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    Remember Who You Are 49

    The river water had tendrils of mist hovering over the surface, the air still cool from the night before and the birds and fish just waking up. Even the sun was slow to rise, not strong enough yet to chase away the chill, struggling to get moving and start the day. It was beautiful in the way that only nature can be, quiet as a poem, loud as thunder.

    A small ripple could be seen here and there, a splash heard… but the water itself was smooth as glass, and full of promise. Bette had risen early, restless, excited, nervous about the upcoming days. She reveled in the warmth of her fiancé for a few long minutes, kissing Tina’s throat and snuggling in. Breathing Tina in. Lavender and vanilla, the smell of sleep and comfort. In two days she would marry this beautiful woman and her family of four would be complete.

    Wanting to use her last remaining days at the river wisely, she carefully untangled her limbs from the blonde’s. Tina did not move; her arms and legs limp and Bette placed her pillow where her body had been as a poor substitute for herself. Still no movement from her Sleeping Beauty.

    A soft, lingering kiss on Tina’s neck, right under her ear did get a small response, Tina mumbling something in her sleep and pulling the pillow closer and Bette got a lump in her throat seeing this visual reminder of how greatly she was loved. She adjusted the blankets around the slumbering form, marveling at Tina’s ability to sleep so deeply, her face unworried and her long eyelashes closed against the day.

    Closing the door behind her quietly, Bette headed for the dock. She wanted…no, needed… quiet time at the water’s edge. Time to reflect, to wonder, to breathe. She craved this time more and more as their days in the region dwindled down slowly. Her coffee was hot in her mug, her hair long on her shoulders and her baggy sweatshirt warm… as well as smelling like Tina, the perfect combination in her mind.

    Her feet, though… they dangled in the water despite it’s chilly temperature. Pink toenails coming in and out of the stillness, her joggers rolled up to her calves. She took a deep breath. The river had an earthy, wise smell about it. It had seen all and been a part of many a story.

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    Comments

    1. Beautiful BK! Still loving this story. I absolutely adore the sweetness of Rosie, and those tender moments between her and Mama Bee!

      Sage advice from Yaya to Alice… here’s hoping she heeds it!

      Thanks for writing!

      • Very sage advice, Elizabeth. I love the moments with Rosie and Mama B too. Writing children is hard, especially very young ones. So glad you are along for the journey!

    2. “Who’s going to do that for her in LA, Tee? There is so much here for her to learn, to experience. I know Boo will be there with us, but she is only one person.

      Honey Sweet, she will have her Uncle Shane to tell her all about how to chill and slink around like the coolest cat in town…” she smiled when Bette chuckled, nodding her head as she listened. “… and she will have her Aunt Kit teach her to cook and play the guitar and sing the blues. She will dance with Carmen and play sports with Dana, and Alice will fill her up with sugar and stories. But most importantly, my sweet love… she will have you.”

      “Tee…” Bette said softly, her head going to lay on Tina’s shoulder, brown curls flooding Tina’s nose with the scent of jasmine. She brought Bette’s hand to her mouth, kissing the back of it. “It’s true. Because you have the river in your blood, in your heart now Bette. And you won’t let Rosie forget where she came from. You are the reason she will thrive anywhere we take her. Rosie and our baby that’s on the way.”

      Good Lord woman. Trying to formulate the adequate words.

    3. This chapter has a lot jam packed in it….. Jerry reaffirming to Bette what a wonderful mom she will be…. Dress shopping Alice and Lucy with Tina…… and Kit and Shane with Bette…. and both find the dress they love and want for the occasion. Bette trying to get a hint from Tina…. making love after being apart most of the day. Tina asking Bette to marry her and wondering why she resisted the idea for long. The ladies of the river who have come to alter Tina’s dress. Alice protecting Tina’s dress from being viewed by Bette. The deep connection Bette and Tina have that they simply cannot be apart for one night no matter what tradition says. What a beautiful story…. and tomorrow is the big day. The wedding… Soon this family will start their lives and adjust to the world of jobs and schools and family and friends and leave this episode of adventure and healing behind. But they will return and once again enjoy the life on the river.

