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Chapter 52 The Finale
It was the opening of the year—everyone who was anyone in the LA art and music scene was there. One reviewer called it a “cultural phenomenon the likes of which LA had never seen before.” Another wrote “This was Bette Porter’s comeback—success is the ultimate slap in the face to the CAC board of directors who had so foolishly allowed her to leave.” The LA Times called to beg for interviews and Art Scene magazine repeated the gossip that the Getty was going to offer her the directorship. Kit heard from musicians she had worked with years before asking for invitations. Eduardo’s sculptural waterfall was such a success that it guaranteed him more commissions than he could possibly manage. Bette’s new piece, hung on the far wall in the back room of the gallery, left people breathless and awed by her talent.
Every music artist and producer in town, and many who flew in especially for the event, arrived for the opening of Kit Porter’s spectacular new club and restaurant. Rap mixed with jazz, rock mixed with alternative all night long; the music went on into the early hours with everyone “mixin’ it up together” as Kit put it. The champagne flowed all night—no one wanted to miss the next act.
Bette moved smoothly through the crowd; as always, she knew how to work the room, never lingering too long with any one person but making sure that everyone felt her presence. She had dressed completely in black—a long black silk caftan complemented billowing trousers that flowed over her high heeled sandals. Her unruly hair, grown long and wild in Mexico, cascaded down her back and shoulders. Gone was the corporate executive always in control; this woman was nothing like the Bette Porter anyone remembered. Bette felt free.
She had fallen asleep at the beach and dreamed of her father. He had been her childhood anchor, her only security after her mother had deserted them. She now understood that her mother could only escape him by leaving them both. His rigidity had controlled Bette unmercifully as well and stifled not just her creativity but, she understood now, her relationships. In looking for his acceptance, she had lost herself long before her affair with Candace. She awoke startled by the recognition that she had lost too much in trying to live by his rules to win his acceptance. She breathed in the crisp salt air and ran her hands through her hair to unknot it. Life was too short for pride and fear. She would not repeat his mistakes.