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    Remember Who You Are 53

    In all the years of their long relationship Tina had never seen Bette look at her like she was right now. Used to the many different gazes of love, of lust, of pure desire … even of anger or despair, confusion and… hurt, regrettably, of course. Many times, Bette looked at her with sweet fondness, or amusement. Those she knew. There was sassy and incredulous and surprised, many versions, Tina knew she was pretty good at reading the facial cues Bette displayed, even from across a crowded room.

    Bette’s face was often a poetry of emotion, she was terrible at poker, worse at Charades. When seeing their first house on a tour before buying, Tina knew she should just hand a check over to the realtor, there was no hiding that Bette loved it. Hard to negotiate when your girlfriend’s face is beaming.

    Today, she was helping Tina out of the tub, one hand holding the blonde’s and a strong arm around her back just in case. With her pregnancy in it’s final month and after a scary fall going up the front steps a week ago, Bette insisted that if Tina was to indulge in a bath, and indulge she must, then she would have to agree on support when entering or leaving the tub. Even better would be for Bette to join her and the hotel they were in had tub so large they both fit comfortably, which was one reason Bette booked the room in the first place.

    Tina felt unwieldly to say the least, large and clumsy, swollen and stretched to a size she neither recognized nor welcomed. Her ankles were gone, her toes hidden by her belly and her breasts so heavy they actually rested on her baby bulge. Her face was fuller, her fingers so big she had to take her wedding ring off which made her cry off and on for an entire afternoon until Bette came home from work and found a gold chain so she could wear it around her neck. Her hormones, coursing through her body, dictated her reactions beyond her control and that too was a source of irritation. There was nothing about her body that resembled the toned, athletic, muscular frame she was used to.

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    1. Hi BK,

      Oh my god, what a beautiful chapter! Finally their family of four is there. Welcome Angelica Elizabeth Kennard- Porter !

      What the hell am I supposed to say! So many special moments that come to mind. The absolute devotion and love that Bette has for her Tina, the care and attention she unleashes on her. It melts my heart. The love and time Bette gives to Rosie, their special bond, I can’t get enough of their special time together.

      One of the moments I want to highlight is this:

      “After waiting a long minute, Rosie made her way to sit in Bette’s lap, the back of her head on the brunette’s chest. Bette hugged her closer, the fingers of one hand moving through the curly hair, and she realized it had been some time since they last snuggled like this, just the two of them.

      As if she could read her mother’s mind, Rosie turned sideways, tucking her little feet into the space in the middle of Bette’s long legs, managing to get even closer. It reminded Bette so much of how Tina always found a way to close every last gap between them when they sat on the couch or lay in bed. She kissed the top of Rosie’s head and waited again, hoping the little girl would talk”

      What a beautiful moment, I can get so emotional from how you describe this.

      This was also one that deserves to be explained why, because it was so funny, I had tears in my eyes!

      “But Rosie looked panicked, her eyes wide as she shook her head no, and Bette sat on the other side to ask her what was wrong. Rosie lifted her shirt to expose her own tiny little nipple then looked at Angie with alarm and Tina chuckled while Bette laughed, scooping Rosie up to kiss her little face” . Priceless, i love this part.

      Another moment that is oh so important, despite all the new changes and challenges they have, it is so important to also think about themselves, about their love for each other, getting back together on every level, the intimacy that is there between them:

      “Heaven, Tee. Absolute heaven. You feel up for a kiss or ten?”

      “Yes, please…”

      Bette’s hand was warm on her chin, her lips even warmer and Tina moaned into the kiss, not because she wanted sex, she hurt too much for that, but because of everything kissing Bette represented for her. Love, of course. Pure, unfiltered, unconditional love. But also security and friendship and safety. Bette was her home. The hand on her chin moved to the back of her head and Tina tucked her chin at the same time so that her head could rest on Bette’s chest, near her heart, the fingers moving through her hair lulling her to sleep better than any pain med could”

      So beautifully written!

      The last part I want to highlight is when Bette and Tina are so busy and both try to do the best for each other and their two kids but actually lose track of each other, grumble at each other, are annoyed and exhausted. Then it is Boo again who gives the right advice to Tina: ” Tina blinked and Boo rose to kiss her on the forehead, staying to whisper, “remember who you are, as a couple, as women, as best friends. The children come second…she will listen to you…” and she left to start the dryer… leaving Tina wrapped in warmth, her heart needing to reconnect with its other half”.