      I have too have fallen in love with this river and this life of joy and hardships, of love beyond measure and pain beyond endurance. The family of four with one on the way will make a life in Los Angeles and they will be happy because they will be together to face the joys and the sorrows, the up and the downs that come with a life well lived.

      Thank you for this chapter and this story…. truly remarkable and touching….

    4. Okay. My previous comments totally apply to this post. I just love how Tina assuages Bette’s worrying about Rosie and reluctance to leave the river and incorporates their life in LA: Honey Sweet, she will have her Uncle Shane to tell her all about how to chill and slink around like the coolest cat in town…” she smiled when Bette chuckled, nodding her head as she listened. “… and she will have her Aunt Kit teach her to cook and play the guitar and sing the blues. She will dance with Carmen and play sports with Dana, and Alice will fill her up with sugar and stories. But most importantly, my sweet love… she will have you.” This Tina is the strongest yet softest, sweetest, and most loving lady.

      Without simply copying and pasting the entire chapter, this is going to be a hard one. The writing is exquisite. So many quiet and beautiful moments. As always, Jerry is a favorite of mine and I am very happy he is Rosie’s biological father. And you know what? I think Bette is too! I adore the relationship between Bette and Jerry. It’s Jerry who affirms that Bette will be an excellent mother. “Yes ma’am, I do. Look at little Rosie. That’s all I need to know about how you’ll do as a parent . She’s… this…” he was at a loss for words, then spread his arms wide like he was hugging the entire bank, the water and the reeds and the rocks and the fish. Bette chuckled, liking how he summed up the essence of Rosie Rabbit.” Jerry is an absolute favorite character. He, like Yaya and Boo truly embody the river. And Bette will miss her time with Jerry: ‘River philosophy with Jerry every Thursday at 6am…’ Yes. Bette will miss the river, especially the early morning quiet when the river comes to life. Bette is part of the river and has absorbed it into her very soul and this has softened her – a very good thing. “Damn that Jerry. Telling Rosie the tallest of tales and she just ate it up with a spoon.”Tina smiled to herself, lifting her head to kiss Bette on her cheek. Without even thinking about it, Bette was talking like a true river rat, in abstracts and imagery.”

      Tina sees the shift in Bette and if possible she loves her even more. As do the readers I imagine. For this Bette is truly the best of the best and that is saying a lot. And Bette will take all she has learned and thrive. Why? “Because you have the river in your blood, in your heart now Bette.” And even though our girls have endured a lot of danger on the river and Tina needed this time to heal, this couple is more connected than ever. More connected than one might think humanly possible. Iron clad intimacy you call it. So very true:

      “Bette belonged to Tina and Tina belonged to her. She never doubted that. Marrying felt so right and now was the right time. A baby on the way, a toddler joining the family. A renewed sense of purpose and togetherness. Would this wedding, this marriage, this woman mean as much to her a year ago? Six months? If anything, the boat accident and subsequent healing time nurturing each other solidified and strengthened their relationship to an iron clad intimacy and love that was as pure as a kitten playing in the sunshine. And as fierce. It was time.” I think they needed this time on the river. Not that they weren’t solid before but nothing can or will harm this team now. I’m sure Kit and Alice and Shane and James see this. And Lucy as well.

      But can I just add that although I personally am not looking forward to them leaving these blessed people and this glorious place, you did a masterful job of weaving past and present and future. I like that Shane found Bette’s dress. Shane and Vera Wang. Not a sentence you read everyday. But – A reminder that the ‘street rat’ knows her best friend. And Lucy finding Tina’s dress? These two are going to be okay. And that Boo was called and she in turn contacted the elders of the river who at first horrified Bette and James but were nonetheless called in to altar the dress because Tina absolutely needs it to be perfect for her Bette? Just so perfect. So much love. Coming in from all directions. Coming together for this couple.

