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    Remember Who You Are 46

    “Breathe, Baby…” and Tina was there, kneeling with her hands on the edge of the dock to float her words to Bette’s ears. “There’s no storm today, ok? Not a cloud in the sky. I promise you it is safe. I will meet you there. I love you.”

    Bette looked up at her, anchoring herself, taking a deep, calming breath, giving Tina a watery smile. She tried to answer but the words were stuck in her throat, but Tina nodded, she knew. Bette reached with one shaky hand, accepting the backpack Tina handed her, their fingers brushing against each other. Tina kept talking to her, reminding Bette that she would meet her there, that it was safe.

    Bette shifted in her seat, Tina’s words wrapping around her brain and her heart to calm her enough so that she could take a shallow breath, her eyes flicking up again to catch the calm oasis of her wife above her. They maintained eye contact while Jena Beth started the engine, Tina’s smile reassuring, lending courage.

    Tina nodded at her and Bette’s hands gripped each side of the boat, her knuckles white as she swallowed the fear, keeping her eyes on Tina as the boat pulled away until the blonde was a tiny figure behind her.

    Tina went back in the house to take some Tylenol and use the bathroom, the baby sitting on her bladder, the headache beginning to make itself known. She got dressed slowly , putting on her sneakers and a light jacket and when she was ready, Yaya got behind the wheel of an old Chevrolet, as big as it was wide, and they set off for Turnup’s at what felt like a snail’s pace. They would have to go around the long way where the roads were smoother, there was no way Tina could travel by boat. She fidgeted and worried, wanting to be at Bette’s side.

    Jena Beth pulled up to the dock slowly, her son there to grab the rope she threw. Bette had not yet met Jimmy; he was about ten and lanky and sinewy in that way boys who work outside get. All muscle and tanned skin and youth. \

    He had a mop of hair that covered his eyes and Tina said he was a quiet kid, who helped run the store when Turnup couldn’t. Which was often, meaning Jimmy didn’t always make it to school. Tina met him the day they came to see Turnup, a day that seemed like ages ago but was less than two weeks.

    Comments

    1. Well you have really outdone yourself Houdini. It is no secret that I am team TiBette through and through. But also that I have a particular fondness for one Bette Porter. Yet I have no problem confessing that I am now also officially and totally in love with Tina Kennard. Way to take control of the situation Tina. BK, you have provided us with hints that Tina was aware of Bette’s growing love for Rosie. But we now know that Tina observed it all, shares those feelings and will move heaven and earth to help fulfill Bette’s dream and give Rosie a better life. But Tina not only wants this for Rosie and Bette but for herself as well referring to Rosie as our girl.

      Tina’s love for Bette as well as the sheer adoration and faith in her ‘Beloved’ is so on display in this chapter and is beyond beautiful. Tina instinctually knew that Bette would find Rosie and told her so. And she was correct. “She shook her head, only someone as emotive as Bette, someone who saw the meaning in shadows and the poetry in falling leaves, only someone detail oriented, artistic, and inventive could have seen those rocks and known to follow them.” A loving and nurturing and determined Bette cutting through the dirty wire to free Rosie is so symbolic as Bette needs Tina’s help – this team demonstrating their resolve to free Rosie from this life.

      Turnup apologizes to Rosie and seems genuinely sorry. But it will happen again. Yaya knows this. Jena Beth knows this. Even Turnup knows this. His life is tragic and the reader sees that Jimmy is most likely destined to repeat the cycle as he already is sacrificing his education by tending to the store and attending school sporadically. Jimmy seems to accept this. So does Jena Beth to a degree. But Jena Beth also sees the connection between Rosie and Bette, a connection that Rosie does not have with them. Jena Beth is pregnant and although she is willing to care for Rosie, the child is not her daughter. Jena Beth also recognizes that the river is not the best place for Rosie: “But she don’t belong here anymore than you did… she’s sensitive and smart, so smart, and this place… it will chew her up and spit her out so fast her head will spin. She needs better, deserves better.” Once she knows Rosie is safe and with Bette, and Jena Beth has shared her thoughts about Rosie and the river, Tina takes over and is more than ready to make her move. The force is strong with this one! I just love the laser focused, make it happen, determined Tina depicted in this chapter. Tina is also so gentle and loving with Bette. These two are incredibly connected – not even able to sleep on separate sofas. Tina’s orchestrated bubble bath is romantic, sensual and humorous. One can easily picture them immersed in a mountain of cheap bubbles. Both able to laugh despite the serious events they have and will continue to endure.

