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    The Beginning 17

    Bette stepped back to appraise the large painting; her hands on her hips. Something about the painting was off. She couldn’t tell if it was the lighting or the angle or the painting itself, but it didn’t look right. The entire section of the Gallery was repainted after the roof collapse and she loved the soft, edgy look it gave.

    It made the work pop, helped cast small shadows where needed and would accentuate the upcoming show perfectly. But this painting was not gelling with the others, which were already hung. Unless she could get this space to work, she would have to rehang the entire collection and she had neither the patience nor the inclination to do so.

    This piece had to work and had to work here. She climbed the ladder, her bare feet gripping the cold metal and readjusted the lighting then, on a whim, turned off a couple bulbs on the strip before climbing down to look at it again.

    Less light pulled the viewer in, creating intimacy and finally she was satisfied. The painting was better suited viewed up close, she had been standing too far away to appreciate the subtlety, a rookie mistake. Now, she could turn to the other thousand things needed to be completed before the show… flowers, catering, wine deliveries, set up and break down, valet drivers. She checked her watch, it was close to 2:00. On a Saturday.

    She had left before eight that morning, Tina still asleep. And even though she was getting a lot done, her mind was on the blonde. Several weeks had passed since their conversation about having a baby and Tina seemed to be undergoing some sort of a… what, exactly? A backslide? A regression? It was a roller coaster at times.

    She frowned, maybe she should go home, call it a day. Tina was clearly not doing well today, and she had not planned on staying so late as it was.

    She heard the bell on the door and turned to see Shane entering the Gallery, slouchy and leathery and scruffy… and so delightfully Shane.

    Bette smiled wide, happy to see her young friend. “What are you doing here?”

    “Better question is, what am I doing awake?” Shane replied, looking for somewhere to throw her cigarette.

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    Comments

    1. Hi BK,

      Two weeks of quarantaine, that sucks but your health is to important not to do it. Please take care of yourself!

      Wonderful chapter!

      Good old Yoda Shane to give Bette the right push and open her eyes to Tina’s grieving and that she needs to be there for Tina in all forms. She is doing her best to be their for Tina. It is important to support each other through grieve, loss, joy and happiness.

      The subject cheating was brought up a few times, i hope it isn’t a prelude for what will come.

      This sentence moved me: “all this talk of cheating. Shane and Carla. Jeffrey at work. My parents. We are surrounded by it. Don’t let that be a part of our story, Babe. Please…”. And Bette’s assurance that at will not be them.

      We all know what happened in the OG, i beg you BK, this is your version, don’t let cheating be a part of this story .

      I seriously dislike Alice, she is in everyones business and i am glad Tina doesn’t tell her that much anymore out of respect for Bette.
      I never believed Bette cheated on her. Bette already said it, with some lesbians you have to break up three times before they get it. Alice is deep down still pissed that Bette broke up with her and very jealous on Bette’s and Tina’s relationship. Go get your own life Alice instead trying to meddle in their relationship.

      I love all three of your stories and It makes my day more fun and better than it already is.

      Take care my friend

      • BIBI
        Hey there my friend! Cheating did come up several times in this chapter. We are heading towards that opening scene of Tina telling Bette she is ovulating and then…. what? I can assure that I am genetically wired to be incapable of writing anything that destroys or keeps these too apart for long. They are too perfect and my heart and soul too tired to write about things that made me sad.
        I never believed Bette cheated on Alice either. Remember how crazy Alice was when Dana left her to be with Lara? Coo-coo for coca puffs! I agree with you 100% that Alice resents Bette for ending things and is jealous of her relationship with Tina.
        Take care of yourself and keep reading, I promise all good things…
        BK

    2. First of all please take care and be well. Secondly, BK I love this story so very much. This Bette is willing to listen and accept that she is not perfect. And she also realizes that her love for Tina means more than anything in her life. And she is willing to do the work. Good girl, Bette. Be there for your woman. Kit seems to be the Yoda in this chapter. So wise. I specifically love her line: “ministry of presence.“ Amen to that.

