Mean while back at the ranch Della was having the time of her life with Sam at the auction. Even though she worked with almost everyone in town between folks renting from Wade, servicing the company, or just the towns folk she saw every day, she had never see them on a social occasion. Well that is besides a funeral, but no one socializes at a funeral. That is all done at the house after the service when the bar is open and most everyone else had gone home. As the ol' folks called it, the "Going Home" became a "Goings On". But I digress.
Dell looked fabulous with her curly hair cut short. (She took a chance and figured if she was ever going to do it, this was the time.) She bought a beautiful sun dress in blue floral that brought out her lovely blue eyes. And, she had even spent more time that usual with her makeup.
As she and Sam made their way around the lawn at Holly Hocks, she was amazed at how many people spoke to her by name. She never thought they would recognize her, much less remember her name. She was happy to introduce Sam to everyone. This was a side, the social side of Gallagher, that in all her 32 years of growing up here she had never been a part of. Even Anna Belle, Bunny's mother, came up and complimented her on her dress.
"Della don't you look cute as a June bug and this must be Sam," said as she held at her hand, more to be kissed than shaken.
Sam shook her hand warmly, as Della introduced Sam to Anna Belle and Henry. Anna Belle asked,"Have you seen Bunny this evening".
Not wanting to give Anna Belle any ammunition to work with she simply said no, she had not.
"Well you know she's here don't you?"
"No man, I didn't."
"Oh she is and she is escorted by Mr. Harrison Wells."
Della looked at Anna Belle, "Well I'll be. I never thought about the two of them together but good for her."
"Well it was so embarrassing for Bunny not to have a date for this event. . . well you know a mother has to do what a mother has to do." She looked down at Della, paused and continued. ". . . you know assist your daughter when she has found herself in a tight spot."
Sam quickly said it was nice to meet them and reminded Della they were on the way to the bar. After they were out of ear shot, Sam said,"Now I have heard of southern mothers but this takes it all. She set Bunny up with this man?"
"Apparently so. I would not put it past her."
"And the worse part is she was telling everyone about it and proud to do so," Sam said shaking his head.
Della laughed, "Oh Sam, you should spend more time around our office. You never know what is going to happen. It is not unusual for 'Miss' Anna Belle to strut into our office on her high horse ready to read poor Bunny the riot act about some mundane thing. And Bunny just takes it. I'm afraid one day she is going to snap and take some drastic action."
Sam just stood there chuckling,"So you're saying it would be worth Bunny to take the chance being hanged just to get rid of her mother?"
"Oh, I assure you there is not a jury in this county that would ever convict Bunny for any crime against her mother. We have all watched this soap opera and felt Bunny's pain."
The bartender handed Della a glass of wine and Sam a bottle of beer. As they walked down the lawn toward the river Sam reached for Della's hand. You know I came here to get away from the big city, the corporate farm, and my mother's social life. Well Gallagher's not Austin, and there is no oil money here, but this cut throat social scene is the same, just on a smaller scale and older which makes it worse."
They stopped walking. Della said, "Oh, it's not that bad. I find it quite entertaining since I am not part of the circus. I just watch the three rings from the side lines and enjoy my popcorn."
Sam looked down at her,"But the best thing I have found in Gallagher, so far, is you." He kissed her.
Della giggled, "So far? I'll have you know I'm the competing type if this is a game."
Sam got serious, "No it's not a game. I like you and hope we have many more nights like this."
He smiled at Della and they made their way back up the hill. As they approached the crowd, Della saw Bunny. She lead Sam over to her. Sure enough she was standing there with Harrison Wells. "Sam, of course you know Bunny, But, I do not think you have met Harrison Wells yet. His family runs the hardware store and the timber mill."
The men shook hands and Sam said, "Well you will be happy to know I am already a patron of your hardware store and imagine I'll be at the Lumber Mill before long." They laughed and exchanged pleasantries.
Meanwhile Della looked at Bunny and quietly said, "You look wonderful, You must be having a great time. I have always thought he was so nice," and she giggled quietly, "and so good looking."
"Well Della, you're not doing so bad yourself. Sam's a fine guy."
"I know and we are having such a good time."
The ladies joined in the men's conversation about the weather, what was being auctioned off, and the band. Before long they said their goodbye's and parted ways.
Sam said, "I think Bunny is nice, why did she not have a date for tonight?"
Della, not knowing the Parker story, filled him in on the Jeb saga. "See, I told you, I couldn't make this up if I tried."
Sam just shook head. "OK, now I have questions. Normally I could not care less about this nonsense, but I find this terribly entertaining. Besides it gives me more time with you."
They both got fresh drinks and sat down on one of the divans placed on the edge of the lawn. Della recounted as much as she knew about Bunny, Anna Belle, and William. By the time she got to Bunny's full name and why she was named after her great aunt, Sam was doubled over laughing.
"You can't be serious. 'Brunilda' just to get a silver tea set?"
Della added,"Sterling mind you."
"I would not hang that name on a daughter of mine if the tea set was platinum and came from Sam Houston's family," he paused. "Pray tell your name is not 'Delta Dawn' or something like that?"
"No, I'm just Frances Della Lee."
"Lee as in the 'Sterling Cole Lee' ?"
"Yes but my family are descendants of his 2nd son who had a predilection for the bottle and gambling. After he gambled and drank a fortune away, his daddy said he needed to leave home, because that was his inheritance that he had spent. Next the war came. Most of the land was lost in reconstruction and Tanner Thackston Lee was disowned and never considered part of the family. My Daddy is Thomas Cole Lee and Sterling was his 3rd Great Grand Father."
"Well I'll admit I have gamblers, drunks, scumbags, scalawags, and a few ladies of ill repute among my ancestors, but we claimed them any way. Why keep the skeletons in the closet, when it is easier to let them out and dance."
Sam promised Della he would call her Monday. He said he had a great time and was looking forward to seeing more of her. Once in apartment, Della was torn between the elation of the magical evening and the fear of a let down when Sam never called. She had not had many chances like this, and she certainly did not want to miss this one.