The L Word : Behind the Scenes

The L Word Bette Porter Tina Kennard


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A Date With Myself

Tina_Aaron_ movie studio

A Date with Myself – Tina Kennard L Word

Shaolin Studios – Tina – 8 AM

Today is script day and my whole morning is blocked off to read Jenny’s book chapters for any possibility her Les Girls could adapt to a movie. It’s one thing that Aaron wants me to option it and sure, I’ll get Jenny an agent and they can call me and I’ll say the same thing I say to any first time author: Here’s our deal. Think about it and let me know if you want to sign a one-year contract with an option to renew.

But aside from all the boilerplate here’s our deal take it or leave it stuff, I still need to know if Jenny’s story can play On Screen. Another job I have that Aaron keeps neglecting to mention. I’m Head of Development and I’m also Director of Creative. It irritates me he does this, drops one of my executive titles when introducing me. Even though it’s not personal it’s irritating and demeaning. His vision simply stops a foot out from his face. He’s focused but myopic. and today as Studio Chief he’s told me he wants my read on Jenny’s project by three o’clock. Admittedly, I’m curious.

As I open the door to my office, in my arms is a fully in bloom tiger’s eye yellow speckled orchid. For hours each day, soft northeastern light comes through my office window. This will be a spot of beauty and I can look at it and feel good. At least that’s my hope.

I’d passed this particular gangly looking orchid a few times at the market last week. Even thought of it later when I was back at my apartment. It was then that I had wished for something alive and beautiful and unexpected to be there with me. And another awareness I don’t ever recall feeling quite so deeply: Why do little things now seem so big?

Magnification.

Part of my problem these past few weeks is that I’m awake far too early every single fucking morning. I find at 5 AM my rooms are too still, and if Angelica’s at Bette’s overnight it’s impossible for me to fall back asleep. An hour passes and by 6 AM my mind has travelled into every room and inside all my closets, even my refrigerator and found them all far too singular in emptiness.

Tina_Sheets_in bed CU

When Angie’s gone, I’ve wondered what they do together on the nights that Bette has her. What we do is talk about Mama B playing the game with us, or how Bette reads that funny part of the children’s book when it’s time for the friendly ghost to pop out and say, “Boo!” Apparently Bette does this part far better than I do, so I’m trying to learn.

Lately, we’ve been calling Bette before bedtime, and the times she’s not been home I’ve been tempted to open up her Outlook calendar to see where she is. I know her password. It’s my birthday.

It would have occurred to her, of course to change her password. But where she keeps her spare house and car keys, her thousand dollars of just in case earthquake money, is likely just the way it was. In all those ways she still trusts me.

Other things have come to me to while lying alone hour after hour every morning. I’m finally getting an inkling of what her long stares at the ceiling must be like. I’ve been logging hours and hours of these myself lately. She was always our worrier. Now both of us are, I suspect.

After making love or when she’s fed up with an annoying editorial in the paper are the times I can always count on her eyes heading for the ceiling to dream or wonder about something that’s bothering her. It gave me a lot freedom to nestle against her with my own undisturbed thoughts. Once entranced, Bette would lie nearly still until the “Eureka!” moment hit her, or I stirred her to pay attention to me again. It was a rhythm she had and thinking things through far up in the air was what she did and it never bothered me at all. It’s my thoughts when I’m alone now that I really don’t like.

Noon

I have two words for this story of Jenny’s: Fuck You. Now, for the remaining thoughts: Cultural upheaval if this ever gets made, and Bette’s going to blow a fucking gasket. I can’t believe I told her where to find a copy of Jenny’s book. I’m such a fucking idiot.

I lock my office door and head over to the studio canteen for lunch. I don’t know if Jenny’s actually still crazy, or she just doesn’t give a flying fuck, but Nina/Tina and Bev/Bette are far too close for comfort. I can’t imagine any sane writer would rip off of her neighbor’s lives and then barely disguise their names. And now the fucking thing is on my desk to make it for a worldwide audience? In what universe does this happen? What other studio executive is ever offered a movie deal to turn their most intimate private moments, their worst most degrading and fucking awful behaviors, into a movie? Me!

Unbelievable.

