Wade must have been impressed with Vivian because he called Bunny early Monday morning to tell her that he had hired Vivian. "I meant to call you Friday, but time got away from me. If you will just get her oriented and ask Della to help her with the HR paperwork, I'll get back with you later to get a game plan together. I think she's a good fit." They discussed some other business details and he rang off.
Bunny told Della about Wade's call and to expect Vivian that morning. Both of them went to work. It wasn't 20 minutes before Vivian came in. Della welcomed her. When Bunny heard her voice, she went out to Della's desk. After some discussion among the 3 of them, Della said she would help Vivian with her paperwork, then Bunny could talk with her about what Vivian was going to be doing.
Bunny did not know what Vivian was going to show up wearing. She had only seen her in yoga pants and shorts with no makeup and her strawberry blond hair pulled back in a pony tail. That morning, she was wearing a nice skirt and sweater. Her hair was down on her shoulders, held in place with a tortoise shell head band. Bunny made a mental note to look in Mary's closet that evening, to see if she could find a skirt and sweater to wear.
When Vivian had finished her paperwork, Bunny took her into her office and sat on one end of the sofa. Vivian took a seat at the other end. "Vivian," Bunny said, "I hope you will be happy here. Wade works hard to make this office a team effort. He sees everyone's strengths. I really think you will like it here. Do not hesitate to ask Della or me if you need anything or have any questions."
Vivian just smiled,"I just want to thank you for helping me get this job. I am so excited to be here."
"Well, we're lucky you decided to move to Gallagher," Bunny paused. "Vivian, why did you move here?"
Vivian hesitated,"It's a long story."
Bunny smiled, "I've got time."
"Well, I've never really had a home. My parents were killed in an accident when I was just a baby, so I never knew them. I was raised by relatives - many relatives. There were times, I felt homeless. All my relatives loved me and took me into their homes, I'm eternally grateful for that." Vivian had tears in her eyes.
Bunny reached over and put her hand on top of Vivian's. "I cannot imagine growing up like that."
"Well, I had relatives that truly cared for me. Not like Roger, Ida, and Jimmy. They had no place to go."
Bunny looked at her with a questioning expression.
"Oh, they are not my children - at least by birth. Their father, James, and I were raised as brother and sister, although we were distant cousins. He was so good to me, almost like my best friend. When he and his wife, Laura, were killed in an accident," Vivian took a breath, "just like my mama and daddy were, I knew I had to take care of their children. It was the least I could do. His family took me in, I could certainly take them in."
"That is incredible,"said Bunny in awe.
"Well there are times, I wonder if I bit off more than I can chew. I know they act like hellions, but they really are sweet children. I just have to remember at their young age they had their world pulled out from under them. We're all still figuring it out."
"Wow! I can't imagine taking on that responsibility."
"Vivian, what about your family here?"
"Well, I don't really know any of them. I can just remember as a little girl growing up, everyone talked about the Wells family and this town. All their memories sounded so fond and stable. It is the only place I feel like I may have some roots. So when I got out of school and could manage it, I decided to move here. Even if I never meet the family, I feel like I belong here." Then she added, "Of course I didn't realize I would have 3 children with me." Vivian smiled and laughed.
Bunny smiled, "Vivian, I definitely think you are family here."
Then they discussed her job description and responsibilities. Vivian had some good questions. Bunny knew this was a good move. Vivian was going to be an asset to the office. They were about finished when Wade walked in. "Well, Vivian, has Bunny explained everything?"
"Well a lot, but I don't know what I don't know?"
Wade laughed,"Bunny, I hope Vivian can deal with all of us," he paused,"and our clients."
Bunny shared with Wade what she and Vivian had discussed. Wade was pleased. He stood to leave,"Welcome aboard Vivian. Oh, and if these 2 give you any problems, don't hesitate to call me." He winked at her and walked out of the office.
A minute or so later, Bunny and Vivian also walked out of her office. Just as they got to Della's desk, the door opened. In walked Colonel and Mrs. Walker, in full costume. As always, the Colonel removed his hat, "'Morning ladies."
Bunny introduced Vivian. "This is Colonel Wadsworth Washington Walker III and his wife Winfred. The Colonel is the director of the Museum of Confederate Uniforms, Hats, and Paraphernalia. "
Winfred stepped forward and lightly took Vivian's hand,"Pleased."
The Colonel gave a small bow and then looked at Vivian, "please call me 'George' ".
"I certainly will. It's nice to meet both of you," Vivian said without showing any question in her response.
"Miss Vontese," started the Colonel, then he looked at Vivian, and laughed,"oh my. Both of you are 'Miss Vontese'."
Bunny also laughed, "Well, then George, you will have had to refer to us as Bunny and Vivian."
"OK, then Miss Bunny, how do I go about getting permission to fire cannons in the city park?"
Bunny thought, "Colonel, I would check with the Sheriff or City Hall. May I ask what the occasion is?"
"It's George," the Colonel said with a smile. "Why, it is Colonel James B. Gallagher's birthday. Certainly the town recognizes this special day?"
Della chimed in, "Not that I know of."
"Well, I'm going to change that." With that the Colonel donned his hat and gave a slight bow, "Good Day Ladies." He opened the door and looked at Winfred,"Mrs. Walker, we need to carry on."
All 3 told them said "Good bye" as the door closed. Vivian just looked at Bunny and Della. "Those costumes really look authentic."
Della said,"Oh, they are authentic to that period of time." Della paused. "I guess the best way I can describe the Colonel and Mrs. Walker, is as they are 'authentically' living in a different period time than the rest of us."
Vivian looked confused.
Bunny laughed, "They are always dressed that way."
Vivian shook her head.
Della laughed,"Vivian, that is just one of our 'characters'." She paused. "How do you feel about gnomes?