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“All those years, Pop. All those years… you let her… you knew… and you let her…”
“Yes. I never got over losing Louise. I am ashamed of how I didn’t do right by you. But Donna threatened to tell everyone you weren’t her blood and Boo made me swear on Louise’s grave that I would raise you as a townie and not a river girl. A true Kennard, not a Hager. And I loved you, Tina. I still love you. I didn’t know what else to do…”
Tina sunk to the floor, her head in her hands, rocking. There were no tears, no outbursts, just the silent reflection of a young woman who never felt at ease in her own home and was just now finding out why.
And big Tom, for all his size and the ravages of his illness, did not hesitate to get down on the floor with his daughter to hold her, providing whatever comfort he could to soften the blow of his news. Tina crumpled into his arms; her face buried in his chest as he talked low in her ear. It was too quiet for the microphones to pick up their words, but Bette could see Tina’s head nodding and after a long while, Tina’s arms crept up to hug him back. Bette realized tears were coming down her face as she watched her wife on the screen have a quiet, whispered conversation with a complicated man who disappointed and shone bright at the same time.
A long time later, Tina looked up to where she thought the camera was. She looked for Bette to see her in the other house and nodded slowly.
“Get her out.” Bette said, “Get her the fuck out now…”
The agent was already out the door.
Tina staggered out of the house in a daze but the agent remained inside. When Davis threw open the front door, Bette ran to meet Tina at the end of the sidewalk, all pretenses that this was a social call over. Bette took her immediately in for a hug, and Tina’s arms wrapped around the brunette with a ferocious desperation that knocked the air out of Bette.
Before long, Davis came out as well… walking slowly to the couple with car keys, then coughing slightly as he stood awkwardly by until Bette rose her head to acknowledge him. She looked at him over Tina’s head, one hand holding her wife gently behind her head, which was buried in Bette’s neck.