      I am also glad that Tina comes to respect Bette’s views regarding Alice. This shows Bette that Tina is listening and recognizes that Bette deserves to be heard. I agree with Bibi that Alice is just too involved in everyone’s lives and makes small problems much worse. Tina realizes she has already shared too much of their private life with Alice. This is not fair to Bette. And what does Alice do? Plants seeds of doubt about fidelity. Pretty much taunts Tina with her claim that Bette will cheat. So vengeful. She knows Tina is really sad and struggling. She drags her out of bed just to gossip about cheating. Seriously, what is her problem? It is not funny or endearing in any way. I have always had my suspicions that Alice was secretly in love with Bette and never got over the breakup and dealt with the rejection by deflecting and accusing Bette of cheating on her. Enough Alice! Get a life.

      Cheating and fear of abandonment are primary themes at the core of Bette and Tina. We all know this. These two are so much in love. We understand Tina’s hurt due to the loss of Ellie. But Tina begging Bette to just leave her if she is ever tempted to cheat makes my stomach hurt. We know the heartache and despair in the original series. We know that there is a time when they are not going to be living together as you have already referenced earlier in the story. So we do know all will not be smooth sailing. (Previous chapter passage still haunts me: “And for years to come there was always a fresh rose in a tiny vase on the desk in Bette’s home office, right up until things began to fall apart and Tina moved out.”) You have assured us that the mistakes of Season One regarding Candace may not be repeated but there is still some drama ahead.

      One wants to grab both Bette and Tina and say listen closely to one another my friends. Remember this conversation. Remember this day. Tina remember your plea to Bette regarding cheating and Bette remember your reply: “…Don’t let that be a part of our story, Babe. Please…The emotion in her voice struck Bette’s heart like a drum and she covered Tina’s mouth with her own, whispering ‘never, ever’ over and over again as she kissed Tina’s lips, her throat, her chin, her cheeks, then moving down to kiss her breasts. “That will never happen. I love you Tee.” Do all of us a big favor please: Never, ever Bette and you as well Tina. Both of you. Never, ever. Okay? Looks like you get a rare do over thanks to BK. Please: Do not let it be part of your story. Thanks for giving them this chance, BK. Even if we have to endure some future drama. This world needs some happy endings or happy beginnings as it were. Either way, thank you.

      Glad that they are selling the land. Tina has had a very hard time. Needs to sever ties with her so-called parents. Tina will always love, remember and revere Ellie. That will never go away. But time to let the land go.

      • Hi BK,

        Thank- you for another wonderful chapter in one of your stories. I also hope they are able to avoid cheating on each other. I never agreed with Alice that Bette was always a cheater.

      • Exactly! The chance to build a better foundation for their relationship than the one they obviously had in the show. Billy, I love this “Remember this conversation. Remember this day.”

      • Thank you Billy! I haven’t left the house in two days and feel fine. At some point I will need to go to the grocery store but I really feel ok, went for a two hour walk yesterday and all is well. I have a coworker at work that uses that “ministry of presence” phrase so I can’t take credit for it, although I use it a lot. :)
        I love how you phrase that Alice is taunting and “planting seeds of doubt” that is so unhelpful for Tina at a time when she clearly not doing well. Instead of dragging her out of bed to get some fresh air and talk about how Tina is doing, she wants to gossip. I agree with you and BiBi that Alice never got over Bette breaking up with her. In fact, the way Bette puts up with Alice shows a real strength of character that I don’t think Bette gets credit for.
        And yes, I will assure you again that my hope is to make some sense (or sense for me, I can’t speak for ya’ll) about the choices and weird plot lines of season one. I think the world needs some happy endings, I know I do!
        Thank you for your insight and clear appreciation for this (and RWYA/BB) story. I am grateful for you!
        BK

        • Glad you are doing well. Thank you for the kind reply. And thank you for being genetically wired to take care of our girls and not write anything to keep them apart. This feels like a Christmas wish list: no Tina preparing her body for pregnancy please and skipping the CAC/ Franklin/Faye Buckley lunacy would also be very much appreciated. Not leaving you with much. Hmmm – If I only get one gift – you know what it is – no Candace. Thanks again.

    3. Undoubtedly, the death of Ellie was a blow for Tina, from which it is difficult to recover, but her loved one is next to her and this is the way to full healing.

      One thing I’ve noticed over the course of my life is that if you’re afraid of cheating and you tell your partner, “don’t even think about cheating on me!” that’s exactly what’s going to happen. When something is banned, it will be executed, unfortunately. And if you’re afraid of cheating, you’ll be cheated on. This is how life teaches us to work out our fears. If the continuation of your story is season 1 of the original TLW, then this theory is confirmed here…

      Thank you, BK! It’s such an amazing story. And please take care of your health.

