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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.
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.