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Bette Porter stood at the entrance of the Beverly Hills luxury five-star hotel where her father was staying. “Daddy! what a surprise” she practically squealed when she saw him walk through the brass-plated doors held open by the white gloved hand of an impeccably dressed doorman. “How are you?” she asked.
“I’m very well and you?” Melvin Porter responded in a formal manner as if greeting an acquaintance, but he does manage a smile while pulling his daughter into an awkward embrace. There was no doubt that Melvin loved Bette, but he was never one for overt displays of physical or emotional affection. To him baring one’s feelings and exposing your vulnerabilities showed weakness, but that didn’t stop Bette’s adoration. Even though she was in her mid-thirties, he was still her ‘daddy’. Having been raised from age nine without her mother, his stoic brand of parental love was all she knew.
“I’m good.” Bette answered in a tone that adequately hid the fact that she was anything but. Not that he would have noticed the pain behind the facade of her beatific smile, but today was one of her better days. “I’m so happy you’re here.” Bette said hooking elbows with her dad while leading him the short distance to where she’d parked the car in the hotel’s round-about.
Bette hadn’t seen her father in almost two years and the last time they were together was a disaster. Since there had been little communication during that time except for the occasional phone call she wasn’t even sure where things stood between them. But, as she was prone to do whenever her father disappointed her she gave him the benefit of the doubt; always hoping the next time will be better. “I’m going to take you to the office where we’re going to see an amazing painting that I have on loan from the Getty, and then we’re going to have lunch with an incredible artist. You remember Allyn Barnes don’t you Daddy?” She asked excitedly.
“Is he the painter?” Her father responded feigning interest.
“No. It’s not ‘her’ painting Daddy. The painting is 14th century by Dosso Dossi. Allyn Barnes was my teacher at Yale. She’s probably one of our most important living artists.”