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Tina took all of this in in an instant, appreciated all of it. This woman a vision of subtle swagger and elegance that Tina would always, always move heaven and earth to watch enter a room.
Bette. Her love, her life.
Then that moment . . . Bette’s dark eyes found Tina’s and locked there. And the smile. If the designers of the Pierre thought they had a chandelier worth a damn, they were wrong, because only now did the room light up. That smile, that million-dollar smile. Her breath caught in her chest.
‘Well, hello,’ Bette said, arriving in front of Tina and looking down at her from all of her six-foot-one height.
‘Hi,’ said Tina, her eyes swimming with joy.
Bette held out her hand and drew Tina to her feet and then closer for a soft kiss.
‘Is it okay I kidnapped you?’ she asked.
‘You seemed a little flat this morning and . . . It’s been a while for me.’
Bette held her arms out, displaying herself. Tina laughed. It was true that Bette rarely got glammed up any more. It just wasn’t important or relevant to her. And yet her power was undimmed. Several guests had literally frozen to the spot when she walked by. Bette Porter, in heels and full make-up, did that to people.
‘You’re stunning,’ Tina said.
A shy smile made Bette lower her eyes, but then she gathered Tina’s hands in hers and said, ‘Tonight is all about you.’
They kissed again and then Bette turned and went over to the concierge. Tina hung back, admiring her wife’s ass and then soaking up the opulent surroundings until she heard her name. Walking towards the elevators, hand in hand, something occurred to her.
‘Where’s your bag?’
‘In the room.’
‘You checked in already?’
‘Mhmm. Then I went back outside and waited along the block till I saw you arrive, so I could be sure you’d see me walk in.’
Tina’s jaw fell. Bette laughed heartily.
‘It’s terrifying how well you know me,’ Tina said.
‘Did you like the M&M?’
‘Of course I did.’
Tina nudged Bette’s arm playfully. Bette gave her a sideways look, sly and self-satisfied, that promised there was more to come . . . Much, much more to come.