Friday morning Anna Belle walked down town to get some fresh air. It felt good just to be outside. She checked her mail at the Post Office. Walking out the door, she almost ran into Rayeanne who was walking in.
"Oh, dear, I'm sorry," said a flustered Rayeanne. "I just wasn't paying attention. I was trying to find my box key in my bag."
"No worries," replied Anna Belle. They spoke for a while, then parted company.
Anna Belle turned at the corner to check on some dresses she had left at Heddie's. She noticed a women walking towards her, wearing a long black caftan and purple gele. Before she could do anything, the woman was standing in front of her. The first thing Anna Belle noticed were her bright green eyes.
" 'Miss' Vontese, you are just the person I was looking for." With that Reeza held out her hand with her long fingers, tipped by her bright red nails, she was holding 3 cards. "This is for you. You have been having doubts. Follow your instincts, they have never served you wrong."
Reeza took one card and turned it over, then offered it to Anna Belle. Hesitantly, Anna Belle took it.
Anna Belle looked at the card."What is this?"
Reeza held out a second card and handed it to Anna Belle, " 'The Justice Card' - you seek the truth."
Finally Reeza held out the third card. Anna Belle took the card. " 'The Chariot Card' - determination and a willingness to take the reins. Seek enlightenment'. You are strong and can conquer the deceit."
Anna Belle looked at the 3 cards in her hand. "How do you know?" She looked up. There was no one there. She looked to her right and left down the street, - not a soul. She stood for a while, trying to take in what just happened. Was it her imagination? It couldn't be, she was still holding the 3 cards she had been given.
Friday afternoon, Mercer called Iris. He suggested they meet at Dot's for drinks. Walking in, they were surprised to see Haynes and Colleen, who invited them to join them. It wasn't long before Mike and Bunny walked in. Mercer quickly told Mike to pull up some chairs, which he did. They were having a lively conversation when Haynes spotted Terse and Vivian. They pulled 2 tables together so everyone would be comfortable.
As soon as Terse and Vivian sat down, Bunny said, "Terse, I'm so excited to see you. How is your new book?"
Before Terse could say anything, Haynes interrupted, "I'm sorry. Terse, this is Colleen, Colleen Cantrell. She just relocated to Gallagher. Colleen this is Terse Jackson."
"Nice to meet you. Welcome to the big city," said Terse as everyone laughed.
Bunny spoke up,"Terse is our home town celebrity. He is an author. He wrote 'The Corporal's Secret'."
Colleen was surprised, "You're kidding? I loved that book. It was on the New York Times Best Seller list. And, you have another one coming out?"
"It's at the publisher's. It should be out in a week or 2."
Haynes asked,"Is this another confederate thriller?"
"No, I've moved onto the Spanish American War - different character, different conflict." Terse said as he took a sip of his beer.
"Vivian said you had been on TV programs about your book," said Bunny.
"Yep, a regular dog and pony show. I'm just glad to be home." He smiled and put his hand on Vivian's knee.
"So what's the name of this book?" asked Mike.
" 'Fugitive in Havana'."
"Is it a sequel?" Colleen asked, "Like a series?"
"Well, not exactly a sequel, but I am hoping to write a series."
Colleen smiled, "Well, I'm impressed. You are very talented."
"Well thank you. What brings you to Gallagher?" Terse asked.
"I just needed a change and a quiet place. Gallagher fit the bill."
Bunny looked confused,"Terse, what do dogs and ponies have to do with your book? Did I miss something?"
Everyone at the table laughed.
"What? I read the book," Bunny said defensively.
Before Terse could answer, Mike turned to Bunny, "No, dogs and ponies do not have anything to do with his book. That is an old adage, when someone goes around doing interviews, promoting something, or giving the same speech over and over. In this case it was Terse and his book."
Bunny, still confused asked, "Like the dogs and ponies in the circus?"
Terse smiled, "I think that may be where the saying started."
"But, there are no dogs or ponies with you, Terse?"
Mike shook his head, "Bunny dear, no more Mai Tais for you."
To change the subject, Mercer spoke up, "What about Jeb and Kathleen's wedding?"
The conversation turned to their long term relationship, dates for the wedding, and how large it would probably be. Mercer laughed, "Well, if nothing else, it will keep Dixie busy for a while."
Terse asked Colleen, "What's your story? Besides finding that our fair town suited your bill?"
Colleen smiled. She hesitated,"It's a long story and you would find it boring."
Mercer looked serious,"You're not in the Federal Witness Protection Program, are you?"
Everyone laughed. Mike added, "I hope not. Remember what happened to last person they sent here."
Terse and Vivian almost had to leave the table they were laughing so hard.
"I know all about that. I saw a special on the History Channel about the Witness Protection Program. Was there really someone here that was being protected?" Bunny looked at Mike, "You know they have to completely change their names, their cars, their lives, everything?"
Mike put his arm around Bunny and pulled her close to him. "Sweetheart, I was just joking. No one has been relocated to Gallagher in the Witness Protection Program - that I know of."
"This would be the last place for someone to hide. I don't think anyone has any secrets 'round here," added Terse.
Mercer spoke up, "I beg to differ. How many of you knew anything about Iris before John died."
"True. So Iris were you in the Witness Protection Program?" Terse asked seriously.
"Some times I feel like I was. But thanks to Mercer, Mike, and the Sheriff, I was saved." She smiled at Mercer. "I do feel like a new person."
"You know, I never thought about it, moving here was like starting over again', Vivian added.
Terse laughed at her, "Honey, you are a Wells. I doubt this would be your first choice to 'hide'?
"True," Vivian picked up her glass in a mock toast.
Colleen spoke up, "Well, all I can say is I lucked up when I chose Gallagher."