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    Remember Who You Are 38

    “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.

    CHAPTER 38

    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.

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    1. It always amazes me when a story that is filled with so much angst and tragedy can also be so beautiful. This almost feels like a stand a lone chapter to me. Certainly it begins to tie up some lose ends but the imagery conjured from the dialogue as well as the silence between Bette and Tina is spell binding. The symbolism in Bette being willing to literally take a leap just because Tina asked her to will bond them for life. So beautiful.

      It has been a tough few months and a really tough week for all of us. Reading this chapter has been incredibly cathartic. I admit that I worry about the future of my favorite couple and what the powers that be on GQ might have in store for them. But as a friend rightly pointed out to me- they will love each other forever and live on here in the imaginations of gifted writers like you. It is true. I hope Tina finds what was left for her. I suspect she will.

    2. The therapist – Eloise has been most helpful to Tina. She showed her the door she had to go through to live a long and happy life with Bette. And when the first challenge came up – the quest to find out why Donna wanted her to come back to North Carolina when she had had nothing to do with Tina for years; Tina stepped up and chose to face Donna and find out. She didn’t run and she didn’t hide and she allowed Bette to go with her. She stood up and she went and face Donna and ask the right question in the right manner and in the end was rewarded by the last ditch effort of Tom to make things right for his daughter. By facing this past rather than dismissing it and hiding from it, she found who she really is. A painful journey which Bette witnessed and comforted Tina from gave her the courage to tell Bette why they had been having problems throughout their relationship. Tina had be hiding and avoiding facing problems when they got too much. She had been withholding a part of herself from Bette in order to protect herself from being hurt. Confessing this allows her to surrender to Bette wholly and give her the courage and the knowledge that she is not alone in facing that which gets to be too much. She knows that Bette loves her totally and without reservation and will always be there in her time of need and her time of want. And now she can be there for Bette as well. While all the revelations of the weekend may have knock her for a loop, those revelations will make Tina a stronger and more loving and a kinder person. It will improve her relationship with Bette and make her a better mother to any future children she may have.

      Bette deciding to swing from the rope and drop into the lake was a real marker in the relationship between her and Tina. It showed that she would do whatever Tina asked. But it also showed that she trusted Tina to be telling the truth about the risk and the rewards of what she was about to do. And in the end, Tina left the choice to Bette as to whether she would do such a daring act. Tina gave her permission not to and everything would be alright even if she chose not to. And if possible, because she did it, Tina now loves Bette even more.

      Fantastic story. So true to the Bette and Tina I know. They love each other with such purity. They will still probably have problems in the future. But they now stand equipped with the tools to resolve their differences. Communication, full disclosure and if it gets too difficult, get help by getting a counselor or therapy.

      Thank you… thank you for creating this story.

      • What she said! With one addition: I see this story winding down. Please consider continuing in some way. As Martha says, there is a purity to their love. So refreshing.

      • Martha
        As always I am in awe of the way you can dissect a story and recap it in such a way that it pulls all the important elements together. Eloise Not Wendy has been instrumental in Tina’s growth and now the work begins – maintaining what she learned about herself when things get tough. You are correct, she certainly met the first challenge of talking to Donna head on, despite the option of walking away and not learning the whys of her past.
        Allowing Bette to comfort and support her – and see her at a low point – were huge leaps of faith and as ever the steadfast and committed Bette Porter did not disappoint.
        I am so glad you are along for the ride. Thank you for your encouragement and investment in this tale.

    3. Hi BK,

      Amazing chapter!

      Billy and Martha already pointed out the things i would say!!!

      It is a truly amazing story and road you take us along with, like Billy said, i also have the feeling this story is winding down. Please consider to write as much as possible about our couple!

      Thank you and please stay save and healthy ????

      • BiBi
        I admit I was pretty surprised when I read that you and Billy saw the story as winding down – because it kinda is!! And I have been struggling with that and how to end it – if ending it is what happens – and you two did not miss a beat. I don’t want to continue a story that has served its purpose but there many directions this could go, as well as some loose ends that could take us anywhere (Lucy, their careers, babies). I appreciate your encouragement as always, it means the world.

        Stay safe, healthy.

    4. Amazing chapter, BK. So very, very well written.

      The hours after the talk with her father were very cathartic for Tina. First the silent contemplation of the events but always looking for closeness to Bette, always touching, needing the connection. And then letting all out.
      I loved how Tina opend up. It was not only healing for herself to talk about it but healing and strengthening their connection.

