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‘It’s . . . is this a golf course?’
Bette leaned forward in the driving seat, craning to see the view up ahead to her right. Tina leaned back obligingly. The Lexus slowed to take a turning. In the back seat Angie and Rocco exchanged a glance.
‘She sent us to a golf course?’ Bette asked, equals parts disgusted and mystified.
‘I think it looks nice,’ Tina said.
Bette looked unconvinced but they were on a single-track, circular driveway and it seemed resistance was futile: Bette Porter was going to eat dinner at a golf-course restaurant on a Saturday night and that was that.
‘Dear God . . .’ Tina heard her mutter as they parked up and undid their seat belts.
‘Aunt Helena told you it was good, Mom,’ Angie said.
Bette gave a sceptical-sounding grunt, but soon she was following the others along an immaculately landscaped path, past a ‘sculpture’ of a blue pig and towards the oversized pinewood door that was the entrance to Cork Fire Kitchen.
While they waited in the reception area, Tina could not take her eyes off Angie. She looked so grown-up in skinny light-blue jeans, a dove-grey tee-shirt and a tailored black jacket. The ever-present Yeezys and a peace-sign pendant kind of gave her age away, but she’d put on another little growth spurt and was now as tall as her Mama T.
Bette saw Tina’s gaze and knew it was an effect of not seeing their child every day, as Bette did. When Angie and Rocco were several feet away, looking at a large map of the Temecula Valley, she put her hand on Tina’s waist and caressed it. Tina turned.
‘She’s changing again, isn’t she?’ Bette said, looking at Angie too.
Tina smiled, a little verklempt, but luckily the maître d’ appeared.
‘Hi,’ she said, ‘may I have the name?’
‘Rocco Pozzi,’ Rocco strode over.
‘Bette Porter,’ said Bette at the same time. Tina and Angie both looked at Bette, who blinked rapidly but didn’t look at Rocco as she added, ‘Two separate parties.’
‘Of course,’ said the maître d’ and checked her table plan. ‘Your tables are ready.’
They checked their coats and then Angie and Rocco were shown to a two-seater with a great view of the fairway, while Bette and Tina were taken to a corner booth.