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    Planning and Peacocks

    ”By order of His Majesty, King Christopher, Son of Charles IV and First of His Name…This Decree Hereby Summons Captain Elizabeth Porter to the Royal Court…. You are Hereby Commanded to appear In Person… before the High Court at a time no later than thirty days from the date of this Royal Summons. Failure to show shall result in Harsh and Exacting Punishment. Anyone aiding or abetting Captain Porter in disregarding this Royal Summons shall join in the Imprisonment of one Alice Pieszecki until such a time as decreed by His Majesty, King Christopher. May all who read this Obey and Act Accordingly.”

    Still seething as the ship set sail, Bette paced the captain’s deck, chewing on her anger, her mind racing with the implications of where they were going, what was being ask … demanded…. of her. A Kingly Summons. Her long black coat trailed behind her, muscular legs eating up space as she went from one end of the deck to another.

    “That little boy King, that… that… petulant child dares to summon me? Me, Shane?” she spat, Shane leaning on the rails to look over at the water as the ship navigated into deeper water before building speed, the sails billowing above them. “What could he possibly want from me? From us?”

    “He has Alice. I can’t believe he has Alice…” Shane said softly, shaking her head and Bette came to a halt, realizing the bigger significance in The Whisperer being a captive in Kingsport.

    The things Alice knew, the people who might wish her harm. Alice had never been in captivity before, not like this. Usually, Alice saw any attempt at imprisonment a mile away, the whispers raising alarm. Bette’s crew had enemies, many of them, and Alice was a big part of the reason why given her proclivity for rumors and gossip. She would not be a popular cellmate or prisoner.

    Running her hands through her thick hair, Bette swore. “Fuck, Shane. I have no earthly idea about how to approach this. How to win over a fucking King. I can barely stand to be in the same room as the nobility let alone enter fucking Kingsport. All that kneeling and posturing. What am I supposed to do, waltz in there in a corset and silk? Wave a fan and bat my fucking eyelashes like a damsel in distress? Yes, my Lord… please, my Lord…”

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    Comments

    1. Okay, short of reposting your entire chapter as my favorite part, synthesizing my thoughts into a coherent comment is going to take a while. For now? I do believe this is my favorite chapter in all of your writing. No exaggeration. I am officially in love with this Bette. Strong and forceful yet soft and vulnerable to anything related to Tina and the kids. And I adore this Tina. Equally as committed. Equally as strong and sweet. Looking out for her baby. Always.

      Page one had me so hooked that for once I did NOT go to the last page. And I am so glad I didn’t: Running her hands through her thick hair, Bette swore. “Fuck, Shane. I have no earthly idea about how to approach this. How to win over a fucking King. I can barely stand to be in the same room as the nobility let alone enter fucking Kingsport. All that kneeling and posturing. What am I supposed to do, waltz in there in a corset and silk? Wave a fan and bat my fucking eyelashes like a damsel in distress? Yes, my Lord… please, my Lord…” I can just picture Bette pacing and fretting and saying all of this. And then there’s the clothes and the dance and dare I say the….sex… and the ending. My brain is a little frazzled from breakthrough COVID but I will be adding to this comment. Lots and lots to say. Bravo, BK!!!

      Part II.

      Bette does not realize how truly powerful she is. How she is perceived and feared and almost mythologized in the kingdom. But Tina does: “Babe, you absolutely have power. You don’t understand the mystique of being Captain Porter… you don’t know how the nobility speaks of you. It is with hushed tones, with unconcealed reverence. The way they tell stories about you and your exploits… they say you are seven feet tall and can best even the most skilled warrior with your sword or your knives… or even your bare hands. They are in awe of you.” This truly seems to surprise Bette who fears she has little control over what is to come. And she is so worried about Alice and her own fate. And if Tina will want to stay with the King. But Tina is formulating a plan. “But… don’t you see? You have something they don’t, something they will never truly experience. You are wild and free, my Love. You can walk in there with your back straight and your head held high and own your truth. You will take their breath away.” I love that Tina is thinking this through. She is planning. Even though she’s doing that planning with Helena it’s okay. James is on the case as well. Way to go Tina! Oh Bette, she is absolutely going to be yours and yours alone. Always and forever.