Aaron’s going to want me to make this deal, and he’s probably right. The story has potential, but it could also die on the shelf. It all comes down to who gets attached, another one of my jobs.

Let’s say the remarkable happens – a great looking star appears, and suddenly we have an A List actor to play one of the lesbians. A real leap right there! It’s a tricky, tricky acting role. If the director is bad, you as an actor are screwed. When dailies come back, and it’s clear a director is bombing then budgets get slashed and any artistry you brought to your sex scenes gets lost in the budget slashed editing.

They’re two ways the film editing can go if the studio decides to cut it fast and get it out the door. For an actor, your sex scenes get cut so they’re pornographic and then, it’s straight to a NC 17 DVD. A star doesn’t want that and a producer doesn’t want that, so, I’ll dream the fantastic. Let’s say this goes into production, and depending on what kind of influence I can keep over the creative, I may be able to scramble the names and places around where no one is the wiser, and the story never points to me.

Except Jenny will know.

Chances are once her agents see what a maniac she is they’ll drop her if she doesn’t go along and cooperate with me, and the Studio. That will leave her broke, and flopping like a fish. Then, I scoop her up, dry her tears and Bev and Nina become Carol and Suzanne for all I care. Just anything except me and Bette as Bev and Nina. Anything.

On second thought, if Les Girls takes two or three turns for the worse once it gets underway then of course Bette will have to kill her. There‘s no way she’s going to take all this exposure, and creepy personal invasiveness lying down. In other words, the ceiling will not be consulted in one of her long pensive stares. She’ll just beat Jenny’s door down, and then it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.

I smile to myself at the thought. I’m certain I can find the stomach to do to some forceful underhanded maneuvering on my own with Jenny. Given the blowback and consequences, I don’t see any other options. None of this will be easy, but maybe it is time for a great lesbian themed movie – just not starring an ersatz of me at my worst moments.

At the backlot canteen I order my lunch. “I’ll take the lamb and rice with vegetables. Thank you.” I swipe my studio credit card and take my number over to the tables in the shade. There are two types of people in Los Angeles. The Sun People who sit and stand in it no matter how direct or devoid of any ozone to keep it from baking flesh into cancer, and those of us who like the shade, but still sit with our sunglasses on. Because sunglasses are LA and that’s just a given.

After lunch I head back to my office to write up my Les Girls development ideas for Aaron. God, I wonder if the Yoga studio has a break between 1 and 1:30? Would they let me take a quick power nap on one of their mats? I’m so drowsy from lack of sleep, and a belly full of rice and lamb I could easily doze off right now.

I do miss sleeping well. Angie’s gone at Bette’s again tonight, and I wish sometimes she would ask me to be with them. Maybe I should ask her? I don’t know anymore. Are we waiting for something to happen that makes the air around us clean and clear again? Or are we just waiting for all the mines to go off and come to an agreement to not plant anymore? I don’t know. We’ve become like every other couple on the edge of destruction – wary, more self aware, but each more doubtful, and easily spooked. I could see it in her eyes – as Henry disappeared in her rear view mirror – the jealous burning anger she once had is now behind her, and fading fast.

Why that bothers me is no doubt pathetic.

A hundred years ago I could’ve imagined her seizing any number of violent solutions to getting rid of Henry, or Helena for that matter. In my imaginary high camp film version, I see Bette as the cross dressing intellectual, but spiteful, George Sand, appearing in a long dark duster coat on the main street of Tombstone. Darkly motivated, she waits under the bell tower, her pistols shiny and loaded for Henry. I smile at the thought. Then, Aaron interrupts my reverie.

Tina_dragonBlackBlouse

Tina’s Apartment – 9 pm

I’ve never lived in a cleaner place in my life. With all my close friend’s lives in their odd orbits, Shane spending time with her brother doing kid things; Alice obsessed with a curious character named, Papi; Kit inconsolable over Angus’ infidelity, and Helena prepping for a catering job – I’m alone during another evening. There are no more floors to vacuum and scrub, or laundry to fold.

