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    The Beginning 14

    “Bette! You’re not listening to me again. We have been over this a hundred thousand times. Equal split… equal… Bette… that means half of everything…”

    “Equal is such a vague term, really. It can mean anything. If you think about the term equal is about appropriate resources and quality and status.”

    “What the fuck does any of that mean?” Tina’s eyebrow arched incredulity as Bette looked back at her innocently. “Don’t wordsmith me, Bette Porter. I rewrite scripts for a living.”

    Bette smirked, she liked when Tina got fired up over something. She liked the raised eyebrow, which she was learning could mean so many things. It was incredibly sexy. She wondered how far she could push her and still get laid this afternoon.

    “I am giving you half the bills, Tee… the cable bill and the heating bill. I will handle the rest….”

    Seriously? That’s not half. Not even close to half. We talked about this…” Tina ticked off her points on her fingers… “you barely watch TV which means the cable bill is negligible and we rarely need heat in LA. You won’t discuss pool maintenance, the water bill, or lawn care to name a few other expenses. Come on, Honey, please…. half of everything means exactly that, there is nothing vague about it…”

    Bette shrugged, noticing the new pale pink polish on Tina’s nails. It looked pretty next to her skin. She liked watching Tina’s hands, loved when she talked with them. “Fine. What? Fine. But the mortgage is my responsibility.”

    Je-sus. Bette. You have the hardest head of anyone I know. Half. Of. Every.Thing.” Her cheeks flashed pink and her eyes narrowed. Bette stuck her ground, now bringing up her own proposal.

    “Really Tee? Are you sure about that? You’re also covering Grannie Ellie’s expenses. Are you going to let me pay for half of that?”

    Tina paused, taken aback. She sat back in her chair with a huff, her fingers playing with the calculator as she considered Bette. Bette’s eyes were dancing in that lovely, I-got-you way she had when she was winning an argument. Captain of the Yale Debate Team and proud of it.

    Tina had not factored Ellie’s expenses into the equation. “Would you do that?” she asked quietly, incredibly moved that Bette brought it up. She knew Bette cared about Ellie and the feeling was mutual, but she never thought in a million years that Bette would be willing to contribute to the cost of her housing.

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    Comments

    1. Poor Ellie has some dementia and Alzheimer’s. I recognize the signs. My stepfather died of early onset Alzheimer’s at 56 and my dad is 84 with dementia. My paternal grandmother died of Alzheimer’s.

      I love how Tina can get through to Bette. Hopefully, Bette can try and change her behavior especially given Ellie’s health. Bette is so sweet and loving to Tina.

      Thanks for the story!!

      • Deanna
        So sorry to hear of your stepfather and dad passing away from Alzheimer’s/Dementia. They are both cruel diseases and difficult to watch. Also your grandmother! I appreciate your comment as always and hope everything is going ok in your corner of the world
        BK

    2. BK,

      Love that they are living together and Bette went the extra mile to make Tina feel so welcome in every way. That they are both busy and career driven makes this such a painfully prophetic chapter.: “I meant what I said on the note. I am sorry, Tee. I did not remember that this movie was the one movie you mentioned. I know what a huge deal this for you…. It’s a bad habit. I get hyper focused on myself. It’s a problem, it’s always been a problem. Tina pressed her face to Bette’s neck, closing her eyes. “It’s ok, Babe. You have a lot going on too, I know that.”

      Ugh!!!!!! At this section in the chapter I found myself literally yelling – hey I love both of you – but stop right now – listen to each other – commit it to memory because this is important stuff. You both already see the issues. Please please please deal with it now. Your future selves will be forever grateful. You can save yourselves so much heartache. Sigh.

      What a chapter. So sexy and amazingly written. “And if Tina could have laid her pussy down on a silver platter and tucked a napkin under Bette’s chin for an all-you-can-eat buffet she would have, but instead she lifted her hips and guided Bette’s head back to where she wanted it.” Wowzer!!!! Drop the mic!!! So tender and loving yet so incredibly hot together.

      Tina is going to need Bette to keep her focus and her word as Ellie is clearly having some cognition problems and Tina is devastated. Not an easy road ahead. Bette taking the lead to suggest a doctor and MRI is a good sign.

      Love this story!!!

    3. Bette is getting too hung up on her work and putting Tina and their relationship 2nd. If it becoming routine, problems will become inevitable.

