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    The End or The Beginning?

    It was a large painting and at first glance appeared to be nothing more than a simple depiction of a beautiful woodsy forest, the trees taking up most the space, the sun peeking over the top of the forest. At second glance, Bette saw what drew Tina to the scene. In the corner, on a small path, the trees welcomed a mother and a small girl, walking towards the woods, leading a dapper brown pony.

    The taller figure held a basket, and they were hand in hand, their steps in sync. Their faces weren’t shown, but the cascade of curls down the child’s back was obvious, the taller figure with matching curls, both wearing dark traveling cloaks. Somehow the painter was able to convey a softness to the scene, in the way the light played on the leaves, making the forest seem safe, inviting, the way the child appeared happy on her feet, the mother with her head bent in attention. Like the branches were reaching down to carry the duo away on leaves and twigs, an earthly hug.

    “It can’t be… Tee. It can’t be,” Bette whispered, her body still, Shane right behind her.

    Reaching for Bette’s hand, Tina held it in both of hers, pressing closer to offer comfort, support, the look on her wife’s face one she would remember for a very long time.

    “Remember what you told me, Honey? About the night your mother tucked you in for the last time?”

    “We talked about my new pony, about going riding in the morning for a picnic…” The words would not come, a thick lump taking up space in Bette’s throat and she swallowed thickly, trying to process what she was seeing and what it might mean. That night, so long ago, rose in the echoes of her heart like a dream half realized, choking her in a grip that never really went away. The picture enthralled her, she couldn’t look away, new details leaping off the canvas the longer she gazed at it.

    Footsteps on the stairs filled the room as the crew arrived, standing ready to report on what they found, needing to know what the next stage was. Stepping to intercede, giving Bette time to compose herself, Shane took inventory of what was found.

    Comments

    1. Thanks BK for an awesome update! I have missed our captain. I have faith that she will prevail and look at Tina, Carmen and James working some magic to reduce the odds. They are a force to be reckoned with as well.

      • Thank you ladyhawke84 (cool name btw) Our captain does always prevail even if she sometimes takes the long way to go about it lol! Def a dream team using all their skills to make it work. Glad you liked it, stay tuned more to come!
        BK

    2. So excited for another update to this story!

      THE PAINTING. Of course it was Tina that discovered it. And when Bette asked “What do I do now” and Tina spoke the words Bette needed to hear – ““Then dig deep into that gigantic heart of yours and lead us, Bette. Lead. Your men will follow.” “Find your strength, Baby. Then… find your mother.”

      Damn. What a moment.

      Another of my favorite moments – “You better kiss me, Baby. Kiss me like you mean it. Kiss me like you can’t bear to be without me for even one second…kiss me like…” her words were swallowed, Bette’s mouth warm and welcoming as it covered her wife’s, ”

      And this – “Up on the Captain’s deck, the King himself emerged when their boots hit the deck and he smiled, warning bells going off in Bette’s head as all Hell broke loose.” Makes me so look forward to reading the next chapter and seeing how this battle will end…

      BK, I love the way you write. This is a great adventure story, and it’s a beautiful Bette & Tina love story

      • Awww Westy some how you alwaya manage to pick out my favorite moments too! Thank you for always reading and always commenting, I look forward to reading your thoughts after I post. Next chapter coming, but before that I need to visit the river and see how our little fam is doing there!

        Thanks
        BK

    3. That little s… of a king, is there no loyalty in this world ?!?

      Very good chapter, as always ! fantastic story, the only problem is that it’s almost done …

      Please don’t be too long in posting, I’m sure many readers are already waiting.

    4. Glad to see this chapter. Very tense. Bette should have gotten some more sleep during the chase of the King’s ship. So how is it that the King’s ships did not have the skill set to be prepared for battle with an adequate amount of munitions and yet have the where-with-all to set a trap for Bette and Tina which includes Gigi’s men? Did the Black Beauty not have the King’s ship in sight every moment from the battle to this encounter on this island?

