Monday, August 21, 2017

Mama, We Need to Talk

Sunday afternoon Bunny went into the office and got the information the Sheriff requested. There were quiet a few maintenance calls from Terse. In retrospect, Terse was a pain in the ass given how much upkeep he required.

She put the sheets with the data in a large envelope and took it to the Sheriff's office. She walked in only to find Sam talking with the Sheriff. Bunny apologized for interrupting. "You're not really. In fact you need to be in on this. Sam tell her what you just told me."

"Since my place, as you know, is at the end of a dirt road, the only traffic on it is usually my guests, the few locals who use the boat ramp, and me. Lately, at night there has been a car that turns its headlights off before it gets to my house. It goes to the landing. If I am out on my porch I can hear low voices, what sounds like something being moved, then a boat pushing off the bank with no motor. This has been happening off and on since I  moved here. But lately it has been almost every night."

"Sheriff, why do I need to be in on this?"

"Because we think this is part of the drug ring Terse is working with. They are moving the drugs either in or out by boat at Sam's landing. And that means now 2 of your properties are suspect locations in this investigation. And, no, don't worry we have no reason to believe that Gallagher Rentals is involved with this."

The idea of Buzz being Terse's half brother still just astounded her. How could that happen in a town this small where there were no secrets. She knew one person who could straighten this out for her - Cordelia Wells.k

She called Cordelia and learned she was in Natchez for the week  visiting her sister. She could not ask her mother.  Lord knows if she didn't know that would make her breakup with Beau worse. Then maybe he wasn't the consummate gentleman Anna Belle thought he was.

While she waited to pick up a sandwich at Eds, Tula walked in. Jeezy Peet thought Bunny, look who the cat drug in.

Naturally she want to talk to Bunny. "Why Bunny Vontese, I did not expect to see you here. I assumed you would be with Harrison at the Butler's. They always host a party the Sunday evening before the Ball for all the debs and members of the Assembly. Certainly since you are attending the Ball with Harrison. He would have asked you to the Butler's tonight."

"Tula you know Harrison is taking Marcy to the ball."

"Why that's our cousin! Why would he do that?"

"Because of family tradition?"

"I don't know what you are talking about, unless he told you that to avoid hurting your feelings. But then he may have not wanted to show up at the Ball with someone wearing a purple Fairy God Mother gown." She smiled at Bunny, "Just saying. "

With that Tula turned on her heels and walked out. Bunny picked up her sandwich, paid, and left.

Was Harrison making that up just to avoid taking her to the Ball? Was she an embarrassment to him? She wished she could just leave town, change her name, and go sell souvenirs in New Orleans.

Now she was really confused.  Where did Buzz come from? Why wasn't Harrison being honest about his escort to the Ball? Why was Tula driving her crazy?

She picked up the phone and called  her Mama, "We need to talk ---- now!"

"Sweetheart, this is not a good time."

"Well it is for me, I'll be there in 5 minutes, because it is a good time for me."

When she got to her mother's house she ran into Wade on the sidewalk. "What are you doing here?"

"I had to discuss some business with your mother. "

She walked up the steps to the front porch of her mother's modest but very well kept old home. Instead of knocking, she just walked in. Anna Belle stood there wearing a silk caftan, with her makeup and jewelry on."What was Wade, of all people, doing here?"

"It was a social call. Now what is so important that you had to rush over here right this moment?"

Not wasting any time, Bunny started, "I just learned that Buzz from our office is Terse's half brother. You knew his father very well before he married 'Miss' Blanche. What is the story there? "

"Bunny, I don't know, " Anna Belle said noticeably surprised. "Terse's half brother?" she repeated.

About that time, the door bell rang and Anna Belle went and opened the door. Bunny could make out the figure of a man, but not tell who it was. "I'm a little busy now, call me tonight after 8 pm. No! You know, Bunny is here". With that she closed the door.

She came back to the living room and sat down. "Bunny I'm afraid I cannot help you here. I'm just as surprised as you seem to be."

Bunny sat there for another hour drilling  her  with questions about the Jacksons. Finally Anna Belle stood up, "Honey, I don't know what to tell you.  But I do know I have plans for this afternoon," and with that she walked Bunny to the door.

When Anna Belle opened the door, there stood Henry Jameson. Anna Belle did not look surprised to see him. He spoke to Bunny and she left. Anna Belle had not helped her at all. She realized Beau was a hurtful part of her past, but certainly Anna Belle should be past some of that by now.

By the time she got home her head hurt. She just wanted to go to bed, sleep for days, and wake up after the Ball was over, Tula had left, and this "Secret Mission" was over. Why did she feel so out of place, so badly dressed?  She and Bootsy lay on her sofa looking at the newest issue of Vogue. Suddenly it dawned on her.  She needed to update her wardrobe. She needed to be more stylish, then maybe Harrison's family would think more of her.

She moved to her desk and started shopping online. In an hour she ordered what she needed to remake the "old" Bunny into the new "Chic" Bunny. She was excited. With that she took Bootsy on her last walk for the evening and went to bed.

Monday morning, Bunny had not been in her office five minutes when 'Miss" Ella showed up with a basket of her famous cinnamon rolls. "Brought these for you," she said putting the basket on Della's desk. "Have y'all heard anything from Terse? I have been so worried about that poor boy."

Bunny told her that as best she knew, Terse was living with his sister and doing OK. They chatted about the weather and who was sick in the community. Bunny walked into her office to take a call and soon 'Miss' Ella left.

When Bunny got off the phone, Della walked in. " 'Miss' Ella just asked me the weirdest thing. She is really concerned about Terse. She wanted to know when they were going to start rebuilding Terse's apartment. But, she is a sweet lady. She reminds me of my grandmother."

Bunny smiled,"I agree with that."

Harrison called. "Bunny, can you meet me for lunch." When she hesitated, he added, "I really need to see you. What if we meet at the Starlight at noon?"

Bunny agreed and they rang off just as Della walked in. "Tula Wells is here to see you."

"Please send her in," Bunny said in total disgust.

Tula walked in. "Bunny, I just had to talk to you."

"Tula, if you want anything, just go ask my mother. I don't have any answers for you. And, to be honest, I'm tired of playing games."

"Bunny," Tula said as she turned to go, "I'm not playing games. Don't do something you will regret."

Bunny sat down. God she hated that woman and she knew very little about her. She would let Tula and her mother fight this one out. As far as she knew she did not have a dog in this fight.

At noon she met Harrison at the Starlight. As soon as they sat down. He took Bunny's hands into his. "Bunny, I know I haven't gotten to spend a lot of time with you lately due to all this Ball hoop-lah. But I wanted you to know I missed you."

Bunny just looked at him,"Really, enough to lie and make up some mumbo jumbo story about a 'family tradition' that you had to take your cousin? Seriously, how dumb do I look?"

"What are you talking about?" asked Harrison, totally bewildered.

"Tula told me the truth about all that."

"What truth? What I told you was the honest truth. I would love nothing more than to escort you to the Grand Assembly Ball Wednesday night. In fact Marcy would love nothing more than that. She thinks the world of you and can see why I am smitten."

Bunny was trying to take all this in. No one had ever spoken to her in such glowing terms. This was the Harrison she adored. Damn Tula!

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