      Tina needs to tell Bette how she perceives Bette’s relationship with Melvin and how life revolves around his schedule and his demands. The earlier they have this discussion, the more likely they can set the boundaries on how they respond to his demands. It is not unreasonable to request that Melvin give 2 or 3 days notice that he will be in town and wanting an audience with Bette.. Bette needs to demand that her father respect her time schedule and her relationship with Tina and do it early in their relationship.

      As to the schedule of seeing Ellie every Monday night….Bette needs to make that a part of her life which is not subject to change unless an extreme emergency comes up. There is no business meeting or opportunity which should cause her to miss that dinner date. Miss Ellie is a part of her family now. It’s a part of her and Tina being a couple. And asking Tina to rearrange the schedule is just another sign that Bette is putting her business life as a top priority over her personal life. Once Tina said no, Bette should have respected that and adjusted her business life accordingly. Tina is adjusting her business life around Bette’s business life. That should be more than enough without encroaching on their standing personal obligations.

      Miss Ellie is having dementia problems. This may impact Bette and Tina’s life more than they understand. She may need to be moved to an assisted living facility rather than living alone in an apartment. This will put more stress on Tina and on Bette and their relationship – financially and emotionally.

      Excellent chapter…. Thanks for posting.

      Bette needed to do some groveling. I just hope she see the whole picture. Asking Tina to make adjustments for her career and not seeing Tina’s career demands is a huge mistake and is going to cause problems in their relationship.

      • I agree with Billy, Martha. Well said.
        You’ve hit on the biggest barriers to their success in this relationship – communication and flexibility. Tina does not openly communicate all her fears, hurts and needs and Bette is so self absorbed at times that she missing out on a full partnership.
        I was attempting to show the cracks that got them to the place where we meet them in season one so it sounds like this was achieved based on everyone’s comments. Good!
        You are 100% right in the need for Bette to see outside herself and her work to put Tina and her work on equal footing. This was not something we saw from Bette until the last season. Hopefully she will come this realization earlier in this story.
        Thank you, as always for staying with all my stories. I don’t say this enough but I appreciate each and every comment. Thanks

        BK

        • Hopefully you can rewrite just enough history to fend off those can’t take them back mistakes from the early seasons of the original series (cough Candace, Helena, Henry, Jody) and help them to become truly solid and connected.

          • YES AGREE
            That is the plan
            I especially hated hated hated the Henry/Josh thing. I just threw up in my mouth a little even typing that out (not really but you get the idea)….
            Ok with Helena, get it but Tina going back to men and having sex with Henry in their bedroom and the Josh thing? Ridiculous, lazy writing.

            And I was not a fan of Jodie so any time she shows up in my stories its not good for her.

    4. I love how Bette made Tina feel so welcome in their home. In every possible way. That they are both highly driven career women makes the chapter also sadly prophetic:

      “I meant what I said on the note. I am sorry, Tee. I did not remember that this movie was the one movie you mentioned. I know what a huge deal this for you…. It’s a bad habit. I get hyper focused on myself. It’s a problem, it’s always been a problem.” Tina pressed her face to Bette’s neck, closing her eyes. “It’s ok, Babe. You have a lot going on too, I know that.”

      When I read this part I began talking to the page: Okay you two we love you very much – so listen up – take the time to hear one another – you have issues already – take the time to fix this now – please please please – your future selves will be forever grateful – you can save yourselves so much future heartbreak.

      So much in this chapter and very beautifully written.

      “And years later when they both struggled to find the magic again, Tina would remember what it felt like to be loved, truly loved, by Bette Porter. And she would come back to her, fully and without reservation.” Heavy sigh.

      And so very sexy. “And if Tina could have laid her pussy down on a silver platter and tucked a napkin under Bette’s chin for an all-you-can-eat buffet she would have, but instead she lifted her hips and guided Bette’s head back to where she wanted it.” Wowzer BK. Drop the mic woman.

      That Bette and Tina love one another beyond measure is never is question. Ellie is clearly suffering from cognitive issues and Tina is devastated. Bette recommending them MRI and doctor is a good thing. She is present fir both Tina and Ellie. Both are going to need her. They are all going to need each other. Excellent chapter.

