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    Out of the Flames (Revised) – Part Two

    Chapter Three

    After six weeks, stacks of moving boxes still lined two of the four walls in Tina’s bedroom-sized den, taunting her of the impermanence of her new living arrangements. Since moving into her partially furnished Market Street condo, anything that didn’t find a home in other rooms somehow migrated into this one. She only braved the growing mess as a last resort such as tonight’s mission to locate a spare charging cable for her cell phone.

    Following a day like today, finding the box labeled miscellaneous on the bottom, in the back row didn’t surprise her. Tina unstacked the first row, then the three boxes atop her target, cursing herself for forgetting her charger at work and for not organizing this heap weeks ago. After ripping through the taped flaps, she sifted through a collection of old remotes, cables, and other knickknacks she hadn’t pulled out since the last move.

    “There you are.”

    Tussling with three or four cords, she untangled the one she needed. Unsure what those others went to, she dared not throw them out. If she did, she’d need one within a month. She began restacking the boxes, this time putting consideration into their order.

    The doorbell rang, interrupting her futile attempt to organize the chaos. A growl in her stomach reminded her the food delivery service she called earlier had arrived, so she left the boxes for later and answered the door.

    “You haven’t called in days.” A tall, sexy, brunette with a designer Saffiano leather tote slung over her shoulder had her elbows set wide against her body, fists planted on both hips.

    “It’s called space, Kadin.” Tina kept a hand on the doorknob and debated whether to invite her in. When she carried out the last of her things from their shared Oakland apartment last month, they exchanged several harsh words, with Tina receiving the bulk of it.

    Kadin’s eyes softened when she reached into her tote and pulled out an old coffee mug. “You forgot this in the dishwasher.”

    The cartoon picture of a frog and words “Homework makes you ugly” brought a smile to Tina’s lips. Faded and chipped, she’d stopped using it most days, pulling it out only on special occasions the last few years to preserve its message. Her mother gave it to her the day she moved into the dorm at Stanford, a not-so-subtle reminder for her studious daughter to have fun in college. After her mother passed away from breast cancer in her junior year, the mug became a reminder for Tina to live up to her mother’s dreams for her.

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    Comments

    1. My, my, how could I have a better new day but discovering this second part of your so powerful story when I’m waking up ? Especially when I was wishing, yesterday, for the next instalment of part one – call it a wish that has just come true… Magic ! :-)

      As a gourmet, I will savour it – a mouthful of mixed emotions in every chapter, no doubt about it…

      Thank you SO much for sharing your talent with us, Cella, and all my very best wishes – and, if I could, one of these magnificent Bette Porter smiles, just for you :-)

    2. Hi CN,

      It is such a pleasure to read this story again!!!

      Besides the intimate scenes between Avery and Bette, still hard to read, i truly enjoy reading about them. Bette is really in love with her wife and i have to admit, i have a little crush on Avery 😍

      Looking forward to the next chapter!

    3. Hi! Thanks for the another chapter!

      Yeah, i see new two characters who wasn’t in first ediction this book.

      And yeah, i still more likes Tina and Kadin than Bette and Avery – maybe because they already breake-up:)

    4. Cant believed that Bette revealed to Diego that there was a “witness” (that in this case, her daughter)….which could lead to he & his thugs paying a visit to she&Averys’ home!! Worse than that, Tina shows up carrying out her duties for DEA pulling rank on SFPD to let the murderous slimeball go!!

      That was a mega mistake all away around….will see anything comes of it from CellaNoxs’ POV

    5. Thanks for posting, CellaNox!

      With Kadin and Chandler you manage to bring more depth to Tina’s character and her background story. Love it! I’m sure it’s helpful to better understand her future actions – the talk with her father already helped to see how conflicted she is about having to release the dealer.

      I like the way you work with Bette’s trauma and her conflicting emotions regarding Tina/Avery. Gives more depth to her character and her story as well.

      I wish you would post the next part before the next weekend. Can’t wait to read more! :-)

    6. What a delight another Chapter !

      Love the revisions you’re incorporating which are adding so much more to the characters.

