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    Remember Who You Are 55

    “Babe? Bette? Babe? Where… oh, there you are. I can’t get the breast pump to work and I left the other one at work. I’ll have to nurse before we can go… is that ok? What are you doing?”

    Bette’s head popped out from Rosie’s closet, her curls obscuring one eye. “What? Oh, sure. Of course, Honey. If I don’t find that fishing box thingie we aren’t going anywhere anyway…”

    “The tackle box? I took it over to Boo’s last night. She was going to add some live worms and I knew you wouldn’t want them in this house. Remember last time Rosie opened the container of bait in her closet?”

    Bette stood, chuckling. “I still shake my shoes out before I put them on…”

    “Rest in peace, Butter and Twinkle Worm. Rest in peace…” Tina pretended to swoon, Bette there to catch her, holding her close. Close enough to kiss on the lips, then one for Angie who pulled on her curls.

    “Take your time, Tee. I’ll pack the coolers and load the car. Any chance you have a bikini on under that shirt?”

    “Yes, Honey. You reminded me enough times last night. The green one, right?”

    “I don’t care which one you wear as long as you wear one. All that talk about a one piece sent me into a panic.” Another kiss, longer, deeper, ending in an appreciative moan.

    “You keep kissing me like that and I may send the girls on ahead with Boo…”

    “Family day, Honey Bun. We all go together because The Kennard Porter girls… we fish. And one of us ogles hot Mama Tee in her tiny suit.”

    Tina blushed, cocking her head to the side in a stop-don’t-stop kind of way. “Don’t forget the smaller cooler with the bottles for Angie…”

    “Never, Tee. What else?”

    “You. Bring your sexy today, Bette Porter…”

    A third kiss, noisy, wet, probing. Taking too long for Angie, who fussed, wondering what in the world was taking her mother so long to feed her.

    “Boobie calls…” Bette teased, kissing Tina’s nose and Angie’s head, even the close proximity of her other mother’s curls not enough a distraction once she had milk on her mind.

    Outside, Bette wheeled two coolers to the car, placing them next to a smaller bag, Rosie right behind her. “Put your fishing stick there, Ro…”

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    Comments

    1. Happy Saturday. Loved seeing another long chapter in one of my favorite stories. LMAO at Boo and her girlfriend looking like they were either attending a Grateful Dead concert or going to the farmers market. Glad Tina came around to the idea purchasing a house at the River community in California. Sounds beautiful.

    2. This is almost a stand alone chapter. Soft and quiet and lovely. Also very humorous at times and always realistic. I can picture Bette loading and unloading the car only to have to do it one final time. “What’s in here, Tee? Do we really…Picnic blanket, extra set of clothes for all of us, my hat, your wrap… and yes we really need it… thank you, Honey Bun… love you…Their eyes met over the back seat, Tina’s apologetic and so green they reminded Bette of the forest after a rain, Bette’s melting like dark chocolate. She smiled softly and Tina did too, God. Bette was so beautiful and sweet sometimes.” This is such a perfect scene. So utterly normal.

      And Bette not giving up that tattered first aid back pack. You have the relationship between Bette and Tina so intricately fine tuned that we truly feel that we know them. We are part of their orbit. We are welcome in that orbit. There are so many little scenes that contribute to this comfortable and welcoming feeling. Bette and Rosie and the water shoes. Raise your hand if you knew when Bette mentioned cold toes what would happen? And I can picture Boo and Jules: “Boo and Jules came from their car, hand in hand, looking like they were either going to a farmer’s market or a Grateful Dead concert, Tina wasn’t sure which. “The smaller the child, the more stuff you need…” Boo said, handing Rosie her tackle box.” I can just picture them. So glad Boo now has Jules.

      I have said quiet and soft. Your description of our couple nails it: “Long ago she had described her new girlfriend Tina Kennard to Shane as “subtle. In the way a heartbeat is subtle…” and she was reminded of that statement today, Tina’s hand in hers, her children sleeping in the back, and the way their hands had their own language sometimes, their own way of connecting.” Subtle. Yes. Subtle. BK, subtle also describes your storytelling. Your writing is never heavy handed. Ever. Subtle describes the handholding. The glances. The touches. The caresses. The dancing. The slow seduction. Their sensuous lovemaking. Bette waiting for Tina to be ready to share what is troubling her. Boo’s talk with Tina. The fishing. Soft and authentic and subtle.

