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Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Kindred Spirit of Some Kind

That evening Mike dropped by Ivy Lane. He found Bunny and Bootsy on the front porch surveying the mounds of clay. Bunny turned to him as he walked up. "I don't think it will ever be the same. But that was what Tula wanted wasn't it?"

"It will be same. And it will not be long before it is returned to that beautiful lawn you remember."

"Mike, I would not even know where to start and it would cost a fortune."

"Well, it will not be cheap, but it will be pricey. I wouldn't worry about that. As far as logistics, leave that to the contractors and landscape architects."

"I'm lost."

"The court is going to make Tula pay restitution."

Bunny's expression showed she was clueless.

"She is going to have to pay for your lawn to be returned to the lovely state it was in the day the heavy equipment showed up. The legal definition  of restitution is 'the restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner'. Basically when someone illegally steals from you or, in your case, causes harm to your property, the court can order the guilty party to replace the stolen items or repair the damage as part of their sentence."

"So the judge is going to make her do that."

"He hasn't yet, but I know Judge Simon. And he is not about to let Tula off easy on this. I don't think she will do this again." He smiled. "That is what I came out here to tell you about. I thought that might perk you up."

"Well, it did. Why don't you come inside for a drink? Actually, let's get a drink come back out on the porch. This weather is too nice to stay inside." He agreed and followed her into the house.

The following morning, Bunny decided to go in late. She had some business to take care of. She called Della and let her know it may be 10 before she got in. After all the to-do about the jewelry, Bunny decided she needed to know exactly what she had. Frank's Jewelry Store opened at 9. It was her plan to be there shortly after he opened. Bunny wanted him to look at the jewelry and give her some idea of what it was worth. Certainly he could tell her which pieces were real and which were not.

On her way into town, her phone rang. It was Vivian, of all people. "Bunny, Della told me you were out taking care of some business this morning, so I hope I am not bothering you."

"No. not all. What can I do for you?"

"Well, I need to talk to you and I think it would be better to talk here at the house."

This was not a conversation Bunny wanted to have. But she knew eventually it was going to happen. It may as well be today. She told Vivian, that time would work with her schedule and they set a time of 10. Bunny called Della to tell her that she would be even later and why.

Frank was a nice man. He was medium height and skinny with his lighted jewelry loop on top of his balding head all the time. His wire framed glasses were too large for his face. He always had on either a seersucker or corduroy suit depending on the season, either being seriously wrinkled. But he was a sweet old man. His wife Benita had passed away several years earlier. Together they had run the shop most of their married life. He continued on, but everyone knew he missed her so.

"Well Miss Bunny, I haven't seen you in a while. How are you doing?"

"Very well Mr. Frank, I can't complain."

"You know I didn't see you at Harrison's funeral. I wanted to let you know how sorry I was about what happened. He was such a stand up guy. They don't make them like that anymore."

"I appreciate that Mr. Frank. He was very special."

"Well, he thought you were very special. I remember the morning after he proposed to you. He was in here as soon as I opened. I laughed when he told me the story about just proposing to you without a ring. You know what he told me that morning?"

"No sir I don't."

He said, "Frank I never thought I would find someone who could make me happy, make me fall in love again. I just sat there and looked into her blue eyes and just had to ask her to marry me. Then I realized I didn't have a ring or anything. And you know, she didn't seem to mind at all."

"Bunny, Harrison, loved you and you made the later months of his life special. Don't ever forget that."

"That is very sweet Mr. Frank. Now I am going to cry."

Frank handed her a tissue. "Enough of that, what can I do for you this morning.?"

Bunny put the large box on the counter. Before she opened it, she explained that Harrison had left this to her. But she really did not know what they were or how much they were worth. Della had told her to get him to look at them, that he could help.

With that she opened the box. Frank's eyes widened,"These are Mary's."

"Yes."

"Oh, Bunny these are some of the nicest pieces I have ever seen. I only got a good look at them when she had them in here to be cleaned or if there was a minor repair she needed done."

"So Harrison did not buy these from you?"

"Bunny, most of these came from New York, some from Paris."

"Are they worth a lot? Like maybe 3 or 4 thousand dollars. There are a lot of things in that box."

