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    The Beginning 21

    Bette pulled into the driveway behind Tina’s car. She was earlier than normal but wanted to start being early as part of her routine on Fridays, wanting to be available for Tina as the pregnancy advanced. Taking a minute, she rested both hands on her steering wheel to take a deep breath.

    The outside of their house looked calm, serene, welcoming. The landscaping was perfectly done, mulch where it belonged, flowers blooming, front porch swept and tidy. There was a delivery of something by the front steps, looked like Amazon and was probably baby related. Neither one of them could resist the tempting baby books and prenatal guides or infant clothes.

    A baby.

    Their baby.

    Her baby.

    It was on her mind all day, she felt like she was in another universe… like she was watching this other Bette Porter with this incredible life and amazing girlfriend and a… baby on the way. Jesus.

    She reached for the bouquet of flowers she bought for Tina, roses of course, and made her way inside through the front door, juggling the package as well. Definitely books. Setting it down on the table by the door, she went looking for her girlfriend. Suddenly she needed Tina, needed to feel the blonde’s energy, to know they could totally do this.

    The house was quiet but peaceful, soft piano music playing on the overhead speakers and the smell of something wonderful cooking in the kitchen. This was what she loved about coming home. Ever since Tina moved in, the house was a true home. She glanced in the kitchen, but it was empty… as was the bedroom. Kicking off her shoes with a sigh, she hung up her suit jacket and caught a glimpse of Tina in the backyard through the patio doors, watering her flower garden. Of course. She should have guessed her girlfriend would be out there this time of day.

    There was nothing outwardly different about Tina. She was wearing the same joggers she usually put on at the end of a long week, Bette’s Yale t-shirt covering the small frame, her feet bare. The water from the hose arched in the air, catching the remaining sunlight and Tina put her hand on her belly, over the baby, a small smile on her face.

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    1. BK! You’re back :-) Oh, I was kinda having withdrawal symptoms for missing your amazing, elaborate, lovely, entertaining, heart-warming, brilliant, cheering, sexy stories. Fetching myself a cuppa tea and start reading in a few…. later!

    2. Layers and layers of trust, experience, intimacy, love… twelve in all… to provide the foundation for the final piece.” I’m so hooked. Carla Freed.

      What an appropriate description of their relationship. And they are going to need to rely on all of their layers because….well….here we go. Candace is in the house and Tina is not feeling well. Thank God Bette is with her.They are so so so so so connected and Bette is present for Tina. And Tina is there for Bette. Such intimacy. This is very huge. Already such a change from the original series. And speaking of change… we all know that trouble is on the horizon. Bette is definitely stressed and very busy. Candace is definitely flirting. Bette is definitely not interested. Thank you thank you BK!!!! Tina is definitely jealous and a little pissed. The miscarriage may be imminent which will be devastating. Add that to Candace lurking about and it’s a recipe for possible major uh oh. Only a few weeks until the exhibition. Uh oh again. They are going to need all of their layers of trust and their experience and their love to weather the coming… what? The coming vulnerability? I can’t bring myself to write storm. I love that you let us witness their amazing connection both physically and emotionally. I also love Bette’s so deeply prophetic description of the painting:

      “It catalogued change, Tee. But also… permanence. The final picture is a black and white overlapping of the images, the body presented without editing, as it was and is… she wanted…. to try and get to the truth of her lover. It’s a gift really… the vulnerability … the trust… the act of knowing. They knew. They saw each other…” Her eyes got misty as she placed her hand, palm down, on Tina’s belly. “I thought of you as I looked at it…”

      The body presented without editing. So beautiful. Wouldn’t it be so great to edit out all of the tough times? You have already given the readers such a gift with your depiction of such a loving and committed Bette and Tina. They may not be able to edit out all that is coming but I will bet my final dollar they come out the other side strong and very much in tact..because…ultimately… they just know. Superb chapter.