My long night looming ahead of me, so, what now? I’ve never been this way, fidgety, bored, and lonely. I pour a glass of wine and remember I have the watercolors Bette painted of me and Angelica. No one comes here very much. Certainly just close friends. Perhaps I can put the watercolors on my wall. I slip them out of their folder. They are so beautiful.

Oh, this is one I hadn’t seen before. How did I miss the one of me lying half asleep, my breast slipped out my blouse to nurse? Bette did love that with me.

I lean back in the chair and unzip my jeans. Surely I can go there and give myself some relief and then another glass of wine and hopefully sleep tonight. I look down at the painting. It was exquisite the feeling – her sucking my milk. I remember her tongue as she coaxed it out of me. I lick my fingers and find myself. I take a long sip of wine. I feel it warm around my tongue. I remember hers circling me and circling me. I feel myself growing wet at the fantasy.

I close my eyes and image Bette’s tongue licking my breasts to flow more milk to her lips. Her fingers are my fingers circling and pressing against me, arousing me to make love with her.

This is good. I can work with this.

I look at the painting in my lap of how she imagined me back then: Sensual, sometimes waiting on her, wanting her mouth on my breasts – hungry. There was no question her sucking my milk while fucking me was mind altering – and confusing – but so, so ancient a feeling, too. We were swept away by it sometimes. I feel it almost like a color of light, and then very clearly now I can recall – the sounds of us together, and me wanting her. I moan softly and sigh, as I begin to feel better and no longer alone.

When her suckling from me first began, I was sleepy with breastfeeding hormones. I knew she wanted more of me but taking her to my breast was erotic for us, and certainly was easier on me. I was so exhausted back then, and lazy feeling really. Like now. I just want to lie back and feel more and more spirals of pleasure as I circle my clitoris over and over in the perfect way. I sip more wine. This is good. Better than good, a very welcome tide me over.

I take a different painting out of the envelope. This one is of the baby and me but from an angle where Bette must have sat nearly at my knees to paint me. I remember the feeling of Angelica and then Bette sucking on me. Again, I feel how at first I was so startled – even guilty about how much I wanted her to fuck me while she did it, too. Hmmm. I need to arrange some things here.

I pull my pants up and go into my bedroom with my wine and props. I undress and look in my bedside table for the vibrator Alice swore up and down that I had to buy for myself. So I did. But I have really no idea how to use it. I’m annoyed suddenly that this is what I have to do. Batteries check they’re in there right. Alice swears by this model because once turned on the skin begins to heat up. It’s true, it does. Not too creepy. Okay, I’m ready. I put the lubricant on. Inside she goes.

Back to the painting of just me as I close my eyes, I can see her waiting and panting over me. God! That animal look sometimes in her eyes. Hang on a second. This thing’s vibrating too fast, that’s not Bette. Goddammit. I don’t know how to work it!

I hit a different control button to slow it down. Alright, much better where was I? Oh yes, getting ready to get really fucked.

Bette_Tina Both Tongues

I feel her curls in my hands as she comes inside me. Always the same way, straight in as far as she wants to go, and then there for awhile before a dance a little lower. I want her tongue in my mouth. I squeeze my eyes shut to imagine it. Sometimes only part of it she gives me until I suck on it for more, and fills my mouth and I’m always surprised by it.

God, and her tongue fucks me, too. No one else does that to me and I swear to God I don’t know how she does it either. It feels like a very twisting, very curious, very fulfilling piece of muscle inside me. But how does she breathe? I never thought of that.

I move the vibrator back and forth to mimic Bette’s tongue probing inside me. Christ! Am I dripping all down into the sheets? Fuck. I don’t care. Here’s a very good spot. I rock back and forth with the vibrator. I could come if I wanted to speed things up. No, I’ve got hours before I can fall asleep.

Where do I want to be with her? When was the first time she ever did that to me? Now, I remember. It was at her friend’s vineyard in that beautiful bedroom upstairs. I’ve always wanted to go back there again.

Tina_Bette_Lovemaking

It hadn’t been late when we had said goodnight to our hosts, and climbed the stairs to “catch up on some reading and emails,” we had said as we went up to bed early. She’d undressed me immediately, and then bare herself she was on top of me. I remember how my heart and my body opened to her. We were so in love and the sex between us was still changing, as we fell deeper with more wanting to connect in every way we could.

