Now Bunny was in a crisis. What were her options for Saturday night? Get a call from a fictitious out of town friend begging for her assistance. In which case she would be "obliged" to go to her friend's side post haste. She could feign some sudden horrendous contagious illness that would send her to bed and keep everyone (including her "Dear" mother) away from her. Attending the auction with her mother and her date was something she would never even consider.
She had already found a cute sun dress to wear. The auction was usually held in the back yard of Holly Hocks, one the larger antebellum plantation homes in Alabama that had survived the war and reconstruction following. The Butlers were always generous in offering their lovely lawn that sloped down to the river. The weather was usually God awful warm, even at night with the fans under the grand tents set up. Sun dresses were traditional attire for the ladies and the gentleman usually wore dirty bucks (no socks), seersucker pants, and open neck shirts.
Friday afternoon Bunny sat in her office brainstorming to ensure she had not overlooked any eligible man in the area. None came to mind. Damn, even Della had a date. And with Sam, of all people. Her situation had moved from sad to desperation and, now, humiliation. But it was only a silly Jaycees Auction. What the Hell? It's not like she was missing an Inaugural Ball in Montgomery. However, in Gallagher, other than Mardi Gras and the Grand Assembly Ball, this was the biggest civic social event in town.
Wade came in, "What's up ladies?"
"Not much. Kinda quiet being the middle of the month," said Della.
"Well I think our work is done here. Let's close up shop and call it a week," proclaimed Wade.
Della smiled, "You got my vote."
Bunny just said "yes," and pretended to be working.
Wade looked at Della," What's up with her?"
"Well her morning started with a visit from her mother."
"I can imagine Anna Belle would be a tough mother to deal with."
All three walked out and Bunny locked the door. As she turned to walk toward her Granada, she saw Harrison Wells coming toward her. She did not know Harrison very well. Even though one would never know it from his great physical shape and his salt and pepper hair, he was almost the age of her parents. He was a widower. Betsy, his late wife, was a dear. She died just weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. He had been shattered.
"Bunny," said Harrison, "you're just the person I am looking for."
"Do I need to reopen the office?"
"No, this is not business related. I realize it is late but I was wondering if you had a date for the auction tomorrow evening. And if not, if you would consider going with me."
Caught off guard, Bunny almost stuttered," Are you sure?"
"Bunny, I generally don't ask ladies out unless I want to enjoy their company. Come on, we'll have a blast."
"Of course I'll go."
"Great, I'll pick you up at 7 tomorrow evening. I look forward to it."
"I do too," Bunny said just realizing what had just happened.
When she walked into her place she had to think about this. Harrison Wells, who would had thought it? He was 25 years her senior and she didn't know that much about him. Of course everyone knew the Wells family that had run the local hardware store for generations. But it was their lumber mill that had made the family worth millions.
Maybe, Bunny thought, this was meant to be. Who cares now that Parker is gay, as well as Bob Maybank, for that matter. The fact that low life Jeb cannot walk away from that sniveling Kathleen was not her problem. And obviously Sam felt sorry enough for Della to ask her out. Then Harrison Wells had asked her. The same Harrison Wells of the Wells family fortune, one of the older families in the area, and 5th generation owner of Ivy Lane, the family's plantation home on the edge of town. And Anna Belle felt sorry for her. Hell, Harrison Wells could buy and sell Henry Jameson all day long. Life was finally looking up.
"Bootsy, let's go for a walk," she said as she put the leash on her pup. But her cell phone rang. She looked and saw it was her Mom. Normally that brought on heart burn and anxiety just knowing she had to deal with her. For the first time in a long time, she was happy to talk to her. She may or may not tell Anna Belle her good news.
"Oh, sweetie, I was just thinking about you."
"I don't need your pity. I can handle myself. Life is good." There was no anger in her voice. "Mama I need to walk Bootsy, I'll call you later."
"Oh, I don't want to bother you. I was just going to ask if you and Harrison wanted to come by for drinks tomorrow night before we go to the Butler's?"
"Mama, I never mentioned Harrison to you. In fact I haven't seen anyone since I got home."
"Oh, honey, of course you did. You couldn't hold that back from me. Now what about drinks to tomorrow night?"
"Ask Harrison yourself since you have been talking him."
"Bunny, I'm only doing what a mother does best."
"Driving me even more crazy than you normally do. Making a fool out of me. Being clueless about how you can really help me."
"Bunny that is hurtful, you need some help. Some girls just need some, um, assistance when it comes to social situations."
"Mother!!," Bunny yelled.
"Well how can I help you then?"
"Go away. Go far away and for God's sake leave me alone", with that Bunny ended the call. She was as angry as she could ever remember. She was hurt. How could she show her face tomorrow night. Everyone would be whispering, "There is poor little Bunny. Even at her age, her mother is having to help her find a date."
Bunny looked at the door where Bootsy sat confused, "I just want to disappear, maybe join the Federal Witness Protection Program. Certainly being the daughter of Anna Belle Wolfe Lanier would qualify me."