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‘Sorry, sorry, sorry . . .’
Bette came into the kitchen preceded from the front door by Solly and followed by Angie. It was late on Monday night and Tina was standing at the central island, packing Sasha’s lunch for tomorrow and listening to a Sixties rock playlist.
‘Well, hello, strangers,’ she said with a warm smile.
‘Lexington nightmare,’ Bette said, coming to kiss her wife. ‘Completely closed off, no idea why!’
‘I could’ve got a bus,’ Angie said, going towards the freezer.
‘No, you can’t,’ Tina replied.
‘Not at this time of night,’ Bette added. ‘And the buses weren’t moving either.’
Bette laid her bag on the counter top and glanced at the wall clock: 11.05. She’d been to give a speech at a Democratic art-world fundraiser on the Upper East Side, then picked Angie up from a friend’s place, leaving bedtime to Tina, who’d already texted at lunchtime to say how much she was looking forward to kicking back with the show that night after a bear of a morning. In such circumstances, Bette had insisted Tina watch the show without her so they could go straight to bed when she finally got in.
‘You want me to do Ben’s?’ Bette said, indicating Sasha’s lunch.
‘Already done,’ Tina said.
Bette’s face was pinched with worry that she was letting down her side of their bargain, but Tina’s smile was loving so she just set to filling the kettle for tea.
‘Where’s all the ice cream?’ Angie asked.
‘I ate it,’ Tina said.
‘Mom?! What the hey?’
‘There was only a tiny bit of vanilla.’
‘I had mint choc chip in here.’
‘Oh yeah,’ said Tina. ‘Yeah, I ate a little tub of that too.’
Bette suppressed a laugh, but Angie’s face was pissed. She shut the freezer door sharply and went to the walk-in pantry.
‘You okay?’ Bette asked Tina in a low voice. She knew that Tina had a tendency to comfort-eat. And usually didn’t like mint choc chip at all.
‘I’m sorry that thing overran. They didn’t even get me up till nine-thirty.’
‘How’d it go?’
‘Fine.’ Bette observed Tina’s hands as she chopped up a carrot. ‘You have to be pretty stressed for mint choc chip.’
Tina laughed. ‘Relax, Porter. They were eating ice cream on the show, that’s all.’