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    Remember Who You Are 47

    From chapter 46

    Tina’s eyes narrowed. She felt a headache coming on, the edge of it creeping up the back of her neck. She bit her lip, watching as Rudy squinted at the document as his lawyer explained it to him.

    “I ain’t signing.” Rudy sneered, cracking his knuckles. “I ain’t signin ‘til you agree to the fucking money.”

    Tina stood, the chair behind her scooting back. She was not leaving here without making steps towards resolution. This was for Rosie. For Bette. “We can talk about money, Rudy. But first, I want a paternity test. Now. Today. Make that fucking happen…” she ordered the lawyers, “I need some fresh air.”

    ***

    Tina paced in the waiting room. Her back hurt and she was tired. Tired of the stinky prison, which with her heightened pregnant sense of smell made her want to gag, and the stress of the confrontation with Rudy was catching up to her. She keenly felt the weight of being the daughter of Donna Kennard, the guilt at the drugs that ravaged the river region, shame that she had to bear witness to the price Rudy and his family paid for ever meeting Donna.

    She needed to eat something, and her patience, or what was left of it, was exhausted. Fucking Rudy. Mr. Stephens finally emerged; his face unreadable.

    “Three to five days for the paternity test. I have the kit to take a swab of Rosie’s cheek and you can send it in to the same lab for cross checking…”

    “Who is sending in the sample for Rudy?”

    “The warden.”

    “When?”

    Mr. Stephens shifted, unsure. “We did not discuss a timeline…”

    “Not good enough. I want to see the fucking thing put in the mail. Today, Mr. Stephens if you please.”

    He started to object then went back to the guard at the window and spoke to her. She glanced at Tina then dialed a number and handed the office phone to the lawyer.

    Tina waited, the picture of patience while inside her stomach was rolling, hungry, nauseous. He returned with something written on a piece of paper.

    “It is being sent today, he’s actually in the medical station now. They will bill you for it and the results will be sent to the address you gave me. We can track it, I have the number here.”

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    Comments

    1. BK, finally! A very sweet and emotional proposal. I was hoping you would include it at some point. Thank you thank you :-) Should make foster care or adoption easier and probably the second parent adoption of the baby for Bette as well. Like Bibi I’m turning in for a few hours, it’s past midnight but I get one hour plus of sleep because of time change and return to standard time.
      Back tomorrow, in the meantime stay safe, hope you’re doing okay.
      cheers

    2. I really enjoyed this chapter. I loved that Tina showed James how river folk fish. Even though Tina is now a city woman, you never really forget where you came from and the things you enjoyed doing as a child. Loved them gathering for the low country boil. Tibette are so romantic in this story. I love the way they love each other no matter what is happening around them. I enjoyed it so much, I will probably read it again a couple more times.

      • I was just thinking what you have written, about how we really do retain the passion and glee from childhood. Once learning to fish, one remembers how to do it even after tens of years have passed.

        Like how Bette keeps being exposed to the world that is “other worldly” compared to her upbringing. And she is really learning to roll with the flow!

      • Cathy
        One never does forget where they are from. I think for Tina the river community held such stark differences under each layer, from those who couldn’t afford fishing poles so they made them out of branches to those, like Eric and his friends, who could. And in a lot of ways she had one foot in each world and so she learned all those lessons from a very unusual perspective. And you are right, no matter is going on around them, they love each other, even if it just noticing how amazing the other is. Thank for taking time to comment and for reading. More to come
        BK

    3. BK,

      This is a cliff hanger to be sure but I can accept it because the chapter is just so lovely and perfect. It made me laugh out loud and get a lump in my throat. You have truly brought out the best in both Tina and Bette. And Rosie and Yaya and even Jerry have had a hand in that as well. It was a slice of heaven to read the fishing section with Tina in her element making a pole and catching the fish. And, of course, James netting it with pride. And what would any story worth it’s salt be without Bette firing James at least once? Both Bette and Tina finally have a moment to relax a little and enjoy their surroundings and each other. One of my favorite lines from this chapter: “She groaned into Bette’s mouth which tasted like strawberries and reassurance and a day of fellowship.” Oh my Lord woman. What could be more beautiful than that? Tina’s proposal to her Sugar, Honey Bette perhaps? Love the terms of endearment.