First, her kisses on me went everywhere, before I captured her lips for a while as she slid into me and I felt her body warm and muscled press me deeper and deeper under her as she made love to me. The wine we had with dinner had softened my thoughts. They came slowly, and then left, as all I felt was her inside me and my mouth overtaken by hers.

I thought I was going to lose my control and come too early, but not with this watchful lover. Slowly she slipped her fingers out of me, and then she kissed me all down by body, until her tongue began to lick and tease me from inside.

I remember the feeling of pleasure and I remember the feeling – this can’t possibly be. She had pulled my waist up to arch my back for her. I push my vibrator deep inside me to hold the feeling of her. There’s no way to recreate the twisting inner licking that drove me fucking wild. It was that night that may have been the most intimate I’d ever felt with another lover – the ultimate of being opened, tasted, and so deeply known. I spread my legs to take myself back there.

I love her I realize. I love her still. I know I do. The pleasure is so intense. I know it’s almost over. I move my fingers faster against my clitoris. Her fingers always so perfect at knowing my speed and my pleasures and my beginnings and now… I fall back and begin to come and shudder and hold it until it begins to finally fade away.

My phone rings in the other room. The ringtone tells me it’s her calling. I rub my face and walk to the other room with my vibrator in my hands, I answer the call from Bette.

“Tina, I bought Jenny’s “Les Girls”.” I hear a page snap on the other end of the phone. “Just tell me one thing: What the fuck?”

___________

Up next – Story #22. The Thirteenth Floor        http://wp.me/p4AUvc-3Z

Bette has spooky thoughts about taking revenge on Jenny.

Writer’s like comments. Drop one if you have a thought for me.

Bette Porter L Word, Tina Kennard L Word, Bette Porter Tina Kennard, Tina Kennard Bette Porter, Jennifer Beals L Word, Laurel Holloman L Word, L Word, #betteporter, #tinakennard, #theLWord

 


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Tongue Tales – Bette Porter The L Word

GRT CU Bette

 

Tongue Tales

James brought me a Caesar salad before he left for a few hours to take his mother to her doctor’s appointment. James is a dutiful son and I’d been so fucking lost without him. My office door is closed and our phones James transferred over to voice mail. I hear only a few people in the hallway. In the middle of the day I’ve noticed everything slows down in my building. I like it. A time to relax.

Every morning I realize more and more how much I enjoy coming to work here. I like the research I do at night to prepare for my lectures. I like the students for the most part. I had a long, hard talk with my tongue late last night. I believe we are in accord and have sworn off Co Eds, as cute and firm bodied as most of them are. My plan to carve out a little alone time during lunch today is a welcome repast.

The unhealed scratches on my back itch. I rub against my chair, enjoy my salad, and look over a few art journals. In particular, the reviews of Jodie Lerner’s latest work I’m interested in. She arrives soon as a new star in my art department. I want to know everything there is to know about her. I certainly would want the same courtesy.

I open the folder James prepared for me. She has a gift for placing her found objects to create an unsettling visual tension for the observer. I look more closely at a series of photographs of her welding and screwing together these massive metal works. Welding. That looks like something I would enjoy.

“Hello, Phyllis.” I snap my head from my reverie, as she marches in unannounced.

“Hello, Bette. Do you have a minute? Of course, you do. I’m the Vice Chancellor and you’re my Dean. I need to talk to you.” Phyllis settles in for what looks to be a long conversation. One I wish would happen another day, another time, another place than this one. I’m trapped.

“So, I had Lesbian Sushi with Alice.” She winks at me. I choke a little on my food. I drink a long sip of iced tea.

“Phyllis, excuse me, I thought you wanted to talk about work.”

“No, this is lunchtime, Bette. Take a break.” Phyllis insists. “You work too hard.” She nods approvingly at me. I sigh. I take another bite of my Caesar that’s beginning to lose its tangy taste.

Phyllis leans across my desk, and in a serious tone says, “Bette, I need to know everything. How do you give a woman multiple orgasms?”