      • Candace is in the house. Thank you for your comment, Billy. Personally, I never saw what Bette saw in Candace. Not that Candace was unattractive or didn’t have anything in common, she just didn’t seem Bette’s type. And in the show, Bette moved super fast to get with her which also made no sense to me. Eight years and she throws it away overnight? So I knew I wanted to fix that. I was drawn to the scene with Peggy and the photograph. We so rarely saw Bette be emotional.. At times her eyes would get watery or she would tear up but the moment she sees that photo… her reaction is so raw, so uncontrolled that I felt like it really meant something to her. And I think it was the moment Peggy fell in love and respect for Bette.
        I could go on and on. Sometimes TLW gives us these too brief moments where we see the characters as they could be or are – and for me we got to see the outward expression of Bette’s hidden vulnerability in this scene.
        Thank you Billy!

    3. This was an excellent chapter…. the way Tina recognized that Bette was not behaving in a normal manner by napping in the afternoon. The recognition that Bette was stressed and the initiative Tina takes to ask what’s wrong. And the trust Bette has in Tina to at least start the conversation – Bette’s worried if she will be enough for this child, this new person she will soon have in her life. Tina’s belief and assurance that Bette will be a wonderful mother is just the balm Bette needs at this moment. And I am sure that this will not be the last time Bette needs to hear that Tina has no doubts that Bette will always put her families best interest as a priority in her actions and decision making.

      Oh the other hand, Bette is so wrapped up in her project, she fails to realize the seductive nature Candice is exhibiting. It should have been more than obvious to Bette that when Tina makes her presence known, Candice does not excuse herself to give Bette some privacy but simply continues the meeting and the incidental touching all while Tina’s watches. Bette has to realize that just because she is not flirting with others, others are very much flirting with her. Bette needs to be able to recognize this and shut it down before it becomes a problem. At this point Bette should have a talk with Candace probably with James present to set the boundaries on their relationship. No incidental touching, no meals together, no flirty language and keep their meeting strictly business and to a minimum time length. With every problem, go to James first.

      If Tina sees this flirty nature of Candace, Bette needs to pay attention too. She certainly does not need her pregnant girlfriend angry or upset. Bette made a good move by going home with Tina and taking care of her in this time of discomfort. Hopefully this is not serious, but it certainly could be.

      I have no doubt that these two are really in love with each other and desire to have this baby. They are certainly doing a good job of communicating what is going on with each of them. This is a strong couple going through some major changes in their life. There a bound to be bumps in the road, but they are doing all the right things. I really love this couple..They really do see each other.

      Thanks for the chapter…. another star on your resume’. Write every chance you get…. I for one am addicted to your stories.

    4. Reading this is such a relief already. Even though some devastating events, punches to the gut are lurking on the horizon your version of this chapter of T + B’s life is how it should’ve been.

      I was loudly saying YES to the screen when Bette opened up about her fears of the responsibilities with the baby. They talk! :) And what a great answer from Tina. No dismissing Bette’s thousandandone questions but instead praising her thoughts, her qualities as a mother, telling how lucky she and the baby are to have Bette as the other mother, how much they complement each other. Write it down, make a list. What a simple but effective method to calm Bette’s racing thoughts!
      Love this: “Some can wait – like the choice of college – but write them down anyway.” Take B seriously, acknowledge her point as very valid but prioritize. So much better than going to some strange couple’s therapy. And thanks for a Tina who is fully embracing having a biracial child. Three books to read up on the subject is really cute.

      The way they admire, no, adore each other is so beautifully written, BK. When Bette was watching Tina in the garden, watering the plants and caressing her baby bump it felt like Bette was looking at art, admiring every fine stroke of the brush or gentle curve of a sculpture. So good.
      And the way Tina is rating Bette’s levels of sexy and hot? Wow. Both moments are so full of love and intimate knowledge of the other woman. It’s wonderful to read how deeply in love they are and how solidly connected.

      I love how you righted more wrongs with a few small changes and careful adjustments to the original script. Of course the devastating miscarriage already reared its ugly head and the C-Factor already made her moves on Bette. But I’m sure their love and trust is so strong and solid that T + B will be able to sail safely through these stormy waters.

      Thank you so much for this chapter, my friend, it was such a pleasure to read. I’m really making my peace with season 1 of the show thanks to your story. I just love your Bette and Tina!

      Have a great week, BK, forget about all of the craziness that is going on right now. Stay safe and sound.