      I read this chapter with a smile on my face. So very lovely: “Bette wanted to take her wife and tuck her in the middle of her heart, right where it beat the strongest so that Tina would feel all the love she had for her, all the love she didn’t get as a kid.” This is a story that can go on forever because you have created such a positive version of our couple. We want to be with them. We want what is best for them. Donna did a number on Tina and thank goodness for Boo reminding Tina that she is loved and accepted for who she is. And who she is – is an amazing woman. The past is the past. Tina might have been a river rat but she is also Bette’s river mouse. And maybe they could live happily on this river. “A house that overlooks the water, a dock, a boat. Tee, just imagine. A sunken tub that sits up high in our cozy master suite where you can take a bubble bath and see the sunset at the same time… definitely a large kitchen with all the… kitchen things…” she smiled at Tina’s chuckle, “and a yard for the girls, a place for Boo. You’ve worked hard for those things. Just because you came from the Carolina river as a rat doesn’t mean you can’t live like the Mouse Queen in LA…” Maybe. At least it is an option.

      And now? Now we await Bette hopefully being able to have a baby. One more addition to their family. Tina’s going to be okay. She’s got Bette. They’ve got each other. “I was wrong, Bette. Home isn’t this river or that river. It’s not some elusive dream that I’m chasing. Home is where you are. Where our children are…” her hand found it’s way under Bette’s tank, the back of her fingers gentle on the warm skin. “… home is where our next baby is. I love how we work to make everything beautiful around us, how we work together. I love you.” And I love the family you have created. The team you have created. The love you have created. The magic you have created: “Bette smiled. “We will make our own magic, Baby. You know I love the river, Yaya, Jerry. But those were the relationships. I was terrified of being on that water, in a boat. Remember the time Sideways Sam tried to kill us?” She paused as Tina laughed, shaking her head. “Tee? Let’s make our own magic…” No doubt they will. No doubt you will.

      My favorite passage. There are many but this one tugs at the heart strings: “You weren’t accepted back to the river because you were a river rat, Tina… although that helped. You were accepted back because of who you are. Are. Not was. They know you. Respect you. You may have been older, wiser, beautiful… but still very much you. Being from there doesn’t guarantee belonging. Look at Bette, she was embraced by everyone she met. You think Yaya opens her house to just anyone? Jerry? Even Mabel and her friends grew light headed when Bette was around, they couldn’t get enough of her.” And I admit the image of Mabel and her friends swooning made me laugh out loud.

      Thank you for this very lovely chapter. I know you will continue to “give them all the good.” Make the best possible life. And “chase the light, Sweet Love, chase the light…”

      P.S. Why not one more: “Rest in peace, Butter and Twinkle Worm. Rest in peace…” Tina pretended to swoon, Bette there to catch her, holding her close. Close enough to kiss on the lips, then one for Angie who pulled on her curls.” What I want to know is who named the worms?

      • Billy
        I think this could be a stand alone chapter as well. As between us, and all the other wonderful readers as well., it is honestly one of my favorites. I will reread this when I need something soft to read, something that reminds me of all the good there is out there in the world. Of love. Right?
        And to be real… I mean, my gosh… how many of us have packed the car for a long car ride or family trip and NOT had to add another bag to the arrangement. Bette was so cool in this scene, so family focused, so in line with what her wife needed that it makes me melt inside.
        I like… no, I LOVE how you describe this chapter as quiet and soft. Even in disagreement, it is handled with humor and listening and they both move forward in agreement. Tina makes Bette soft and Bette gives Tina all the space to be soft and to invite that softness in. And i think this is no more apparent in than in the last scenes they share in TLW. Bette just seems to dissolve around Tina.
        And now…. now we await you say. We await all the big things to come – a house, another baby, school for Rosie, more Lucy, Boo and Jules? There is so much more to come.
        Chase the light, indeed. In everything. Thank you Billy. You are one of my biggest fans and I look forward to hearing your thoughts every time.
        BK

    3. Another lovely chapter, Tina knows Bette is always there to catch her if she falls. Looks like Ro is having the beginnings of a little jealousy with Gigi eating food she considered for her only. I think she will settle down once she sees that both her mamas love her and Gigi the same and will keep them both safe and loved. Post as soon as you can.