      Tina gets her moment to shine in this chapter. She does feel misplaced guilt about Donna and also has some understanding of and compassion for Rudy. This section is complex and beautifully written as Tina reveals an empathy for Rudy’s fate that only she could possibly understand while also trying her best to fix some of Donna’s horrific reign of terror: “She sighed, suddenly wanting to cry at the awfulness of a broken man trying to profit off the betterment of his motherless child, the horrible wreckage of a life left in Donna’s wake. Damn Donna to Hell, Tina thought. The ninth circle of Hell. I am not here to wreck lives, Mr. Stephens. I am here to change lives, just two very important, special lives… Bette’s and Rosie’s. They are my life. Nothing else matters. I will not be sidetracked by more charges and litigation.” Tina is so incredibly focused. She wants all ducks in a row and she wants it done yesterday.

      Speaking as a Mainer who lives but a few miles from the LL Bean flagship store – I just love James. And I love the interaction between James and Tina. Tina is so incredibly funny and sweet: “Hey, James… too warm for a cable knit sweater? Your duck boots get lost in the mail?” This is so very true! I can just picture James with the Bean boots and fishing net that still has the tag. James has become a very important member of their family – truly a brother and an uncle.

      As I said, we are seeing the absolute best in both Tina and Bette. Truly a pure depiction of their love. These two are connected beyond words. Tina is on a mission to bring Rosie home with them and to marry Bette. Bette remains attentive and loving and protective of Tina and the baby reminding Tina that she is not Donna and that the river folk know the difference between the two. And she will marry Tina any time any place. Excellent Bette! Perhaps a simple ceremony right there ladies. Be easier to adopt maybe. They are bonding with Rosie quite nicely and lovingly. Take her home as a married couple. Perhaps Boo can attend. Thank you, BK. No idea how you juggle these stories.

    4. BK,

      This is quite the cliff hanger but I can accept that because you are writing with such care and the chapter is just so lovely and perfect. It made me laugh out loud and get a lump in my throat. You have truly brought out the best in both Tina and Bette. And Rosie and Yaya and even Jerry have had a hand in that as well. It was a slice of heaven to read the fishing section with Tina in her element making a pole and catching the fish. And, of course, James netting it with pride. Both Bette and Tina finally have a moment to relax a little and enjoy their surroundings and each other. One of my favorite lines from this chapter: “She groaned into Bette’s mouth which tasted like strawberries and reassurance and a day of fellowship.” Oh my Lord woman. What could be more beautiful than that? Tina’s proposal to her Sugar, Honey Bette perhaps?

      Tina gets her moment to shine in this chapter. She does feel misplaced guilt about Donna and also has some understanding of and compassion for Rudy. This section is complex and beautifully written as Tina reveals an empathy for Rudy’s fate that only she could possibly understand while also trying her best to fix some of Donna’s horrific reign of terror: “She sighed, suddenly wanting to cry at the awfulness of a broken man trying to profit off the betterment of his motherless child, the horrible wreckage of a life left in Donna’s wake. Damn Donna to Hell, Tina thought. The ninth circle of Hell. I am not here to wreck lives, Mr. Stephens. I am here to change lives, just two very important, special lives… Bette’s and Rosie’s. They are my life. Nothing else matters. I will not be sidetracked by more charges and litigation.” Says it all. Tina is so incredibly focused. She wants this for Bette and Rosie but Tina also loves Rosie a great deal. She wants all of their ducks in a row and she wants it done yesterday. Brilliant observation my dear Tina that Rudy and Rosie share absolutely no resemblance. Whatever the result of the paternity test – Tina will be ready.