      • KP
        I love how you always post to let me know you are preparing to read the chapter then later with your much thought over and insightful comments. I can not imagine where Tina would have any hesitation about a biracial baby, so silly. Sometimes I wonder if TLW writers are completely detached from the characters they wrote about. I am glad you are making your peace with S1 of the show, because I am doing the same when I write it. I won’t get everything righted but the big, gaping plot holes can be filled with some sense and reason. And love, there is so much love.
        Stay safe out there KP, thanks

    5. Sweet lady BK u’re back! To continue this forevah fresh ditty.

      1. Tina really knows and accepts the personality of Bette. She knows the Bette that, by nature, rolls every thought thoroughly in her brain. Telling her to make a list and write it down and they would go over each item, and discuss, was brilliant!

      2. When Tina visited the gallery only to see some woman flirting with HER Bette, and Bette tearing her attention from the plans and convo with Candace to “notice” that look of “Tina is mad” and NOT jumping to conclusions on
      “Why” meant she knows Tina.

      I like that Tina was very direct: Honey. She was openly flirting with you. I don’t like it.”

      “Tee. There was no flirting. That’s ridiculous.” Bette walked quickly to her, but Tina sidestepped to move further into the room. Bette was close to falling in that danger-zone which she has a blind spot — always imagining that she is IN CONTROL of everything.

      She doesn’t see her sexual energy as a threat whether it’s drawing Tina in or everybody else that enters her space.
      I’m glad Tina flat out reminded her that just because she may not be pursuing someone, doesn’t mean that they aren’t pursuing her. That’s why she doesn’t call her way of relating “flirting”.

      When Tina said that she wasn’t feeling well, Bette immediately responded, got her shit together and walked out together not acknowledging Candace and went home. I’m thinking that C will make another play for Bette but believe that B will NOT flirt with danger, Hopefully it happens when Tina happens to visit the gallery and once again observes from afar.

    6. My dearest BK,
      I bow down to thee! Just like all of the others have already said, the way you write the communication between these two is really out of this world. It’s inspiring. If only we could have you writing for GenQ! They really need the help!
      My God, their relationship is so pure, still untainted by the heartbreak we all went through with them in Season 1/2.
      With that said, dear author, I like to think that with all the care they have taken to nurture their beautiful relationship, with all the layers of trust and support they have created that you so eloquently portrayed and ultimately was the theme of this wonderful chapter, I have to believe that you won’t take us down the road none of us wants to go down. I mean, how could they end up there? Tina is already aware of Candace’s blatant flirtation, and has voiced her serious concerns that this home wrecker doesn’t seem to be the type to respect a relationship like theirs. I can’t see how this Bette, your Bette would fall into the trap.
      However, both RWYA and the Twelve Days have been written to include Bette’s infidelity…….Ahhhhhh, I hate that it could go either way!
      Well, we’re a few weeks away from provocations and Tina is cramping. I understand why we can’t be spared from that grief. But, this little Tibette heart is still beating in hopes that we are spared from Bette’s one true mistake.
      After saying all that, if it has to happen I trust that you won’t leave us in despair for too long.
      Thank you for another amazing chapter, BK. The past week has been so brutal. I too am at a loss for words to even begin to describe it, other than to say that it is sheer madness. I never thought we’d get this far away from what America means to me.

      Stay safe and be well,

      • Dear Riskaaay
        Wow, what a wonderful comment. Thank you so much. So nice to “see” you and I hope you are writing your next blockbuster chapter, we are all on the edge of our seats!
        Clearly from all these comments, no one wants to go down the Candace road and I am in agreement with this. But there has to be some drama, right RK? I like how you phrase the affair with Candace as “Bette’s one true mistake” She really gets blasted for her behavior but when you boil it all down, you are right. ONE mistake and, in my opinion, she pays a heavy price on the show.
        This week has been brutal and there is more coming, I fear. It is sheer madness. I can not wrap my brain around it and yet can’t look away. Please be safe and thank you for commenting!

    7. Hi BK,

      Such a pleasure to read about this Bette and Tina! It is a great way to forget for a few minutes what is happening in the real world, like COVID-19, the Lockdown several readers are in, including myself.

