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    Remember Who You Are 34

    Letting go of Tina’s chin but not her hand, Bette reached into the briefcase and laid two x-rays on the table. Neither Donna nor Tom moved to pick them up.
    Donna stood, her face red. “How could you do this to us, now? How, Tina?”
    With an effort, Tom stood as well, one arm reaching for support from Donna as he rose. “I’m dying Teeny. It’s the cancer. I am so sorry, for all of it. I am so very sorry. I have four to six months to live. Please don’t let me die thinking your mother is going to be homeless…. Please, I beg you… Help us…”


    Hours later, Bette and Tina entered their house, both exhaling as the wonderful feeling of being home washed over them. They dumped their bags near the hallway, Tina stretching.

    “Go check your tomatoes, I got this…” Bette said, reaching for both suitcases.

    “You sure?”

    “Go, Babe…”

    Tina gave Bette a small smile before walking out to check her plants in the garden. She spent some time watering them and weeding as Bette brought the suitcases back to the bedroom and got a load of laundry going.

    Bette caught a glimpse of Tina out the side door to see that Tina was now standing by the pool, dusk settling around her as she stood with her arms crossed across her body, gazing into the water. Bette went to order Chinese food and dump the ice from the small cooler into the kitchen sink.

    She thought about the events of earlier in the day and still could not believe the way the meeting with the Kennards had ended. She had done everything she could, turned over every rock to see what slithered out and still had not thought that Tom Kennard was dying of cancer. I am living in a soap opera, she thought. But in this dramatic tale, I got the girl.

    It was a long afternoon at the beach house and had ended in a way neither could have predicted. After Tom’s plea for help, everything seemed to go by in a blur.

    Tina’s parents left not long after and Tina went by herself for a long walk on the beach. Bette waited anxiously, her heart beating in her temples. She knew she needed to give Tina time, that this was not a bad thing, Tina was not upset with her. But it was hard after the closeness they experienced that morning to feel shut out of Tina’s heartbreak now.

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    1. Fantastic chapter BK!

      It was very interesting to read how Tina grew up. She had a special bond with her father who taught her many practical things and was a man with few words, but what he did say was valuable. Too bad he did not intervene and let everything happen and now he is sick and wants Tina to help him.

      It is really a pity that he did not intervene but decided to throw himself into his work. Fortunately, Tina had a lovely woman who cared for her and supported her with attention, love, and wise advice. Someone who taught her important things and learned to love people and who already knew Tina was gay. Bette must have liked her.

      Tina can count herself lucky with Bette on the side and as support through thick and thin. That also shows how Bette has changed in a positive way, so much more in focus on Tina’s needs. And that also applies to Tina, they balance each other, know what the other needs and give each other space if necessary.

      It is very wise that Tina seeks help from a therapist to help her with everything that has happened in her past and recent history. It is not nothing with everything she has experienced. She is also touched by what happened to Tina, she has nightmares about Tina, unconscious and lying on that hotel bed and later in the hospital and how close Tina was to death.

      I am very curious if Tina is taking the advice from Shane and will make a clean brake from her parents and maybe even Lucy.

      I hope you enjoy your last few days off from work. Take care of yourself and stay save and healthy 🙏

      • BiBi
        Thank you for your comments. I am puzzled by the type of man that Tom Kennard is but I see this a bit in the work I do – the overly aggressive, dominant wife and the passive, dont rock the boat kinda dad. And it creates such problems for the children. I agree with you that Tina has Bette to lean on and Shane gives great advice as always. I love that you also brought up the trama Bette must be feeling, with the nightmares and fear of losing Tina. Such a good point.
        We just announced that we are still working remotely starting monday so I can log four hours and call it eight. LOL. Thanks –

    2. This chapter is so beautifully written. You have a lot of talent. I read it twice because the words are really that deep. Tina’s story is moving yet very heart breaking, To think that a child found more compassion and love with a stranger regarded as a witch lets me know with even more certainty that Donna Kennard is the real witch in this story. Tom drifted in and out of Tina’s life but ultimately left Tina on her own. There is no doubt in my mind that Tina needs to follow through with this clean break. There is more than enough evidence against Eric. Bette will move heaven and earth to put this man away and protect Tina. I love this story very much which is kind of odd because I have a problem with the abuse. But the love story between Bette and Tina and your words have seriously won me over. Glad that Tina is moving on and taking the job with Peggy. This story is a gift! Thank you.

      • Billy thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot, more than you know. I have always been fascinated by the wording of things and how one word or change in flow can impact the delivery. It gets in the way of communication sometimes because I over analyze what I have written. So I appreciate what you said, gives me courage to keep going with this story. And I agree with you, Donna is the real witch!

      • Thank you SG! I always pictured a young Tina as a sort of Ramona the Brave type of kid – except in dysfunctional family of course! Appreciate your comments!

