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From Chapter 22…
She was towel drying her hair and considering making a very stiff drink from the mini bar in the room when there was a knock on the door. Reaching for her robe, she tightened the belt and opened the door, expecting room service with the dinner she ordered.
Instead, she saw the lovely and most welcome figure of her girlfriend. Bette stood there with an expression on her face that completely melted Tina and the force in which she launched herself at the brunette took them both into the hallway. Bette’s arms wrapped around Tina so tightly that for a moment she couldn’t breathe.
“Bette, my God. You’re here…”
“I’m here…” Bette replied, twirling Tina in the hallway, the tears coming.
Tina moved Bette’s suitcase into the bedroom of the suite, placing it on the rack at the end of the bed then wandering aimless around the room before deciding to pour that stiff drink after all. Swallowing a large gulp, her eyes wandering back to the familiar suitcase, the reality of Bette traveling to see her settling in to make her weepy, grateful.
She had been so lost while in Vancouver, flailing. Having Bette arrive at her door was… wow… such a gift, such a declaration of unity that she needed a moment to process. She had been utterly miserable without the brunette, her sleep restless, her appetite nonexistent. Nagging doubts filled her head, the kind that always seem to creep in at two in the morning like tiny mosquitoes buzzing around to ruin a picnic. Swat at one and ten more arrive. It was a dismal existence.
There was still a sense of awkwardness, the distance between them laced with hurt and assumptions and unspoken emotions. But Bette was here. “I’m here” she had said simply, and Tina could write a thesis on the layers and symbolism of those two words.
I’m here because being home alone is insufferable.
I’m here, here to stay.
I’m here for us, I’m here for you, for me.
I’m here because we can not be apart, not now. Not ever.
And on and on. Yet the small talk continued, the glancing away when eye contact was made, the hands that never quite touched when they reached for each other. The next two days were going to be important, Tina decided. Would set the tone for Bette’s visit and for the fallout of her actions at Dinah Shore. Another gulp of her drink and it was finished, and she sighed, suddenly wishing they could just fall into bed and sleep for twelve hours, rest always came easier when Bette was with her.