      • Thank you One Storm
        I love how you write that Bette is always there to catch Tina if she falls. What a great way to frame this couple. Imagine having that safety net, we should all be as lucky. I think Rosie is definitely showing some signs of a struggle to share her Mamas with the new baby! More to come
        Thank you for commenting

    4. This was a good chapter….. restful, normal, inviting and comfortable. Even when Tina gets a little discombobulated by being at the river and Bette suggesting a new home possibly nearby. Sometimes, there are things which trigger fear and uncertainty which I don’t understand. But I have to accept that people have different responses to experiences they have in various situations. The fact is Tina was unsettled by the river and the thought of a new home. Bette knew she was struggling with something and provided Tina with the time and space and some alone time with Boo to help her through it. That’s Bette…. when you don’t know what to do, find someone who does. Unlike many who write Bette, she is never all knowing and all powerful. Most of the time, she just Tina’s lover and partner.

      I love the way Bette and Tina agree to start to put some boundaries on Rosie. She is so full of life and so lovable and MaBee and MaTee are going to have to work to keep her within the ropes. They are so good with Rosie… and the Fisher Rabbit is responding. She is going to be a joy to raise. They are going to have their share of disagreements with that child, but she is going to make them proud that she is theirs.

      I love that you talk about Bette and her organized heart “Now talk to me about interest rates and house inspections” . I might add that the only thing I could think that would have made that even more perfect would have been if Tina had added “Shall I start a list?”

      These two are in love with each other…. a strong and palatable love that is evident to everyone who is around them. It is probably responsible for Boo finding Jules and even Lucy sees how really special it is.

      There is so much more for these two – school for the Fisher Rabbit, Angie will be walking in a few months, possibly a new home and maybe a new baby on the way. Hopefully, Boo and Jules will join the household. And Bette and Tina making a life with the family they have always wanted and so full of love and commitment and a couple of jobs on the side just to keep them busy.

      I love this couple just as you present them…. both are strong willed yet soft and flexible when it comes to the other. They know when to stand firm and when to give the right measure of space and time. And what I really like about these two is that they never assume anything about how the other will respond. They always ask and wait for the response.

      I must say that the slow seduction of Bette by Tina was masterful. That is when you know someone really cares… they are intentional with every action but not distracting so that they cannot continue their rather serious discussion to completion. That was a magnificent creation and joy to read.

      I do not know what your plans are for this story…. there are so many avenues to explore. But if the end is in the near future, well, I can see that as well. Thank you for this version of the LA river….

      • Why Martha you made me chuckle. And you are so right. Bette and her need to be organized: “I love that you talk about Bette and her organized heart “Now talk to me about interest rates and house inspections” . I might add that the only thing I could think that would have made that even more perfect would have been if Tina had added “Shall I start a list?” I’m sure Bette would love a list. Nice comment.

      • Martha.
        Thank you thank you.
        I love your opening line – “restful, normal, inviting and comfortable” YES! A thousand Yeses. If I was to pick a tag line for this chapter this would be it.
        Both strong willed and yet soft for each other, navigating the world as they see fit yet leaning on the other to make family decisions to the best of their ability. Its magic, right?
        And you comment on this = “And what I really like about these two is that they never assume anything about how the other will respond. They always ask and wait for the response.”

        Isn’t that the key for the couple? It is the very essence of the success for each – to check in, to communicate, to give grace. Imagine a show where this was depicted. GQ would go for many and more seasons.
        To be honest Martha, I don’t know the plans for this story. I would have ended it long ago had the reader Deanna not suggested I have Tina find Boo. Every time it comes up in the rotation of writing I think… now …. now is the time to end it. And then I start writing. And the story has a life of it’s own. I don’t plan this story. It just… evolves. And here we are with a whole new horizon on the table. So who knows?
        What I do know is that I am grateful for the readers that continue to comment and read and love this story. And there is so much more to come….
        BK

    5. Thank you BK for another wonderful slice of River life in LA and thank you Billy and Martha for your added current which is always welcome.

