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    Remember Who You Are 51

    It was as if overnight Tina’s pregnancy made it’s presence known. She woke feeling bigger, achy, her hips and back protesting the position she slept in and when she sat up to go to the bathroom, she noticed a dark line from her belly button to her just above her mound, although it was hard to tell how far it dipped given the size of her belly.

    Sighing, her bladder her most pressing concern, she rose carefully, a slight dizziness accompanying her movement. Always a light sleeper, she heard Bette stirring behind her and the brunette was awake when Tina returned, getting back in bed slowly to sit with her back against the headboard.

    “Look at this, Bette. This dark line, see… here…”

    Bette lifted her sleepy head to rest it on one palm, her hair tousled and her elbow bent as she palmed Tina’s belly affectionately then traced the dark line with her fingers, Tina stopping them from traveling too far south.

    “You’re a little darker lower too…” Bette teased, her smile faltering when she saw the look on Tina’s face.

    “What? I am? Fuck. I grew overnight, I feel bigger. My boobs, bigger, my feet, bigger. I feel heavy, Bette. My hips and back hurt.”

    Her voice got small, petulant… and she pulled the sheet up to cover herself, annoyed at the changes, at the light, at waking up uncomfortable.

    Bette sat up too, one arm going around her wife’s shoulders to pull her gently closer. “You are absolutely beautiful, Tee. I mean it, Baby. We did a lot yesterday so it’s no wonder your body is now achy. We can take it easy today….”

    “I don’t want to be an invalid, Bette. We went for a 3 mile walk and a dip in the pond where I floated on my back. It’s ridiculous I should be sore after that. I am only five months pregnant, and I don’t want to take it easy today.”

    Grumpy, pouty, uncomfortable. Hungry.

    “You forgot the part where you rode my tongue with abandon and…that’s… umm… clearly not an issue…” Bette swallowed the rest of her words, the frown on her wife’s face a subtle warning if ever there was one. She kissed the top of Tina’s head, staying to breathe her in, thinking furiously. God, Tina smelled like heaven.

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    1. The family has come home to LA. And there are adjustments to make and a new life to begin. What an amazing chapter. Saying goodbye to the river, to Yaya, to Jerry and to all those whom they have gotten to know. With the emotional outburst from Rosie going to the airport and continuing to the gate, I can see that it started to grate on Bette’s nerves. And with all the problems at the ticket counter, who could blame her for being a little out of sorts. But once Rosie becomes compliant and apologetic, all is good with Bette again.

      Rosie adjust really well to her new room and home. She feels the love and protection of her parents. She has things which interest her – the lamp, the books, her rabbit and of course her rocks. And when Boo arrives, she has one more person who loves her and will make her life more complete.

      So it four more months before the baby arrives. Much to do and they are running out of space. Will Boo want to continue to live with Bette and Tina or will she prefer to get a home of her own? My thoughts are that she should live with Bette and Tina – with a four year old and a new born, Bette and Tina will need all the assistance they can get. Another set of hands to help with children is always welcomed.

      I love the fact that Boo really likes Bette. She likes Bette’s character – her attentiveness to Tina, her relationship with Rosie, her protectiveness for her family which now includes Boo. Bette’s heart is bigger than all outdoors and no one knows this better than Tina. It’s the glue which keeps them together. That and the love and commitment Bette and Tina share with each other.

      Soon they will resume their lives of work and preparing for their new daughter. And that too will bring its own set of problems. But I have no doubts that Bette and Tina will work those out well. This is a strong and loving family and I for one am proud to have gotten to know them through the chapters of this story.

      I always measure the goodness of a chapter by the amount of tears I shed. This one is one of those which I shed a great many. Tears of sadness but tears of joy mostly for the boundless love shared between Tina and Bette.

      I am going to hate for this story to come to an end. But all good things come to an end at some point. You are a wonderful writer BK. Your stories are unique and vivid. Thank you for allowing us to share this journey.

      • Martha, you know I always love your indepth, insightful commentary on each chapter. And I love that you love this couple and that you are immersed in the story. This chapter took some editing and rewriting and touched my heart too so I am especially grateful that you, and so many readers too, saw what you saw and envisioned. I debated having a long drawn out good bye at the river, conversations of “hope to see you soon…” and “stay in touch” or even more river like – “don’t be a stranger, ya hear?”” but in the end I felt like our collective imaginations could feel how hard it was to leave. For Rosie and for Bette. Tina has left before, coming back to the river was much harder for her than leaving it.
        And yes – four more short months until Baby KP makes her appearance and a lot of decisions and changes still to come. Where will Boo live… will Rosie start school… can Bette make the shift to life in LA or will she too make a big change… only the next chapter will tell.
        I agree with you wholeheartedly – I love that Boo loves Bette and I think they need each other. Bette for obvious reasons but Boo too, who is still grieving the loss of Honey and adjusting to her new space, where the relationship with Tina is the same but so different. They each love Tina to pieces and want the same things so they will make a good team.
        Thank you for loving this story, this chapter, this couple. For the tears you shed and for the time you take to write a lovely comment, I feel like we are all in this together. More to come… I am off to the deep seas where a different sort of adventure is waiting…

