That evening Wade and Buzz found themselves together at Dot's. Wade told Ike he needed 'something the doctor ordered'. He looked at Buzz, "Make that 2." Ike pulled the bottle from beneath the bar and poured 2 glasses neat. Wade said with a broad smile, "Ike, you are a gentleman and a scholar." All 3 men laughed.
Not knowing what he had been served, Buzz just took a small sip. "Whoa! What the heck?" He turned to Wade, "Is this . . .?"
Wade finished his sentence, "Just what the doctor ordered." With that, he raised his glass in a toast and Buzz followed suit.
"I haven't seen much of you around these days. Wotcha doing with your time."
"Working", replied Buzz. "Business is crazy. Pearce Phinnigan has started sending his people in. I'm not sure what he is doing out there, but it must incredible." Buzz took another sip. "You can always tell the quality of the job based on the supplies they buy. He has artisans from allover working on the project. Heck, he even has 2 wrought iron specialist just to work on the railings and fencing. One guy, who came in just yesterday, is a plaster specialist just working on the ceilings. You ought to see the heavy intricate molding they have had us special order. The order was for several hundred yards of different kinds."
"If you have never been there, you should drive out and see it. It was a magnificent estate, by far the nicest one in these parts."
"That's saying something." Buzz said. "Given all the other beautiful places around here."
Wade asked Buzz for another round. He looked at Buzz, "You know the story of the place."
"Not really. I know Pearce is Irish and had heard the place had been abandoned for years."
Ike was drying glasses, listening to the 2 men. Wade asked him, "Ike, you tell him."
"No, sir," Ike smiled, "I think you can do it more justice."
With that Wade started telling the tale of the Fitzgerald family, the division of the wealth, and Faolan's unfortunate incident with Prince.
"Now, that's a story. Where does Pearce come in?"
"Oh, I'm not finished," Wade said as he started the story of Pearce's father coming in and sweeping Gwendolyn off her feet. He went on to tell of them moving to Ireland. Pearce, her only child, was born over there." He paused and took a sip of his drink. "As far as I know, she never returned to the states."
Ike spoke up, "Now, Gwendolyn, his mother, was one of the prettiest young things to come out of here."
"That's the truth," replied Wade.
"So, he came back, bought the place and decided to restore it?" Buzz took another sip from his glass. "Where did his money come from? That is not a cheap project."
Wade chuckled, "Gwendolyn didn't give her money away to a Saudi prince."
"So, there's no other family?"
"Imogene and Parnell," Ike interjected.
"Really?" said Buzz surprised. "So their father was Faolan?"
"You know every time I think I know everything Gallagher, I learn something new," laughed Buzz as he lifted his glass. "By the way, what's the story of this?"
Wade and Ike traded looks, Wade said, "Just a special elixir, few know about." He paused,"And, for the record, you have never had any of it."
"Your secret is safe with me."
"I hope so," laughed Wade. "Otherwise I'll have to kill you."
Ike shook his head, laughed, and started filling the beer cooler.
"I'm kidding, you know?'
"I sure hope so," replied Buzz a with a large smile.
Kathleen and Jeb walked in. Everyone greeted them. After they spoke, Jed looked at Ike, "We are meeting Bunny and Mike, so we'll take a table."
"Yes, sir." With that Kathleen and Jeb found a table and sat down.
It wasn't long before Bunny and Jeb walked in. They, too, spoke to Wade, Buzz, and Ike. On once again Ike smiled, "The regular?"
"Please sir." They made their way to the table Kathleen and Jeb were at. The 2 were in, what looked like, a fairly intense conversation.
Jeb stood up and shook hands with Mike. As Mike pulled Bunny's chair out for her, he said, Sure we are not interrupting anything?"
Jeb laughed, "No, just wedding issues."
"Or, rather, Dixie issues," added Kathleen.
They all laughed. Bunny asked, "Oh, Kathleen, it cannot be that bad?"
"Oh, it is worse than bad." Kathleen shared with them what was going on with Dixie and the wedding.
When she finished, Bunny just smiled, "Just remember, you are going to have the wedding you want in the church with the reception at Ivy Lane."
By this time, Ike had brought their drinks and served each of them. Everyone thanked him.
Kathleen looked at Jeb,"And, that is what keeps me getting up each morning." She took a sip of her white wine. "But then my Mama is going to kill me when she learns what we have planned."
"That's bit drastic, isn't it. I mean, I can see her being angry, but homicide is a bit extreme," said Mike.