    5. I love how Bette made Tina feel so welcome in their home. In every possible way. So in love. But…they are highly driven career women, especially Bette, and her focus on work over relationship and family makes the chapter also sadly prophetic:

      “I meant what I said on the note. I am sorry, Tee. I did not remember that this movie was the one movie you mentioned. I know what a huge deal this for you…. It’s a bad habit. I get hyper focused on myself. It’s a problem, it’s always been a problem.” Tina pressed her face to Bette’s neck, closing her eyes. “It’s ok, Babe. You have a lot going on too, I know that.”

      When I read this part I began talking to the page: Okay you two we love you both very much – so listen up – take the time to hear one another – you have issues already – fix them now – cause Tina it won’t always be okay – please please please – your future selves will be forever grateful – you can save yourselves so much future heartbreak. P.S. Flowers will not cut it in the future babe. You love this woman so very much and she loves you. Work the problem!!

      That off my chest this chapter is very beautifully written:

      “And years later when they both struggled to find the magic again, Tina would remember what it felt like to be loved, truly loved, by Bette Porter. And she would come back to her, fully and without reservation.” Oh Tina! I know it is not their story but wouldn’t it have been so great if that magic had never been misplaced? Heavy sigh.

      And the chapter is also so very sexy. “And if Tina could have laid her pussy down on a silver platter and tucked a napkin under Bette’s chin for an all-you-can-eat buffet she would have, but instead she lifted her hips and guided Bette’s head back to where she wanted it.” Wowzer BK. Drop the mic woman.

      The fact that Bette and Tina love one another beyond measure is never the question is it? They need to continue to grow together and communicate and learn how to handle life and career and work as a team. Tina seems to be working at that and should not back down. I love Bette so much and know she is by no means intentionally disrespecting Tina but she needs to realize right away that she is in a true partnership of equals. Monday night dinners are not open for debate! Ellie is clearly suffering from cognitive issues and Tina is devastated. Bette recommending the MRI and doctor is a very good thing. She is present for both Tina and Ellie. Good girl! Both are going to need her. They are all going to need each other. Excellent chapter.

      • Billy
        I had to smile at the description of you talking to the story. And love how you feel that this chapter is sadly prophetic, that is exactly the feeling I was trying to evoke. This chapter begins to show how the couple got to the point where we meet them in season one. I will not follow it completely but I do want to parallel the show enough to show how things coulda shoulda woulda been different had they made different decisions, talked more. You are so right – it is never in question if they love each other, just are they too foolish to know what to do with that love?
        BK

    6. Thanks for posting.

      Love your writing even when the contents evoke sad personal memories.

      I think I’ve remarked before how much I like the characters you write for my favourite couple but it can be repeated!

      Look forward to your next post, stay safe
      SG

    7. Hi BK,

      What a delight to read a new chapter of this story!

      It is so sweet and heart warming to read about their love for each other. There is no question about it that they are soulmates and deeply in love, but it worries me that Tina seems to be the one that gives in and makes more adjustments then Bette does. They both have important careers and Bette should do more and aknowledge that Tina’s work is just as important as hers. It is good that Tina held her foot down that she isn’t going to change the monday appointment with Ellie just because that is easier for Bette. I am glad that Bette knew that she was selfish and didn’t see how important this film was for Tina. She made up by sending Tina a beautiful flower and a sincer apologize via note and cuddling time, But she has to do more and show Tina that they are equal in everything. And please let them communicate about what bothers them and work on their flaws and faults and continue to work on their relationship.

      This sentence have me worried” And Tina swallowed, believing her, desperate to have her. And years later when they both struggled to find the magic again, Tina would remember what it felt like to be loved, truly loved, by Bette Porter. And she would come back to her, fully and without reservation.”

      It would be so sad if they break apart. It would be fantastic to read a story where they will have problems but not break apart due to losing a baby,Bette cheating or Tina having feelings for men.

      I am worried about Ellie, is she suffering dementia or the early stage of Alzheimer? Tina would be devastated if that is true. Thank god she has Bette as a big support, she loves Ellie too and would help in every way she can.

      I really love this story! Thank you!

      • Thank YOU BiBi
        You zeroed in on the one comment that may or may not foreshadow trouble ahead. I think all couples go through ups and downs where the magic is elusive and connecting is hard. So will these two, but they are doing a pretty good job of building a solid framework to buffer these storms, provided they are smart enough to acknowledge it. Tina does have a huge support in Bette!
        You know how much I appreciate your comments and off site communication. Stay safe BiBi,!