      And what is there to say about James? River James is so incredibly sweet. Impossible not to love him. So in his element. Has all the gear. Chewing on a toothpick and fishing with the men folk. Bette unable to watch. And Tina – pregnant, still healing from her injuries and struggling with a headache working behind the scenes with James and Joyce to get Rosie away from the river and give her a better life. And James also working with Bette to get everything needed for Jena Beth’s studio. James has been one seriously busy guy!

      I really do love that Tina has a connection with everyone on the river but it also saddens me that she may be feeling badly for Donna’s dirty deeds. Even if no one blames her for Donna, a part of Tina feels something about what that horrid woman did. Tina’s rationalization to Bette about visiting Rudy Duer on her own makes perfect sense. Bette’s response is hysterical: “You River Rats are like a secret little mouse club. With the bruises on your face no one will mess you in that prison…” Oh Bette. Love this so much. So clever with words BK!

      Rudy is one slime ball! Glad that Tina demanded a paternity test and insisted on it that very day. Please don’t be the father oh please! She is so focused right now. Hey Un Duer – don’t mess with Tina Kennard. She is a woman on a mission rooted in so many layers – her love for Bette, her growing love and concern for Rosie, and her probable and totally misplaced guilt over Donna. I sure hope Rudy has had no contact with Donna. He got a sleazy lawyer awfully fast and seems to know a lot about Tina. Who is paying the lawyer fees? He has had contact with someone. One million dollars???? Seriously? My money is on Tina!!

      P.S. Really enjoyed Bette and Rosie’s adventures in the city but admit it was also sad. Rosie needed shoes and did not want the Disney sneakers as she had never seen the characters. It will not be easy and there will be complications but I have faith. Bette loves this little one. So does Tina. Also Uncle James is on the scene. And let us never forget about Boo.

      • Billy
        First…. Houdini LOL!
        I am a huge Bette fan too as you know but I also feel like there was more to Tina than the show gave her a story for. We saw glimpses of it but IC was so intent on breaking them up initially that the storyline showed an often impulsive, hurtful Tina that was hard to like sometimes. I love that you love this Tina, like you said – an equal to Bette in every way.
        And you threw in a Star Wars quote in your comment…. winning!
        I too love River James. We will see more of him in the upcoming chapter and the chance to be outdoors and helping others shows a different side of them than what everyone is used to seeing when he is in the Gallery.
        Rosie in the city is like a fish out of water. I tried to imagine what a four year little girl who has never left the river would be like in a small town that would seem huge to her. LA will be a difficult adventure for her if that is her path. “Uncle James” I love it.
        Thanks for loving this story so much Billy. I truly look forward to your comments after each post. They are a highlight for me.
        Be well
        BK

    2. Whew! My heart is still racing and my stomach is in knots waiting for the next chapter. BK, you have a gift. No else to say since Billy has clearly said everything for me. This whole story should be a tv series and replace Gen Q. Great job. Hope your next chapter is soon Thank you.

      • beachgirl
        Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you continue to comment, it motivates me! I wish we could all be at the river, it sounds like an idyllic place to be!

    3. Rudy really is some kind of scum bag…. a million dollars for a child whom he will never see or know. Could this be construed as the selling of a child? Tina was brillant to come up with a paternity test. He probably is not the father at all. He was just the dude the mom was involved with when she gave birth. She’s dead and can give no more information, so Rosie would technically be a ward of the state. DFS having given the child to Jena Beth’s custody will have to be consulted for Rosie to be removed from her custody. However, with the overwhelming load of DFS systems, getting Tina and Bette assigned as foster parents should be no problem especially if Jena Beth makes a positive recommendation, even if they are taking the child out of state. Of course adoption will be a whole new ball game. Once Rudy has been disposed of, then it should be just a matter following the legal path to adoption.

      Bette and Tina are bonding more and more. Bette who was city born and city raised certainly showed her wilderness skills in tracking down Rosie to the rabbit hutch. The gathering of stones which she first displayed to Bette when she first met Bette, the collection of stones in her bedroom and in the garden and thus a path to where she went. Bette saw the pattern of behavior and followed it. Bette may have been the only one who saw this stone collecting habit of Rosie’s as the key to her whereabouts even though everyone was aware of it. Bette just happened to be the one to key in on it. Its the same skill which art people know if a painting is by a certain artist – subject matter, style, color selection, brush strokes, media from piece to the next by an artist have a commonality which when known can see and recognize from one piece to another. Bette’s life is based on this skill. With everything an individual creates, its leaves the creator’s signature style and fashion. Those piles of rocks were Rosie’s creation and Bette knew.

