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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Four

    Once Bette’s eyes closed, the liquor’s warmth masqueraded as Avery’s warm body pressed against hers. She imagined herself in Avery’s arms with her head resting on her chest, then let the memory of Avery’s rhythmic breathing take her to a time before the explosion.

    A tug on her shoulder knocked her back to reality. When she opened her eyes, Reagan stood over her, saying she needed to take a shower.

    “Come on, Bette.” Reagan pulled her up, then threw one of Bette’s arms over her shoulder. “I got you.”

    When they reached her bedroom door, the room she and Avery shared, Bette stopped. “Please, not in here.”

    “We don’t have a choice. It’s the only walk-in shower on this floor. No more sponge baths for you. Janet’s orders.” Reagan readjusted her grip. “Besides, everything is ready.”

    Unconvinced, Bette remained nailed to the floorboards.

    “Mom would hate to see you like this. You always dressed so cool around her.”

    A memory tugged at Bette. Avery once told her that her modern tomboy look of jeans, t-shirts, leather, and wool sweaters “oozed cool and sexy at the same time.” She didn’t pattern her style off anyone in particular. Instead, she developed it over time. Besides missing the way Avery’s eyes devoured her when she rocked her favorite leather jacket, she missed the way she felt in it.

    “Maybe it’s about time.” Bette took a deep breath and pushed forward past the guest room, into the master bathroom where Janet waited.

    “You made it. Sit.” Janet offered her a seat atop the toilet lid. “Everything is ready, including the seat in the shower.” She wrapped Bette’s cast with a special plastic bag and secured it with a rubber band. “I can stay.”

    “I’ll be fine. If I need help, I’ll give you a shout.”

    Bette could maneuver in and out of this shower, even with her casted leg. After her grandmother had her first stroke, she equipped the stall with handicapped rails to accommodate her frail body.

    “I’ll pull out clothes and have them ready for you when you finish up,” Janet said with a smile.

    With some effort, Bette undressed, then hopped the few feet to the shower and turned on the water. After it warmed up, she grabbed the handicapped rail and sat on the plastic chair buttressed against the far wall. Using the hose and wand, she let the water beat down on her shoulders and back.

    Comments

    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. 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. ⚾️💙

      Cheers,
      MeLL

      • 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.

        CN

        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!

    3. “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…

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