    8. I have been waiting for you to post another ‘The Beginning’, BK! and this was definitely worth the wait. I like a little time jump…just a little one. moving in together was the next step and I LOVE how happy bette is to just have tina live with her, doing whatever it takes and not letting anything get in the way of that…including tina! bette is giving tina the space she needs to plan the move and how she wants to get her things over. but in the end, it gets overwhelming and bette is there to save the day, but not overstepping. i can see that “real life” is interrupting their bliss a bit. their jobs are demanding and it feels like we are dipping our bette and tina toe into the parts of bette and tina that the show touched on…how bette’s job overshadowed tina’s and their relationship…which, as we all know, caused some big problems (to put it mildly). but THANKFULLY your Bette didn’t let the issue fester and she communicated with Tina how she felt and that she was sorry. and that they had to make time for each other and work together and understand what is important. When they are together, it is perfect…when they have eyes on each other and relishing in their love and passion? That brings what’s important to the forefront. I love the tiny bit of foreshadowing in just the most beautiful and simplest of lines…like this one:

    9. BK,
      I like that you covered the topic of finances which has such a huge impact in life. Committing fully to moving in with Bette and leaving her owns space was a huge step for Tina. She already had a job that demanded the finances to be tracked and dispensed properly; and Tina had color-coded spreadsheets which served to keep her grounded.

      And Bette understood: “Whatever you want Tee, I will do. Whatever makes you feel safe, whatever breakdown of the bills you devise. Just tell me . . . . I just want you. I want you all the time . . . . And Tina’s reply: “Thank you Baby . . . That’s all I wanted to hear . . . “ 🥰🥰

      I like that later, after living together for a solid year, Bette came to realize that it’s takes humility to realize that she was NO longer going to be able to always choose her interests, FIRST. Before Tina, decisions were not a problem for Bette. She made ‘em and they were in her best interests.

      Like that Bette came to a realization that Tina’s insistance that they continue having dinner with Grams Ellie on Mondays was a small concession even when that day seemed to come much too quickly. For Tina, having that time was also a weekly regulator that slowed the incessant demands of their jobs.

      It was sweet that both ladies confessed being “nervous” as Tina stood b4 Bette in her exquisite lingerie and Bette b4 Tina in the nude. I like that Bette took her time to admire Tina’s “gift” to her and didn’t get in a hurry. I think Bette had understanding that the “gift” was Tina herself. Her body. Her heart.

      Agree with the other readers that the next life endeavor for Tibette will be dealing with the changes Ellie is going through and whether the time has come for a change of residence. Ellie has had her own automnomy and will not likely agree with the girls that she may need to relocate to a safer residence. Wonder if she will ultimately end up with Bette & Tina🤔🤔🤔

      • Thank you DT! You always bring new, fresh perspective and this comment is no different – I had not thought that Tina’s job required her to be responsible for the budget of the movie so of course she would translate into spreadsheets and budgets for her home as well. It was a slow revelation wasn’t it for Bette to come to her senses and cave in to the dinner routine with Ellie. And she does with grand Bette style – the rose, the cuddle, the charm.
        You used the word humility and that is so apt and telling for Bette. Perfectly stated, thank you!

    10. BK, thanks for the new chapter. Love love love it! Smooth idea to fast forward T + B’s life a year.

      Loved the bikini part at the moving in party. Another scene like the one at the market or at the movie dinner. T + B orbiting around each other, sharing looks, their thoughts always with the other, building tension.
      Bette in all her alphaness still harbouring some insecurities. Her reaction to Tina’s mentioning of a surprise, assuming a strap on, is very telling. Still not sure about Tina’s love and devotion to her.
      Her opening up to Tina during the move tells it all: “I never thought I was good enough… ” Wow! Damn Melvin. And it makes me wonder who else instilled this self-disparaging thoughts in Bette.

      The moving in part really showed some issues in the making which caused some of their conflicts later on (in the show). Interesting how differently they handle financial matters. I love how Tina insists on halved expenses. It’s logical and respectful to share if both can afford it. After all Tina would earn quite a lot with her big promotion. And even before she was able to support Ellie from her income. I don’t think the difference to Bette’s income is that big. Bette would earn a lot with some art but has to pay salaries, maintenance, craftspeople and so on.

      This quote says a lot: “It wasn’t until later when she moved in with Bette that she realized how generous Bette was with her money, giving freely to everyone she loved if she thought it could help.” Oh yeah, reminds me of the infamous dinner with friends at some fancy restaurant when Bette’s credit card got rejected.