Jeb laughed, "I am sure it will cross her mind."
Kathleen and Bunny discussed plans for the reception while Jeb and Mike talked about sports. Kathleen smiled and said, "Bunny, you have no idea how much it means for you to offer Ivy Lane to us? I cannot think of a more lovely venue."
"Well, your mother cannot be too angry about the reception. After all, she inquired about using it also."
"True. But, damn, I wish she would just let me plan my own wedding." She took a sip of wine. Changing the subject from herself, Kathleen asked, "Bunny, when, "she looked over at Mike and back to Bunny, "you get married. I know you will want to be married at Ivy Lane."
Bunny smiled and sighed.
Kathleen reached across the table and put her hand on top of Bunny's. "I didn't mean to bring that up. I am sorry, that was insensitive of me."
"No, I want to get married at Ivy Lane, if I ever get married. I am sure that was where Harrison would have wanted our wedding to be." She paused, as if thinking about Harrison. "And, I know he would want me to get married there also. He was just that kind of man."
"Well, he was special, I'll give you that." Kathleen smiled and took her hand back. "Unlike his 2 awful daughters. Talk about the 2 evil step daughters."
"They weren't exactly step daughters. But, I guess you could say that was the closest I have come to being a step mother."
Jeb asked,"Do you ever see them?"
"No, I would be the last one they would want to see."
Jeb continued, "Didn't Belva divorce, what's his name?"
"I'm not sure they are divorced, but I know they are having problems."
Jeb laughed, "I guess so. I'd be a little peeved if I ever learned my spouse was cross dressing and hanging out at transsexual night clubs."
Kathleen, laughing as she tried to take a sip of her wine, added,"He never struck me as the feminine kind. I mean can you see him in a dress?"
Bunny just shook her head. "I don't understand why he would want to do that any way? Just for the fun of it?"
Mike looked at her and with a smile, calmly explained. "He is transsexual." He could tell, by Bunny's puzzled expression she didn't get it. "Some people feel more comfortable as the other sex." She still didn't quite understand. "It's a psychological issue. Even though he was born as a man, he feels more like a woman. He is more comfortable in women's clothes and make up and stuff."
Kathleen added, " Basically, he is a woman in a man's body."
"But," Bunny paused and blushed. "why did he married? How did they have children?"
Jeb looked at Bunny,"Because our societal norms dictate that if you are born a man, you should act like a man."
"I don't understand. Does that mean he doesn't love Belva?"
Mike smiled as he took a sip of his drink,"That's where it gets complicated. I imagine he still loves Belva, but more like a friend, than a wife."
"A girl friend," Bunny said, obviously having to wrap her head around this. "Not like a wife?"
"Probably. But I'm not trying to get into his head. In a way I feel sorry for him," said Mike.
"Why?" asked Bunny.
"Because, I truly believe that some people are born like that."
Kathleen added, "And, they don't get a fair shake."
Bunny sat there, then spoke,"So, if he falls in love, will it be with a man or a woman?"
Mike not wanting to go there, laughed,"Well, that's the conundrum. Can he find someone who will accept her as she is?"
"Or, maybe, just pull it off," added Jeb. Seeing Bunny's expression, he continued. "Bunny, he, or rather she, may fall in love with someone and not tell him who she really is."
"But, "Bunny paused, and looked at Mike, "How would they . . . you know?"
"Bunny, there are some things, I just don't want to think about. In that case, I am not on a need to know basis."
Everyone at the table laughed. If nothing else, Bunny was entertaining. As the conversation continued, they could tell she was still thinking about this.
Kathleen filled them in with some humorous stories about her mother and the wedding. They were quite entertaining. Mike and Jeb both died laughing at the stories. Finally Kathleen stopped,"Yeah, it's funny to you. I'm the one who has to live the nightmare."
Jeb reached over and kissed her. "But, just keep in mind, in a few weeks this will all be over."
They heard the door of the bar open and turned to see Haynes and Colleen walk in. Immediately, Mike stood up and invited them to sit at their table. They came over, exchanged pleasantries and had a seat.
Bunny could not help but admire what Colleen was wearing. 'She is the most fashionable person I think I have ever met.' She looked at Colleen and said, "I just want to tell you, that you are one the best dressed women I have ever seen. Why, you could be a model in one of those fancy clothes magazines." She paused, then added,"I know this sounds odd, but you are one of the most beautiful women, I have ever seen. What is your secret"
Colleen smiled and quietly said, "Thank you Bunny. You have no idea, how good that makes me feel."