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Over dessert, the third bottle of wine almost empty, the group fell silent as Tina’s mood seemed to shift. She was quieter and quieter until finally Alice asked what everyone was thinking.
“What did you do today, Bette?”
“Well, Alice… I scheduled a show for the fall which I’m really excited about. And… I found out something interesting about Eric…” She looked at Tina, needing permission to go on.
“Luce…” Tina said quietly, reaching for Bette’s hand. Bette held her hand with both of hers, noticing the slight shake. “When did you introduce Leo Herrera to Eric?”
Lucy’s mouth dropped open, she was mid swig of her wine glass and caught like a deer in the headlights.
“Leo Herrera? What are you talking about?”
“Leo Herrera, you knew him and you…” Bette started when Tina gently laid her hand on Bette’s thigh and squeezed lightly. The message was clear… let me. She left her hand there, Bette covering it with her own.
Bette took a sip of her wine. She understood that she needed to let Tina take the lead; Lucy was her sister after all. Bette could wait and see how this shaped up, she was the one with intel that provided her with a possible scenario, there was clearly more to the story.
She was not optimistic that Lucy’s version would match up or make sense. She had started calling Lucy “Pandora” when in private with Tina, referring to the opening of Pandora’s box which unleashed pain and misery into the world.
“Leo fucking Herrera. God, it’s been so long since I heard that name…” Lucy played with her wine glass, swirling the red liquid around and around carefully.
Tina’s hand turned over to clench Bette’s tightly, the contact making her feel calm. Several times today she had cried hard and now she just wanted to get to the root of the story. In typical Tina fashion she was not jumping to the same conclusion Bette made regarding her sister and her connection with Leo. She wanted to give Lucy a chance to explain.
Earlier, before dinner, she had argued with Bette for patience, to not jump to conclusions. That Lucy introduced Eric to Leo was only a part of the story and they owed it to Lucy to hear the rest of it. Bette felt that they owed Lucy nothing and that this was the last straw in a long line of blunders Lucy had made that hurt Tina.