      I guess money has different meaning or importance to Tina and Bette. Another thing that was a point of break in the show. Probably has a lot to do how they were brought up. I’d say that money hadn’t been an issue at the Porter household. Melvin would be diligent, teaching Bette the value of money and how to work hard for it. But he would rather give money to Bette than love. She gives out of love but probably is used to have enough money to be generous.
      I imagine that money was a little tighter at the Kennard household. At least two kids. Well, I don’t think you had Tina reveal anything about her family yet therefore it’s just my guessing. But Tina would learn to economise the money she earned. She would check her finances before she would make a purchase, even if she now makes enough money to live comfortably she’d be more careful.
      The show hinted at a more laissez-faire approach from Bette when it comes to money. Or a more generous. Nevertheless the whole discussion about money being tight after Angie’s birth was so unnecessary. Bette at least would have a competent financial adviser, having Melvin’s inheritance on top of all. I hope that your story would erase that mistake as well.

      Sorry, I’m rambling, must be the banker in me who makes an appearance ;-)

      Great quote: “What if I put together a spreadsheet? All the expenses in color coded categories?” “Be still my nerdy heart….” LOL! Been there, done that.

      This sentence says so much about Tina and why she probably gives in so much to Bette in their relationship: “God help her she loved this women so completely it made her heart sing.” A caring, nurturing person like Tina would make compromises for their partner, not risk many confrontations. Good that she stays firm when it comes to Ellie.

      Heart-wrenching scene with Ellie at the restaurant. Her illness will be hard for Tina. Speaking of Tina’s family. I’d love to know some of her background. Will you tell us some of it? Why doesn’t she talk about it? What happend to her that Elli made a comment on that (first meeting with Bette)? Why does she support Grannie Elli and nobody else of her family? Why does Elli even live in LA? Doesn’t your Tina come fron the South as well?

      BK, thanks again for your work. Great chapter. Can’t wait for more. Love this story so much.

      Stay safe
      KP

      • KPKPKPKP
        YASSS to the bikini scene and the sexual stalking of other scenes – the market and then the ballroom gala night. They are good at flirting across a room aren’t they? One of the best things JB and LH brought to TLW is the long looks and gazes across the room. LOL
        Bette still does harbor doubts and fears that this is not real, perhaps that is why she doesn’t give fully of her time and energy and gives her work so much space. Tina sure is patient, but I guess if you had BP to come home to that makes being patient much easier.
        Money DEF has different meaning to both women. One had it growing up the other did not. So telling that the Banker in you was able to flesh all that out, I love it!
        I will go into more of Tina’s background. Pretty much a blank slate there since the show gave us nothing but that crap about her sister that came out of left field and (again) made no sense. Doesn’t seem like it takes much creativity to become a writer for these tv shows, I am clearly in the wrong business.
        Love your long comments. I can always count on you to bring the goods with insight and clarity. Thanks my friend! Peace

    11. Hey BK,

      Sorry being a bit late to the party here with a comment – as always you have delivered another excellent update.
      Touching, moving, sweet, tender, raw, emotional, sexy as all heck & at the end – very scary for Grannie E.

      As another reader commented – their loving each other has never been the issue – its all the other little things that finally broke them in OG. I DO know that they are in very talented hands with you, so I have great hope.

      Many of the other readers have made outstanding comments, so I won’t repeat them, but I do have a favorite line or 2 –

      Bette’s line to Tina about her being her home was so touching.

      And Holly with the rose comments was priceless. Tina & the rose should get a room – funny.

      Like others, I too wish that OG would have played out differently & they could have worked their problems out much sooner than they did in season 6.

      I hope with them in your expert hands, they’ll have the future they deserve & work out their issues as they come along.

      Thanks my friend for another fantastic update on this awesome story!!!!!

      Stay well & take care.

      Always

      Collins

    12. When you are in a relationship, it’s not always about you and your needs and wants. It’s give and take. Bette is learning early that her schedule is no more important than Tina’s. She was acting like a “real man” in that moment.????

      Ellie has the classic signs of dementia and Alzheimers. My grandfather who raised me had those signs and passed away before it got to the late stages of it. It will be heartbreaking for Tina, but that’s where Bette will have to step up and support Tina.

      Great chapter, love the long ones.????

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