    2. I agree with Martha. This is a beautiful and complex and yes, emotional chapter. Bette is second guessing leaving the quiet and safety and security and love she found at the river for the hustle bustle of LA. Was it wrong to move Rosie from the only world she knows? Bette is doing what Bette does…thinking. And Tina is doing what Tina does…allowing Bette to process.

      Your Bette and Tina are an amazing couple. Their love is so pure. So balanced. So beautiful. Bette tells Boo that Tina makes their house a home. To Bette Tina is the glue. Tina tells Bette that she is the thread… “You, Baby Sweet. You are that thread. You. It’s always been you. That thread through every adventure and misadventure we have had. You swung on the rope to jump in the river then waited at the bottom of the tree as I climbed. You thought of the red flags and the life vests, saved my life, Sugar. No, don’t try to change the subject. Listen, accept what I am saying. Bette, you reached Rosie, connected with her, found her in the rabbit hutch. Nursed me back to health. And never, not once did I hear you complain…” They are so connected and Boo sees it. I love that Boo really likes Bette. Bette needs someone like Boo in her life. They are already close and I suspect their bond will only grow stronger. This is a very good thing.

      And this Tina is the absolute perfect match for this Bette. She waits patiently while Bette navigates the airport fiasco. So reminiscent of taking Angie to the hospital. She calms Rosie while our Bette goes into alpha protective take charge mode. I love that Tina gets Bette. Understands Bette. And knows this Bette is acting out of nothing but love. She can see directly into Bette’s heart and also knows what she is thinking and feeling. You write a truly marvelous Tina.

      But who couldn’t laugh at Bette and the nurse and the bandaids? “Did you see the way that nurse looked at Rosie, Tee? Like there was something wrong with her because she didn’t want fucking Little Mermaid or Mickey Mouse or that asshole Prince Charming on her arm. Like she should know those characters and buy into the marketing and the commercialism and the abject deviation of morality those shows offer…” “Babe…” “I mean let’s look at this closely. The Mermaid loses her voice and only gets it back when the prince fucking kisses her? And don’t get me started on the other Prince who can’t find the fucking love of his life until he sees if her shoe fits? No wonder she isn’t interested… Jesus… this isn’t funny, Tee.” “You’re right, Babe, not funny at all” Tina hid her smile but her eyes were dancing “… please, this is an adjustment for all of us…I really like Dr. Snow…”

      One suspects this is the first of many editorial comments from parent Porter. No one is going to force Rosie to wear a cartoon character on her arm. Yes, Bette is a bit askew. Lots of changes. Lots of responsibility. But…. she is so in love. With Tina and Rosie and their baby, growing from a mango to a coconut, and Boo and her life. She will settle down. Why? Because she has everything she could ever want or need. And per my favorite passage she has found her peace. “And the recognition that her own peace, elusive as it was, didn’t come from the river, it came from Tina. And from Rosie. From being together, her family. Her home, her safe place. Once that thought settled over her like a warm coat on a frosty morning, all the restlessness fled from her mind like she was sweeping it out with a broom. Of course. Her peace was here. It wasn’t hiding. It was right here on this bed, in this room, in this house.” This is the one that made me cry. Beautiful descriptive writing.

      And I would be remiss if I did not comment that the sex is majorly hot. Like erotically sizzling. Like I should not read this on a Sunday hot. Jesus, Mary and Joseph is right! Seriously, I love pregnant, sensual, nesting, loving Tina. She is so full of love. Your writing in describing her love for Bette is amazing. “If love had a taste it would have to be Bette Porter, she was the color of affection and the shape of security and Tina never tasted anything sweeter.”

      Like Martha, I will miss the river chapters. But will carry around the characters in my pocket like the new found friends that they are. Yaya and Jerry and Jimmy and Sideways Sam… and company. I think I might begin to collect rocks. Well done, BK.