      And so? So Tina sets out to dress Bette and teach her to dance. To charm the Boy King. “Know your enemy, scout the terrain… blend in until you attack.” What a twist. Bette is beyond uncomfortable with the new outfit and the dance lesson. But Tina has put a lot of time and thought into this and there is nothing Bette will not do for Tina. Or for their children. Nothing. One of my favorite passages: “It was the simplicity of the day that got to Bette, the way all four children were completely happy with the most uncomplicated of things. A knot in a rope, wilting flowers, a baby crab. A warm body to nap against. Nothing else mattered in the larger scheme of things, not to their children anyway. They trusted that they would be cared for, loved. And there was no question they were thriving.” So simple. Yet it’s everything. This Bette has found her true calling. As partner, lover, and mother. Her best authentic self to be sure. Such soft and beautiful writing. And it must be said also amazingly sexy writing. Yes. Sexy writing: enough said. No wait. Once more: very sexy writing.

      So we know Bette will dress in uncomfortable garb and dance the uncomfortable dance. Oh but Bette declaring she would not wear a dress? I laughed out loud. And then the reason I am glad I did not jump ahead. Tina, my heroine. She creates one more outfit. THE outfit. The perfect Bette outfit. No heels. New hat. “Yes. You shouldn’t have to conform to the styles and expectations of a frivolous and erratic court. You are who you are… and I love you for that… Baby… you are magnificent. Utter perfection. You know who you are and what to do with it. I am so very sorry I lost sight of that…” Bette is thrilled and overwhelmed. “That is an undercover stealth attack on a castle, that is a battle plan, a siege. God, I fucking love you…” I also love the description of the let’s go meet that Boy King outfit. Seems somewhat familiar to me. I wonder from where? Again I can just picture her wearing it for some reason. Ah to be a fly on the wall when they lay eyes on these two. And of course, the icing on the cake of this amazing and beautiful present: “I love you, Tee. We are going to handle this Boy King. Together. And then… then… I am going to find a chapel at Kingsport and marry you.” YES!!!!!! Finally! I love that Bette is… also planning. A wedding!!! The Boy King has more than met his match with these two. Never more connected. Never more in love. Never more… them.

      And most of all: Good luck tomorrow. Major good vibes.

      • Billy. You so get this story. And I love it. I am in love with this Bette and Tina too. And you didn’t flip to the last page! And you are so right that Tina is planning and trying to find a way around the problem of introducing Bette to the nobility. Not her girlfriend’s strong suit, dealing with the gentle folk as Bette calls them. Her idea at the beginning – to dress Bette in such a way as to blend in – is a worthy one and would likely have worked … with another Captain. Not Bette. She can’t be anything other than who she is – and isn’t that essence of the Bette Porter Gallery Owner as well? Don’t we all love that about her?
        And they are, just like you said, so connected. Even though the colorful outfits are well made (if a little itchy) they still aren’t enough. What Tina did in a sense was make Bette even grander and more Bette if that makes sense. She didn’t change a single thing about her Captain, she simply gave her the outfit that screamed out loud what everyone already thinks. Captain Porter is perfection.
        Thank you for the good vibes. And for the lovely, well thought out comments. I read them over and over. Glad you feeling better.

    2. I am praying and sending juju as I do a happy dance for this Chapter and. I don’t care how long the fucking song goes on!!!
      Thank you BK a classic, I smiled from beginning to end
      All the luck in the World on your Interview, sock it to ‘um.
      You brighten my World,
      SG!

    3. I am only 3 pages in and am excited about and just loving this chapter. It’s already one of my favorite chapters you’ve ever written. Gracie does have her own magic. Lady of Light….just perfect. Have to finish reading now…

      Sending all positive vibes for your interview.

      • Three pages in – I love that you stopped to let me know you were already in love with the chapter. Thank you for the positive vibes on the interview, I should know something soon –

    4. Hey BK,

      Happy New Year lady and i send you all the positive fibes and juju (whatever that means) and a happy dance your way for your big interview!!!! I have all the faith in you!!! Based on the comments on this chapter it will be a joy to read. Sadly i have to wait till this weekend to read it.

      Good luck tomorrow!!!

      • Thank you BiBi, I guess the best way to describe juju is sending someone good vibes, happy thoughts, well wishes. My daughter used to say that when she was little and it stuck :)

    5. Nice chapter…. actually I would recommend that Tina make a red blouse with her black outfit for the party wear and a white blouse for her wedding outfit…. that with the gray and a of course a black blouse for her official meetings and confrontations….. She might need a waist coat to hide her body armor (chain mail). I can see that tight fitting clothing is not suitable for the Captain as they offer no place to conceal her multitude of knives which she will certainly want to have when she meets this boy king.