      Boo is so sharp, sees everything but knows how to keep herself in the background and to help and support them in her own way.

      Tina who was so happy to take care of Bette when she is sick, knowing that Bette doesn’t always welcome that because being sick didn’t actually exist in Melvin’s head. I hate that man, but despite the way Bette grew up, she ended up being the woman everyone loves, especially Tina, Rosie, Boo and the rest of the family. She has a heart of gold, is very loving, is very caring, very protective and will always be there for her family.
      The way she worships Tina, she really doesn’t care what Tina looks like after giving birth, how she shows Tina with her words and actions. Sigh, so well written!

      Okay, one last thing I have to confess. When you described how Bette held Angie and wanted her to get used to her scent so Angie knew she had two mothers, it reminded me of how I held my niece last week, I wanted her to get used to me, that she got the feeling that I would always love and protect her as Aunt. The way Angie leaned against Bette was exactly the same way my niece leaned against me. Mother daughter bonding and niece and Aunt bonding.

      BK, I can’t get enough of this wonderful story! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

      • You highlighted some of my favorite moments! Especially Boo’s advice to Tina – “remember who you are as a couple as women…” the moral of the story

        Lovely story about your niece and Aunt bonding.

      • BiBi, like Billy said you captured so many sweet moments. I love how you always see the parts where the children are involved, always the parts where there is a quiet connection. I love how that resonated with you and your sweet niece born last month. She is a beauty. When I had my children, I held them the way Bette did too – tried to figure out how they fit, how big the world was and how tiny they seemed. And it is amazing how in love holding a newborn baby makes you. How instantly there is this feeling of protection and the desire to hold on to that innocence. I love that you saw that. Hope you are well and that your little niece is enjoying her Aunt BiBi.

    2. “You are life itself and so very precious to me…you literally take my breath away…” Good God BK, this chapter is a masterpiece. You should be very proud.

      I am going to tag team on to Bibi who covered a lot of my sentiments. However, I think what I admire the most about your writing is your ability to create so much imagery via such quiet moments. For me this chapter has so many of those moments that as you write them meld together in helping our family form a life together. I love how they each remember their courtship and emerging love and physical relationship with so much quiet reflection and soft teasing and tenderness.

      One of my favorite quiet images is Boo talking to Tina about Bette. “This is not criticism of you, Tina my Love. Hear that. She is orbiting around you, fixing and helping and soothing and keeping everything together so that you can do the things you need to do… heal, bond, nourish your daughter. You should be doing those things. It’s really quite beautiful… it is love in motion if you ask me…” Bette is trying to be everywhere at once. Love in motion. So true. So beautiful. So appropriate. And they do need that love because things do get crazy. Just as Tina predicted. “I love you, Bette Porter. You and you alone. Remember that if things get hectic, when I get cranky. It’s going to be a crazy day. I just need a moment with you before it starts.” A perfect quiet moment. Slow things down. Just for that moment.

      Angie’s birth? Chaotic, comical with Bette trying so hard to remain calm and organized, and failing, but Boo ever present to help but also give the couple their space. The birth was a tough one but also magical. And Tina, so brave and in the midst of it all so considerate of Bette. “Angelica Elizabeth… I want her to have your name, I want her…” the words fell away when Bette looked at her with a second expression Tina had never seen before. And one that she would forever treasure, one that she wished she could bottle for all the times ahead when life got hard.” She understands what Bette needs. Her insecurities. And Tina needs Bette. As she has doubts of her own. And they will need to work together as a team. One step at a time. Supporting one another. “One hour at a time. I like that, Beloved. You help me be a better mom to our biracial child and I will help you realize that you have just as strong of a connection even though you didn’t push her out of your body… deal?” There is no doubting that they have a deal. Again, so many quiet moments. Filled with love. Like the shower. Bette tending to Tina. So intimate. So tender. “In all the moments of their long life together, this one ranked up there with the day they met and the day they got married. Neither ever forgot it.” Love in motion.

      You do realize that you have fixed yet another terrible injustice of the original series. I recently read that the scene in which Bette asks Tina if Angie should have a brother or a sister continued with Bette telling Tina she wanted to carry their next child. But IC cut that part. Why oh why. Bette really is an amazing mother and not being Angie’s biological parent was always a source of huge insecurity. Probably still is. Of course Bette wants to do everything possible to be a mother and bond with Angie. Love in motion. What a beautiful kinetic description. Bette moving from task to task, both at home and at work, the ultimate fixer, or so she wants to be. Bed too small? Make your body fit. Curl up. Find a solution. Until she herself gets sick. And allows Tina to nurture her. Tina and Kit cooking homemade chicken soup. Love in motion.