      • Billy
        Wow, what a wonderful recap and analysis of this chapter. You see the couple much the same I do – and you sum it up so beautifully in your first paragraph. Bette thinks and Tina allows her the space to process, each knowing the other will provide the missing pieces, the support.
        I wanted to create a bond with Boo and Bette but I didn’t think it would happen right away. The river holds such mystique for Bette and so Boo represents almost a larger than life figure for her. And so she took her time – like you said, to think – before deciding that Boo was a part of the inner family (thus the ice water in the end, as DT points out). This Tina is so special, so loving, so kind, so understated. I watched a video of IC and JB talking about how Laurel played Tina and one of them used the term “subtle” … that she conveys so much with her body language, her facial expressions, little nuances that show her love, her bond with Bette. I hoped to recreate that here.
        And the result of all this? Your fav line – peace, a home, a connection. And blazing hot sex. I got a laugh out of your line “should not read this on a Sunday hot” to describe the sex. Because if you can’t survive a scary boat ride and be in a magical place and not have hot sex then you aren’t living. :)
        I might collect some rocks too. My oldest used to come home with rocks from the playground when she was in kindergarten. It is a worthy endeavor. Thanks, Billy.

    3. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this wonderful story with an adorable Bette and an equally wonderful, if in a different way, Tina. Add to this great couple a string of equally different but equally lovable characters and you have a magnificent whole.

      I say, as usual, ‘ditto’ to Martha and Billy and again, as usual, thank them for adding to my enjoyment of the Chapter by their inciteful comments.

      BK you are a very talented writer and storyteller thank you for sharing your talents, loved it.

      • SG you are most welcome. I am so glad you enjoyed this chapter, this couple and all the river characters that popped up along the way. Here’s to a reappearance of some of them soon. Stay tuned my friend, more to come

    4. A great chapter. It had everything I loved about this story in it. I will miss the river community – Jerry, Sideways Sam, especially Yaya. I love the depth of Bette and Yaya’s relationship, their mutual respect. It’s easy to understand Bette’s difficulty adjusting to being back in LA – I felt that too.

      And Rosie – “two kisses two mamas”, “GranBoo” – my heart. Got to love Alice getting the funky lava lamp, such an Alice thing to do.

      I absolutely love the way you describe Bette & Tina’s love for each other. From their terms of endearment, Beloved, River Mouse to some of my favorite, beautiful lines that make me tear up –

      “Thank you for loving me so completely for being you Saying I love you seems so inadequate but I do I do with every breath in my body every cell every beat of my heart.”

      ‘her hands cupping Bette’s face with such gentleness that it made Bette want to weep and jump for joy at the same time. Would she ever get enough of this woman Would there ever come a time when she didn’t feel the irresistible pull of her wife?’

      I had to smile at Bette talking about their baby being a mango, and then a coconut. Bette will do anything to make Tina feel better and to take care of her. And I get how sexy Tina must look with a drill in her hand.

      The passages of Bette on the dock and Bette & Tina watching the rain – just beautiful writing, BK. Thanks for another awesome chapter in this story.

      • WESTY WEST –
        I have to admit that I needed some adjusting to leaving the river too. Hard to make up a character like Sideways Sam in LA for pete’s sake. But you remind me that we have “2 kisses 2 mamas” Rosie and Boo to bring some of the magic and river way of thinking to the new home. And i think Bette is much more zen as well!
        Glad you liked it and so glad you commented on them watching the rain, that was of my favorite parts too!

    5. Oh BK,
      I’m really going to miss the river! Like Bette, I’m just not ready to leave that peace and kinship behind.
      But this story just gets more and more beautiful.
      The give and take between these two is so well written. They are perfect for each other. And I loved how you had Boo validate it at the end of the chapter, because it’s so true and so important. Bette with a moonbeam hammer, ahhh, a lovely image.
      What you have done for Tibette fans with this story has been absolutely incredible. The perfect version of love for our dream couple. And goaaaaallllllllllsssss! Am I right?
      What I wouldn’t give to be able to actually feel all the little moments the way they do. To be so totally vulnerable and pure hearted with each other and their growing family, it’s like the snow globe you described in their honeymoon love nest with the sweeping rain falling around them. That’s how I feel when I read this. Like I’m peering into the snow globe and wishing I were inside. It’s so magical inside their love!
      Oh and the sex was off the hook, BK. Bette with her thigh over the arm of the chair, and Tina like the blushing Madonna, round baby belly, soft in all the right places and then hard when it counts. Dang! And all the flirting between them was so masterfully done.
      So much to pick out, but Martha and Billy have parsed out the rest so wonderfully. I completely agree with their impressions. Oh and the mango got me, too! And Ro with her sweaty little neck. And Bette the absolute goddess standing in the pool trailing her fingers over the surface of the water. That image you conjured seared right into me. All masterfully done, my friend.
      Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


      • Riskaaaay
        Bette with a moonbeam hammer. Lovely right? And a little poetic as well. And one hundred thousand percent goalsssss. I want to use a hashtag and say #Goals but my teenager says no one does that anymore so I will stop. Maybe a Yasssss Qween?
        And the snow globe surrounding them from all sides on the porch, that made me feel all soft and warm inside. You say it best – “it’s magical inside their love…”
        And if you can spend the morning talking about a pregnant belly and comparing it to an impetuous mango then you better be damned sure to have hot sex while doing it. It is honeytime after all.
        You also mention where Tina watches Bette trail her fingers over the top of the water in the pool, For some reason this imagery stuck with me too. I love the word “seared”, great description RK.
        Enough about this chapter. Don’t you have an Eric to catch? Looking forward to your next chapter !