      I am sure that since Bette and Tina are the heroines of this story, that they will prevail. After all Bette has a bevy of ships in the area as well as a group on the island ready to engage the King’s ship. From the story, the King’s ship has Bette and Tina and Bette’s mother, but they are outmanned and trapped in this cove by the tide. Bette’s ships could litterally keep them where they are until they starve to death. And if Bette, Tina or Bette’s mom are harmed in anyway, Shane would more than likely just burn the ship in place and make sure there were no survivors. The King may have Bette and Tina, but he still is in a very weak position. If he is smart, he must keep them alive or he seals his own fate to be sooner rather than later. Bette and Tina alive is of much more value to the King. We also need to see what Gigi is up to.

      It’s an exciting tale… hope to see more, soon. Thanks…

      • Hwy Martha
        When I wrote in my author’s note about giving me leeway in this chapter it is because I do not want to write about battle prepardness or planning. I lay the foundation to explain both the King’s approach and Bette’s plan in earlier chapters. We don’t know Gigi’s role or who she is working with. Come for the adventure Martha but stay for the love story- that I will write about. THanks

    5. First of all I apologize for my absence. Hopefully the brain fog has finally lifted a touch. Certainly enough to attempt to catch up on missed chapters and read this one with great enthusiasm. How is it possible to write so poetically and include such action and excitement and humor and love and sexuality and sensuality? All of this and more is in this chapter. Exquisite writing.

      I really like that you write Bette and Tina as equals. Bette needs Tina and Tina knows exactly what to do and say: “Giving a slight nod, Bette did just that, breathing deeply of wildflowers and the scent of her lover, her wife, her world as Tina continued. “Find your strength, Baby. Then… find your mother.” The proud head lifted enough for Bette to rest her forehead on Tina’s and when their eyes met, Tina could see that her Captain was ready. You’re right, Tee. You always are. Your truth is my sword, your love my shield.”

      What a line. Perhaps my favorite. Your truth is my sword, your love my shield. So beautiful. These two are beyond connected. Even in battle and when in danger their love becomes gets stronger and transcends the page. For example, Tina recognizing the painting and getting a worked up preparing for battle Bette to take a moment and… just stop.. and look. And see. And remember. Her mother. “You can take one minute and look… really look… at this painting.” It wasn’t really a suggestion and Shane looked back and forth between the two, amused at the way Bette pretended to be charge when they all knew the brunette would do anything Tina asked. In a heartbeat.” This was a truly amazing scene. These two know each other so well and gain strength from one another to be sure.

      Captain Porter is a master of tactical navigation and preparing for battle. She loves sailing the seas. But her priorities right now are clear. Protect her family in total. I love this line: “Songs would sing of the way Captain Porter seemed to call for the wind, her sails filling as her ships raced across the waves, her ability to move across the open water unmatched in all the seven seas. “ I believe a part of Bette will always need to sail the waters in some capacity. But Tina is also quite crafty and her plan in poisoning their enemies on many of the ships was brilliant and shows she is the perfect partner for Bette. Tina also crafting wrist guards to help protect Bette from enemy swords is another example of how clever she is. “New bands of metal went around wrists to protect her from the slash of a blade, another measure by Tina to try and limit injuries.” Bette may carry the sword and engage in the fight but Tina is constantly thinking of ways to protect her. Each constantly thinking about the other. Although they are in serious danger and on high alert they are also able to gather great comfort and resolve from their intense and sensual love making. Their physical connection is so vitally important to their story.

      You really highlight that our couple are a true team and Bette has not only immense love but tremendous respect for Tina: “You are my every reason, Baby. That’s what this is all about. Get dressed, Tee. Wear something you can move in, swim in, run in if need be. Your brown boots. Get your knife. Tie your hair back. I want you at my side until this ends. And I will end it, tonight or tomorrow or the next day. Then we can start our life away from all this, on our terms. Together.” Heavy sigh. Whatever happens they will see it through side by side. They have each other and the children. A mighty purpose. And… as always in the midst of planning for the final battle they find precious moments to share their emotional and physical and sensual love. So powerful that nothing nor anyone will ever come between them. This is where they both get their strength. And from the children. Their family. That much is made so very clear.

      Of course the chapter ends on a cliff hanger. I have so many favorite lines and may add to this post but this one really stands out: “Anyone who was anyone knew that when Black Bette raised her red flags, doom would be served and death was for dinner.” Wow!!! What else is there to say except you are such a talent. I cannot wait to read what happens next. And how the King finally gets his! And Bette and her mother reuniting. And our couple reclaiming their children. And the kids meeting their grandmother. And who takes over when Bette retires. If Bette retires completely which I cannot see her doing. So much to come. So very well done.