      I absolutely loved it, just what I needed, thanks again for the joy you bring with this lovely story. I hope we will be treated to more of this delightful family group lead by a truly wonderful Bette and Tina.
      SG

      • SG my dear thank you!
        It is what I needed too. To write. And to read. And I agree, the comments add SO much to the overall enjoyment of these chapters, yours included. Take care, more to come

    6. Hey BK,

      What a beautiful chapter, bonding time with the family! So much things in this chapter that i could point out but i am a little bit lazy today.

      I think Billy and Martha and SassyGran said it all.

      It was a joy to read this and my heart is already sad to know this story will end one day, i really hope you continue to write a lot of chapters in the future. I want to read everything about this wonderful family and their new child, living all together near the river in their beautiful home and read so much more about Bette and Tina deeply in love, their amazing connection, their love for their family. Simply said, there is so much more to tell you can never end this!

      Thank you so much for this and your other stories!

      Stay save and well my friend!

      • BiBi
        I hope all is well with you, with you little niece and with all the people in your world. I am so glad you liked this chapter and that you are rooting for more chapters to come. I will keep writing as long as there is more interesting things to tell so stay tuned. Peace my friend =

    7. BK,
      You and your dear Authors on this site are absolutely P R I C E L E S S . . . Your words truly demonstrate the life-force of encouragement, rippling to all the Tibette’s, Rosie’s, Boo’s, YaYa’s Jules & Jerry’s of the world.

      The intricate observations and humor of this family is second to none. Bette is so tuned in to RoRo’s emotional development that she’s throwing up “red flags” to Tina about the pending disciplining troubles that could come should they be flippant about helping Ro understand responsibility & consequences. Hmmmmm. I think Ro is starting to see how much attention baby Angie is getting and figures that whatever she needs to do to get more, she may as well find out.

      Nonetheless, Bette bows to the Amazon gods and replaces the BusyRabbit doll that was deluged by rain having been carelessly left outside by Ro. One has to pick their battles is Bette’s internal motto right?

      And BK, gosh U are soooo exceptional at describing LiL Ro’s enthusiasm with discovery of life. “A squeal from Rosie brought Bette out of her musings, a small minnow caught in the tiny hands . . . See MaBee? . . .fishing!!! Shytt that made me hollah (who needs worms & fishing poles??!!!). “Rosie was achingly sweet in her happiness, in the middle of a family circle of love.

      Gosh I love the intangibles that Boo&Jules bring as a couple. Years of life experiences on how to take whatever has come and demonstrate how to “just BE” . . . .whether thru storytelling or shadow dancing in moving, flowing, water. Later, they would offer to babysit so that Tibette could have some alone time to connect and heal.

      But it was Bette that made Tina’s heart leap & twist & somersault, “A ballet dancer wrapped in a lullaby . . . Layered & complicated . . . Toned & fit . . . My thought is, how connected does one have to be to be seduced by one’s lover while she is feeling unbalanced & out-of-sorts emotionally. Sharing her insecurities that she felt like she didn’t “belong” WHILE having a serious convo?? Talk about multitasking!!!

      Bette showing her calm and maturity bc she truly knows how to listen, hear, and help her mate to overcome . . . U look good Tina. That is not a suit. That is a PROMISE. You are a VISION. She glanced at Tina, noticing the blush . . . COME JOIN US baby . . . To me, Bette could sense Tina’s reluctance so she built her up as only Tina’s lover could do. “They circled each other, hips moving slowly, eyes locked, electricity in the air . . . Tina . . .come here Bette . . . And she did.

      Tina wanting to be “the Alpha on top” on this special night and Bette informing her that she DIDN’T need to announce such ahead of time (Lawd that tickled me!!!) and I think one of Tina’s unspoken “tells” that she was struggling self-efficacy & confidence. And Bette knew it . . . “You taste, Tee . . . Fucking hot . . . “But she COULD TELL Tina was having a hard time LETTING GO, giving in completely . . . “I’m sorry Bette . . . Maybe we should just stop” . . . NOT a CHANCE. It takes longer sometimes.” That, is KNOWING your partner . . . “Bette slowed it all down, patient, teasing & exploring and enjoying herself as she gradually LED Tina to a place where all clear thought was obliterated.

