Her doorbell rang early the following morning. With everything else going on, Vivian did not see this one coming. She opened the door to find 'Grace' standing there.
"Good morning," Vivian said.
"I know it is early," 'Grace' said as she walked through the door, past Vivian, much to Vivian's dismay.
"Would you like to come in?" Vivian said sharply looking at 'Grace' now standing in her living room.
"Oh, dear, let's just cut to the chase. No need to flirt with the niceties." With that 'Grace' turned around and faced her daughter. "You have no idea who I am, do you?"
"You came in the office last week. You are Grace."
"Oh, no my dear," said 'Grace' as she elegantly lit a cigarette. "My name is Tula - Tula Wells. I am your mother." She took a long drag from her cigarette as the Vivian absorbed the words. And before Vivian could speak, Tula said,"And, those children you have are my great niece and nephews."
"Wait, why did you lie to me the other day at the office? And why do you even care about these children, as their great aunt, when you didn't give a damn about your own daughter?" Vivian said firmly.
"Can we sit and chat?" Tula asked looking at the worn sofa.
"No, 'We' cannot. In fact you can leave. I did not move to Gallagher to find you, see you, or know anything about you. If I had known you were here, this would have been the last place I would have come."
"Now dear," said Tula in a most condescending tone,"Don't be disrespectful. It is most unbecoming." She took another drag from her cigarette. "And, what pray tell, do you intend to do with these children. You have no business with them." She looked Vivian over head to toe. "They need to be in a more stable environment than a place like this."
"They are not your business."
"Well, you certainly have made them your business. I guess you figured you could live very well on that trust their father set up for them. In fact, why are you living in this squaller," Tula thrust her arm around the room in disgust. "Are you hoarding the housing funds for yourself?"
"Get out of my house right now", Vivian sound emphatically. "You chose never to be in my life and I certainly do not need you in it now. You know, you are even worse than I imagined." Vivian walked to the front door and opened it. "OUT!"
To her surprise standing at the door was Terse. "But I haven't come in yet," he said laughing.
"Not you. This, this, low life creep who I never want to see again." Once again she motioned to Tula,"Get out of my house now, or I will call the law."
"I see you have not even had the proper rearing to know that one never makes a spectacle in public." With that Tula walked past Vivian and Terse without saying another word.
Terse looked at Vivian as he walked in the door, "You OK?"
"Not really." Then she gave him the short version of the event that had just taken place."I need to call Harvey and let him know this happened."
As she reached for her cell phone, Terse asked, "Who is Harvey?"
"Oh, the children's uncle, I'll fill you in."
She rang Harvey and he answered, "Harvey, I want to make you aware of the visitor I had this morning. Tula . .. " Vivian told him what had happened. They spoke for a minute or two. Harvey assured her, he would take care of Tula and the children. She told him the children were at school and Jimmy was at day care. Harvey said he was on his way to her house. They rang off.
By this time Terse was most curious. Before he could ask, Vivian told him the entire story of Harvey and Laurelie, their adopting the children, of Tula and the money. Terse just held her as she cried. "I knew she was not nice but she is pure evil. How can I have a mother like that?"
"Viv, you don't. She has never been your mother. She never deserved a daughter like you. Trust me, she will never come out ahead in this."
Vivian stopped crying,"Thanks for being here."
"That's what I'm here for. Well, at least that's why I want to be here."
Across town Wade had sent Larry over to the Eldridges to make sure there was no mess left in the back yard where the still was. Between the exhumation of General Kirby and the destruction of the still, their backyard had taken a toll. Wade wanted to make sure it was on the mend. He had contracted a landscaping company to come in to re-sod the yard and replace some bedding and foundation plants that had been damaged in the melee.
Larry called Wade,"Sir, you may want to come over here."
"It there still a mess?"
"No sir, the yard looks great. There is another small issue I stumbled upon."
"I can only imagine, I'm on my way."
Wade arrived to find Larry in the backyard. "Where are the ladies?"
"They told me they would be in Mobile shopping."
"What's the problem?"
Larry walked over to one of the many gnome statutes in the yard. This one was in a bed of mums. Wade noticed the arm was broken. "OK, so we will replace the damn gnome. Please God, don't tell me it is some kind of rare one, like one only found Rohan or Gondor (referring to the Kingdoms in 'Lord of the Rings') ?"
"No, it's better that than that." Larry said and he lifted the gnome. As he did, a small burlap bag fell to the ground. He picked it up and handed it to Wade. As Wade carefully untied the twine that secured the bag, he just laughed when he saw the contents.
"Well, I'll be damned." He held up 2 bottles of moon shine. "Have you checked any of the other little fellows hanging around?"
"Yes sir," Larry said,"and of the 4 I checked, 3 contained bags."
"Well, let's call the Sheriff. This is the yard that just keeps on giving."