      Now – Speaking as a Mainer who lives but a few miles from the LL Bean flagship store – I just love fisherman James. And I love the interaction between James and Tina. Tina is so incredibly funny and sweet: “Hey, James… too warm for a cable knit sweater? Your duck boots get lost in the mail?” This is so very true! I can just picture James with the Bean vest and pants and fishing net that still has the tag. James has become a very important member of their family – truly a brother and an uncle. And what would any story worth it’s salt be without at least one you are fired from our beloved Bette. “James was so absorbed by the display of expert fishing that he jumped when Bette hissed in his ear, ‘what the hell is going on James? She’s fucking barefoot… and four months pregnant. You’re fucking fired, James. You hear me? Fired.’’Fired… fired…’ Rosie sang, dumping a bucket of water into the river.” Yes, Rosie is a quick study. Not to worry Rosie, Uncle James is not going anywhere.

      As I said, we are seeing the absolute best in both Tina and Bette. Truly a pure depiction of their love. These two are connected beyond words. Tina is on a mission to bring Rosie home with them and to marry Bette. Bette remains attentive and loving and protective of Tina and the baby making sure Tina’s headache is monitored and that she eats and rests. She also lovingly reminds Tina that she is not Donna and that the river folk know the difference between the two. And she will marry Tina any time any place. Excellent Bette! Perhaps a simple ceremony right there ladies. Be easier to adopt maybe. Rosie is bonding with the couple quite nicely. Still, LA will be quite an adjustment. A new baby is coming and Bette has a time consuming job. I suspect Rosie will miss Jena Beth and Jimmy and vice versa as well as the river. This will not be without its challenges but the love is there and this is the best chance at a good life and future for this little girl. Take Rosie home as a married couple? Maybe Boo can attend? With Yaya’s help. How you manage more than one story at a time is amazing. Thank you, BK.

      PS. Love that Bette and Yaya have become such good friends and that Bette is showing her humorous side – Jerry that rascal!

      • I love that James has been fired a hundred times by Bette, but he just ignores it and keeps diving in!! This dude is getting his money’s worth with the RiverLife Mouseketeer living!! GO James!

      • Billy
        Once again I am drawn into your commentary and insights. I have read your comments multiple times because I find that you have such a gift for analyzing and seeing what the intention was behind scenes. I loved writing the fishing part. I was never really into fishing myself but I have seen people fish with nothing more than a stick and a worm before, and one time I was with a group of people who put chicken necks on the end of stick and caught crabs! So there you go. I digress –
        I agree with you about the empathy Tina has for Rudy. It is mixed with a healthy dose of guilt, but she sees the whole picture with him – he is a broken man so why make his life worse than it already is and Donna all put him in prison to begin with. Tina sees all this and just wants to make strides towards her goal of adopting or fostering Rosie.
        I will share that I have family that live in Maine so I have visited the LL Bean store and had that in mind when I wrote about James fishing. I mean, where else would he order from than the best outdoor clothing store there is, right?
        So now I have a wedding ceremony to write, a phone call to New Orleans to make and a small child’s future hanging in the balance. Off I go…

        Thanks Billy, for commenting and loving this story as much as I do….

        • Went to Freeport today and stood in front of the large Bean boot located outside of the flagship store and thought of James. Said a silent hello. I won’t keep you from your literary endeavors. Thank you, BK.

    5. Well, I think that Billy said it all. So much going on in this chapter…. we will soon know if Rudy is the father and we will soon have some contact with Boo, maybe. Bette and Tina still have lots to do before they can return to LA. Tina needs to be ready for travel. Rose must be legally theirs in some form or fashion. And if possible, Boo needs to be contacted and brought back into the family. These are all big hurdles to get over. With Bette and Tina now have agreed to marry, that is one more item on the agenda. Do they marry in North Carolina or do they wait and marry in LA so that both Boo and Rosey and their friends can be present?

