Monday, July 2, 2018

In the Closet

Anna Belle's relationship with Walter Pace was getting more serious. He often came to visit her at the Gentlemen's Club. It never ceased to amaze him what a good business person she was. The Gentlemen's club was a gold mine. It was obvious to him, that the members enjoyed all the amenities it offered. Anna Belle's girls were beautiful, friendly, and very professional. Anyone walking in off the street, not knowing any better, would think they had walked into a very nice men's club - and nothing else.

Walter would sit at the bar while Anna Belle made her rounds, ensuring everything was going well and everyone was happy. He  never wanted to give her up. It had been a while since he had enjoyed the company of a woman as much as did Anna Belle's. He was falling desperately in love with her.

Mike suggested to Bunny that they have Walter and Anna Belle over for dinner Thursday night. "I don't get to spend a lot of time with Pops. He is very special to me. Besides, I think he has had a very good affect on your mother."

Bunny laughed, "I know he's special but you're talking about miracle worker."

"Bunny, she is not so bad. Actually, I think she is very nice."

"She is very nice, unless she is your mother."

They discussed the dinner plans. Mike said he would call Pops. Bunny loved to entertain and she adored Pops. Maybe, he would have a good affect on her mother, as Mike said.

Thursday afternoon Bunny left work early to get things ready for dinner. She pulled out Mary's fine crystal, china, and sterling. In the butler's pantry, she found a drawer of table linens. Going through them she found a set of matching napkins and a table cloth. They fit the table on the front porch. After adding a vase of flowers from the yard, she was very happy with the ensemble.

She was in the kitchen making a salad when the doorbell rang. Wiping her hands on her apron, she turned toward the big hall. 'It is too early for Pops and Mama to be here,' she thought. 'And, the door isn't locked, so it couldn't be Mike.'

She opened the door to see a gentleman standing there. He looked vaguely familiar. His dress was a bit odd - a three piece pin stripe suit, pocket square, and a bowler, that he was holding in his hand. "'Miss' Vontese, you may not remember me - Pervis P. Mahan VI. We went to dinner a while back."

Yes, it quickly came back to her. "Oh, Pervis!" This was not good.

" 'Miss' Vontese I was talking with Mother this morning and she just made me think of you. I  had to come see you." He looked down at his hat. "Ah, shucks, I think about you a lot."

Bunny didn't quite know what to say. "Well, Pervis, you were unforgettable." As soon as the words left her mouth, she realized she was encouraging him. "Pervis, you should know, I'm married now. I'm not Miss Vontese, I'm Mrs. Pace."

Pervis was crestfallen. "Oh, dear. I knew I shouldn't have waited so long. Mother was right."

He had just gotten those words out of his mouth when Bunny heard the crunch of gravel. Someone was coming up the drive. 'Oh God', she thought, 'I've lost track of time. That must be Pops and Mama.' 
She grabbed Pervis by the arm. "You've got to come in here now."


She dragged him through the kitchen, opened the door to the butler's pantry. "You need to stay here. If my husband finds you, he will kill both of us." Obviously, she was exaggerating, Mike would find it funny. However, it would be way too difficult to explain to her mother. She turned to walk out. Before she closed the door, she turned and added, "He is a deputy sheriff and is armed at all times. Don't you make a sound!" She left and closed the door behind her.

By the time she got back to the big hall, Walter and Anna Belle had let themselves in. Anna Belle kissed Bunny on the cheek, "This is so sweet of you and Mike to invite us to dinner."

Walter gave her a hug and kiss. "We brought you this." He handed her a bouquet of flowers. Bunny thanked him and asked if they would like a drink. They moved into the den. Bunny opened a bottle of wine and poured a glass for each of them them.

It wasn't long before Mike got home. He joined them in the den. "Y'all are early. Sorry I wasn't here when your arrived."

"No worries," said Walter with a smile, "We have just enjoyed visiting with your bride."

"Well, I'm going to get dinner on the grill. I'll be right back."

"What's on the menu?"

"Grilled quail wrapped in bacon and whatever Bunny decided to serve with it."

Anna Belle spoke up, "Mike that sounds delicious. I didn't realize you cooked."

"I picked up a few things hanging around the kitchen at Chateau Belmont during the summers."

Walter laughed. "Pierre loved having Mike around." He paused. "Well that was once Mike settled down and paid more attention to learning than eating."

Once the food was ready they moved out to the front porch where they dined on the porch overlooking the river. 

Anna Belle looked at Bunny, "Sweet heart, you know I am very proud of you. I feel you finally have become your own woman."

"Why thank you Mama."

"I know I have not been the easiest of mothers."

Bunny interrupted her, "You set the bar pretty high."

Walter lifted his glass, "Here's to the Vontese women. Hopefully we can keep up with them."

"Here, here", said Mike as he took a sip of Bordeaux from Harrison's wine cellar.

Walter turned to look at Anna Belle, and continued , "And to a most enterprising woman who has made the oldest profession dignified and profitable."

They all laughed. 

"Honey," Mike said as he got up. "I don't want to hurt your feelings but this wine deserves the correct glass. I'll get some some balloon wine glasses. You need them to appreciate the bouquet. I'll be right back, they just in the butler's pantry." 

"I'll join you. I need to stand up. Getting old is a bitch." Walter stood up and followed Mike off the porch into the house. 

Bunny panicked. She quickly followed them. "Mike, I moved them. They are in the cabinet in the cellar." 

"I don't think so," he said. "I saw them in the pantry last night." Walter and Mike moved into the kitchen toward the butler's pantry.

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