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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Four

    “Sounds like a woman who knew how to get what she wanted.”

    “Oh, she did. She was relentless when she needed to be, yet was compassionate to a fault.”

    “Fiery and gentle, just like Avery.”

    “She was both those things, which made for an exciting romance.”

    “They do make a good combination.” Bette shifted her weight to relieve the pressure on her booted foot. “Mind if I sit down? The foot still swells.”

    “Oh, I’m so sorry.” Tina pointed toward the small sectional. “Take the inside corner so you can prop up your leg. Can I get you something to drink?”

    Bette plopped down on the couch and positioned her boot on the cushion, then dangled it over the edge, making sure she didn’t dirty the fabric. “Water would be great.”

    Soon, Tina returned with a glass of water.

    “Thank you.” Bette took a sip. The surprising taste prompted her to inspect the glass. “Delicious. What’s in it?”

    “Just some lime and mint. When we moved to Atherton, the cook always had it on hand.” Tina joined Bette on the couch. “She spoiled me, and now I can’t seem to break the habit. I always keep a container in the fridge.”

    “Cook, huh?” Bette snickered while sneaking a look a Tina.

    “Daddy did well.” Tina shrugged.

    “So why the DEA?” Bette asked.

    “Izzy. The other guy was high. Drugs took her from me, so I wanted to put drug dealers behind bars. How about you?”

    “The officer who helped me after my parent’s accident died in the line of duty. I wanted to honor him.”

    “Sounds like our paths were chosen for us,” Tina said.

    “I think you’re right.”

    With similar paths and lovers, their lives were bound to cross again. She figured if Tina could get past losing someone she loved, then she could too.

    “So, on the phone, you said we needed to talk.” Tina shifted on the couch marking the change of subject. “I’m assuming this is about Diego.”

    Bette took another sip. “I am here about Diego. Eric said he met with you right after Diego was killed, and that you both think it was a hit.”

    “I don’t believe in coincidences involving lowlifes, so yes, it had to be a hit.”

    “It had to be Caco,” Bette said.

    “I see you’ve caught up.” Tina nodded.

    “He had to be the one behind the bomb at Diego’s lab.” Bette gritted her molars. “I’m going after him.”

    “I wish I could help, Bette. Ever since the lab explosion, Prichard has suspected I was the one who tipped you off. And now that Diego is dead, he’s limited my access to the case. I was trying to find another source, but he shut me down. The strange thing is that I think he and the U.S. Attorney are slow rolling the case, and I can’t figure out why.”

    “What if we already had another lead? Would you be willing to help me off-book?”

    “What do you mean?” Tina’s head tilted.

    “What if we had the number to Diego’s burner phone?” Bette hoped Tina would join her.

    Tina studied Bette for several beats, then said, “I’m in. We have a leak somewhere. I don’t know who I can trust at the federal level, but I know I can trust you, Bette.”

    “Feeling’s mutual, Tina.” Unsure where this case would lead, having Tina on her side gave her a sense she’d find answers.

    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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