I blink several times at her then, I begin to laugh. “This sexual counseling you’re after is not, absolutely NOT, in my job description.” I wave my fork at her, “We’re not having this conversation.” I flip through the pages of the Smithsonian Art Journal Quarterly.

Phyllis digs in, “Bette, this is really unkind and unexpected coming from you. I thought you’d be welcoming me into, The Sisterhood, or whatever you all call it.”

“I don’t know if we call “It” anything, Phyllis,” I dismiss her. “But I’m glad you had a good time.”

“See, I knew you’d come around. That’s just it! I did have a good time, but tonight I want to have an even better one!” Phyllis leans back in her chair and waits for my directions on how to pull off multiple orgasms. I should tell her it’s all in the jaw, but I won’t.

“Seriously? Phyllis? No. I refuse.”

She fixes me with an unnerving stare. “Listen, Bette, I don’t have anyone else to talk to and Alice told me so much about you.” Phyllis emphasizes her last few words insinuating the nature of their pillow talk.

I feel my temperature rise, a throb begins in my neck. Alice is absolutely a Kiss and Tell. She’s seen me there. Goddammit! What time is it? One fifteen. I could get across to the east side, kill Alice, and be back in time for my three o’clock Modernism lecture. I’m distracted from my plotting, when Phyllis’ voice bites through.

“Bette, quit holding out on me. Tell me how you’d give a woman multiple orgasms. I’ve never had an orgasm in my whole life that went on so long, and then started all over again.” Phyllis looks swept away suddenly by the memory. She shivers with delight. I sigh deeply, I remember this place. I stir my salad around stalling.

“Phyllis, maybe if you left for an hour and then came back, maybe in a week or two, I’d have time to think about it.”

“Bette, I don’t have weeks! I’ve got to know, now!” Phyllis insists and then sighs, “I’m seeing Alice again tonight.”

Why isn’t my phone ringing? Are all the world’s plaguing interruptions suddenly on a fucking lunch break? I shake my head, my eyes back on my salad again.

“Bette, being tongue tied is so not the way Alice describes you.” Phyllis crosses her arms satisfied. “She says you’re an expert tongue twister, and can do anything. So! Illuminate me!”

I ignore her. I’m furious with Alice. Furious with Alice!

“Bette? Why don’t you like sex toys? Alice says that’s probably the reason you two broke up.”

I pinch the bridge of my nose, and look up at the ceiling hoping for a sudden escape. There’s no emergency ladder descending. No rope dropping down from the skies that I could strangle Phyllis with and then hang myself. I squint my eyes shut as I hear pencils and pens rattle as Phyllis disturbs them on my desk. Her fidgeting I hope a prelude to her timely exit. My eyes fly open as I feel my ruler press against my hand.

“That’s it! You don’t need any. Look how long your fingers are.” She stares at me in wonderment.

I glare at her incensed and swat Phyllis and my ruler away. “Phyllis! Goddammit! How would you like it if I measured parts of you?”

“Put credit where credit is due, I always say.” Phyllis sets my ruler back into the cup. She studies my face. “Bette, don’t go all Third Wave post modern on me.”

She points to my lips and brushes against her own.

“What?” I wipe my mouth with my napkin for any salad leaves if that’s what she’s talking about.

“Just up front there, a tiny bit on your tooth.” She points at her own. I take a sip of green tea and hope that washes whatever it is away. For the love of God when is Phyllis going to leave my office?

“Nope still there. Look.” Phyllis take her tongue and sweeps it back and forth across her teeth. Like an idiot, I mimic her, and as I do she peers at me carefully.

“Just as Alice described it. Your tongue, it’s huge, isn’t it?”

“Phyllis!” I stand up and in two steps I’m holding open my door. “Go online for Christ sake! I’m sure there’s something up there. YouTube “lesbians” or something! But not in here.”

“I’m really impressed, but also astonished, Bette.” Phyllis looks me up and down. “Who knew my known universe of Higher Ed could be so lacking in sex education?”

I shut the door behind her and lean against it. Alice is dead. So, fucking dead.

I look in my compact mirror to see if there really is any salad remaining, or if that were all a ruse I fell for. I run my tongue along my teeth. It does come to a very fine point at its end, if I contract it just so.