      • Thank you Ada! I haven’t experienced a loved one cheating on me. That I know about anyway, so I can’t say if your theory holds water. I know plenty of couples where cheating has ripped them apart quite spectacularly. I will care of myself! Hope you are writing, love your story!

    4. Grief and depression are hard conditions to fight. In many cases, it just takes time and support from love ones to get over. Thank you for having Bette to wake up and understand Tina is still grieving. And thank you for having Bette just be there and not come in with an agenda or a list of suggestions for getting her over it. As Kit said “ministry of presence” – Just be there when Tina needs you is the best medicine money can buy.

      Its frightening that this “cheating theme” keeps coming up in Tina’s life. I too hope that this does not become a part of their story. If they keep communicating with each other and working at their relationship, then the possibility or the probability becomes a lot less. However, grief is a strong emotion and does not always allow for adequate communication and caring for your love one.

      BK…. hope you remain well and that you stay safe. And please do not break your quarantine too early. The country is about to go through trying times with this virus and we must do our part to keep it from spreading. There will be better days ahead, but we must be patient and diligent in our precautions and practices. Our future depends on it.

      Thank you for your stories.. they are a real inspiration and a joy to read. I look forward to more and appreciate your efforts…. thank you.

      • Martha
        Somehow I missed this comment or it just now appeared? Weird, but I didn’t want you to think I responded to everyone else and left your comment alone!
        I love your comments. It seems to be a thread that everyone (myself included) hate that the show portrayed Bette as cheating. I hope to try and fill in the gaping holes to the plot we were given in TLW.
        Agree with you about the virus and I am taking it seriously. I wish I could say that for the rest of my hometown. Everywhere I look see football parties, high school events and even weddings going on without masks or social distancing. I have a healthy fear of this virus so I am tucked away inside for the days to come. Thank yoU!

    5. BK, please take care of yourself! Use the quarantine to indulge yourself, treat yourself to something you thoroughly enjoy doing at home and recharge your energy. Cross my fingers that you stay safe and sound.

      Thanks for this beautiful chapter. I second Billy’s statement about Alice. She is planting seeds of doubt about fidelity. I understand that Tina would turn to Alice as Bette isn’t much available. She needs someone to distract herself from her own depressing thoughts. But Al is no good.
      I’m so happy that Bette is able to stop the downward spiral and makes herself not only available to Tina but finally proves that she is Tina’s family. With Bette embracing her role as Tina’s supporter, her rock, her all-she-needs-her-to-be, Bette is granting herself a relationship of extraordinary depth, trust and understanding. She reflects on her own behaviour and hopfully changes for the better. I’d say she’s becoming more mature.

      The scene after the shower with Bette lovingly taking care of Tina, combing her hair, handling her girl tenderly is really beautiful. It’s palpable how Tina’s soaking up all the love and attention and is melting into Bette. So sweet.
      And Bette knows what she needs – love this quote: “I fully expect to see fluffy socks”.

      Shane’s great, the right intervention at the right time. Always the naked truth: “So callous, Bette.” She is such a good friend.

      Oh but the scene on the dance floor! Wow. I was expecting my screen to heat up with all the hotness going on between Tina and Bette. So sexy.

      Thanks for a heart-warming finish as well. Tina’s words say it all: “And it was so clear… I don’t need to worry so much about anything because my heart is in your hands, my love is in your heart.”

      Love love love it! In Billy’s words, please: Do not let cheating be part of your story.

      Again, thanks for sharing your story with us. Such a joy to read :-)

      KP

      • Thank you KP
        I am doing fine, so far no symptoms and a quiet few days at home so all is well.
        Bette DID become more mature this chapter. Stepped outside of herself long enough to – really see – her girlfriend and be there for her. thank you Shane!
        Glad you like how the story is evolving, fluffy socks and sexy dancing included! More to come…

    6. This story is a cornerstone of Bette and Tina’s relationship. Your story, BK, can be very different than the OG story. It seems to mirror the OG story but I beg, beg you no cheating. Cheating came up several times.

      I couldn’t handle Alice’s constant need to be in everyone’s business. Best way to combat Alice is not to divulge any info.

