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Southampton, New York
Present Day, six years later…
Nature’s Fireworks had become the sought-after gallery for photographers, then after an expansion, also painters and sculptors, to show their collections to the Hamptons’ elite. Accordingly, collectors flocked to the little gallery nestled in the heart of the art district. Despite the high demand for Bette Porter’s keen eye for up-and-coming talent, she never worked later than five o’clock, keeping the promise she made to herself to never lose sight of what was truly important…family. Life was simple, and that made Bette and Tina very happy.
Bette checked her leather-banded watch, a gift from Tina on their third wedding anniversary. Usually, every time she glanced at it, she smiled because it reminded her of her beautiful wife, but this time she sighed. It was almost five, and she was growing impatient, wanting to go home and curl up on the deck chairs with a glass of Barnette wine before the sun went down. But today those plans might have to wait. She had promised to stay and help Peggy and Indra pick out a painting for Helena and Lara’s newly renovated Park Avenue apartment. While Helena was happy with its design when she took it over from Peggy, Lara spearheaded a remake of the kitchen and her ideas eventually spilled over to the living and dining rooms. Now, most of the apartment had been transformed match the sleek modern feel of her dream-like professional kitchen. Helena could deny her bride of five years nothing and eagerly agreed to every change she asked for.
Finally, the door chime sounded, alerting Bette that guests had arrived. She emerged from her small, yet tastefully decorated office that was just off the main showroom and was pleasantly surprised. She smiled, just as she had done for the last 12 years every time she saw that face. “Tina,” she said, then closed the distance between them, and gave her a loving embrace and kiss. “I didn’t know you were coming to the shop tonight.”
Tina placed a small cloth shopping bag on the sleek wooden table guarding the entryway to Bette’s office, which was right next to her assistant’s. “I promised Robbie a batch of my cranberry oatmeal cookies.” Tina had taken up baking in the last few years, a hobby she shared with Angie once or twice a month. Bette loved baking weekends. The beach house would fill with various sweet alluring aromas, tempting her to taste test each variety of cookies. Her waistline had grown almost two inches, attesting to Tina’s and Angie’s baking skills.