I flop it out of my mouth and look at it in the mirror. It’s true. My tongue is uncommonly large and well muscled. I must keep it fit. With training it probably would have made me a good singer. It can create a good strong whistle, it assists me in lambasting stupid, incompetent people, and sometimes those I love. It has a discerning taste for the peculiarities and differences of olives for example, or aged cheeses and oaky wines.  And yes, it could have told Phyllis everything there is to know about a woman, but I’m not about to.

Bette_sideways look

My first teacher,  Dannika, flashes across my mind. I haven’t thought of her in years and years. In bed I had called her, Danny. It fit. She was the lover who taught me how a tongue could dance, and made me realize I was a natural. I really do like to lick. I’ve always been this way.

Some people want to look at things first. Size them up and walk around them in as tight or as wide a circle as they can. I do that, absolutely. But my first inclination is for a scent and a taste and by the time I’ve walked around a problem or a thing I’ve gotten a taste of the air and more of its whole picture. But with a lover the dance is what it’s all about for me. And that, Danny taught me, is where my tongue comes in.

I’m not overly orchestrated lover.  I roll my tongue out again for another look. It’s a big fat muscle in my mouth, isn’t it? That picks up and sends signals. I wonder how the Senator’s doing?

I put down the mirror and take a sip of tea to wet my tongue after lolling it around in the breeze. I should text her. I stare at my iPhone. A bad, a very bad idea. And what? Send her a Selfie? No, Barbara was fun. She came, she went, she came about a hundred times more and then she kissed me on the lips, closed the door to her limo, and was gone.

The long red marks the Senator left on me recently begin to itch. I scratch my back against my chair again. Kissing. Lots of kissing. That was a completely different teacher. My kissing instructor was Stephanie, a very sexy, very bossy New York girl who really, dammit, she did break my heart! That was so long ago. But she had lips that could tell spellbinding stories for hours. She’s the one who taught me “the mind takes flight” lip rolling kiss that Tina is just so fucking perfect at doing with me. My tongue twitches and wants. I give it some tea. Unsatisfying. She hasn’t called me yet today. Maybe this is how we begin to be nicer – hardly talking.

A few nights ago when she stayed ostensibly on the couch, but came to bed I suspect around midnight. I had felt my desire for her. But there was nothing to be done about it. There was no sweet rolling over into her arms and kissing to stir her to lovemaking. There wasn’t a chance in hell either of us were in the mood for a reuniting fuck. No, that night and I guess for the foreseeable future we’re Co-Moms and friends. I’ll get used to it, I guess. Just thinking about her makes me pissed off and horny. Fucking Tina.

I put my mirror and compact away. There was never any romaine lettuce, Phyllis. I look back through the art journals on my desk. As a lover I was pretty good right out of the gate. I needed some on-the-track training. I needed grooming and got it from my lusty trainers but the one who had a tongue nearly as big as mine was an Australian woman I met on a flight to Chicago. Problem was we never got there.

O’Hare’s VFR was dangerously socked in from bad weather and after a bottle of decent airplane wine and a long conversation I was grateful for I began to pick up little signals from her as our pilot announced we were making our way down to St. Louis for the night instead.

I’ve had my share of one night stands. I don’t think there’s a damn thing wrong with them and I’ll argue that point with anyone. They serve a very important purpose other than wiling away time during a layover. They get you out of your comfort zone and make you dare a little. Or a lot. And the Australian, what was her name? Damn, I’m bad with names today. Maybe I should eat more protein. Christine! That was her name. I had no idea what I was in for as we rose up in the groaning brass elevator cage to our room.  She unlocked a door to a suite, and out came her fantastic tongue.

Everyone I suppose has a best feature. It may be they have beautiful eyes. Take Liz Taylor. Hers were purple which just tells me she didn’t have a chance at being normal. It could be a fantastic smile they have that can break apart any foul mood and nearly any sadness. Or in Christine’s and mine’s case – it could be our tongues.

I’ve only had about six, maybe seven women that really didn’t like as much licking as I’m in the mood for. If there’s no clock on me and it’s a languid, lazy fuck all afternoon type of feeling ahead of me my tongue can occupy itself for hours. But Christine had showed me something very interesting. How wine can be tasted the same as a woman but better still: How to fuck with my tongue. Yeah, I miss that. Someone who annoys me a lot lately used to love it, too.

