Authors: J. B. Reed
Once Vivie returned to Matewan and related the events to Mama, they grieved together. The only thing that kept Vivie going was her darling Rose. Even though she knew she was Tommy’s child in reality, Vivie had told Rose that Michael was her father. She grew up believing her father was a strong, handsome, Irish gentleman who gave his life to protect her and her mother.
Vivie did her best to make life easier for Mary and her brothers and sisters. She wanted to buy her mother a nicer home, but Mary was determined to stay where she was. She liked Matewan. The people there had made her welcome, accepted her as one of their own. She knew she would never find another home where she felt more comfortable and at ease. Vivie did convince her to let her buy the house for her; and put it in her name. Fifteen years later, Mary passed away. Vivie had her body brought back to New York and laid her to rest beside of Patrick. Exactly where Mary had wanted to be.
Vivie also made sure her brothers and sisters had a college education. All but her youngest brother, Patrick, Jr. Pat had decided he wanted to work in the coal mines of West Virginia. Vivie tried her best to talk him out of his decision. She reminded him of the dangers; reminded him of what happened to Luke. Pat could not be deterred. He was that much like his father; and Vivie. After college, Liam married his long time sweetheart Susie Jackson. Liam had gone into Veterinary medicine and opened a practice in Charleston, West Virginia. He and Susie were blessed with two children, a boy and a girl. The boy they named Michael. Keri became a nurse and moved to Ohio. She married a doctor she met at the hospital where she was working. Vivie's youngest sister Katie stayed in the home place. She opened a business in Matewan but never married.
Rose and Vivie returned to New York and the apartment on 5
Avenue. Never one to remain idle, Vivie opened an antique shop on the Upper East Side. The business became very successful and it filled many lonely hours. After graduating high school, Rose was
accepted at Yale. Vivie could hardly believe that her little girl was all grown up and going to such a prestigious school. How thankful she was to Michael for making this all possible. He would have been so proud of his little girl. Rose had turned into a beautiful, intelligent young woman.
While in her junior year at Yale, Rose received a phone call from Vivie. Her mother’s voice sounded strange, she was concerned that she was about to hear bad news.
“My darling, Rose, I hate to bother you at school; I know how busy you are.”
“You’re not bothering me Mother. You sound strange, is something wrong?”
“Rose, would it be possible for you to come home for a few days? I need to discuss something with you that I would prefer not to discuss on the telephone.”
“Of course, I can come home this weekend. Mother, are you feeling alright?”
“We’ll talk about it when you get home, my dearest. Travel safely. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”
Rose felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Her mother would never call her away from school if it were not something important.
When Vivie hung up the phone her mind went back to shortly after Rose had left for college. She had not been feeling well for a while and had decided she should go in for a checkup. After a complete examination and several tests, the doctor advised Vivie she had ovarian cancer. The silent killer. The doctor told her by the time ovarian cancer begins to show symptoms, it’s usually too far advanced to do anything about it. This was true in Vivie’s case. The doctor had essentially given Vivie a death sentence. She had attempted to keep her illness from Rose as much as possible the times Rose had come home for visits. But now, it was time to tell her the truth. Vivie had very little time left and much to tell her beloved daughter.
Rose arrived at the apartment a little after 4:00 p.m. She had not been home for almost a year. She hated that she had not taken a little time to visit with her mother but with studies and friends at school, she had lost track of how long it had been since had last been home. Rose opened the door and called out to her mother.
“Mother, I’m home. Where are you?”
“I’m in the bedroom my dear.”
When Rose walked into the bedroom and saw her mother lying in the bed at 4:00 in the afternoon, she knew she was ill. It was not like Vivie to be in bed at this time of day; especially when she was expecting Rose home.
“Mother? Why are you in bed? Are you ill? Why didn’t you let me know you were not feeling well?”
“Come, sit beside me, my dear. We have much to talk about.”
Rose walked over and sat down on the side of the bed, taking Vivie’s hand in her own, looking deeply into her eyes.. At forty-six years old, Vivie was still a beautiful woman. The cancer had caused a dramatic weight loss, but the sparkle in her emerald green eyes was still there.
"It's nearing time to pay the piper, my dear."
"Mama, please, don’t speak of such things.” Rose attempted to quiet her mother, but the lady would not be silenced.
"My darling Rose, there is much that needs to be discussed, there is much that you need to know, before…..well…before I make my departure."
In a tone not much more than a whisper, Vivie began to tell Rose the story of her life. The way she met Michael, the horrible details of the rape and the way Michael saved her life that night. Learning of Michael’s profession and then agreeing to marry him. She related the details of Michael’s attack on Shane and the way Ryan had killed her grandfather on the order of Tommy. That afternoon everything was revealed to Rose, including the fact that her own mother had become an assassin. The most difficult thing Vivie had to tell Rose was the truth about her paternity. The fact that she had lied to her all these years, letting her believe that Michael was her father when in fact her true father was Tommy Flannery. Vivie explained to Rose the reason she would never allow any harm to come to Tommy was because he and Rose shared the same blood type and she was afraid that Rose may need him someday. By the end of the story, both mother and daughter were in tears.