    3. What a great chapter….It appears to me that Tina is still struggling as to what to do. We do not know how the meeting with the older Kennards ended. We do know that Tina is really angry with her parents. Angry about the past and present. Angry because they could have been better parents, but they weren’t. I’m not sure that is any hope for Donna. It sounds to me that Tom stayed married for the purpose of providing for his children. It does not seem that he actually loved Donna. It seems that he was the one who provided Tina with the example that in order to resolve your problems, you should avoid them as much as possible. Tina was a child and avoiding her mother was the only way she could survive. Fortunately, she found Boo Hager – a surrogate mom who helped her be the person she is today. Tom abandoned Tina in that he allowed Donna to run roughshod over the family. Donna, possibly mentally ill was just a terrible mother period – abusive from the word go. Donna needs treatment for her mental disorder. But that will not undo the harm she has thrust on both of her daughters. Unfortunately, both daughters are scared from these experiences.

      I look forward seeing how Tina and Bette decide to work this. It’s much more complex than Donna and Tom do not accept their sexuality. They are working to save Eric’s ass. Except Tom wants out of that. And the bigger problem is not Tom and Donna, its Eric. Get rid of Eric, then deal with Tom and Donna, then Lucy. And if Eric is dealt with appropriately, Tom and Donna go away. Tom and Donna are an emotional problem for Tina right now. I do not believe she wants to punish Tom and Donna, she just wants nothing to do with them. But that is not possible until Eric is convicted and severed from their lives.

      Thank you for this chapter….I do look forward to seeing how Bette and Tina weave their way through this maze. To make a clean break would be nice for them, but is it possible? Take a deep breath…sometimes you just have to take a 50,000 foot view of the situation and get away from being in the thick of the problem. Keep the goal in mind – is the path you’re on get you to where you want to be with the least amount of problems and side effects? Making decisions based upon pure emotion do not always work out. Cool down and make decision based upon the facts and the anticipated results and your emotional feelings. Tina is doing the right thing by taking the time to think things through. And I know that Bette will support her in whatever she decides.

      I look forward to more, but I guess work comes first….I hope you stay safe.

      • Thank you Martha. The real work begins now for Tina and Bette, doesn’t it? So much damage to heal and they will grow from it. I like how you mention keeping the goal in mind, I think Bette will be good at reminding Tina of that but there is no easy fix to any of this. I agree, it does look like Tom played the role of provider and for whatever reason took a back seat to the upbringing of his girls. Imagine if he had stepped in and put Donna in her place early on – so much heartbreak could have been avoided. Ripple effect for sure. Appreciate your analysis, sometimes i go back and read your comments to guide my chapters, thought you should know that! THanks

    4. Such a great chapter, BK! Thanks for giving us some background story on Tina. TLW never did. It explains a lot of Tina’s character traits. Loved the part with Boo. What an amazing woman! But also amazing that little Tina was courageous enough to go to her and ask for help. Not caring what other people said about Boo.

      You know, your background story has potential for a fairy tale ;-) The quiet King Dad who loves his eldest daughter, the lovely, beautiful crown princess. The bitchy Queen Mom (normally the evil step-mom) who is the real king of the castle and who is jealous of the great relationship between the King and their eldest daughter. The sister who likes to attract the attention and seems nice but could be egoistic, jealous and devious. King Dad goes away to fight the evil. Meanwhile bitchy Queen rules the kingdom and works on extending her power by planning to marry the crown princess to an evil prince. And so on. :-)

      I’m curious to see which way Tina will decide. Will Shane’s words on her separation from her father will have an impact? Looking forward to her start at Peggy’s studio as well. Interesting choices for leaving Aaron and the other studio. Law suit or money and take many people with her? A lot on Tina’s plate right now.

      Seeing an therapist would be good. Bette should at least join her on one or two session if not talking to a specialist herself.

      I’m still enjoying your ride immensely, BK. Thank you so much for your continuous work on this beautiful story. Btw it’s Friday today…eh…no Thursday.. ;-) … enjoy May Day celebration, whatever they will be this year.

      Stay safe

      • Kiwi
        LOL about the fairy tale, I really enjoyed your take on the parallels there, well played!
        I loved that Tina went to Boo too and didn’t care what anyone thought – this attitude would serve her well when it came time to start a real relationship with Bette all those years later I think. I also like your idea of Bette joining her for therapy, there is a lot to unpack there between them and around them. Hope she responds better than she did with that asshat Foxworthy HA.
        Enjoy your May Day as well, and I still think its friday – was just getting ready for my weekly happy hour zoom meeting with my friends and now have to wait a day. How I will manage a more structured day on monday is beyond me… peace! stay safe…

    5. Thank you for this wonderful story.

      I am wondering if Tina’s father is not telling the truth about having cancer.
      It seems that with all the investigating that Bette was doing on Tina’s family that this would have come out.

      Looking forward to the next chapter.

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