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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Four

    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.”

    You can.”

    “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.”


    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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