Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Party's Over

Around 2 am Sunday morning, the party finally died down at Ivy Lane. Kathleen and Jeb left their reception walking down a path between friends and family holding sparklers, wishing them well. Thankfully, the vendors took care of all the cleanup, so when the last guests left the property, Bunny and Mike crashed on the sofa in the family room.

They laughed and talked about the day, which seemed to have lasted somewhere between a week and just a few hours. Mike lamented, "Bunny, I hope you don't resent my planning our wedding. I know most women dream of planning their wedding." He paused, "But when I told Pops I was going to propose to you, he started planning the wedding. At first I resisted, but as the plans went on, I was persuaded it was a good idea - if you said 'yes'." He laughed.

"And what if I had said 'no'?"

"I don't know, I didn't have a Plan B."

Bunny assured him she could not have asked for a more beautiful wedding. "Mike, I would not have known where to start."

Mike put his arm around Bunny and pulled her close to him. "I promise you we will have a grand honeymoon. I just didn't have time to plan it."

"Honeymoon? I haven't even thought about that?"

"Well there was a surprise proposal followed, less than an hour later, by a wedding both of which you were totally unprepared for. Then several hours later you hosted the largest social reception of the year at Ivy Lane."

Bunny laughed,"Yes, but I figured since you had everything planned down to the silk covered shoes for me to wear, that certainly a trip Hawaii would be easy."

"Oh, Hawaii? Good thing I wasn't that efficient, I had the Poconos in mind."

"Poconos? Where is that?"

"Upstate New York. It's a famous honey moon place. You know with heart shaped pools, champagne Jacuzzis, and such."

Bunny sat forward so she could look Mike in face, "What! They have places like that? Where they really have heart shaped pools?" She was so excited. "I've never heard of such."

Mike shook his head and died laughing. He should have seen this coming,"I'm just kidding, you don't really want to get there."

"Oh, Mike, it sounds so romantic."

'Oh, boy,' thought Mike, 'How do I get out of this one?'

Before he could say anything, Bunny offered, "I just want to go anywhere you want to go. I don't to have have a heart shaped tub." She snuggled back up to Mike.

"I promise I'll start making plans this week." He thought for a moment. "Seriously, what if we go to the Cloisters on Sea Island in Georgia."

"The what?"

"The Cloisters, it is a wonderful place off the Georgia Coast. I can remember going every summer with my mother and father. I haven't been in years."

"Do they have heart shaped tubs?"

Mike laughed, "No, honey, I'm afraid they don't."

"Well, it sounds like a nice place anyway."

Much later that morning Dixie made it downstairs for breakfast. Harrell had coffee waiting for her. She sat down at the kitchen table and took a sip. "Oh, Harrell, what I have I done?"

"I think everything turned out OK. The kids are married and happy. Kathleen's only regret was that you were not there to share in it."

"I only wanted the best for her."

Harrell sat down next to Dixie and put his hand on top of hers, "Sweetheart, you did, no doubt in that. But I think you got so caught up in the wedding, that you forgot about the bride."

Dixie started crying quietly,"Will she ever forgive me?"

"Of course she will, of course she will."

Dixie sat quietly at the table drinking her coffee. She asked Harrell questions about the previous evening. The more she heard, the more she regretted her petulance. Finally she stood up. "I am going to make my apologies to everyone I inconvenienced and beg forgiveness from Kathleen and Jeb."

Later Sunday morning Bunny and Mike talked about the practical side of marriage. No doubt they would live at Ivy Lane. Mike would either put his house on the market or let Wade lease it. Bunny asked Mike, "Why are you working as a Deputy Sheriff, with your education and family money?" She paused waiting for his answer then spurted out, "Wait, if you grew up in Mobile why weren't you in high school here?"

"When my parents died, Pops took me in. I did not want to go back to boarding school - ever. We talked about it. We comprised and I agreed to attend The Jackson School. It was a boarding school, but close enough I could home every weekend. That lasted a few years before I insisted on going to a regular day school. Pops didn't want me anywhere near Mobile. The Chateau was close enough to Gallagher for me to attend a school in that district."

"And you liked it?"

"Better believe it, and it did not take Pops long to realize that I was much happier being home and attending a local school rather than off at some boarding school."

"But why stay here?"

"Because I enjoy it.

"But you don't dress fancy or drive a fancy car?"

"Those things don't matter to me. If I see something I want, I'll get it. But I don't just get something because it is the trappings of family money."

"Wow," said Bunny thoughtfully.

"Bunny look at you. Harrison left you Ivy Lane, 2 vehicles, a trust to care for you and the place for life. You don't need to work."

"I never really thought about it that way. I still feel guilty about Belva and Liza being so angry that I have inherited their home."

"Do I need to remind you, that those were the 2 stepdaughters who burglarized your house more than once."

"I guess I just didn't know any different. And when Harrison died I was just lost."

"See, that's something we have in common."

"But what about living at Ivy Lane?"

"What about it?"

"Well it was Harrison's home, it's big and fancy, kinda like Tara."

"Bunny, I told you when I really want something, I will get it with no feelings of guilt. I have loved this place since I first saw it. It is so beautiful and calm."

"Like me?" Bunny laughed.

"Not quite, but you are beautiful to me."

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