      I love how you broke the chapter into sections with their physical intimacy as bookends. My God woman. Tina self conscious about her changing body and Bette so in love, so adoring. “You are spoiling me, Bette Porter. Three days with you naked in this fancy hotel? Be still my poor river heart… No, Tina Kennard. I am loving you. And our baby. I love you both so much…it was past time for the country mouse to come to the big city…” This couple. The way you write their love? You reach in and literally grab our hearts. So pure. So true. So real. So forever. There is so much love depicted in your lovemaking scenes. It’s so much more than just sex. It’s spiritual connection. But lol it is also so darn hot. “This kiss had fire in it, some mustard on that sandwich as Tina liked to say, a little bit of hot sauce and a whole lot of pizzazz. It was the kind of kiss that demanded more kisses follow it, the kind of kiss that owned and possessed, declaring lips and tongue marked, known.” Wowzer, BK. That’s some kind of writing. And even more… yes, more love in motion.

      My favorite line: “Kennard-Porter family of four, your table is ready…” Yes in deed they have their family. Rosie has a sister. And Bette is so loving and patient and understanding of Rosie’s insecurities and Rosie’s needs. Giving her special one on one quiet attention by sitting in the closet and being willing to be… quiet with her. Be present for her and with her. And including Rosie in caring for her sister Gigi. Making up special songs. Rosie is an important part of the family. And Tina quietly listening in on the interaction as it melts her heart and melts ours as well. All are equal and integral parts of this family of four. And Tina is most definitely not hard work because she is loved so very much. Love in motion.

      My favorite scene? In keeping with the theme of quiet moments and love in motion, this should not surprise you: “Dinner was waiting for them when they called room service and Bette promised they could watch the 2005 adaption of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ without her once mentioning that Elizabeth Bennett would be much better off if she would just become a lesbian and stop all the family meddling in her love life. Tina knew this was an empty promise, Bette always became quite vocal about what lovemaking might be like in that era, but she enjoyed the familiar banter because she knew Bette did it in large part because it made her laugh.” This right here my friend. You nailed it big time. It’s the compilation of little quiet moments that are contributing to their building a life, a world, together. Love in motion.

      P. S. And who could not smile knowing that Bette consulted Yaya? Show of hands. This positive loving chapter is so needed. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      P.S.S. Boo has a friend. Excellent! And Ro loves River Monsters!!!! Of course she does. Running through the house laughing. Big laughs. Sugar Bear is home.

      • Oh Billy, you continue to amaze me with your comments and how you manage to pull the best out of each story to create an insightful analysis. I love how your brain works.
        This was a chapter of quiet moments. Moments of self doubt balanced with connection and moments of quiet reflection and hope. I wanted to create moments that were snapshots of a growing family and a couple deeply in love just trying to figure it all out. This is a couple that is past the cheating and the lack of communication.
        How much do we love Boo, reminding Tina of what is all boils down to – that the important thing is to remember the one who stands by you at the end of the day. Reminding Tina to keep the couple in the center, the children second.
        And you are so right, Billy. How much do we love Bette rushing around to get bags and keys and get her wife to the hospital, the best laid plans almost working. Then being there every step of the way, supporting, loving, ignoring the comments made in the stress of the moment. So Bette.
        I did not know that IC cut that scene where Bette and Tina discussed the possibility of Bette having the next child. It makes sense given how choppy that scene feels. Why did/does IC hate Tina so much? She tried everything she could to break them up.
        And so you are so dead on, it is the quiet moments that build a life. And Tina makes sure not to lose this – stilling Bette in the car before the hospital, sniggling up to her every night no matter how tough the day, taking care of her when she is sick.
        And Sugar Bear IS home. Running through the house laughing. If that doesn’t symbolize a HOME I don’t know what does…
        Thank you Billy. Hope to see more work from you soon=

    3. Thank you seems insufficient but ..
      Thank you for this beautiful Bette and equally lovely Tina
      Thank you for Boo and Rosie who bring in so many different angles and love to the story
      Thank you for your Kit and Shane and other known characters which you give the BK treatment.
      Most of all thank you for this wonderful story that we, your readers, can loose ourselves in.
      And forget real life for a while.
      Can’t wait for the next part to Enjoy
      Thank you

    4. This is a lovely chapter….. the preparation by Bette to get ready for their new daughter…. the rush to get Tina to the hospital and not being able to get the basics of keys and bag to the car and the absolute panic by Bette that the moment has come…. but I love that Tina stops Bette for that moment of “this is you and me”. That maybe the last opportunity for this type moment for a while.