      Even Alice is behaving herself with a little prodding from Yaya:“Leave them…” Yaya repeated, reaching over to close the door, then regarding Alice before continuing. “They value your friendship, but heed this. All your energy, attention needs to be on supporting them instead of creating drama. Just saying…” Of course they needed to be together. Thank goodness for Yaya. Can she just be smuggled into their luggage and moved to LA? Going to miss this wise woman so very much. Heed this! Take that Alice.

      My favorite bit of information: Bette and Tina bought the house and the land. Yes the river will be in Rosie’s future. In Boo’s future. In all their futures. There will be plenty more turtles for Jerry to track for Rosie.

      My favorite line? I didn’t think it was possible but I do have one. And it requires no explanation or elaboration: “A statement wrapped in a dream.”

      And my absolute last comment! Bette and her lists. Am I right? Enough said. Not even going to mention the hot sex. That’s another entire post. Now on to the big day. Perfection, BK.

      • Oh Billy you have outdone yourself with this post. What a truly lovely comment. You completely GET these characters and their behaviors and why they do what they do. Every time you notice the small details, the threads placed throughout the chapter to pull it all together at the end.
        I love Jerry too. I can picture him in my mind but not sure what actor would play him. Someone ruggedly handsome and rascally but endearing at the same time. A Han Solo type of river rat.
        I think they needed this time on the river too. They overcame such a momentous accident and healed together in more ways than one, finding Rosie then adding her to the family, meeting all the people that make life on the river manageable.
        A statement wrapped in a dream. Bette’s dress, right? Could it BE anything else?
        Love a good list – love Bette with a good list.
        And hot sex is a must.
        Thank you BILLY, your comments provide me with such motivation and insight. I really read them more than once.

    5. Your description of nature at the river at dawn is so beautiful. You captured the atmosphere with rich, descriptive words which seem to flow over the page. I can picture the scene as a pencil drawing that starts to colour with every word, every sentence you carefully pour over the drawing. It felt as if I was there with Bette, absorbing the tranquil morning mood, watching and listening how nature awakes.

      You always have an amazing way with words. But I think this chapter is especially full of a picturesque language, beautiful euphemisms and vivid, poetic descriptions that simply give me a wonderful fluffy feeling of being part of the story.

      I love Bette’s reflective mood, thinking back on all that has happend since they arrived on the river. The day Tina let out her inner river rat when she dropped her clothes and jumped into the water like the undouted child she was. When Bette was encouraged by her love to take the plunge as well and how proud Tina was when Bette surfaced again. So sweet.

      Bette’s watermouse Tina is so right. After all Bette has been through at and with the river, she can call herself a “from here”.

      Like Martha and Billy already said, there are so many, many moments in this chapter that I’d like to mention. But I try to make a compressed list. Bette and Jerry and the pillow talk, his turtle moment with Rosie (little rabbit telling the turtle that it is safe here got to me!), Rosie the cookie monster (curious to read what she will look like at the wedding), their mirrored wedding dress moment, Boo calming Tina, Kit calming Bette (wonderful sister moment), Tina telling Bette to stop worrying and putting her back to sleep by simply being close.

      Martha mentioned my favourite moment/quote as well. This quote from Tina strangely brought tears to my eyes: “So glad you finally decided to marry me…” she teased, rewarded by another kiss as Bette chuckled into her mouth, delighted by Tina’s response.” Loooove this one!

      Of course there is more. Yaya dressing down Alice, James arriving at the scene and providing the perfect Team-Porter-Gallery-is-in-charge moment. Did I mention that I love your James? I do!

      Gosh, I just have to stop myself now. As you might have guessed I love this chapter and I try to ignore the fact that it probably will come to an end some time after the wedding.
      Feel hugged my dear friend. I am once again starting a Mexican Wave for you. La ola, everyone! :)

      Stay safe, fingers crossed for tomorrow, trying to send positive vibes to the Universe that it will be a wonderful, peaceful moment in Washington DC.

