I did not inform Billy of the fact I had seen the two limo's peeking out from the side of the house. Why? What purpose would it have served. Although my female emotions were in serious need of a manual dial for fear of explosion.
Billy opened the car door for me as usual and I slid out as quietly as I had slid into it forty five minutes before. He held my hand gently as he looked into my eyes. Almost as a cross between an apologetic gesture and an uneasiness. And after the show we experienced that day I certainly learned why.
Billy opened the large heavy front doors of his families personal western ranch house. Being the gentleman was, he stepped back to allow me to enter in first. I was in awe of the huge fireplace to the left of the entrance as well as the two oversized tan leather studded sofas facing one another before the fireplace as if to speak to one another. A brown and white cowhide rug was placed between the sofa's under the leather upholstered coffee table. Only the top end portions were leather based, not the entire table as my memory serves me. As I scanned the room, I was in awe of the furnishings, paintings and just everything. Suddenly remembering I could have all this if I chose. Or could I?
I noticed Billy looking around awkwardly. I recall how he had taken on an odd shade of skin color. Something between pale green and pale pale green. I was beginning to put this ranch house limo paleface puzzle together rather quickly. But I didn't say anything. I was hoping for the best. But the best never came that day. God I needed my Granddaddy. I quickly realized that would make me as immature as I saw Billy that day. For some reason he needed backup and boy did it look like he had some serious back up.
I heard voices coming from a different part of the house. I asked who was in the house?
Billy commented, "We must have company."
Yes Billy man-boy Connally you have company all right, I thought. And then I thought again, we might as well get on with the show. I didn't need my Grandfather, or anyone. I had not done anything wrong.
Once again Billy took my hand and led me to what appeared to be a conference room where the voices were coming from. And didn't I already know and wasn't surprised to see Daddy Joseph Justice, my favorite person, on the left of the table. At the head of the long wooden table was the esteemed Governor of Texas. Both men stood up as I entered what felt like Cassius Clay's boxing ring. Everyone had a corner but me and there was no referee. Imagine that. Imagine those big shot southern "gentle-men" about to squash lil ole me. I felt like I was back in second grade the day my teacher Mrs. Bergman blamed me for something I had not done. She took me to the front of the classroom, lifted up my dress, bent me over and paddled my butt showing my underware to the entire class. Then she took me into the bathroom and left me in a corner alone and crying. It was at that point during my memory trance I heard my name being said over and over. I am surprised no one said, "Earth to Julianna!" Because I had left the room and gone back to second grade for sure.
I sort of shook my head gently and responded with a strong centered voice saying, "Hello Mr. Justice and Governor Connally, how are you this beautiful day? "
They answered politely and asked if I would like to have a seat. Of course my brain was screaming at my mouth to say no thank you, but instead my other brain took over, thank God and all his angels, as I said of course and sat down. Knowing full well something dreadful was coming but I didn't know what. I should have known what was coming considering I had just gone through the drill with my Grandfather regarding the million dollars. But why was Justice there unless he wanted his million dollars back. Cold day in Hell my mind was saying and my mouth was open and ready for similar verbage. Danged if I didnt deserve every penny of that money for what I experienced, no, for what I went through at the hands of Mr. J.B.Justice bad daddy. But if he didnt want his money back, why was he there? And why the Gov.? He already knew about the money from his background check into my bank account and from information from Justice. It was the Gov. who went to Grandad and got him all stirred up thinking I was a liar. And then the lightbulb came on bright as the yard light at my Pa's old farm. My Dad's dad that is. Farms had to have bright yard lights to be able to get to the barn at night if necessary. Well my yard light was on. I felt like I was in the barn surrounded by maneur and I had all I could do not to leap out of my chair, jump on Billy man-boy and beat the tar out of that son of a son. He had set me up. He didnt come to me like a man and ask me about the money. Nope the ratfink ignored me for two days, then ordered me into his car where he drove me to my second grade spanking in front of everyone present. I was hacked off bad. About to lose my cool. Have a cow, and then possibly faint from sheer sock it to me pressure. Was this for real? After all I had been through, was this for real?
I purposefully turned to Billy and asked him why he had brought me to his parents home without telling me where we were going. I knew how to pull the cats tail also.....and it worked.
"You did not inform Miss Rowe you were driving her to our regular home?" Daddy Gov. said.
Billy studdered like a Catholic school boy about to have his hands wacked with a ruler. "Uh, well, you see.......umm."