      Tina is correct in that Bette’s appearance needs to make a statement. Bette is a major presence in this kingdom and the king is showing some respect by summoning rather than to send an armed contingent of forces to capture and retrieve her. If the king is able to get a message to the good Captain then law enforcement can be sent as well. However, that has simply not happened. So what does the boy king have in mind? Perhaps he is looking for an ally? And keeping Alice captive is the only way to insure an audience with this force of the seas? Hummm…. perhaps ridding the world of the Bates brothers was a much a favor to the King as a necessity for the Porter family? The enemy of my enemy is my friend? Is that possible? I am sure we will see.

      I love seeing the domestic Bette… the planning and strategizing Tina. The dedication as parents to these four children. But I long to see them in a position of relative safety and comfort, where the most difficult problems are keeping their growing children in proper fitting clothes and up to date with their school work. Perhaps this meeting with the boy King will getter her closer to this life of domestic tranquility? Perhaps?

      Then what of the mystery of Bette’s mom? Its been around twenty years since the last piece of information was obtained. Only rumor and some unclear statements from the convent sisters. No one knows if she is even alive.

      So, if Bette and Tina get through this royal summons, then what next?

      Lovely chapter… lovely imagery. Wonderful relationship between Bette and Tina and their children are so attached to them. Thank you for the chapter… Look forward to more…..

      • Martha
        so glad you liked the chapter. One thing I love about your comments is that you pay attention to all the details and that you are always trying to figure out where the story is going based on what you have read so far. This is actually so interesting to me because I do not plan my stories out. Sometimes I have no idea what direction they are headed until I start writing. I write and re-write each paragraph and line to perhaps an unhealthy amount. If you only knew the number of revisions there are to each story lol.
        You zeroed in on to the two dangling questions for this story – why the King did not just hunt her down and bring her to heel himself (in other words, as you said… he allowed her time to come to him) AND what of the map and the search for her mother?
        There is a lot to think about. For now, I will enjoy the lovely vision of a happy and content Bette with her children and of Tina secretly creating THE outfit to end all outfits. I appreciate you Martha! Thanks

    6. Now that I’ve read this twice, I have to say again I just loved, loved this special chapter. It’s an all-time favorite.

      Some of my favorite parts – The way Tina talks to Bette , telling her to not pout and to stop scowling, lol. Only Tina talks to Bette this way

      Bette “surrounded by their children” – she seems so content and peaceful.

      Their lovemaking – very hot, but always full of intimacy and their special connection. My favorite line – “Everything else faded away around them, nothing else mattered, would ever matter when they were together.”

      And the last line of the chapter leaves me excited for and so looking forward to what’s to come. Just awesome..

      • Westy
        This is one of my favorites too. Maybe my top favorite. It was easy to write, I did very little editing and it stuck with me throughout the day when I wasn’t writing. I enjoyed Tina telling not to pout and to stop fidgeting. Can you imagine this Bette letting anyone else tell those things? I am looking forward to what’s ahead as well. It will be a show down for sure! Thank you for taking time to comment, I always love to read your thoughts.

      • Izzie – I agree, Bette could very easily be thrown in the same cell as Alice! We shall have to wait and see what he wants from her. Thank you for the kind wishes about the interview. I did my best, that is all I can say! Have a good week –

    7. Hey BK,

      I hope you interview went well!!!

      About this chapter, so good and if i feel cold i can always reread their love making, that was so incredible hot!

      It was so funny how as a little kid Bette would grumble about having to bow to the King boy, change into more elegant clothes, take dance lessons and be so jealous when someone else, Helena, touched Tina just a little too bold while dancing.

      What will happen when Bette stands in full regalia in front of the King boy, is she convicted and hanged or thrown in jail or is the King boy so impressed with Bette that he seeks a partnership with her as Martha already thought?

      What I really want to say again is that I absolutely melt when Bette is busy with her children, reading and playing and how the children are so confident when they are with Bette, so full of admiration and love for her. She is a wonderful mother and I really fervently hope for a happy ending so that she and Tina can get married and be a family in peace.

      BK, what a fantastic chapter, thank you!

      Stay safe and well!

      • BiBi – You always always notice the parts of each chapter that mention Bette or Tina with their children. And you are so right – I melt too! Those are my favorite to write because Bette is so soft with her kids, and with her Tina. Stay tuned, there is more to come!