      • AHHH KP, I will ride the Mexican Wave you are sending my way and appreciate the hugs as well. You highlighted so many of my favorite moments as well, especially Rosie telling her turtle how safe it was and James as well. He is so good to balance against Bette and he takes everything that happens with such humor and grace. He is treasure. I also felt like Bette needed more moments with Kit and I think getting dressed and ready will be their time to shine.
        You really pulled all the past moments and tied them together with the moments in the chapter and I love that your comments always leave me thinking – currently I am pondering Rosie’s wedding outfit and what role she will play. So many possibilities….

        • Also, I meant to mention how much I appreciate you are following the events in DC. The Inauguration made me cry. The guard who got promoted, the 22 year old poet with a speech disability (as well as Biden!) , KAMALA owning her place in history and Michelle O coming in like the queen herself. Also Lady G invoking a true Hunger Games moment. I did not work all morning. Sorry (not sorry) for going off on a tangent. Thank you!

          • I was watching, too. At least I got some of it. Great speaches, wonderful performances (I was a big fan of Garth in the 90’s), Amanda Gorman… impressive, some great guests. Lady G and the Hunger Games! LOL, yeah, you’re right. The whole ceremony got to me. Even without the people to cheer and give their support it was a remarkable moment. Exhale! But Kamala left me speechless, What a charisma!

    6. Hi BK,

      Nothing is better to read this wonderful story after a hard work day!

      I love and agree fully with the comments above and i want to highlight two more things that are significant in this special story and that say a lot about Bette’s feeling of being loved and what a amazing mother she is to Rosie and shows the bond they have:

      “A soft, lingering kiss on Tina’s neck, right under her ear did get a small response, Tina mumbling something in her sleep and pulling the pillow closer and Bette got a lump in her throat seeing this visual reminder of how greatly she was loved”

      This is one example that spoke to me and there are so much more like when they made love but this whole story show their deep love for each other, in words and deeds!

      And this one, i love to see Bette and Rosie interact with each other, they simply melt my heart everytime:

      “Pancakes and cookies and fishing, oh my…” Bette said, kissing the top of Rosie’s head.

      Rosie offered her Mama B a chocolate chip, her fingers greasy and covered with flour. Tina watched, her heart swelling, as Bette… her best friend, lover and soon-to-be wife, dressed in $300 jeans and with an equally expensive top and haircut… dignified, elegant, sophisticated and stylish… let Rosie feed her the chocolate then kissed the little sticky face all over, making Rosie grin at her like Bette set the sun in the sky every morning, just for her.

      “Delicious…” Bette said, unfazed by the sticky mess now on her own lips and chin, putting her fingers to her lips and making a sound like a chef’s kiss. “I might eat the whole bag” and she snorted like a pig into the side of Rosie’s head. So adorable.

      “Oh, Mama Beeeeee….” Rosie said, giggling”

      How can you not love them ♥️

      I am really in love with this story!

      • BiBi my friend, Thank you for your sweet comment. Rosie and Bette are so great together and so easy to write. Rosie needs Bette as much as Bette needs Rosie in my mind. A perfect pair. And the relationship between Bette and Tina is so solid that she can safely be herself with all her lists and irritations and Bette-ness.
        You know I appreciate your comments and feedback my friends. Stay safe!

    7. I am not going to try to make a comment as I could not do any better, nor anywhere as well,as Billy and Martha !

      I was a mess of emotions throughout reading alternately laughing and crying.

      Thank you for this wonderful journey you are taking us on.

      I loved it and am so looking forward to the wedding. I have two boxes of tissues ready.

      I look forward eagerly to your next post, although I know it will inevitably take me nearer to the end of a story I want to go on forever.

