As upsetting as Bunny had found the events of the day before, dinner with Mike had helped make things right with the world. He was such a nice guy. Bunny just prayed she was not kin to him somehow. She was beginning to feel that where everyone in the world supposedly had 6 degrees of separation, Bunny only had 2. While she strolled along the sidewalk on her way to Ed's to get a cup of coffee, she began to think.
Certainly there were no other families in Gallagher that had the issues her family seemed to have. Most folks were concerned about the skeleton in closet. She had a room full of closets just waiting to open and 'surprise' everyone with yet another fun family fact. No one could be like the Vonteses. However, thinking back on it, the Wells had Tula and her father, and the Jacksons had their fair share of skeletons with Beau's dalliances.
Bunny stopped walking. That was 3 major families right there. She wasn't alone. But, then everyday she seemed to find she was less alone than before as unknown siblings came out of the woodwork, or dilapidated mini vans, in this most recent case. What would Harrison have thought about all this?
On her way back to the office, she called Anna Belle. She had not talked to her in several days, actually it seemed like a month. Anna Belle answered on the second ring.
In her syrupy southern voice, Anna Belle said, "Oh honey, I'm so glad you called. I haven't spoken with you in days. I hear tell that you have taken up with that nice deputy. You know I always had hopes that you would marry into one of the Grand Assembly families. And Harrison, bless his heart, always had big heart. It was such a shame what happened to him. Now, I just hope you get married. This deputy seems to have good manners and speaks well. Maybe . . ."
"Mama," Bunny interrupted. "First, I haven't 'taken up' with Mike. We are just good friends. And secondly, if I had, there would be nothing wrong with it. She paused. "Why is that your business anyway?"
"Bunny, everything about you is my business. That is what a good mother is for - to gently guide her daughter as she matures and make sure she develops into the loveliest, most tasteful, engaging, popular, talented young lady she can. You know, to set an example, she can follow. Thank goodness, you are my only child. It has taken everything I had to get you this far and, at your age, you are just not what I wish you to would be."
"Speaking of only children, I had the opportunity to meet someone interesting this past week. A young mother named Vivian moved into one of our units with her 3 children."
"And my dear, why is that interesting?"
"Because she is Tula's daughter and her last name is Vontese." Bunny paused for effect."To make things even more curious, she is younger than I am. Given Daddy was married to Tula before he married you, I can do the math."
There was silence. "Bunny, Tula probably kept the Vontese name. Certainly it had more standing than the name 'Latrelle', the name of that red neck she left William for."
"Mama, Tula didn't care about that. There is more to it than that."
"Obviously the girl is adopted. Maybe Tula didn't have time between men to have a child."
"Mama, that is ugly."
"Well, that makes no sense. Your father was the most dedicated husband anyone could have ever known. He was proud of us and gave us everything we wanted. Why he worshiped us. By the time I met him, he was tired of Tula." Anna Belle took a drag from her cigarette. "Besides, Tula had moved on to bigger and better things. And I doubt your father, bless his heart, would have been of any interest to her. He was just not in her league. After all, why do you she left him in the first place?"
Bunny yelled again,"Mama, don't say things like that."
Anna Belle took another drag from her cigarette, "Well it is true." She paused. "Besides, your father had me, and I was much more than he ever thought he would have. Men were pea green with envy when we were out at night, knowing that he was the one that went home with me every night. I never knew what Tula saw in him anyway. Besides if the girl is Tula's daughter, I still say she may be lying about that, she has to be adopted."
"Mama. I've had enough." With that Bunny rang off. Her mother could irritate her more than any other living soul on the planet.
Anna Belle, on the other hand, was more than irritated, she was furious. How could William have done that to her? It certainly wasn't his fault. Surely, Tula seduced him in a weak moment. Sometimes she wondered if God sent Tula just to make her life miserable.