      Their lovemaking lasted well into the night, epic even by their stds. It never ceased to amaze Tina that when she felt the most untethered, Bette was there to anchor her in.

      IMHO, Bette is always THE “Alpha” whether on top or not. HeHeHe!!!

    8. A wonderful chapter. I completely enjoyed it. Every character has an important role in this family. A great job of weaving them all into the story. So enjoyed Lucy offering to babysit.

      I just love this Bette & Tina – how Bette knew Tina was troubled, and Tina shared her insecurities. And their obvious love and affection and intimacy – the handholding, such a unique Bette & Tina thing –
      “Tina’s hand in hers, her children sleeping in the back, and the way their hands had their own language sometimes, their own way of connecting.”

      And their lovemaking. They can kiss for hours, the dancing, with the wine, Bette knew the assignment –great line that made me chuckle. And Tina – I don’t think Tina has ever been more smoking hot than here –
      “There was a freeness about Tina sometimes, a wildness that contrasted nicely with the sweetness that first drew Bette to her. It was explosive, hot. Engaging. Bette was utterly addicted. Finally, Tina turned, taking Bette by the hands, her hair tousled and messy, covering one eye, as she backed away slowly to lead Bette backwards down the hall, still slow dancing to the music.”

      This right here, this is at the heart of it for me – “For this was a story that in one way or another everyone shared. The need to belong. A yearning to be a part of something bigger.”

      Bette’s toast, to her family, but ending with “I am thankful for each of you…but mostly, I am thankful for my Tee…”

      And Tina concluding finally “Home isn’t this river or that river. It’s not some elusive dream that I’m chasing. Home is where you are. Where our children are…”

      Bette & Tina know, and we know, neither of them would have that peace, that feeling of home without the other.

      A couple of classic lines that will stay with me – “Chase the light” and “Tee? Let’s make our own magic…”

      BK, just brilliant writing.

      • Westy West.
        I am just in awe of your comments. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate.
        I am so glad you brought up the hand holding and Bette noticing how they have their own language at times. This is one of the things that struck me in TLW – the way their hands moved together. You can see it in their slow dance and when they are in the hotel waiting for Marcie to tell them about their next baby. (her name was Marcie, right?). It is usually Bette who reaches for Tina’s hand in the show and I tried here to show how they connect with hand holding, how they re-center and find each other.

        I love how highlighted this quote as well -“For this was a story that in one way or another everyone shared. The need to belong. A yearning to be a part of something bigger.” because I think it is something we all strive for…. something inherent to all of us.

        I re-read your comment a couple times. I appreciate it so much. Hope we all can chase the light!
        Be well, stay safe, more to come –
        BK

    9. Just thinking about Madamn Alpha . . . .

      Look at Bette, she was embraced by everyone she met. You think Yaya opens her house to just anyone? Jerry? Even Mabel and her friends grew light headed when Bette was around, they couldn’t get enough of her.”

      Tina chuckled, . . . Don’t we all when it comes to Bette. HeHeHe!!!

    10. What another beautifully eritten chapter of one of my favorite stories. Its such a viseral story… i can feel the emotions oozong between the characters, especially the love between Tina and Bette. You’ve captured them so well.

      These are the kinds of stories that i wish were written for our community especially on Gen Q. It would create a better understanding and acceptance of our members by others.

      Thank you for another incredible chapter. ❤

      • Bumsue
        I like how you describe the story as being visceral – it is, isn’t it? They are so vulnerable with each other, so raw? we should all be so lucky I think. Thank you for your insightful comment and for reading!

    11. Can I just add one more thing? The chapstick? Details please?

      “Tina got some Chapstick from her purse and put some on, handing it to Bette as she dug out her sunglasses, waiting for Bette to give it back so she could put it away.”

      • Kenji
        You seem to be in good company wishing the story will never end. And every time I start to write I think… this is it… this is the last chapter. But then I fall into the story… like, literally become immersed in the plot and here we are… so much more to tell. Thank you for commenting and for reading. More to come :)

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