Bunny invited Vivian to Ivy Lane one Saturday afternoon. Vivian was so excited. She arranged a babysitter for the children. She knew better than to show up with that crew. Finally, she was going to have a connection to her family.
She drove up Ivy Lane's long drive and stopped short of the house. Like everyone else, Vivian was enchanted by the scene before her. She parked her car and got out. Vivian walked to the edge of the front of the house where she could see the lawn as it sloped down to the river. The lush green grass, large old oak trees laden with Spanish moss, and the slow moving river looked unreal - almost like something from a movie.
Bunny walked out to greet her,"It's almost magical isn't it?" she said to Vivian as she looked around.
"This is more than I ever dreamed it would be. Thank you so much for inviting me out here."
"Vivian, you have more ties to this land than I do." Bunny gazed around," My memories here are from the wonderful times I shared with Harrison. Gosh, every time I turn a corner, walk out onto a porch, or open a door I think of him." She turned back to Vivian,"Come on in, I'll show you the house."
Bunny showed her the house and shared as much history as she knew. Vivian was totally entertained by Bunny's tale of Liza and Belva's little project to 'borrow' some things from the house. As they walked through the living room into Harrison's study, Bunny said,"You know, if they had asked me -nicely- for some of those things, I would have gladly given them to them. I'll never use those things. Hell, I don't even know what most of them are. I wanted to redecorate but I was talked out of it."
"Oh, Bunny," said Vivian, looking around, taking it all in,"I'm so glad you didn't. I mean look at this drop leaf table." Vivian lightly touched it. "No telling how old this is. It looks like cherry. And this break front."Vivian said, pointing toward the gorgeous break front along the wall. "Bunny, that looks like bird's eye maple."
Bunny looked at her and seriously said, "So?"
"So, most of these pieces are valuable antiques. Not only that," Vivian said as she opened the glass door of the break front,"the craftsmanship is just beautiful."
Bunny looked around the living room. "Vivian, maybe you can explain all these pieces to me. I don't even know what they are. That piece,"she pointed to the break front," looks like the pie cabinet my Grandmama kept on her back porch. Why is it in the living room?"
Vivian laughed, "Bunny, I'll be glad to do that. It would be fun."
They walked into Harrison's study. Bunny showed her the boxes of family pictures, notes, and letters. "You are welcome to spend as much time as you want going through these. Take what you want, no one else has shown any interest."
"Oh, thanks." Vivian sat on the floor and for about 30 minutes went through the first box. Finally she stood up -"It will take me days to go through all this."
"I would think so. My family doesn't have anything like this. Guess it's best. It's not like there was history to be proud of." Then Bunny remembered Idella Arnell's House of Pleasures for the Lonely Man.
"Oh, Bunny, everyone has a history."
"Unfortunately." Bunny changed the subject, "Wine?"
"Oh, that would be great."
"If you will take these glasses out to the front porch," Bunny said, handing Vivian 2 wine glasses from Harrison's private bar that was setup in his study. "I'll bring the wine and some hor dourves."
Vivian made her way down the great hall out onto the front porch. There she found two very comfortable chairs with a low cocktail table between them. Bunny came out with a plate that held slices of bologna, saltine crackers, chunks of Spam, and several Twinkies sliced into bite size pieces. "I always try to keep special things around in case I have guests. This will give us something to eat while we talk."
Vivian wasn't sure what to say. She had never been served such 'hor dourves'. She laughed to herself, only Bunny would put out a spread like this. What a complicated person. "Looks great to me," Vivian said as she accepted a glass of wine from Bunny.
"Bunny can I ask you something?"
"Where did the name 'Bunny' come from?"
Bunny rolled her eyes, "Brunilda. I had a Great Aunt Ethel Brunilda. Mama was convinced if she named me after her, she would bequeath me her prized silver tea set."
"And did she?"
"Oh yes. But do I have it? Nope, my Mama has it." Bunny laughed,"She's taking care of it until I am old enough to use it."
"Ah, southern mothers." They both laughed and talked for an hour or so about little things. Bunny told Vivian about her first visit to Ivy Lane and how she parked in the Wisteria Arbor and tried to enter through the basement pantry door. Vivian howled. After 3 bottles of wine they started talking about families and such. Both lamented growing up as only children. Even though Vivian was brought up with cousins, she always felt like she was alone. It was at that point that Bunny said,"I always wanted a sister."
Vivian laughed,"So did I."
"Well, you know you have one, at least a half-one."
Vivian put her glass down. Bunny continued. "William Vontese was my father also. As you know, Anna Belle is my mother. She was William's second wife."
Vivian just looked at her, and slowly said, "But you never said anything?"
"I never knew you existed until you moved here. I just never knew when the right time would be."
Vivian threw her arms around Bunny,"Oh, I am so happy. So I have family after all."
Bunny laughed,"Be careful what you ask for." It wasn't long before Bunny told Vivian the tale of Anna Belle, Tula, and Beau. She went on to tell her about Buzz.
When she finished, Vivian just said,"Oh my God, I had no idea." She poured both of them a glass from the 4th bottle of wine. "This is damn good wine. Where did you get it from?"