    8. BK!

      my favorite story is back. thank you for this chapter! i love how we see bette doesn’t want any part of court life, even just going there & pretending is something she just doesn’t want to do & tina is the one that has to explain to her how big her reputation as a pirate is. even tina heard of her before they met! I love that. I also love the appearance of…jealous bette! how she is completely distracted with jealousy over ANYONE touching tina & even the possibility throws her off. will this be an issue when they get into that court?

      it’s interesting that you would think bette would be all ready to swashbuckle her way into court to rescue Alice and face off with this kid king…but she’s not. she would rather hang with the kids & be with tina. she is loving the life she has with her family. it’s tina that is planning the clothing, ready to go and get alice and face this king knowing the consequences. and tina’s actual outfit for bette inspires her in a way, gives her back her identity as this bad-ass pirate…she’s gonna look the part because tina knows that is who bette is (at least a part of her).

      I love this story! looking forward to bette and her family/crew facing off…

      thank you! now I can dive into the other stories you wrote now that I got your latest chapter of BB.

      BnTHoSF

    9. After having watched & listened to Bette, the Warrior, fume about the nerve of the boy king “summoning her”, Tina is really attuned that as long as Bette is in the presence of her children, she will pipe down and turn full loving attention toward them.

      “They wanted to MAINTAIN a sense of FAMILY while onboard and Tina INSISTED on time together before the little ones retired ea night. . . . But Bette & Tina we’re COMMITTED to never separating the family. Truth is, all of the children clung to Bette whenever she was near. And Bette took advantage of their attentiveness with stories galore. They weren’t afraid of ghostbusters NOR trolls!!!

      “Time 4 our nightly ship inspection . . . Standing as the boys cheered & Gracie clung to the brunette’s neck, not wanting to be put down just yet. As if Bette would”. “She told the children to line up at the door then kissed her girlfriend.

      . . . . Then again w/tongue, the blush deepening . . . Tina tried to hide it behind the kisses she gave baby Ella, but HER EYES FOLLOWED Bette . . .

      Gosh I love your way BK, the para about why Tina’s undressing was like a process so that she could unwind, taking off the stress & worries of the day and mentally prepare for sleep . . . For lovemaking . . .for respite is a really unique way of painting the picture of HOW Tina was able to totally engage the “whirlwind” that is Bette.

      But Tina.
      Jesus.
      Tina floated on her way to bed . . . . Come here, Tee . . . .

      Later, true to form, Tina senses Bette’s inner turmoil and gets her to verbalize it, now was the time be “the Lady of Light” and release some of her penetrating insight to help Bette see the upcoming matter in a different “light”.

      “Babe, U absolutely have power. U don’t understand the mystique of being Captain Porter . . . U don’t know how the nobility speaks of U. It is w/hushed tones, w/unconcealed reverence. They r in awe of U”

      Bette rolled her eyes and snorted. “Fools to the last. Your eyes shoot poison arrows, your ships are lightening fast
      . . . U r so beautiful that men lose all speech in your presence . . . The last part is true, this I KNOW . . . THEREIN LIES.
      Your POWER . . . None of them know anything about U other than the rumors and songs which are rampant and embellished. WOW!!! Tina really studies people and Bette!!!

      U have something they don’t, something they will never truly experience. U r WILD & FREE, my love.

      It figures that Bette’s response to Tina was: “U think I’m wild?” Bette liked that . . . HILARIOUS!!!!

      This has gotten long-winded . . .

      I love the fact that after Tina had tried to change Bette’s fashion with flashy, bright attire, and teach her to dance using Helena as the dance instructor, Bette was still Bette!!! SEE pg 14: Babe. Only the Lords & Ladies of the highest rank participate in the dance. . . .

      Stop scowling. Smile. . . I won’t smile. They need to know they will have to deal with me if they touch U . . .Bette . . . Maybe U should stay on the ship . . .”What? No . . . “

      But alas Tina came to her senses concerning Bette’s attire and applied herself to create what would unique FOR
      Bette . . .. taking bothe of Bettes hands into her own and holding them tightly. “I was WRONG, Bette. So wrong”.

      “Yes. U SHOULDN’T have to CONFORM to the staples & expectations of a frivolous & erratic court. U ARE WHO
      YOU ARE. . . . And I love U for that . . . Baby . . . U r magnificent. Utter perfection. U KNOW who U r and what to do with it. I am so very SORRY I LOST SIGHT of that . . . “

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