      Great story…. encompases a lot of elements of drama, and romance. Love this story.

      • Hey Martha!
        Thank you as always for reading and commenting. It will be interesting to see what DHR/DFS decides if Rudy is not the father. If he is…. then things get complicated unfortunately. I love your correlation to Bette seeing the pattern of behavior the same way a painting is by a certain artist. Eye for detail, attention to the little things. Subtlety. Those rocks were important to Rosie and Bette knew that and followed her instincts.
        Glad you are invested in the story, hope you have a wonderful weekend.
        BK

    4. Ditto to comments above!

      Thank you for this great story and for 31 wonderful pages!

      Every post leaves me desperate for the next one so, please, please post again soon !

      Your Story is a wonderful Oasis in the horrible times we are all living at the moment, stay safe and well
      SG

    5. Hi BK,

      What a incredible good chapter again!

      I especially love Billy’s comment. She said everything i would do!

      This is a truly brilliant story and should indeed be filmed into a serie! So good is it.

      Thank you for writing this story!!! It’s a great way to shut out the outside world and immerse yourself in the world of Tibette and all that they experience! You give us some light in this difficult period!

      Take care of yourself and stay save and healthy

    6. What a beautiful chapter Bette’s heart is clearly broken wide open for her two loves Tina and now Rosie. I love how you enhance Tina’s
      southernness her terms of endearment to Bette are so southern belle sweet that I can feel the essence of her love for and willingness to do whatever it takes to see to her loves happiness. Bette open now is learning to show her love and vulnerability. I am looking forward to the next installment

    7. Hiya BK,
      I seem to be having trouble with my comments going through but I will try this again. I still haven’t been able to get one to go through on your last installment of The Beginning.
      I don’t have much to add since Billy did an absolutely wonderful job of picking out all of the things that were so precious in this chapter. Your writing is just beautiful and I feel so many emotions reading the connection you create between our two girls.
      I will say that I am a little wary of Rudy and his quick to show up lawyer. And the one million dollar price tag on Rosie’s head makes me feel the lurking presence of dirty Donna. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had a spy lurking there down at the river. I admit I must have made a small sound of triumph or excitement that made my girlfriend give me the side eye there when I read Tina’s requirement of the paternity test. She’s such a badass right now. I bow down. Can’t wait to see where you take us with next chapter, but I vote for more of James. He’s the cutest in his river gear and matching attitude. Love it.

      Risky

      • Hello there my Risky friend
        Glad your comment was able to post! I am wary about Rudy too – there seems to be a lot of bitterness which serves to make him want to lash out and hurt. Love that you cheered Tina on at the end, I think she is badass too! We are not worthy. I hear you about more James and raise you another chapter of your story. :)))
        BK

    8. Thanks for the rescue of Rosie, BK. The poor little rabbit got trapped! She must be scared to the bone.
      Smart little girl to leave her stacked rocks as breadcrumbs like Hansel and Gretel to find her way back to the house. Small pieces of art as well. Bette was simply predestinated to find them. Like Martha wrote Bette would recognize Rosie’s creations. It’s sweet how she adds to the piles automatically, making them more stable.

      Ms. Bette aka Wonder Woman of the River to the rescue! Bette will shake her head in disbelief when she’ll think of Jimmy’s comment later on: “…everybody knows you by now…. you saved Ms. Tina” And now she saved Rosie.
      I was crying with Bette and Rosie when she found her. Rosie’s whispered “safe!” holds so much meaning.

      Like Billy I love the way Tina took control, grounded Bette and gently pushed her to do what she new her wife was able to. She is caring so much for Rosie as well, even if she didn’t have an opportunity to show it before. Now Tina’s packing food and water for the girl, checking that she’s unscathed, adding playfulness to provide care and love for Rosie when she’s taking inventory of her body parts (so cute) and bonding with her while bathing her. And giving her a nickname! Little rabbit. This is such a thing a loving mother would say to her child: “I will feed the little rabbit we found from the hutch today, do you think she likes carrots and celery?”

      It’s so heart-warming how calm and unagitated both women are towards Rosie. At least outwardly. They excude safety and wrap the little girl in a cocoon of love and protection. Add to that the bedtime story when they turn the day’s events into a tale to take the drama out of Rosie’s traumatic adventure.
      Rosie also takes to Tina, holding her hand, imitating her when she changed Bette’s band-aids and repeating Tina’s gesture of kissing the palms and wrists. What a beautiful family picture!