“My sweet Rose, can you ever forgive me for keeping the truth from you all of these years?”
“Oh, Mother, I am not upset about that. But to think of the kind of life you have endured and to not be able to tell me about it. It breaks my heart. If only you had told me you were ill, I would have been here, to care for you.”
“I never wanted you to sacrifice your life for me, Rose. I knew you would leave school and come home the moment you knew I was ill. Rose, I wanted so badly to think of Michael as your father that I let myself believe a lie and in doing so, let you believe it as well. He did love you Rose. He would have given his life for you. In a manner of speaking, that’s just what he did.”
“As far as I’m concerned, Michael was my father. My name is Rose Michelle O’Bannon. I only wish that I could have known him, Mother.”
Rose stayed with Vivie for the next three weeks; until her death. The newspaper had an article about her passing as she had become a prominent business woman. The mortuary expected many people would attend the funeral, to pay their respects. Vivie was to be laid to rest beside of Michael. After the service, Rose noticed a man standing beside an oak tree, watching as people came up to her to offer their condolences. Rose gave Liam the keys to the apartment and told him to take the family there, that she had something she had to take care of and would be home shortly. Liam was concerned that she should not be left alone at this time, but she assured him all was well. As everyone started to leave the cemetery, Rose saw the man who had been standing by the tree start to walk over to Vivie’s grave; she walked up and stood beside him.
“Did you know my Mother?”
“Yes, I did. We grew up in Hell’s Kitchen together.”
“I don’t believe I’ve ever met you. My name is Rose.”
The man turned to Rose and held out his hand to her.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Rose. My name is Tommy Flannery.”
Rose was speechless at first; looking down at Tommy’s hand, unsure whether or not to take it. Vivie had told her that Tommy may show up at the funeral but Rose didn’t think he would have the nerve. Once again, her mother was right.
“Rose, if you don’t mind my saying so, you are just as beautiful as your mother. You know, I was kind of in love with her. Hell, all the boys in the Kitchen loved Vivie. It damn near broke our hearts when your father took her away from us.”
“Would you like to come over to the bench as sit down, Mr. Flannery? I would like to hear more of your memories of my mother.”
Rose and Tommy walked over to a nearby bench and sat down. Rose was watching Tommy’s facial expressions as he spoke of her mother with kindness and caring. The thought of him raping and beating her and then leaving her to die was almost more than she could stand. Rose stood up and picked up her purse. Waling behind Tommy she continued to talk to him.
“Mr. Flannery, were you aware that my mother was raped and beaten while working at your father’s pub?”
Tommy stared straight ahead at Vivie’s grave.
“Now that you mention it, I do seem to remember something about that. Gee, that was a long time ago. I had completely forgotten about it. I guess things worked out for her in the end though, I mean, she married your father and became a successful business woman and all.”
“Yes, my mother was a strong woman, Mr. Flannery. She survived many hardships in her lifetime.” Rose opened her purse and removed a knife that Vivie had given her the day she left for college. She told her she wanted her to have it for protection; she had carried it ever since.
“There is something that no one knows, Mr. Flannery that I’m about to tell you. Since you were such a good friend to my mother, I’m sure she would not mind my telling you. Michael was my mother’s husband but he was not my father; at least not my biological father. You see, Mr. Flannery, I am the product of that violent attack, I am the bastard child of a rapist.”
Tommy’s blood ran cold; he wasn’t sure what Rose was going to say next. Tommy started to turn around to look at Rose but was stopped when she grabbed him by the hair of the head and put the blade of the knife to his neck.
“You, Mr. Flannery, are my father. You are the rapist who beat my mother and left her to die that night. My mother would never permit any harm to come to you because you and I have the same rare blood type and she worried that someday I may need you. She protected your worthless ass; that’s the only reason you are alive today. I am fully grown now, Mr. Flannery; I‘ll have no need for you. You can go to hell.”
Saying this Rose, slit Tommy’s throat, letting him fall to the ground. Within a few seconds Tommy lay dead, just a few feet from Vivie’s grave. Rose walked over and knelt between Vivie’s and Michael’s graves. She jammed the knife into the ground between the two of them.
“It’s over Mother. You and Michael can rest in peace. You don’t have to worry about me any longer. After all, I am my mother’s daughter.
Rose stood to her feet, turned, and walked out of the cemetery.
About the Author
J.B. Reed was born in Charleston, West Virginia, the youngest of three children. In 1958, her father was transferred to central Ohio and the family settled in a small town by the name of Baltimore. In
1987, J.B. returned to her roots when she and her daughter relocated to Charleston, West Virginia.
In 2006 J.B. accepted a job transfer and found herself once again residing in Ohio; this time in southern Ohio, in a little town by the name of Proctorville.
In 2013, she moved to Kentucky, where she currently resides..
J.B. tried her hand at writing children's stories in her twenties, but with working a full time job and with her was at a premium and writing was placed on the back burner. Demands on her time are less these days, and J.B. has found that she now has the freedom required to devote to writing....her true passion.