    8. Hey BK,

      You hit a home run on this chapter – wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

      From Jerry and the little turtle to Rosie and Tina and back again, this was just so touching & so tender. Bette & Tina wanting the knock out wedding gown for each other to Kit’s no nonsense declaration when Bette questioned the wedding dress hunt –

      “None speak to me, Kit. I want a dress where when Tina sees me… she has that look in her eyes like she will never let me go, I want her to melt. This is my only wedding, don’t you see? I want it to be perfect.”

      Kit sighed, smoothing some rowdy curls. “You always did have the highest of standards, Bette. But, Sweetheart… if you don’t think she looks at you like that every time she sees you now, then you aren’t paying attention. You could show up in a burlap sack and Tina would never let you go. You too belong together, you always have.”

      And Boo coming to the rescue with the alterations for Tina’s wedding dress – sweet as anything on the river or Yaya’s pie!

      ‘Bette belonged to Tina and Tina belonged to her.’ – so, so true & we all know it & feel it. Have always felt it in our bones since OG’s pilot. This speaks to me & touches my soul as I think we all long for that kind of love – that lasts a lifetime.

      All the usual characters preparing for the wedding & all characters on deck too.

      Tibette has come full circle – finally being ready at this time to move forward as wife and wife and ready for their family of 4.

      Thank you for this treat & the hope it brings.

      Ready for their next step in becoming Mrs. & Mrs!!!

      Cheers!!!!

      Collins

      • Thank you so much Trece! Looking forward to the wedding chapter myself, it has been stirring and whirling in my brain since Tina asked Bette to marry her. Stay tuned…

    9. Hey BK,
      So I’m a little late to the party as it turns out. Sometimes it’s hard for me to read and write in the same days. But wow, as all of the beautiful comments have already said, this chapter was absolute perfection. But, they always are.
      I was thinking about your use of ‘abstract and imagery’ in this story and ‘layers and layers’ in The Beginning and it made me think of an interview I heard with Laurel Holloman. So I listened to it again. And what I think is that the way you write is the way Laurel paints. Her paintings are filled with abstract and imagery and are several layers deep. Laurel is one of my favorite contemporary artists, partially because I am in love with her, but mostly because of how colorful and vibrant her work is. Her paintings are undulating, most of them larger than life, swelling over the canvas. Moving and deep.
      That’s how I feel about the way you write. The colorful cast of characters, the vibrant river folk, the deep, moving love between Bette and Tina. And the layers, there are so many fluid layers to the story and to the lives of the characters you have created. And this story is big. Huge! On a scale much larger than life.
      Thank you for another wonderful chapter.

      Risky

      • This is of the best comments I have ever read. I so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so agree. You nailed BK’s writing big time. It’s Sand and Fog to me.

      • Risky, Wow. This is tremendous praise and I am humbled and blown away by your comment. I read it many times and it is just… so… heartfelt. Thank you for that. I have not seen any of Laurel’s work in person, but I know there are some readers here who have met her and bought her work. They speak of it the same way you do, as a moving, layered piece that is vibrant and compelling. You used the word “undulating” (which I admit I looked up to make sure I knew what it meant) and it is defined as “having a smoothly rising and falling form or outline…” and damn if you didn’t just put our river story in a magic bottle and sprinkle me with it like it’s fairy dust. What a wonderful word. I see you, Risky Kitty and I love your story as well. Please write more soon and thank you for the bottom of my heart for your sweet, thoughtful comment.

    10. Absolute perfection BK!

      You continue to blow me away with your vivid descriptions. Describing the river was just sheer poetry and Bette reflecting back over everything just beautiful. Tina asking Bette to marry her after their love making was so loving, romantic and tender. Just no adequate words to describe it or for this entire chapter for that matter. Like the others, I can not wait for the wedding which like SassyGran I will also have the tissue boxes ready!

      This story is an instant classic BK!

      Pie

      • Thank you Pie! This story has been an absolute joy to write. So glad you along for the ride. AND so glad you are writing yourself, love your Alice and the way the family is interconnected with each other. As it should be. Looking forward to your next chapter.

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