I think of how to phrase it in a text to Tina to snap her out of her insolence. The display screen remains blank. It’s impossible, indescribable what I really want. I put my phone away and snap my salad container shut. I’m even hungrier now. I hear James return back to his desk. My watch reads 2:20. My intercom beeps. I hear James’s voice. “Bette, Jodie Lerner and Tom, her interpreter, are here to see you.”

I walk around my desk and extend my hand as they walk in the door. Jodie takes my hand first. Hers is calloused and strong. Tom’s hand is next, softer. I motion for them to sit.

“Please come in. It’s so nice to meet you.” I smile genuinely at her.

“I’m Tom. Just talk directly to her. She wants to read your lips and I’ll sign.

“I nod at him and say to them both, “I understand.” I walk back toward my desk. “I was just looking at the photos of your work. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’ll be doing here in your studio. Perhaps, I can come by soon?” I say and hear Tom repeat my words exactly.

Jodie speaks and Tom signs for her. “Come by in a few days I might have something to show you. But I warn you, I don’t like interruptions.”

My laugh is uncomfortable. Good, she can’t hear it. “I’ll do my best to temper my inquisitive nature. Will you sit down?”

“No, I need to be outside in the sun today. I’ll work tonight when the moon’s out, I think.” She looks at Tom and shrugs, “Maybe.”

“Well, okay.” I exhale at her time table’s relationship to my work day. “Thank you so much for coming by.” I sit back down at my desk. “I’ll see you later in the week then.”

Tom says, “Aren’t you coming to Chancellor Kroll’s party in a few days?” Jodie and I look at him puzzled. James scoots back from his desk and appears inside my doorway.

“Bette, the Founder’s event? The cocktail party on Thursday? It’s on your calendar.” James adds.

Jodie makes a peculiar face and shrugs her shoulders.

Both James and Tom say, “You both have to go.”

“Well, I’ll see you then, I suppose.” I walk across the room to shake her hand. Again the callouses and this time a feeling that her ring finger is crooked and once was probably broken.

Shane_Sweatshirt_talking.Alice_silohoutte

The Planet – 6:30 pm – Bette

Kit confirmed with me ten minutes ago that Alice was here having a drink with Shane. Tina is supposed to exchange Angelica with me around 7 pm and The Planet seemed like as a good neutral ground as any, plus I’ve remained hungry since lunch, and I have to murder Alice. I see her at a table showing Shane something on her phone. They laugh. Alice sees me. She waves. Like hell you will, Alice.

Alice and I have been friends for many years now. Yes, we dated for a little while. No, it wasn’t a break up over sex toys. But because of Alice’s propensities toward some really outrageous stuff it all felt silly to me. If I’d wanted something more, something more emotional with her the stuff she’d pull out of her bedside table kept me and the places I like to go at a distance. I’m not a prude. People can scramble omelets on top of each other if that’s what they want to do. Just give me an hour, hold the eggs and nipple clamps, and I’ll be fine.

“Alice.” I bear my stare down on her. “This business with Phyllis has got to stop! What on earth did you tell her about me?”

“Oh my God! She’s so inquisitive and she’ll try anything!”

“Alice, do you understand that I work with Phyllis? That she put me personally in charge of a huge responsibility? To create and fund a whole university department? A whole school within a school?”

“And it would appear you’re doing very well at it, too, Dean Porter. The Governator was here giving you an award. And so was a certain very sexy, Senator. Word has it you two have become close?”

“Bette’s single, Alice. Cut her a break.” Shane defends me.

“And Shane makes my point! I’m single, Phyllis is single. What’s the problem?” Alice brushes me off and returns to her phone and drink.

“Alice, Phyllis is not single! Her husband lives up north at Stanford.”

“Bette, he seems like a has-been husband. And for years.”

Bette_Planet Jpeg

“Goddammit! Alice that is not the fucking point. Where Leonard Kroll lives, or even if he dies tomorrow is not the point!” I shout at her and several people near us turn to look and then look away as I glare back at them to mind their own fucking business.