"Harrison's wine cellar. I just pulled some bottles for tonight."
"How did you know what to choose?"
"I didn't. I just picked them by the names. '92, sounded like a good year and I really liked the name 'Screaming Eagle'. I knew it was a red because Harrison taught me that. It is a 'Cabaret Saveitgon'. I remembered that much."
Vivian laughed, but then got serious,"Bunny, do you know Tula very well? I really did not come here to get involved in her life, or worse yet, get her involved in my life. How could someone just abandon her child?"
"I don't know, but I've never been a mother. There is always another side to the story." Then Bunny laughed," Trust me life has not been a fairy tail with Anna Belle."
"But what about Tula?"
"Vivian, I don't know her that well. The side of her I have seen has been the one still angry about Beau Jackson. I can't really say much more."
"So she carries that grudge."
"I guess she is not the most popular person in town?"
Bunny had had enough wine to be honest,"Not hardly."
"Great, so I'm the daughter of an unpopular woman."
Bunny died laughing,"I can top that, your mother could be the town's madame."
"You lie. Bunny you are so funny. Only you would say that."
"No, she is. It runs in the family. Generations back, my family ran the infamous 'Idella Arnell's House of Pleasures for the Lonely Man'."
"The famous brothel in New Orleans? Seriously? Wow!"
"Unfortunately, I'm as serious as I can be. But, thank God it stopped with Anna Belle's generation."
Vivian tried to stand up, but promptly fell back into her chair. "Bunny, I've got to go."
"I don't think you need to drive," said a male's voice from the lawn.
Vivian and Bunny looked to find Terse standing there. "What are you doing here?" asked Bunny with a smile.
"Just thought, I'd stop by."
"Just stop by?" laughed Bunny.
"I stopped by the office to see you, and Della told me where the hen party was."
"So here you are!" slurred Bunny.
"And, here we are!" Vivian added, her speech not much clearer.
Terse walked up onto the porch. He picked up one of the many wine bottles sitting on the table. "Wow, two '92 Screaming Eagle Cabs and two '93 Harlen Estate Cabs! Ladies, you have gone through about $5000 in wine tonight."
"Well it was good," said Vivian.
"I still prefer pink chablis," said Bunny, "and damn if I could find one in Harrison's wine cellar."
Terse walked in the house, was gone for a while, then emerged with another bottle of wine and a glass. "May I join you?"
"Of course," said Vivian with a giggle."Did you know Bunny is my sister?"
"Boy, y'all have bonded."
"No, seriously, we are half sisters. See, I was a love child," Vivian said batting her eyes with both her hands on her heart.
"You're Anna Belle's daughter. God, she was busy. You know you have a brother - Buzz."
"Noooo, my mother is Tula."
"Tula!," said Terse surprised. He looked at Bunny.
"Yep, Tula and my Daddy - while my Mama and Daddy were married."
"Wait, Bunny, your Daddy was married to Tula."
"Yes, he was. He left her, or rather she left him. He married Mama."
Vivian interrupted,"Then he strayed back to Tula."
Terse laughed,"Maybe, I need to go back to my Mama and Daddy and inquire as to my lineage." He took a sip of wine. "Hell, what if we all go get DNA tests. That would be scary."
"Why would we take a test? I never was good in school. I guess you want to see who is smart?" said Bunny, not laughing.
"No," said Terse laughing so hard could hardly breathe. "Bunny, I love you."
"Well, now you tell me," said Bunny acting hurt.
Ignoring her, Terse went on. "No, not a written taste. Everyone has 23 chromosomes."
Vivian interrupted him,"In our case it may be more or less."
Terse continued with a smile, "This is a test that shows you what your different chromosomes are, and then by comparing your chromosomes to those of someone else, you can tell whether or not you are kin."
"Damn, everyone in Gallagher probably has matching 'chromozones'," said Bunny seriously.
"Could be," laughed Terse. "Glad, I'm from Mobile."
Vivian looked at Terse,"Maybe - maybe not?"
The three of them moved on to other subjects. Soon it was past midnight. Bunny and Vivian were soused. Terse offered, or rather insisted, to take Vivian home.
Vivian looked at him, "Who's home? Yours or mine?"
Terse, with a rye smile, said, "Yours, at least for tonight." He looked at Bunny, "Can you make it inside?"
Bunny tried to stand up but fell back into her chair. "Why not?" she said in a very slurred manner. She looked at Terse, trying to focus,"Noooo, problem."
Terse waited to make sure Bunny was least inside the door, before he helped Vivian down the steps. Vivian looked at him, "Did you know Tula, the bitch, is my mother?"
Taken a little aback, Terse just said,"You've already told me you are Tula's daughter."
"But she is not nice. And she doesn't want me."
"You don't know that."
"Vivian stopped walking, "Then why did she abandon me?"
"Vivian, I don't know, I think you need to ask her?'
Then Vivian tried to whisper in Terse's ear, "But, Bunny's Mama is a whore."
Terse helped her into his car,"Sweet heart, I think you need to go home."