      Glad that Bette’s wish was granted. “Please don’t shut me out”. I loved how she carfully navigated her way around Tina, not sure what to do or what gesture Tina would accept. Not being too protective, simply silently offering her love and support.

      It’s amazing how you portrait those little insecurities of Bette. You could literally hear her exhale and feel how it took a load of her mind when Tina laid her head on her chest, snuggled in when they were back in their room and finally started to talk. Oh and what an amazing conversation they have! I had to read it again and again. Felt like they were baring their heart and soul. Toghether in bed, naked, their bodies touching. It felt like they became one, their bodies no physical boundary.

      And finally Bette’s leap of faith. L o v e it. The scence at Tina’s childhood turf, the pool and the river. I felt like a child again just reading about Tina and how she changed back to this cute eight year old water mouse.

      Best quotes (there are so many): “wife of a water mouse” “Do we have to shower and eat first?” “If hurt could be reflected in someone’s eyes it was visible now in Bette’s. Tina knew immediately that she needed to make this right. That she was overdue in making this right.”

      Now I’m highly curious what Tina will discover in the tree. I hope for some very precious memories of Boo and maybe some token of Louise and her father.

      Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful chapter with us, BK. Feel hugged.
      Have to read it again. And then I’ll wait. Anxiously.

      Stay safe, take care


      • KP
        Thank you for this. I loved those moments you pointed out as well. I actually wrote and rewrote the dialogue on the bed in the hotel room several times over so I appreciate that you liked it and it had the desired effect. The silence, the hope, the need to have contact all seemed like something that could happen after such a traumatic experience in the house with Donna and Tom.
        I am working on the contents of what Boo leaves behind. So many possibilities…. thank you for reading and commenting and the virtual hug!

    5. BK

      Agree with all the other comments already posted!!!

      Fantastic chapter & so many details & instances of love between these 2 special women.

      Thank you so so much.

      Absolutely love it!!!

    6. BK
      U’ve done such a merciful job with weekly release of this healing balm. Namaste dear lady.🤲🏿

      It was NO surprise to me that Bette cutely ended up referring to Tina as a “river mouse” and couldn’t remember that vitriolic, condescending label of “river RAT”. Now she can tease Tina whenever she gets out of line with their affectionate nickname of “river mouse” 😜

      With Eloise’s help, Tina has really received invaluable self-understanding about how to deal with and overcome a very oppresive upbringing. And by sharing her inner most feelings with Bette, she is demonstrating her new-found courage that she doesn’t have to flee what is painful and demoralizing. She has discovered that there is a lot of courage within her soul, and with that she can handle manipulative, bullies like her Eric/Aaron and especially her Mom.

      Seems like she has been determined even when she & Bette are intimate moments that could easily escalate in heated passion.

      It used to be that Tina whould even “hide” in their love making asking Bette to “make her forget” the pain & insecurities of her life. Now Tina is staying in the present while they talk, touch, cry and have long minutes of silence. I love it! This is why we re-read your life-giving manuscript over & over before forming our comments 😍

      Definitly howled in laughter at the whole “let’s swing on the rope into the river” adventure. It was funn Bette quickly admitted that she was not “sceered” but was actually “terrified”. 😲…..but never-the-less” at your word Tina I’ll do it!!! She was able to follow thru bc Tina told her that she would let her know exactly (physics calculations or not) when to let go of the rope. Tina knew Bette would have a death-grip on the rope and would not be ABLE to let go had she not re-assured her first😜😜😜

      But we later discovered that Bette was still “Bette” when we read they exited the river and returning to their dry clothing, Tina noticed that Bette had “neatly folded” her clothes. I guess Bette figured if I die in this foolishness, at least my clothes wount be wrinkled when Tina redresses my slain body 😉😜🤣🤣🤣

    7. BK

      Awesome, simply awesome. I love how you put the country girl next to the city girl. Bette folding her clothes, as we know Tina jus threw hers on the ground. The $275 bra and panty set, only a city girl.

      Whether you are winding down or not, a lovely story.


    8. A truly amazing and wonderful chapter in a great story

      I realise that this story will soon be at an end so can I ask that if you do not consider a full sequal you write for us an Epilogue (a long one)

      Thank you for posting stay safe

    9. “Many, many years later Tina would look back on this moment fondly…”
      … and many, many years later, I will read again – and again – stories like yours, my dear talented author, simply because they bring a sense of beauty and love in my heart…
      You make me feel emotional in front of my beloved two sharing such a marvelously deep and tender passion.
      Simply magical…
      I’m truly grateful, for I need more than ever this kind of joy in my heart,
      Take great care of you !
      Faithfully yours – Ariane

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