I lower my voice to a poisonous whisper, “Alice, listen to me and listen closely. Phyllis came into my office today and wanted sex tips on multiple orgasms. Then, when I refused she snuck up on me and measured my fingers for Christ sake!”

“Oh, that sounds bad, but I admit, kinda good for you, Alice.” Shane says. Then when I glare at her, she adds, “But maybe not so much the fucking finger measuring thing.” Shane shakes her head sadly at me.

“Over the line!” I tap my fingers on the table for Alice’s attention again. “Alice, I realize that after your spin down about Dana on the radio, after your yapping about and outing famous people here and there that you think all this is comical, and that you think you live in some kind of a “Sexual Salad Bar” world, so you feel free to dish up endless quantities of chopped up people’s lives and feed on them. But it’s a fucking sickness of yours, Alice!” I smack my hand down on the table. She jumps.

“And don’t you ever Goddamn do it to me again!”

“Okay, okay, okay! I got it, no more ‘tongue tales’ about Bette.” Alices agrees, as I groan and close my eyes in pain. Shane laughs a little. I open one eye and stare at her. She looks away and back at Alice.

Tina arrives with the baby. “What’s going on?” Tina asks confused at our odd demeanor.
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“Long day. How was yours?” I ask Tina as I take the sleepy baby.

“She had a late nap today. Sorry.” Tina hands me Bunny.

Alice brightens as a change of subject hits her. “I heard a rumor that Jenny’s book, Les Girls, is getting some attention around town. Maybe a film in development deal?”

“Wow, Jenny would love that!” Shane leans in to hear more.

“Have you read it?” Tina asks me.

“Where would I read such a thing?” I ask shocked.

“The New Yorker magazine is serializing it.” Tina answers.

“Guys. I hate to tell you, but the whole fucking thing is about us.” Alice shakes her head as she delivers the news.

 

The next chapter is titled, A Date with Myself –http://wp.me/p4AUvc-3G. Tina accustomed to a busy social life with Bette feels lonely and stressed when her friends are engaged with other pursuits and she finds herself restless as she spends another evening alone in her apartment.

Writer’s like comments. Drop one if you have a thought for me.

Laurel Holloman, Tina Kennard L Word, Jennifer Beals, Bette Porter L Word, L Word Tina Kennard Bette Porter, L Word Bette Porter Tina Kennard

 


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Sanctuary – Bette Porter Tina Kennard L Word

 

Tina Chin Crinkle emotion

Sanctuary

Bette’s House – Monday Morning – Tina

It feels odd having my coffee out here alone on the deck. But I don’t think it’s right for me to crawl back in bed next to her as if nothing has happened. No one in this house has amnesia. We may have other illnesses like a fucking sexually transmitted one, but amnesia we don’t have but possibly should.

A hummingbird hovers a few feet from me. She dips in and around the Hibiscus bush full of red blossoms as big as grapefruit. Bette loves these flowers even though they have no scent and attract hundreds of insects. She appreciates them she told me in the same way she loves older women who wear enormous broaches to High Tea at The Peninsula Hotel. I used to see us growing old together. Now, I don’t know. I hear her high heels come into the kitchen.

“How’d you sleep?” She asks through the door as she makes a bowl of fruit and yogurt.

“Fine. It was probably my imagination.” I answer back dismissively.

I don’t know which one of us opened our eyes first this morning to the waking light of reality that I had slept next to her all night long. I wish for a moment that the clock once again would read: 6:58 and I could have those two minutes back of warmth with her asleep and our breathing together.

My nights after work feel empty and unsettling. For the first time in years and years I’m not in a relationship. When I lived here I kept our calendar and it was always busy. The hummingbird hovers right in front of me then zooms away.

I see Bette through the open French doors. The back of her dress is partially unzipped. She does that sometimes, just forgets her mind suddenly on another thing in the morning.

I walk into the kitchen laughing. “Bette, do you want me to zip you up? You don’t want to go into work like this!”

She turns away from me and tries to do it herself but not before I see her scratches.

“I should wear a jacket today.” She walks away eating her yogurt.

“What happened to you? Those look bad and red, Bette.”