"These are not just 'things', these are some of the finest pieces of jewelry around. Mary's grandmother was filthy rich and loved fine jewelry. Mary's mother had some fine pieces of her own. Mary was the only daughter and the only granddaughter, so all of it, except a few diamond solitaries, went to her. I've seen these on her at the Grand Assembly Ball and they made her look like a Queen. Mary was such an elegant woman that she could wear such large exquisite pieces and make them look like they were designed for each of her gowns, personally."

While he was talking, he was taking each piece out and carefully laying them on large felt pads he had placed on the top of his counter. When he finished, he just stood back. "Bunny, I would not know where to start. My suggestion would be to let me photograph each piece and send the photos to a friend of mine in New York who specializes in estate jewelry. He would be the one to ask."

"Mr. Frank, if you would do that I would be most appreciative. Just bill me for your services, any expense you have, and your friend's fees. There is no time limit. I doubt I get asked to any balls in the near future."

"Can I keep them here to photograph them. I'll keep them in my large safe. No one will even know they are here."

"Certainly. Just call me when you know something." They exchanged good byes and Bunny walked out.

Now, onto to Vivian. She did not even know where to start here. Naturally nothing was Vivian's fault. This was one time she was thankful Anna Belle was her mother. She could not imagine the torture of being the daughter of Tula. She drove up and parked on the curb, took a deep breath, and got out of the car.

The yard in front of Vivian's house was strewn with balls, bikes, toys, boxes, and  other objects Bunny assumed were some type of toy, but she was clueless about what they were. There were more on the porch. The concrete floor of the porch was decorated in an array of colors from sidewalk chalk that had been left scattered about. She knocked on the door and Vivian opened it immediately, almost as if she had been standing there waiting on Bunny to arrive,.

"Bunny, I am so sorry about the mess. Thank goodness the children like playing outside, it keeps them from wrecking havoc in the house." She moved a stack of folded laundry from the sofa and 2 juice boxes from the coffee table. "Have a seat. Can I get you something to drink? I just made some iced tea."

Bunny declined, as she looked around at the melee. She would have to take serious drugs or drink a lot of Mai Tais to live like this. But it didn't seem to faze Vivian - thankfully.

Vivian came back from the kitchen and took a seat in a chair across from Bunny. "I know you think it odd that I just moved to Gallagher, given it is such a small town."

"Not really, you said you have relatives here."

"Well, I do - supposedly." She paused. "Bunny I have a question I need to ask you. And if you do not want to answer I can understand. I do not want to put you on the spot." Vivian sat on the edge of the chair wringing her hands."Bunny the first time I saw you when I walked into the rental company, I knew . . . , "she paused,"well I knew you were the person who could possibly help me."

Bunny just sat there, not quite knowing what to say.

"What I'm trying to say is, do you think it would be possible for me to get a job at the rental company? I have really good accounting skills, I've worked in an office for years. I would be willing to do anything you needed done." She looked at Bunny. "Bunny, I don't need much money, I just need a job to keep me busy. My life is a little crazy and I'm trying to get it all back together again."

Vivian stopped and blushed. "I'm sorry, the last thing you need is to hear is my problems. I'm a very happy person."

Bunny smiled, "Vivian, it's fine. I can understand what you are saying. Right now we don't have anything I know of. However Mr. Wade, as in Mr. Wade Gallagher, who owns the company, may be interested in an accountant. I'll be more than happy to talk with him for you."

"Oh, I would really appreciate that. You know the first time I saw you, I liked you. There was this feeling of a kindred spirit, although I cannot imagine what we have in common. Me with these children I can barely control and you, so put together with a professional job."

"Oh, I don't know, you have children. That is special and motherhood is something I doubt I will ever experience."

"Bunny, I just hope I am not being too forward but there is something about you. I just cannot put my finger on it."

Bunny stood up to leave. "Well I've got to go back to the office. I promise to talk with Mr. Gallagher. Let's see what happens."

"Thanks for coming by. I've really enjoyed this."

"So have I," Bunny said as she walked down the steps on her way to her car. She thought to herself, there was more to Vivian than she first thought.

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