“You okay, Bette?” Sonny said leaning forward, touching her on the knee.
“What?” Bette shook herself, “Yeah, I’m fine, just thinking is all.”
“Ya’ll come in for supper now!” It was Tina standing in the doorway, accentuating her southern accent to be cute.
Bette turned in her chair and saw her standing in the frame of the doorway, her hair pulled back in a loose bun, her hands on her hips. Over her jeans and t-shirt she was wearing a blue gingham apron, identical to the one she kept at her place. Bette had bought one just like it to keep in her kitchen because she found Tina so adorably sexy when she wore it, and she hoped Tina would surprise her sometime and prepare a meal while wearing nothing else.
Bette gazed at her woman as she smiled back at her and Sonny. The light from the kitchen and dining room was backlighting her in the fading sunlight of the late October afternoon. Her eyes were bright, her skin shimmered; Bette recalled how many times she had thought Tina looked like an angel, but she had never resembled one as perfectly as she did now.
Tina giggled, “Well come on you two, gravy’s gonna settle and corn’s gonna cool. Get in here,” and she beckoned them with a small hand.
“Coming, sweetheart,” Bette smiled and Sonny helped her to her feet and into the house as Bette was still a little wobbly on her feet.
The supper was one of Tina’s finest. They sat at the dining room table, Bette at one end and Tina at the other, Sonny and Kit on one side, and Andy on the other, bookended by his teacher and his guardian. They talked and laughed and enjoyed the meal completely.
Bette found herself simply smiling and watching each person as they talked. She noticed the reactions on each individual’s face as Tina told a story from her childhood, when Sonny recounted an event as Sunset Boulevard, when Kit reminisced about her time living in Detroit trying to break into the recording business. She even told a few embarrassing stories about Bette when she was a little girl living in Philadelphia.
“And that girl would hound those poor boys for days,” Kit laughed, “And I’ll tell you what, there wasn’t a boy in that town who dared to try and stick a firecracker down an ant hole again…they’d be so afraid that Bette Porter would track them down and give them a beating for mistreating helpless creatures…you remember that, baby?” Kit was laughing and smiling at her sister.
Bette had been blushing from the last two stories Kit told on her, but this one wasn’t nearly as embarrassing. “Yes, sister, I remember. I think I even gave R.J. LaPenna a black eye and he couldn’t hold his head up after that…getting a black eye from a girl!” Bette laughed.
She looked down the table at Tina who was lovingly watching her, smiling softly. Their eyes locked and the room fell silent. Bette felt her heart swell with love and joy. Her family was together, she was loved, and she had the most beautiful woman in the world devoted to her.
“I think it’s sweet that you defended the helpless, Bette, even as a child. It’s proof that you have a good soul,” Tina said, and then she added, “Who wants cake? Red velvet, cream cheese frosting!”
“Me! Me!” Andy raised his hand as if he were in class and bounced up and down in his chair. He had already polished off a large slice of brisket, two ears of corn, a helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, a serving of green beans, and three biscuits.
“You got any room left?” Bette reached over and messed his hair.
“I love cake!” he exclaimed, and his dimpled face lit up.
“Well, I’m gonna burst, but I’ll find room for cake!” Kit laughed and started helping Tina clean the table. “Come on son, do your part,” she said to Andy, and the young boy obediently began to help clear the table.
“Well I guess we’re getting waited on all night,” Sonny smiled. “Think I’ll do the cleanup.”
“If she’ll let you in the kitchen,” Bette joked. She did feel badly that she wasn’t able to help.