      P.S. I can’t help myself. I have to add this as an example of your ability to incorporate humor into the most serious of situations and illustrate the love between Bette and Tina. Just one of many:

      “We need horses, Shane. Preferably saddled, either way they need to be fast. I need Dana and her archers…”

      “… to secure a safe path to the ship. Already ordered. Anything else?”

      “Yes. A fillet knife. Check the kitchen. I will gut him…slowly…”

      “Bette…”

      “Scratch that. I need a butter knife instead. Blunt. Or… maybe a spoon. I want him to suffer…”
      Shane left, wanting out of the line of fire as Bette made her way to her wife, who was standing by the bed with her hands on her hips, one eyebrow raised in that way she had when she found Bette to be equally infuriating and lovable at the same time.

      “I wasn’t having an epic tantrum…”

      The raised eyebrow arched higher, a rebuttal if there ever was one. “Yes, you were. Don’t scowl at me. Babe… oh, Honey…”

      Her heart melted, Bette now standing very close to her before simply laying her head on Tina’s shoulder as if the weight of the world was too heavy to carry. And perhaps it was, Tina’s hand immediately going to the back of her wife’s head, fingers tenderly working their way through the soft curls.

      There was something so vulnerable, so primal in Bette’s actions, the need for reassurance deep, the task ahead messy and unclear, the path behind painful. It was intimate, almost visceral, Bette seeking something only Tina could provide. It was just the two of them in the room, Bette’s head tucked in her shoulder, her breathing slow.”

      A…may…zing.

      • Billy,
        I soooo AGREE w/Westy’s comments!!!

        Tina tickles me when tells Bette not to “scowl” at her . . . HeHeHe!!!
        A N D she immediately saw Bette’s emotions that are always just below the surface. Right or wrong, when Tina rebukes Bette, B’s feelings are affected

        And Bette . . . THE pirate extrordinaire . . . is gonna “gut” someone by any means necessary. Shytt going from filet knife –> a butter knife –> a fickin’ spoon sent me over the laughter cliff!!!! (dang it, I need some emojis

      • Billy so glad you are back and feeling better! It is important to me that Bette and Tina be seen as equals and that they ackowledge they are equals. They balance each other out with different skill sets and ways of looking at the world and interacting with people. I see this Bette as so fierce on the outside but needing the softness and connection Tina brings to the relationship while TIna sees the safety and unconditional love Bette gives her. And in return, Tina does what she cans to make Bette safe and Bette gives the gentleness Tina needs.

        You mention this line by Bette – “Your truth is my sword, your love my shield.” and you may be surprised to hear that it actually comes from a speech JB gave I think in 2013 at the SWANS event. I will have to try and find the clip.

        I love that you and Westy both mention the painting – that took some time to write because I wanted it to convey so many things without describing it too much. Better for the reader to envision what it looks like, knowing the impact it would have on Bette without me embellishing it too much. Also provided fun banter which was needed given the chase scene lol

        thank you as well for writing this – as always in the midst of planning for the final battle they find precious moments to share their emotional and physical and sensual love. So powerful that nothing nor anyone will ever come between them. This is where they both get their strength. And from the children. Their family,

        So true!

        And yes we end on a cliffhanger. Sometimes I write and then have to figure out how to get myself out of the cliffhanger in a plausible way. I have a few ideas on this one!

        Any chance you are able to keep writing Billy? I miss your story…. BK

    6. I delayed reading this and then tried to read a few pages at a time. I found I could not stop reading, it was a great chapter filled with twists and turns. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment. I’m at the edge of my seat and I don’t want to fall off. Please post soon.

      • OneStorm1
        Glad I kept you reading! Love throwing in all kinds of twists and turns. Let’s see what I can add to the next chapter lol. I hope to get it posted soon, glad you are sticking with it Thanks!

    7. BK,
      I keep thinking about the children . . . how to write them into the flaming finale. I know Bette has them out of harms way, but there has to be away for Bette’s boy clones can trip an unsuspecting Deplorable right?

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