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‘I love this room when it’s like this,’ Bette said.
Tina smiled. ‘You’re a mind reader.’
Her voice was husky, had been off and on for weeks now. A summer cold followed by flights to the west coast for AMPTP stuff had dried out her vocal cords. The doctor advised fluids and not talking.
The kettle boiled again and Bette poured water on a camomile tea bag. ‘Honey?’ she asked.
‘Yes, sweetie pie?’
Bette smiled at their old joke, and at the way Tina looked up from stroking Solly. Her hair in her eyes in a most becoming way.
‘Sure,’ Tina said.
Bette went to the cupboard. ‘I’m not sure this is a good idea, y’know.’
‘Giving you honey when your voice is so sexy like that.’
Tina chuckled. ‘I sound like Bette Davis in All About Eve.’
Tina laughed. ‘It’s pronounced “Betty”. I just say it that way to make you happy.’
‘Good,’ said Bette, bringing their cups and the honey to the table. She leaned down to kiss Tina then stopped. ‘I like being indulged.’
A look of deep, drowsy affection passed between them. Bette leaned closer and almost rubbed her nose against Tina’s, then sat down. Tina added honey. Solly flopped down on top of her left foot.
‘Busy brain?’ she asked, after a minute.
‘Mhmm.’ Bette was quiet, outlining the handle on her cup. ‘Busy but not productive. I thought I had an idea, but then it got away from me again.’
Tina watched her. The success of her memoir, which came out in September, had had a mixed effect. It proved to Bette that she could write, but she worried about how to follow it.
‘You’ll find something,’ Tina said reassuringly. ‘Harry believes in you. And he knows shit from Shinola.’
Bette laughed at the accent Tina adopted – not a bad approximation of Harry’s Brooklyn drawl. She reached across and squeezed her wife’s hand. Then pulled her chair in and put her arm around Tina. Tina leaned her head on Bette’s shoulder. Bette kissed her hair.
‘How are you?’ she asked.
Tina hesitated, then: ‘Been better.’
Bette held her a little closer. Work had been heavy for Tina lately. The SAG-AFTRA strike had ended, but the implications of the deal meant that a slew of decisions needed to be made, and made fast. Scripts had to be fast-tracked. Teams put on notice to return. And being on the unpopular side hadn’t been fun.