      The chaos of having a new baby, the lack of sleep, the tunnel vision of performing their own roles, and Bette trying to be all things to all people. The chaos of getting two kids to the doctors office and one getting sick on the way. And when Bette finally becomes ill since her own system’s resistance wains under the chaos. Boo sees it coming and knows that she is not in a position to actually influence the outcome. But she tries… telling Tina that even though she is doing all she is suppose to do, she must pay attention to Bette to keep the family on an even keel. She must assure Bette that she must take the time to rest and take care of herself and then there will be time for Angie and Rosie. This is a very trying time for Tina and Bette as new parents with new responsibilities and an expanded family. Its hard to get the 10,000 foot view of what’s going on when you are dealing up close and personal with the day to day life chores. So there will be snippiness and demands at the wrong time.

      You can see that Bette really wants to be the spouse and other mother for Tina when she obtains the book on The Fourth Trimester. You can see that Tina wants to be Bette’s soul mate and assist her where she can by rescuing the layout drawings from the trash in hopes of preserving something of value for Bette. In the end, even with all the chaos and stumbles and missteps, they are going to be alright for they are Bette and Tina – soul mates for life.

      Thanks for the chapter….love this story.

      • Martha, I am so glad you liked this story! Don’t we need to read something good before the show debuts in less than five days? And you are so right, in the end… no matter the stumbles and missteps and road blocks along the way they will navigate it together. Stay tuned, my friend more to come

    5. A beautiful, moving chapter. So many special moments and special lines of dialogue that just made me melt…

      She was rewarded by that smile she loved the most, Bette’s sexy-and-in-love smile, reserved just for her.

      “And having you make love to me for the first time was the sweetest moment of my lesbian life”

      “The curls turned, Bette’s eyes watery and she accepted the offered kiss before leaning into the hug, her face buried in her wife’s neck, sighing as Tina’s arms wrapped around her, Tina now the comforter, knowing how anxious the brunette was.”

      And this right here, perfectly written, showing Bette & Tina’s intimate connection –
      “Leaning into her wife’s hand, Bette nodded, needing this touch, this small measure of connection with her wife. Their eyes locked, an entire conversation happening without a single word uttered.”

      I’m a big sister, so this was precious to me – “Bette talking softly as she told Rosie the story of Angie’s birth, told Rosie all the things the baby would learn from her big sister, told Rosie how important sisters are.”

      What a great writer you are, BK.

      • Westy, I always love your comments. You are able to take a long chapter and isolate the message into a meaningful sentence like this – In the end, even with all the chaos and stumbles and missteps, they are going to be alright for they are Bette and Tina – soul mates for life.

        This. Just this. Thank you so much

    6. Great chapter, a nice long one to hold us over until your next post. I dearly love this family and hope they have some very good times ahead of them. Jena Beth’s show will no doubt be a big hit with Bette and James handling all the details. And Turn up will undoubtedly have some good and bad days, but if he wants to make his family proud and keep them together he will fight hard to kill his demons. I feel like Jena wouldn’t have to leave the river to be a famous artist she may make enough money with this one show that she can just do art on commission afterwards. Until next time, thank you again for your post.

      • I think you are right One Storm, the show for Jena Beth will have a huge impact on her life and her art will be a wonderful show at Bette’s Gallery. I can’t wait to see how that all plays out. I am so glad you love this family as much as I do! Thanks for taking time to comment….

    7. “Love winning… Love always winning…” I think this sums up more than anything what your writing brings to this fandom, BK. You are so good at writing these domestic scenes. They’re natural, lyrical, full of detail and luminous with love. And yet there’s a muscular quality to it as well. It’s not syrupy at all. Incredible talent. Thank you so much for sharing, my friend.

      • Largo…. This is one of the nicest comments I have ever read. I am deeply, profoundly touched. I love how you used the term muscular quality – my goodness – for doesn’t good writing pack a punch? Message me, I would to love to know where you are with your writing, the board needs you. Thank my friend. BK

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