      Still liking Avery even though she’s not Tina!

      Please post again soon, you make my weekend so much more enjoyable :-)

      SG

    7. Hi CN:

      Great chapter, each change you have done is improving the quality of this work that was already excellent.
      I like Tina’s dad even as you mentioned he is a little concern and demanding about his daughter’s safety, he’s a good character.
      I don’t like much Tina’s ex, I don’ like that she tries to get Tina back when she was pushing her out of her street job, which in a certain way led Tina to feel bad, working in an office instead of the field.
      Nice the relationship between Bette and Avery, and also her relationship with Reagan.
      Thanks for the chapter and waiting for the next one.

      P

      • Therese_Belivet, I found your comment. Thanks so much. I don’t have time at the moment to provide the response it deserves. Will do so soon.

        Dear Cella,

        Before anything else, many grateful thanks for your so kind help about my technical problems : Jacky was truly friendly and very fast, that’s wonderful to be free to post again !

        Now, about this fantastic second part of your story I savoured…
        What a powerful mix of characters study, thriller and emotions, I’m really blown away by it !

        And, once more, you make me deeply share Bette’s emotional torment and internal conflict – both in her private and professional life. It’s very painful but fascinating and I always have a weakness for such subtile psychological analysis.
        Here I cannot help but place emphasis on some of your phrases that so perfectly depict the merciless awakening and evolution of Bette’s fears and guilty feelings :
        – “she pulled back and peered in Avery’s hazel eyes. They reminded her of Tina. Like now, as a young teenager, she’d get lost in them and daydream of possibilities. But Tina didn’t pull her out of the fear and flames, Avery did, and she deserved better.”
        -“I never sing,” Bette had told her within a month of their first date. It must have been something in her voice or the expression on her face, but Avery never asked again. Tonight, Bette came close, but she still couldn’t bring herself to do the thing that caused her parents’ death.”
        – “Bette woke with a jolt, her body drenched in sweat and heart pounding so hard her chest ached. What the hell? Since falling in love with Avery, her nightmares had disappeared. Now that they’d returned, she feared her curse may have too.”
        -“The nightmare still troubled her. Convinced Tina’s sudden reappearance triggered it, she struggled to figure out why this particular nightmare. As a young girl, this variation of the accident popped up several times, but only when fear gripped her.“What am I afraid of?” She asked herself.”

        It always amazes me how much we can be our own curses, in life – at least, I know I am. For your Bette, each reminder of her parents’ awful death reinforce her guilt and, so, her nightmares… And, as a new piece of this self-made trap, the return of Tina just add fuel in this metaphorical fire of guilty feelings : how can she confessed to herself that she would perhaps, even certainly, not have felt in love with Avery if there would not have this unconscious resemblance with Tina ? Now that the real one reappears in her life, it will be so hard to not realize this truth without falling in pieces, more than ever, as you show it so well with this : “Tina had her thinking about missed opportunities.”
        I feel so deeply sad for Bette – and for Avery…

        And finally, the ultimate torture of what-ifs : “How would’ve things turned out if her childhood fears hadn’t sucked her in?“
        It’s always a terrible yet vain thought to have – nobody, sooner or later, escapes it, alas. And this inevitably leads to frustration and anger, above all against oneself : “Fucking Tina Kennard.” Bette threw her glass and shattered it into a dozen pieces in the sink. Tina had her worked up, not only about Diego but also about her past. She gathered several of the fragments.”
        Fragments of Bette’s shattered-to-pieces past, of course – great metaphor…

        Ultimately, however, my Tibetter heart cannot help but see hope, at the very end of this long-drawn-out tunnel : “Since the night of the accident, (…) she promised herself she’d never again give up on someone she loved.”
        So how could she truly give up to her undying young love ? Even, unfortunately, at the expense of your very endearing Avery and her daughter Reagan… My, my, what an unfair and really cruel conflict indeed ! A true Cornelian choice…

        Thank you so very much, dear Cella, for this impressive story. I’m more than ever hooked and happy to be !
        With all my most sincere best wishes and a virtual grateful hug.

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