      Let’s not forget about River James. Hilarious! Love Bette’s comment: “…He’s putting a toothpick in his mouth. Make it stop, Tee…” He is so funny. When in Rome, right? The clothes, the bandana, sitting with the river men at the dock, wouldn’t be surprised if he already pick up some of the river accent.

      But how I love it when Tina takes charge! Quietly working on a matter while Bette still is a step behind. Already having a document for the supposed father, a lawyer at the ready and the power suit delivered by James. It reminded me of Tina taking care of the Jodi-problem in the beginning of the story. It’s funny how Bette is mostly perceived as the protective one but Tina is Bette’s equal in every way.

      So much happend in this chapter once again, BK. Love it, love it, loooove it! Thank you for making my weekend brighter and distracting me so wonderfully from the real world. Like the others I’m hoping that Rosie was the result of an one-night stand and this awful man who would sell the child in a blink. Tina and Bette deserve some good news for all the went through.

      Take care, stay safe and healthy
      KiwiP

      • Safe! Yes… loved that. And the showing of the stability that Bette offers, following that trail of the little girl she has fallen in love with balancing and providing stability as she goes. So Bette.

        • Yes yes yes KiwiP. Excellent observations. My post focused on Tina but Bette really was the one destined to find Rosie. I too love Tina’s interaction with Rosie. Especially the name Little Rabbit. And Risky Kitty – stability is a very good description. They are a great team.

      • KP
        Love your description of the rocks as breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel. So funny and true! Interesting how you bring up the symbolism of Bette making the rock piles more stable and steady, very much like how she is trying to stabilize Rosie’s life.
        And Rosie is blooming. Despite what mush have been a harrowing day spent in the hutch, trapped, she latches on to Bette and Tina and knows they will take care of her. Children are so resilient! Your comments made MY weekend brighter KP, thank you for the time you take to really look at each chapter and let me know what your thoughts are. Be well, enjoy your weekend!
        BK

    9. EEEE -doggie! Looks like I might be the caboose of the endearing fans BK, but such is life!

      I see Tina’s move to DEMAND the paternity test and “right this Effn day” as brilliant. Then I see the truth emerge that PunKRat what’s-his-face is NOT Rosie’s dad to be revealed.

      Then I see bureaucratic mess with Chid Welfare as Bette&Tina try to legally gain custody of Rosie. I don’t know how to work out the time it that might take, and thus probably a separation (though NOT very long).

      This is why BK must write the chapters for us. Just thinking of these two beautiful Moms willing to add a todler to the mix of their family soon to have an infant is really the hight of UNconditional love.‍‍

      Meanwhile, I see this movie progression from Tina setting the custody ball rolling to alpha Bette dealing with foster care services in North Carolina.

      Someone is bound to get cussed out by Bette, followed with a humble “please” in the next breath kinda like she did in TLW when they took Angie to the hospital in the dead of morning only to have Bette loose her cool with the receptionist who was NOT catching on that the child sick was H E R child and she was not the women to be ignored!

      Lovin’ me some RiverRatJames!

      P.S. Tina’s response upon hearing that Ro was “missing” of “she’s four” tickled me bc that was Bette’s response as well. So in sync that both of them had the same response!

      • Dumplin – I LOVE that scene in the hospital room when Bette losing her cool all over the nurse and adds a please at the end of it. SO very Bette. Your nicknames you give everyone crack me up!

      • Miss your emojis. Actually I am not worried about the adoption. If it is determined that Rudy is not the father and Jena Beth and Turnup give up their parental rights then it becomes a single parent out of state adoption with the adopting parent having to abide by the laws in both states. A male family member did a single parent out of state adoption and it was very smooth. He had temporary custody of the child during the time he and his partner waited. Took 6 months to be final. Bette and Tina are not married. I would be getting on that right quick. But can they adopt together? My brother could not. Not sure of the year of this story. Sadly the question may be who is doing the adopting? Probably Bette with Tina as the second parent? But would it be easier for Tina? If they have to deal with Child Welfare then Yaya can be influential. Tina has the connections in the area but California is in the mix as well. This is Bette’s dream. I’m getting way ahead of myself but just putting it on record that references will not be an issue. I will gladly write one.

    10. BK

      Found the time to read both recent chapters. I am a huge Tina fan and I have loved your version of this character. So much depth, empathy and intuitiveness. I saw it way back in the earlier chapters and then the focus shifted. You are now back to Tina showing her half of the partnership. Tibette is such a beautiful partnership and the way you show the shifting of the load of life from one to the other is harmonic.

