Bette’s cast. “Any preferences for dinner tonight?”

    Bette forced herself to a more upright position on the couch without tipping over the fresh ice pack. She sighed when she spoke. “Migas would be nice; they were Avery’s favorite when we ran late.”

    “Well then, that means I have extra time on my hands before dinner. How about we get you into the shower and a fresh set of clothes?”

    “I don’t know, Janet.” Personal hygiene had taken a backseat as did everything other than nursing a broken heart and ankle. “I don’t have the energy today.”

    “A quick shower will do you wonders. I’ll set everything up, then come back and help you wrap your cast.” Before Bette could object, Janet bounced out of the room.

    Bette slid her hand between the cushions and pulled out a half-empty bottle of Scotch. She took one large swig, then a second. The liquid warmed her throat but did little to warm her mood. Instead, soon the alcohol relaxed her body, and she sank further into the cushions, focusing on the cold emptiness around her.

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    1. Hi CN,

      Couldn’t wait to read this chapter!

      Allthough i read it before, it is still so good and i can’t wait to read the next chapter!!!

      It still breaks my heart to see Bette so sad but she has found the way up. She needs to take it slow and step by step. With help of her dear friends, Reagan and Tina she will find peace and love again.

      And she is kidding herself if she believes her attraction to Tina has been gone and be replaced.

      Looking forward to the next chapter!

      • Izzie, You made me smile. I gotta give a shout out to @BenMac for inspiring me to become a better writer. She encouraged me to pursue a particular writing course to polish my craft and to give me some badly needed confidence. I’m finally hitting my stride and now consider myself a writer.

    2. CN, thanks for posting.

      I’m glad that Bette pulls herself together for Reagan. She’s a great kid and deserves to have a loving and responsible mom in Bette.

      You added some scenes to Bette’s time at home, struggeling with her memories of Avery, her guilty feelings, haven’t you? At least it feels that way :-) And it gives more depth to Bette’s character.

      The same goes for Tina’s scenes. Her meeting with Eric or the story of Izzy she shared with Bette. Though it sounds familiar so I’m not sure if you added it in the revised version. Anyway it feels like she is becoming a character in 3-D (hope this makes sense to you :-))

      A weeks seems long to wait for the next chapter ;-)

    3. Cella,

      So this past weekend, I started binging the old HBO show, “The Wire.” Are you familiar with that series? I see shades of that show in this fic. I was a big Breaking Bad fan and a few years ago, an old friend told me that it was on par with The Wire. It has been on my watchlist for years and now I’m finally getting around to it. It’s really good so far.

      Anyway, they say that hindsight is 20/20 so after re-reading these last two chapters, I can’t help but see Bette as extremely self-centered. Believing that she is the cause of the fiery death around her is a bit narcissistic to a degree. That’s putting it mildly. I understand that the past encounter with the flirty bartender the night before the wedding was a point of contention for some guilt, but to not even consider that something else (like that phone call) was bothering/distracting Avery during the assessment of the scene is unequivocally short-sighted and self-involved.

      Now, what I am interested in is how the potential love triangle is going to shake out between Bette, Tina, and Kadin. Will we get to see a discussion between T and K or will it be an understanding of a sister in arms needing legal help? I shall wait for your story to unfold on that end.

      Finally, I wouldn’t be a true Dodger fan if I didn’t poo-poo the rendezvous point in the shadow of that icky team’s stadium 😉 Hope they have fun with our sloppy seconds front office lackey that will make the decision to pull Bumgarner after four innings this season. ⚾️💙


      • MeLL, I may have picked myself off the floor but my stomach still hurts from laughing so hard. Renamed or not that is not an icky stadium. Breathtaking comes to mind.

        Never saw The Wire. Will have to check it out. Gotta agree that Bette is deeply flawed. Delusional at times, but narcissistic? Not sure if that’s the appropriate label. Either way, the woman has problems. Don’t we all?

        As far as Kadin, she’ll linger around and I have big plans for the triangle in book three. Wait, did I just say book three? Yep! I’ll start posting book two, From the Ashes, the week following the finale of Flames. I expect to post book three, Beyond the Smoke, in the fall. So, stay tuned.


        p.s., Forever bleed orange and black!

        • Not icky stadium…icky TEAM’s stadium. You’re right that it is quite a breathtaking park. But I’ll take Petco over what will forever be AT&T Park to me (no matter how many many companies pay to put their name on it) any day.

          Looking forward to the next two books!

    4. “Tragic events in both their lives would define their paths”, “With similar paths and lovers, their lives were bound to cross again” : it’s fate indeed and our beloved two’s destinies are at hand…
      Your versatile writing palette amazes me more than ever and I love the way you depict characters, it’s deep and powerful – just the way your thrilling yet highly melancholic novel is. I love it so very much…

      • bubcris1, So glad you like the story. I’m actually a fan of Barry, too. Grew up with a guy who could’ve been his twin. The digs all come from a place of love.

        As I sit out the “Rain” today, I realize “I Can’t Smile Without You” my readers. Meanwhile, I’m “Trying to Get the Feeling Again” as “I Write the Songs.” Well, not really songs but books. Then I think “Coult It Be Magic” that finally got me into a “New York City Rhythm” for writing? My friends “Mandy” and “Sandra” said it was that trip to “Copacabana” or that “Weekend in New England” that helped me finish these books. In any event it “Looks Like We’ve Made It.”

        Hope you like the rest of Flames and its sequel, From the Ashes.

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