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Soon, images of her slinging Avery’s leg over her shoulder the morning of their anniversary while the water pounded her muscles flooded back. When both their insides had finished pulsating, she remembered pulling their wet bodies together. With Avery’s breasts pressed an inch below her own, she had stroked the length of her cheek with her fingertips. “I love you, Avery Santos,” she had whispered before kissing her.
When she closed her eyes, Avery’s voice whispered, “Pick yourself up, baby.”
“I can’t.” Bette slumped her back against the cold tiles.
“She needs you more than you know,” Avery’s voice whispered again.
“I know she does, but I can’t do it without you.”
“Where do I start?”
“By getting dressed.”
Avery always gave her sound advice. Taking the first step meant getting back into a routine.
While the soap and water refreshed her body, it diluted her grief. Bette hoped its effects would last longer than her Scotch. Once she toweled off and put on clean underwear, she grabbed the crutches Reagan had left just inside the bathroom door. She hobbled into the bedroom where she found Janet and Reagan sitting on the bed.
“You look so much better.” Janet flew a hand to her chest, then point to the bed. “I pulled out this purple sweater and a pair of sweatpants. I didn’t think you could get a pair of jeans over that cast.”
“Thank you, Janet, these will do.” Bette ran her hand over the sweater and remembered the first time she wore it in front of Avery. Her eyes watered. “I wore this on our first date.”
“It’s quite fetching,” Janet said through a sweet smile.
“Avery thought so,” She ran a hand across the sweater one more time. “It was the first time I saw her checking me out.”
“Mom was checking you out?” Reagan jerked her head back. “I would’ve thought it was the other way around.”
“Your mom surprised me that night. I didn’t think when she asked me out for a drink it would turn into a date.”
“Wait.” Janet did a double take. “She asked you out on the first date?”
Her disastrous first encounter with Avery played in her head. “She wanted to apologize for biting my head off when we first met. The next thing I know, she’s kissing me on the cheek.”