      Depression is the proverbial monster in the closet or u dear the bed. Coming out at the most in opportune time.

      Take care BK.

    7. Hey there, first I hope you’re fine quarantine can be a good thing sometimes …

      As for the story, I must say I’m a little scared of what might happen as they’re so in love with each other that everybody expects the worst…
      In any case please, don’t let Tina quit her job to prepare her body (who actually does that ??) and of course no CAC.

      BTW I love your new story

      • Iz
        Thank you for commenting. Who DOES quit their job to prepare their body for pregnancy – which seems for Tina in the show to involve coffee at the planet, gardening with Jenny and eating pickles with Alice. So bizarre. We never see this mysterious body prep that she is undergoing to get pregnant. Such a weird part of the plot. And don’t get me started on the CAC…. lawd I will be here all night,

        Glad you like the other story too, thanks for letting me know :)
        bk

    8. Hey BK,

      Wow – the Q Word – QUARANTINE!!!!! Scary.

      Keep safe & get plenty of rest & healthy food & drinks!!! No – NOT the kind that Captain Bette has in your other story!!!!

      Seriously my friend, hope you are okay & not infected. Same for the person in your office – hope their case isn’t too serious.

      Well pal – another awesome chapter with moments of sheer wonder for this couple. Tina’s loneliness and sadness for her loss of Ellie is heartbreaking and Bette’s realization that she needs to be there for her partner in the thick & thin is just super. Shows B’s growth & maturity. So glad that you have corrected that character flaw from OG & IC’s impulses.

      So glad too that Tina will finally be rid of her horrendous father & maybe help her mother find a little peace. Just the money they’ll have left in a trust for all the children they’re going to have.

      You know my thoughts on Alice so I won’t go into that here.

      I will say though that I found it very confusing & highly unlikely that Tibette would have friends such as Alice, Shane, Jenny, Tim, etc Not to be a snob but – their income level is soooooooooooo much higher that the others & how in the world could the others afford to live in that neighborhood with no jobs?????

      I do trust that in your very capable hands, this version of season 1 will be very. very different that what was dished out at us in OG.

      So inspire us with a better tale & give us hope that this Tibette will have a HAPPY life together for ALL of their life – no interruptions for cheating!!!

      Thanks so much for this wonderful story, filling in so many of the blanks that we have been waiting years to fill and giving us a great glimpse into the inner world of our favorite ladies.

      Thanks so much & keep well.

      Collins

    9. BK!

      another fantastic chapter…I am so glad that they are finding each other again, bette figuring out what she has to do is just…be there for and support tina. make space for her (ugh, ever since they used that ‘space’ thing on Gen Q ive had it in my head…like…it makes sense but it doesnt…anyway). the way you write bette and tina? how in love they are with each other…how in love bette is with tina? the cheating doesn’t make sense on the show. it came out of nowhere. I look forward to how you handle that in your story. will you go there? will you not? the cheating is mentioned enough in the story that the tension is there! but it’s not the focus. what I focus on is the love they have for each other….the raw sexiness…the quiet moments…you write them beautifully. cannot wait to see where this goes!

      • Hey there Stir Fry
        yes, the whole space thing. I think I use it differently, making space for someone is akin to allowing the day to unfold in the direction that benefits the other person to be where they need to be. Not having an agenda, I guess. I think the show, and GenQ in particular used the idea of Bette taking up space to inexplicitly show her as someone who monopolizes a room, barreling over other peoples ideas and wants and filling them with her own. She does do this, in a sense I guess but Tina should own the fact that she allows Bette to do this.

        Often Bette looks to Tina to tell her where to be, what time she is needed somewhere or to make a decision. We saw this most clearly in the scene where they are in the hotel room and the birth mother (I can’t remember her name) tells them she wants to give her baby to them. When I rewatched it, Bette looks to Tina several times to make the next move, to reply and speak for both of them.

        There are other examples, I could ramble on about the inconsistencies, but you are 100% right in saying that the focus should be on the love they have for each other. There is no rewriting that part! THanks for letting me ramble LOL

        BK

    10. Nicely done my friend. I love your usage of the term “space” you redefine it in such a manner that does not make it bad and by extension Bette being selfish. The foreshadowing of the cheating. I love how you give context to Tina’s reaction in TLW.

      K

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