      And now that they suspect Jerry may be the father, perhaps they need to get him to sign some agreement that he will relinquish all parental rights as well. If it were me, I would ask him without getting a paternity test – it might be easier getting him to sign such an agreement when there is still an element of doubt that he is the father than when there is definitive proof that he is the father. If he is not the father, then relinquishing his parental right is meaningless. But if he is, this could save Bette and Tina and Rosey a lot of heartbreak in the future should circumstances bring about some claim. When Rosey gets older, it is entirely possible that she will want to know about her biological parents and the circumstances of her adoption. Bette and Tina will, being the people they are, tell her the truth and will aid her in finding out who she is. So, this is a part of preparing for that day when Rosie says “Who were my biological parents?”.

      Rosie is four years old. Most people have only a few snippets of memory of their lives prior to about age 5 or 6. It is entirely possible that once Rosie moves to LA, she will have practically no memories of her life on the river unless Bette and Tina visit the area often. The only reason Bette and Tina are on the river now was their search for Boo. Their prior visit to the river was so that they could help authorities catch Donna and Stephen in their criminal activities. Everything else that has happened has been accidental and the results of those accidents. Even though Bette and Tina care a lot for the people who live on the river and are willing to help them where they can and are grateful for their help when they needed it the most, I do not see them returning for period vacations and remembering the “good” times. They will have two young children, jobs, friends and a world of distractions which will have their full attention. We have yet to see what role Boo will play in this story. They may communicate with some like Jen Beth and YaYa and they may continue their support of the clinic and the cabin which is a place for kids to escape and perhaps study. They will continue their annual Christmas gifts of cash to each household on the river. But in the end, it will become memory of both pain and joy for Bette and Tina. But that is the way life works…and for the people on the river, you either stay or you get away from it. There is no coming back. Tina is the exception, but only because she is in search of her grandmother. Tina got away from that life because of Stephen and Boo. Boo was one who got away in order to escape Donna’s revenge. And Rosey will get away also because of a boating accident that almost took the lives of Bette and Tina and because they had the compassionate hearts to take her in.

      This is a lovely story. Romantic, compassionate and in some respect heart breaking. I appreciate all your characters so much and the story line is so compelling. Please write as soon as you can…. I am addicted to this and I need my fix. Take care of yourself BK…stay safe and well.

      • Hi Martha. Actually I think them going back to life in LA is kind of sad. Bette and Yaya have formed a friendship I believe will continue far beyond stocking her clinic. Yaya is a wise woman and so worth knowing. Regarding Rosie, I have some very distinct memories from when I was four years old. And my 30 year old son seems to remember just about everything from when he was that age. I think Bette and Tina will make it a point to return to the river. I certainly would. Especially as this is the place that brought them all together. And I think their baby should know Yaya and some of the others. Donna did so much damage that Tina maintaining her happy memories from her time on the river and making new ones with Bette, Rosie, the baby, Yaya and perhaps Boo and even Jerry is important. Even if Rosie never returned to the river she will remember gathering her rocks and fishing. She will remember Jimmy. I hope Bette and Tina help Rosie preserve and celebrate that important part of her story. Tina effortlessly making the fishing pole tells me that while bad things happened due to Donna, Tina also had some magical times on the river that she has never forgotten. And she never will. Nor should she. Bette is going to be working with Jena Beth in some capacity regarding her art. I think the river and the river folk are going to be a part of their lives moving forward. And if Jerry is Rosie’s biological father there is nothing wrong with her knowing that. Rosie already knows Jerry. She likes Jerry. That is not to say that they should share custody with that rascal Jerry. From Yaya’s feelings about him, Rosie probably has a lot of half siblings along the river. Leaving the river and going back to LA is just not that simple. To my mind – when they do leave it’s see you soon and not goodbye. Just my rambling thoughts.

            • Billy, you take the words out of my mouth. Exactly! While reading the last chapter with Rosie being in a town for the first time I thought how fitting the story’s title is for Rosie’s life as well as Tina’s. Whatever might happen in Rosie’s life from now on it will be important for her to always remember who she is. Even if she spent only four years of her life at the river, Tina will always share her roots of being from the river, of being a water mouse – or in Rosie’s case a fishingrabbit – and will remind Rosie of the life at the river, the people and the lessons learned.

