Bunny called Mike,"I am so excited!"
"Della and Sam are getting married?"
"Married? You sure? Sam hasn't said anything to me about it?"
"Well neither has Della to me. But they are getting married. I overheard Della discussing the wedding plans on the phone with Sam."
"Are you sure?"
"Mike, there were several conversations about a special dress, floral arrangements, family, travel etc."
"If you say so, although I still am not sure."
"Men!" Bunny said. They chatted about some other things and rang off.
At lunch Bunny ran into 'Miss' Ella and Lue Ellen Wadsworth while picking up a sandwich at the Starlight. She was just too excited not to share the good news. She told both of the ladies that Della and Sam were getting married the following week. When 'Miss' Ella asked her some questions about the wedding, Bunny told them she did not know any of the details. Needless to say she left the two ladies all a twitter.
"A wedding," Lue Ellen said, "that is so exciting. They are such a cute couple."
While she was picking up a mended sweater at Heddie's she ran into Imogene. Naturally she shared Della's big news. "Well, I've got some lovely linen napkins I can give them as a wedding present."
Bunny replied,"Oh, Della would love that."
"When is the big day?"
"I think some time next week." Before Imogene could say anything more, Bunny added. "I don't have any of the details."
Imogene just smiled and nodded her head,"Of course." Ada wasn't around but Bunny noticed a lovely wedding gown hanging in her workroom. Obviously, that must be Della's.
Bunny was so excited about the wedding that she had to share the good news. By the time she got back to the office, she had also run into Jeb, Parker, Bob, Mary Lou, and Maisy. Even though Bunny did not have any details, everyone seemed excited. She had already decided to host a wedding shower for Della. She would talk to Della later that day about it.
Vivian was answering the phones at the office when Bunny got back. "Della had to run out to pick up her dress," Vivian said between phone calls. Before Bunny could tell Vivian about the shower, there was a phone call she had to take. By the time Bunny finished the call, Wade had dropped by to speak to her. He was in a hurry and didn't have time for anything but business.
A little after 5, Vivian stuck her head in Bunny's office, "I'm leaving, do you want me to lock the door?"
Bunny said no, but before she could say anything else her cell phone rang. As she answered it, Vivian waved goodnight. When Bunny walked out of her office, everyone was gone. So much for talking to Vivian or Della.
Dr. Magill called the Sheriff's office and got Mike,"You will not believe this, but the Widow Barker is missing again."
"From your clinic?"
"I'm on my way to the Barker house now. The Sheriff is still out of town. I'll call you if I find something."
It didn't take Mike 2 minutes to get over to the charred ruins of the Barker house. He got out of his car and walked carefully around to the backyard. The police tape was still up. The city had removed the deer carcasses from the back yard and, luckily, the fire hoses had washed most of the blood off the grass and bushes. Mike had just turned when from the corner of his eye he saw something move quickly around the corner of what was left of the house.
Whatever it was, it wasn't walking. It was floating and had a figure but no face. It was white but yet transparent. But his attention was then drawn to a blood curdling scream coming from the back steps of what was left of the house. There stood the Widow Barker in her white bedclothes. Her hands were outstretched to the heavens with her head thrown back. A brisk wind from nowhere started to blow, causing the Widow's hair to go wild. Mike could see black ash on her face and arms.
By this time the Sheriff had arrived. He stood behind Mike watching the Widow's performance. All he could say was,"Good God, who is going to believe this."
Mike turned and said,"No kidding, but I have taken photos on my phone as evidence of what she was doing and saying."
By this time the Widow Barker had come down the stairs and was long gone - as in disappeared. The Sheriff called Dr. Magill to tell him that they had found his patient, however, she had since disappeared. The Widow Barker had just vanished. The Sheriff and Mike scoured the grounds and ruins of the house, but she was no where to be seen.
"Mike, go that way," said the Sheriff, pointing toward the middle of town. "I'll go this way," he said, pointing in the other direction. But Mike did not have to go anywhere. When he got to his car, he found the Widow sitting in the back seat. Without making a comment, Mike got in the car, made sure the doors were locked, and called the Sheriff as he drove to Dr. Magill's clinic.
The Sheriff met them at the clinic. After the Widow was once again in bed and medicated, the Sheriff shared the story of his visit with Reeza with Mike and Dr. Magill. When he finished, Dr. Magill asked,"So what does all that mean?"
"Hell, if I know."
"Well, I do not want to do this, but I feel for the Widow's health and safety I need to get her transferred to Montgomery to the major hospital there. We need to get past the screaming, the blood, the ash, and voodoo. It is her health I am most concerned with." He assured the Sheriff he would have someone with her at all times to make sure she didn't disappear again.
The Sheriff agreed with Dr. Magill. He and Mike went back to the station. Both of them hoping this nightmare was over.
Bunny, determined to host a shower for Della, decided to make it a surprise. She emailed invitations to everyone with an email address. Then she called the others. The shower would be the following night at Ivy Lane. She reminded everyone it was a secret and to arrive by 6 because the couple was invited to show up at 6:30.
Then Bunny got on Pinterest to get some ideas for the party. One game she found had the bride blind folded trying to find the groom in the crowd. Knowing she needed some music, Bunny remembered a Karaoke machine she had bought several years ago. After pulling it out of a closet, she moved it into living room.
For decorations she took a string of white Christmas lights, strung them through blue solo cups to look like wedding bells. She hung these around the large ornate arch between the dining room and the living room. To decorate the dining room table, she found sterling silver platters, crystal bowls, and silver serving pieces.
Onto the food, she made a tower cake by stacking Twinkies, Suzy-Q's, and Ding Dongs. She sprinkled the pyramid with powdered sugar. For a savory snack, Bunny made small kabobs on toothpicks using Tater Tots, slices of Velveeta, and a pickle. She also had Spam chips (deep fried thin slices of Spam), and candy trash (Fruit Loops mixed with M&Ms mixed in melted white chocolate). Naturally, Bunny made her (in)famous Spam layered cake. For drinks she opened the well stocked bar that Harrison and Mary had built into one of the living room walls.
She was ready . . . and very excited. Hardly able to keep the secret, Bunny made it through her work day. To get them out to Ivy Lane, she and Mike had invited Sam and Della to "dinner" that evening. Della was so excited. She rarely got out to Ivy Lane. And Della had been so busy, it would be nice to have a quite dinner with friends.
The following night as guests arrived, Mike was in the drive directing them to a field behind the house where the cars could not be seen. Almost everyone Bunny invited showed up. At 6:35 the back doorbell rang. Bunny answered the door. When the couple got to the living room, everyone shouted "Surprise" and "Congratulations".
Sam and Della were stunned. Sam looked around. "Well, this is a surprise."
Della just said,"For what?"
"Your wedding. We are all so excited," Bunny said as she ran up and hugged Della.
As Bunny turned to hug Sam, Della said,"Our wedding? We are not getting married!"
Bunny just laughed,"Yes, you are. I know you wanted to keep it a secret, but everyone wanted to share in your joy."
Sam looked at Mike, then to all the guests, "Seriously y'all, there is no wedding."