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Tina’s eyes were clear now, her voice certain. Bette gave a small smile.
‘This is why you’re good at TV,’ she said.
‘I just think it should make sense! TV is the greatest, most influential, endlessly creative medium ever invented and–’ Bette’s eyebrow twitched, but Tina was having none of it. ‘Yes, it is! And I want to see a story well told, even when it’s political – no, especially when it’s political.’
Now Bette’s smile was huge. Pride surging in her chest.
‘So, c’mon, what about you?’ she asked, entwining her fingers with Tina’s. ‘What do you think Fake Bette will say?’
Tina took a deep breath in and let it go slowly. It made her nostrils flare a little. Sexy, thought Bette, but she told herself to concentrate.
‘I think they’ll get interrupted,’ Tina said. ‘That’s writing 101. So Fake Tina won’t get an answer at all.’
‘And if they aren’t interrupted?’
‘Oh, then I agree with you. She’ll dodge it. The master arc demands it.’
They looked at each other for a long moment, and then Bette asked: ‘And what’s the truth? Is she still in love with her?’
‘Ah, well . . .’ said Tina, uncrossing her legs and getting back under the bed sheet. ‘That’s only half the question. The other half is whether Fake Tina is still in love with Fake Bette. They both have a shot with other people now, so if they choose each other again . . . You have to wonder, why would they do that?’
Bette watched her wife settle on her left side, her head propped on her arm, looking alert and curious and completely delectable.
‘Well . . .’ Bette began, vaguely wondering with her brain whether sex was a possibility while her body told her not to be daft, it was almost midnight . . . ‘I think you’re right. Fake Bette could maybe come to terms with the fact that she wasn’t going to be with Tina any more, but . . . There’s something about that early relationship. It’s like a layer cake. In any bite you’re getting all these different things at the same time. So being with Fake Tina, for Fake Bette, is being able to experience past, present and future simultaneously. She doesn’t have that with anyone else.’
Tina gazed up at Bette. At the regal curve of her high forehead, the sculptural leanness of her cheekbones, the adorable childlike stubbornness that set in her chin sometimes. How well she knew this face. The weather that passed through it, as clear as a pane of glass.
‘I love you,’ she said now, moving closer. Bette slid down the bed, her arms going around Tina. ‘And I’m in love with you.’ She kissed Bette’s chest, where it was bare in the V of her blue silk pyjama top. ‘And I love layer cake too.’ Bette’s tummy vibrated with a chuckle.
‘I hope they get their shit together,’ she said, running her hand through Tina’s hair, letting the silky strands flow over her fingers.
A moment passed. Tina’s breathing started to deepen. The fucking light was still on. Bette laid her cheek against Tina’s head.
‘I know,’ sighed Tina, and with a huge effort she rolled over, got the light and then rolled back again, slotting into her usual front-facing cuddle, legs entwined, head on Bette’s shoulder. Bette inhaled slowly and let her mind go blissfully blank. Like a TV switched off.