    6. I will miss the river as much or more than Bette does, but I know we will go back as often as possible to see the new members of the extended family. If Bette and Tina have anything to do with it the river folk will be well taken care of from now on. Jenna Beth is going to be thrust into a whole new world, and I hope Turnup doesn’t spiral out of control because of all the attention she will be getting. Hopefully they can get him some counseling or rehab so he can be the loving father he is without being falling down drunk half the time. Jimmy will be able to go to school and not have to run the store most of the time and be able to be a regular kid. I love this fic and hope it continues for a long while. Post soon.

    7. It was as if overnight Tina’s pregnancy made it’s presence known.

      Look at this, Bette. This dark line, see… here…”
      You’re a little darker lower too…” Bette teased, her smile faltering when she saw the look on Tina’s face.

      “What? I am? Fuck. I grew overnight, I feel bigger. My boobs, bigger, my feet, bigger. I feel heavy, Bette. My hips and back hurt.”

      Her voice got small, petulant… and she pulled the sheet up to cover herself, annoyed at the changes, at the light, at waking up uncomfortable. Grumpy, pouty, uncomfortable. Hungry.

      And our Bette went to work! That’s it. You know what this calls for?” Bette was mobilized now, ready to knock over any barrier that stood between her wife and complete happiness. Any. Barrier.

      “What?” Tina asked, one hand on her belly over the sheet as she watched her beautiful, naked, charming lover quickly position pillows behind her aching back and under her knees, taking the weight off her hips. She felt immediately better

      “A breakfast panini. Eggs, tomato, spinach…” she waited to gauge Tina’s reaction, and, seeing interest, continued… “with a hint of… feta. Good, right? I will make you one and you tell me all about what Baby Porter is doing in that perfect belly of yours, ok?”

      Tina sighed, her earlier irritability no match for the nurturing and attention of Bette, her cranky thoughts slowly being replaced with gratitude.

      Bette timed the addition of feta perfectly, not even burning anything this time. Feeling quite proud of her culinary accomplishment, she found a tray and brought her bride a bowl of blueberries and the aforementioned panini, cut in two, which the would share.

      BOTTOM LINE: Do what you can, even if everything could burn up!!

    8. BK,
      Totally marvel how you were able to translate our family from the UNforgetable river, those UN forgettable people including the reality of a restless, fussy, petulant toddler on her first airline flight and reservations that Bette thought was “good-to-go”, being a mess.

      And then there was Tina, who knew she would have to calm Bette down, so to speak, in order for Rosie Soo to settle down and see that her Mama’s had everything in order. Once she wore herself out, Rosie knew to apologize to Bette and then waited to see if Bette would “truly” forgive her and Bette, being a compassionate Mom, kissed, and spoke softly to her daughter, reassuring her that all was well between them.

      And then, there is this couple’s incredibly intimate loving making. Gosh, you have a precious touching way of painting mind-pictures that are arousing in application. Auhhhh yes . . . .

    9. Tee always likes a cold glass of water next to her bed so I thought you might like one too. It’s part of my nightly duties so I just added you to the list…” and she smiled softly, happy to see Boo and Tina talking, her eyes meeting Tina’s across the room and holding them.

      What a clear, simple example of what slays all manner of disrespect with those we seek to stay in sync with:

      Tee (replace with your loved one’s/friends name) L I K E S it . . . . . It’s part of my NIGHTL/daily duties . . . .

    10. Hi BK,

      A short comment this time on this wonderful chapter, i am so busy and don’t have much time but you know how i feel about this story, this Bette and Tina.

      One thing that i really loved and made me laugh is this:

      “Our baby is a mango, Tee. Mangos are impetuous and impulsive. They want to be noticed, paid attention to. No one ever leaves a mango sitting on a plate uneaten….” Bette glanced at her bride, smiling at the fondness on Tina’s face as she listened.

      “Think about Tee. No one ever eats melon unless they are in some exotic location. Eating a mango is an adventure, its life on the edge. It’s hearing the motorcycle coming down the street and sneaking out of your bedroom window to meet your girl without your parents knowing. No wonder you are achy and dizzy, our baby is a mango right now. Soon it will be a coconut and coconuts are so chill, my Love. Relaxed, sun in their faces, a salty breeze in their hair. This too will pass, Baby.”

      Bette, god i love her!!!!

      I promise to try to comment longer the next time. Take care my friend!

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