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“Yeah. I was expecting you to be home. I fell asleep though.”
Bette stroked Tina’s soft blonde hair. “I was with Carmen. Not ‘with’ her. She and I drove around the city for a while. We got hot dogs at Pinks. Talked a lot. Her flight was this morning. Her driver dropped me at home after I saw her off at the airport.”
“Did you kiss her again?” asked Tina.
“No, Baby. No. I didn’t. She was just being a good friend. A great friend. She refused to let me drink. Even though I begged her and yelled at her.”
“You did?” asked Tina.
“I did. It wasn’t one of my prouder moments. I was devastated. I felt out of my own skin. All I wanted to do was escape. To Carmen, to alcohol, to coke. Anything to not feel what I was feeling. I kept seeing you with him.”
“It was all part of the plan,” said Tina.
Bette replied, “I’m sorry I thought the worst of you.”
Tina sighed. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the truth. From the very beginning.”
“Why didn’t you, T?” There was no anger in Bette’s voice, only curiosity.
“At first it didn’t really matter. I didn’t realize how fast I would fall for you. I mean, I have an open marriage. Sometimes, when I tell people, it freaks them out.”
Bette was still stroking her hair. “But I told you about Sidney.”
“You did. But Sidney is a woman. I was worried you wouldn’t want to be with me if you knew I was still married to a guy.”
“Nothing would have kept me from you,” said Bette.
“I didn’t realize that then.”
“Do you know it now?” asked Bette.
Bette swallowed over the lump in her throat. The words came easy, though their weight was heavy. “I have to stop running when I get anxious. When I get scared, I just want to run away. I want to escape. I ran out of her tonight like a crazy person. I can’t keep doing that.”
Tina paused before she said softly, “I know.”