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Manhattan, New York
Friday, May 20, 2011
Almost five years after Melvin Porter’s death…
Over a hundred voices blended and provided a constant loud hum in the busy dining room of the Tellus Times Square Resort. The newly rebranded restaurant, Lara’s, was packed and the wait time for a Friday lunch was over an hour. It had been like this for days, ever since it’s midweek opening. The staff was still working out the kinks, evidenced by the sudden crash of dishes on the newly laid floor.
“This is amazing, baby girl,” Kit said as she followed Bette and a hostess to their reserved table. Along the way, she scanned the room and fully appreciated the restaurant’s transformation into a 5-star establishment. The room was the perfect blend of modern Italian and Asian design to match its featured Italian-Asian fusion cuisine. “How in the world did you ever snag Lara Perkins and convince her to open up a restaurant in the resort?”
“Two words: Helena Peabody,” Bette replied as she sat down at a corner table near the back. She expressly reserved this table because it was the least favorable with the traffic flow to and from the kitchen. Better the owner and her guests sit there than a customer who was experiencing the new restaurant for the first time. Bette turned to the hostess and said, “Thanks, Terry. Can you let Lara know I’m here?”
“Of course, Miss Porter,” Terry quickly replied before heading back to the kitchen.
“Helena?” Kit asked curiously.
“That’s right…they’ve been pretty hush hush about things. Helena met Lara at her restaurant in London about seven months ago, and they’ve been dating ever since.”
“You’re kidding. Helena dating a woman for more than six weeks? This has to be a first since Winnie.”
Kit remembered how Helena fell head over heels in love with Winnie Mann not long after graduating from Yale. Within two years, Winnie gave birth to Wilson courtesy of an anonymous sperm donor; then they adopted Yun Jing after it became apparent Winnie couldn’t carry to term again. Unfortunately, before the children were in preschool, they separated. Helena never explained why she and Winnie went their separate ways, but she figured it must have been amicable since they shared custody of Wilson and Yun Jing. After Winnie, Helena dated occasionally, but never anything serious and never anything long term.