      A lot have been commented on and i will not point them out because i certainly agree with them all but i do have one part that stand out to me as well:

      “Stay like that a moment, Baby…” Tina said softly, her eyes drinking in the gorgeous view. “Don’t move. I want to take a picture of you with my eyes. I want to see you and remember you always as you are today, right now. Sleek and sexy and so beautiful you take my breath away… I want to remember the night you captured the attention of the art world and made a name for yourself… the night everyone was talking about Bette Porter…”

      Bette swallowed. After all the accolades and applause and words said in her honor this evening, after the announcement of her Gallery as next in line to show the work, and even after Peggy’s lavish treatment with the first class tickets and limo ride and expensive hotel… this… this was the praise that touched her heart. This was the one that mattered, that made her want to take Tina in her arms and never let her go”

      So beautiful written, it made me a little emotional, Tina’s love and how proud she is of Bette and the way she said it to Bette, it blew me away!

      BK, it’s so good to read all your stories, they are simply the best!

      Take care of yourself my friend!

      • BiBi, thanks for your comment. You highlighted one of my favorite scenes because it ties it all together. Tina taking a mental picture just like the Freed photo. And Bette, standing there, allowing it, basking in the love and praise of her person. So sweet.
        I know you are in lockdown and I am hoping there is an end in sight to all this. Glad you are taking care of yourself.

    8. Hey BK,

      Thanks so much for this great chapter. Truly amazing & I liked how you incorporated a few OG scenes into the chapter. Nicely done.

      We started off with Bette the worrier & the ‘Baby Bliss & Baby Reality` was sweet.

      So glad that they are connecting on all points.

      Then that C bitch makes an appearance & everything can go to he’ll in a hand basket. She’s in the house & please, please, please don’t let Bette go down that path.

      Thanks for your update & waiting for that shoe to drop!!!!

      Like you, I am extremely worried about our country & the next week will be very stressful. But I believe in our country & our democracy. Stay safe & hopeful.


      • Thank you Collins! Bette worries, Tina is in the clouds. So true, and I think a lot of couples find themselves with one practical and one dreamer. Stay safe, the country is in for rough ride over the next week. Riveted to the TV today.

    9. Excellent, excellent chapter! ABSOLUTELY love this Bette and Tina. Like the other Tibetters, I sincerely wish the writers of the TV series had your talent, BK, and would give us this Tibette, make all the crap about Tina and Carrie go away, and let them get on with their loving family, friends and fantastic careers! I would like to see the series revolve around the OG characters and their interaction with each other, and helping the new genQ
      group as well. Sorry, but Carrie has to go!!!! Rosie??? Really???
      Why not Julianne Moore?? But then, I suppose I might want to see her around a bit longer! Hey…. it’s all fiction, right?! Since I see Rosie as somewhat abrasive, I really can’t see that coupling with Tina. However, she is a good actress, and can be quite funny. Maybe, that is how Carrie will be portrayed. Wonder how our Bette will act/react towards her? Hmmmm?! Again,BK, LOVE your writing! Dr A.

    10. Dr, A, so nice to hear from you again! Thank you for your comment and kind words. I pay Showtime to write for them, lol! It is a disaster in the making for sure. Def want the OGs back, inject some LIFE and story to the show. The new actors bring nothing to the story line (minus one or two). Carrie has to go, preferably SOON and without doing too much damage to our couple. I see Rosie as incredibly abrasive, unattractive and bullheaded. But she is funny and will bring attention to the show. I guess. Thanks for checking in, stay tuned!

    11. BK,

      OK. I admit it. I was hesitant to read this chapter so I delayed it (I AM currently rereading Remember Who You Are so im almost caught up with that. I LOVE IT!!). I was dreading the carpenter. Because I had watched the show from the beginning back in the day….even back then I remember loving Bette and Tina…but when that crap with the carpenter happened in the season finale? I was just…pissed. and I gave up on the show and did not watch any more. lol If only the show had gone the way of your story. With reason and explanation. Your version? Sigh. Beautiful…makes sense…Bette still hesitant to talk about what’s bothering her but with Tina SEEING something is wrong and being there and encouraging Bette to talk because she could always do that…so much could have been avoided. Tina being there, being present could have avoided the whole carpenter thing…as you have shown.

      Thank you for this version of Bette and Tina. for diving deeper than the show did.

      • Thank you SF. We are not done with Candace quite yet, but I never saw Bette cheating on the show and this Bette is solid in her relationship with Tina. I wanted to try and correct all that in this story and present a couple that still had challenges but met them head on. Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you like RWYA too, big wedding coming up soon!

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