      Can’t wait to see what you do next.

      K

    11. Hey BK,

      Terrific chapter.

      So love too that your Tina is so strong. It’s another version of Tina,Tina, Tina!!!

      Bette’s so head over heels for this little wonder of a girl – Rosie. And now Tina loves her just as well.

      So many little details in this chapter that continue to string the story together – well done.

      My best line was – Tina appeared like the sun behind the clouds.
      I’ve always thought this was how Bette always thought of Tina – how Tina put that eternal light in her life – constant & never wavering. Brilliant!

      And like everyone else – who wouldn’ love ‘River James’s!!!! Glad to hear we will see more of him. Always thought he was underutilized in OG. We will see him in FMF too!!!

      Rudy needs to gets his & fast – Tina’s just the person to give it to him!!! Wanting to sell his daughter – shameful. Would definitely be nice if he’s not the father!!! Kick his ass Tina!!!

      Wonderful chapter.

      Looking forward to the next chapter.

      Take care my friend.

      Collins

    12. I am so in love with this fic, I agree with all of the previous comments. When I figured out what Tina was up to I immediately said I hope Rudy isn’t Ro’s real daddy. What the heck does he think he will do with a million dollars, he won’t be seeing the light of day for a long time if ever. They should threaten him with human trafficking if he turns out to be the father. I am glad the chapters are long because I have a hard time waiting for the next one. Especially when you kind of leave us hanging at the end. Post as soon as you can please.

        • or he is simply a stupid jerk who thinks he could be some big mover and shaker in prison if he had that kind of money. Buuut…. if he can’t own money, then maybe there is some kind of inheritance regulation and his money would go to his descendent, that means if Rosie in fact *is* his daughter the little one could get the money. Tina and Bette as her (foster) parents would be the trustees of her possible trust fund. Isn’t fate a wonderful thing? ;-)

    13. Thank you One Storm! Glad you like the longer chapters, I have a hard time stopping unless the point feels right. I like longer chapters too. Enjoy! Have a great week
      BK

    14. Ditto what everyone else has said about this chapter. I love this take charge Tina who is completely in tune with Bette. I truly hope Rudy is NOT Rosie’s father. I don’t think they were expecting Tina to take that route. Very cunning!

    15. God BK, what are you doing to my heart?! It’s usually hard to make me cry, but when I read your story, I can’t stop crying because I’m too emotional about it all. I’m in love with your writing style! You are deservedly the best and most widely read author of Tibette stories. Why aren’t people like you writers on TV shows like TLW ? This is a big question.

      Your work is so deep and interesting that after reading it for the first time, I want to read it again to understand and notice all the touches. Thank you very much for this.

      I just really hope that Tina and Bette sort out Rosie’s father and that this girl has a chance at a happy, full, vibrant life. They both have such a huge heart, and they can share this love with a child who has already suffered a lot at the age of four. Rosie needs love and better parents. I love this elusive connection between Rosie and Bette… it seems to me that it is such a miracle and luck that such a connection has appeared. I like the way Tina treats Bette. She feels her desires, her needs, even her thoughts. They really are one, and that’s fine. I also hope that Tina’s constant headaches are just the result of an injury and nothing more serious. I’m waiting for her to fully recover and she won’t have to endure any pain or inconvenience. I’m also waiting to see how Boo story develops. This is a very intriguing thread.

      This is an incredible story! I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.

      • Thank you ADA! Your words are incredibly kind and mean a lot. I am terribly grateful for all the support. I really like your term of an ‘elusive connection’ between Bette and Rosie, what a layered way to describe that relationship. Keep reading! About to check in on your story now….

    16. BEST fanfiction story I have read this far!!!!! I mean I LOVE IT!! Can hardly wait for next chapter! Marvelous in every way…,especially the love between Bette and Tina, and now Rosie, who so desperately needs them, AND, a new baby! WOW!!! Also, I truly adore this Tina! Too many adjectives to list to describe this “Woman of My Dreams”……..so very glad you developed her character this way; every bit Ms. Porter’s equal and demonstrating it in a quiet, classy manner. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this gift. You are so talented,..please stay well and safe. Blessings! Dr. A

    17. Thank you DR A!
      I know you have been reading since the beginning of this story so it is so nice to see that you are still following right along. :))
      Thank you for your kind words, stay tuned there is more to come.
      Peace
      BK

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