        • Billy, funny you wrote that going back to LA is kind of sad. I just replied to Martha that I will struggle to write about them leaving the river and returning to LA. I have loved this part of the story because there is truly a blank slate and it puts them (or at least Bette) in situations they would never experience anywhere else!
          I think Bette will find it really hard to leave. She doesn’t seem to have a wide range of friends outside of the Shane and Alice group in LA and Yaya is a true mentor for her in many ways. Two strong women who respect and care about each other and are driven in their professional lives. This thread has given me alot to think about. Thanks

      • Hey Martha
        There is a long agenda for our favorite couple! They are making major life transitions that most couples make one at a time and they are doing it all at once – adding not one but two children to their family, getting married and reuniting with an old, dear friend who may very well serve as the Grandmother (or Great Grandmother as the case may be) to their children! Goodness. Makes me tired thinking about it!
        Not sure about the Jerry thing. I see your point about Rosie wanting to know who her family is when she grows up but not all kids seek this out, some are content to know they were chosen and loved. I will have to think about this, I honestly did not consider that path when I wrote it! This is what I love about having readers comment, I get all sorts of new or thought provoking ideas!
        I totally see them returning to the river… if only because I have loved writing this part of their story. Theres a part of me that will struggle to return to LA but return we must.
        Thank you Martha, I so appreciate how invested and thoughtful you are in your comments!

    6. Hi BK,

      I fully agree with Billy’s comment, she said everything i would mention about this amazing chapter!

      But you know you are a tease to leave us hanging with the end of the chapter….how dare you!

      I really missed this, Bette telling James and i quote: “James was so absorbed by the display of expert fishing that he jumped when Bette hissed in his ear, “what the hell is going on James? She’s fucking barefoot… and four months pregnant. You’re fucking fired, James. You hear me? Fired.”

      He is such a great man, always there for Bette and Tina. He knows Bette so well after all the years that he has worked for her. Whatever happens, he always supports her, in good times and bad, is always ready to help her.
      I love that he plays an important role in this story, he deserves it. Amazing how he adapts so quickly to river life, as if he were a river rat himself. And I love seeing how he takes Rosie under his wing while fishing in the river, how he jumps into the river in full regalia with shoes on to help Tina and how he is childishly happy after he has the fish caught in his net. Fantastic to read about that part!

      It is a real pleasure to read this story, as if you were experiencing everything that happens.
      How Bette and Tina experience everything, how they feel each other perfectly both emotionally and physically, how they talk to each other about everything, how Tina casually proposed to Bette, a real pleasure to read.

      I can go on and on but then my comment will be longer than this chapter! Thank you so much for this incredible story!

      Take care my friend!

    7. I so agree with BiBi and Billy! I absolutely love this Story, thank you so much for posting BUT not for leaving us hanging over this cliff !!!

      Hope you are doing well in quarantine and look forward to another post as soon as possible, please

      Stay well and safe
      SG

    8. So many great comments already. But BK, I never thought I’d say this but thanks for the cliffhanger. I feel it would have taken the focus away from everything else that happend in this chapter. The results of the paternity test and a possible chance to contact Boo deserve their own chapter as well.

      I enjoyed another glimpse of Alpha Tina at the prison. “Stay focused, Mr. Stephens….No delays. Is that clear?” We didn’t see a lot of this side of Tina for some time. Getting it done Tina. Oh btw you have a talent for fancy names: Too Tall Steve? See me still smiling?

      I really hope that Bette’s words will help Tina to overcome her misplaced guilt over Donna’s doings. Both scenes when Tina opens up about her feelings were very sensitively written. At first Bette’s understanding that it was important to listen to Tina, to be a sounding board but to delay her own reaction for some time. And then Bette finding the right words to show Tina a different perspective, pointing out that the river folk don’t blame Tina. It’s probably an open secret with the river people that Tina is Louise’s daughter and thereby a true water rat. What a meaningful conclusion by Bette: “Feel them, talk about them but at the end of the day you did not do those things, you rose above it all.”

      It is beautiful to see how much T + B learned about each other and how they truly understand each other. Like Billy wrote they are connected beyond words.