Daddy Gov. interupted the man-boy by saying. "William, did you or did you not tell Miss Rowe why and or where you were driving her today."
Again, the Mel Tillis studdering coming out of "William" was almost break out laughable. His Dad was a true southern gentleman and had manners accordingly.as I suspected. He didn't abuse women nor disrespect them. Although he did know how to manuever them. Con, twist, tower over, but not what Billy had done to me that day. To the girl he said he intended to marry. To love, honor, and cherish. He should have simply asked me why I had not told him about the million dollars and how I knew Joseph B. Justice. Instead he not only set me up, but he held my hand as he walked me into a fighting ring with two very powerful men hoping to have them teach me a lesson to never lie to him again. Problem is I had not lied. Billy might as well have been holding a shotgun that backfired.
I found strength rising up from my toes to my nose. I stood up, facing Billy's Dad and Mr. J.B.J. daddy rich britches and I spoke from my heart.
"Mr. Justice, Governor Connally, Billy. I had a meeting with my Grandfather yesterday regarding a meeting he had with you, Governor Connally. A meeting that you had set up with him to inform him what Mr. Justice had informed you regarding myself and the million dollars you, Mr. Justice, deposited into my bank account without my knowledge. Payment for babysitting your son Roger Justice while he was a federal fugitive from the law, unbenounced to me. I was told you informed me of your million dollar payment to me during our last conversation at your ranch near Tulsa. That is after you told me the truth about you. Mr. Justice, I was so upset after you informed me you were behind my going to jail twice, having my car impounded, my dog taken away, hospitalized after a concussion. Then add to all that you hired a hooker, a cop, paid off a judge, scared me to near death by putting me in your limo where I passed out. Then you hired a nurse to care for me until I regained myself from the concussion and the passing out in your limo when I thought you were the mafia. I attacked you figuring why not if I was going to die anyway. Not to mention your Uncle Biggs and your brother Becker, the truckers I thought kidnapped your spoiled son. It was brought to my attention by my Grandfather it was at that point you informed me of the money transfer. I was so upset with you I never heard you tell me anything about any monies. Probably because all I wanted was my car and my travelers checks you had summoned your wife to get for me from the safe. I just wanted away from all the pain and heartache you caused me. That is when Becker gave me Duke because Duke was happier with me and he saw that. I am sorry for being rude to you that day. I can only hope for your understanding as I have tried to also do for you.
I lost my parents when I was young. I can see know I that I didnt fair so badly not having a close family like all of you do. I learned to be independent, fair, kind, and honest. I have not lied to anyone. All of you came to your own conclusions without ever asking me one question. To top that you all made my Grandfather believe me to be a liar when in fact I was no such a thing. One more matter I would like to address this court about.
The Governor interupted me. "Now Miss Julianna, this is no court."
"Governor Connally, indeed it was set up to be." I said as I turned to look at Billy who wasn't standing so proudly anymore. I turned back toward the conference table, I mean the galley.....and I continued.
The matter I aim to bring forth is the fact Billy never asked me to marry him. Rather he introduced me as his fiance at his best friends fathers nego funeral up in the hills. He also told you of his intentions therefore in understand why you would do a background check on me . I was not only not asked but never presented with a proposal ring. In my heart I wonder what was all this was for? My friend always told me if I was ever to wonder it meant things were not for sure. And this is not a sure thing from my point of view. If you wouldnt mind Governor, I would like your driver to take me home please.
Billy jumped up and piped in. "No wait, Julianna, I was going to ask you, I had it all planned out. Music, dinner, wine, fireworks. Me and Duke we were going to do it right. I have the ring." He quickly pulled a small blue velvet box out of his pocket, opened it to show all of us the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever been that close to. He got down on his knee at which time I looked over at his Daddy who realized I was in need of assistance.
"Boy." He said. "Get up! This is not the time. We will talk, but right now let Julianna collect herself and you do the same."
Billy stood up. When I looked towards him, tears were falling down his face.
The limo ride home gave me some time to reflect what had just happened. One thing I knew for sure. I was totally exhausted. Yet I was proud that the half breed in me came through on both ends. She stood up for herself respectfully. And she hushed her southern mouth by not telling the lot of them to go to hell.
All of this because I picked up a thumber on Route 66 somewhere in Illinois.
I will be glad to get back on the road again. This time meeting new and interesting people with kindness in their hearts, laughter on their faces, and good words to share. And the million bucks? I think I might share that with a few on my way to L.A. via Route 66.