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On Monday night, they watched the show as usual and then chatted about it as they got ready for bed. They both hated the Fake Marcus storyline, felt it was crass. Bette also had secondary concerns that Fake Angie a) was suddenly so unstable and b) felt a white tux was acceptable clothing.
‘What about us?’ Tina asked. She was sitting up in bed, applying hand cream, waiting for Bette.
‘Them,’ Bette corrected.
‘Okay, “them”. Are you for or against?’
Bette switched off the en suite light and walked to the bed, graceful as ever in beautiful black pyjamas with a teal fern pattern.
‘I’m for,’ she said, slipping between the sheets.
‘Eighth natural law of the universe: all Bettes want to be with all Tinas.’ She flashed her wife her best smile. Tina laughed. ‘See? There isn’t a fancy-ass artist alive who can compare with making you laugh.’
Tina looked down, moved, as she often was, by Bette’s sweetness.
‘What about you?’ Bette asked.
‘Adunno,’ Tina said, letting her gaze follow her fingertip as she ran it along the edge of Bette’s pyjama top, down into the V between her breasts.
Bette watched her. There was something in Tina’s voice. In the downward curve of her eyelashes. The set of her mouth. Tina deep inside herself, wandering the halls of her memories.
‘They’re not us, Tee.’
A tiny little laugh. ‘I know.’ Tina looked up. ‘I know,’ she said again, a little more sure-sounding. But the something was still there.
On Saturday night, the Peabodys were having one of Peggy’s intime soirées: nine or ten people for supper at the Gramercy penthouse. Bette and Tina had been to dozens of these and there was always an element of Russian roulette regarding fellow guests. Doctors and politicians, artists and athletes, industrialists and environmentalists – Peggy liked to mix it up, sitting at the head of the table, orchestrating her waiting staff to keep everyone’s glass topped off while the conversation spun and whirled around her. Since Marilyn had passed away, it was without doubt when she appeared most content. Bette and Tina never turned her down.
‘Bette, darling!’ Peggy shouted, as they were ushered in. ‘Tina! My God, you get more beautiful by the hour! Come in, come in . . .’