      Tina and Rosie are connecting as well. You showed us some of it last chapter and now more bonding over fishing and new nicknames. Fishingrabbit. Happy little rabbit that is picking up new words fast. Fired and French fry. Too cute.
      It’s endearing how Tina already refers to Rosie as her girl but still seems to be mindful of Turnup’s reaction to Rosie’s possible leaving. I just hope he isn’t her father (Jerry would be some kind of funny) but will come around to at least acknowledge the chance Rosie is given and tell Tina that he will hold no grudge for taking the girl with her.

      On of my favourite quotes: “You may never purchase monogrammed pillows. Gag.” Hilarious!

      I loved Tina’s fishing moment, completely in the here and now, refreshing good childhood memories; loved T + B’s private, soul-soothing, steamy, sexy moments; Uncle James, the fisherman and the dear, reliable friend; part-time nurse Bette and YaYa; the dinner….another chapter of wonderful storytelling. At the end I felt like it doesn’t matter which result the test will show. Like Tina said: “But we proceed, either way. She’s ours.”

      It’s so much joy to immerge myself into each chapter, BK. Such a great storytelling. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Have a great week, half time of quaratine, I hope, stay safe and healthy.
      KiwiPit

      • KP
        Funny you should mention the cliffhanger being a good thing because I just couldn’t bring myself to add anymore moments to this chapter. The Tina being a badass in prison thing, the fishing thing, the low country boil and the wedding proposal all flowed really well and I am not yet sure HOW I want to handle the BOO call. So much there for that first conversation!’
        We haven’t seen In Charge Tina in a while, have we? I had to show the seriousness of her head injury and have her lay low for a spell, but she has arrived! Look out. Just in time too, Bette has been shouldering the load for a long time.
        And yes, one more week of quarantine then I can be out in the world. Good news is that none of our other staff members have tested positive so we are thankful for that!
        Thank you for following all my stories so well, for taking time to really dissect each one and for making me laugh with you at the silly moments in this chapter –
        peace my friend
        bk

    9. You have such great imagery. I feel like I’m going to a low country boil. James as a LL Bean model and being fired….again. What a piece of gold he is.

      Everyone has said it pretty much already. I love this story.

    10. Dearest BK,

      So it looks like you like the cliffhangers too!!!!!!!!!

      Please, oh please don’t let Rudy be the father!!!!

      I agree with all the elegant prose from your other fans that have posted here.

      So many special moments in this chapter.

      But the phrase that stuck with me the most was –

      ‘the kiss carried with it the weight of forever, the blessing of forever, the comfort of forever.’

      When I think of Tibette, this is how I view them – forever – blessed beyond belief to have each other now & forever. In all the stories I have read here on this site, this is one of the most meaningful.

      Beautiful chapter & wonderfully told. Love the proposal from Tina & Bette’s sweet acceptance.

      Appears the hunts coming to a close for Boo!!!! Grandma to make an appearance!!!!

      Thanks so much for the update.

      We NEED that wedding lady!!!!!!!!

      Collins

      • Collins
        We both know who the real queen of the cliffhanger is and there is no b or k in her username. You leave everyone desperate to learn what the outcome is each time you write!
        Wouldn’t it be nice to have a REAL TiBette wedding, like on the show that we all love to love/hate. For this story, should they wait until they get back to LA or have a simple ceremony on the river docks. I bet ole Jerry can wrestle up some fireworks. …
        Thanks, my friend… hope you are writing as well….

        • Rosie can be the flower girl & give everyone flowers. She’s so cute.

          I can envision a ceremony in either place. But I think having Boo there would be super nice – so maybe back in LA before the baby arrives.

          Or better yet, they could have a simple little ceremony of the river for all their new family there & then have a more formal one back in LA once Boo arrives. It would be grand for Tina to have a blood relative there. Bette & James could make it happen super quick.

          And yes, I am writing lady!!!!

          Got a new series in the works too. But we need an update on Captain Bette & our Lady Tina!!!! Get postin’ woman!!!!

          .

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