It can happen anywhere. Racism. And this time, it rears its ugly head in Harpers Falls!
Two days after they were all moved in, the Marshalls were on their way to the Harper Mansion, and they were invited to have dinner with the Harpers.
"Sounds like this will be one heck of a dinner," Viola said, "I hope I am ready for this."
"I think we will," Stacey reassured her sister, "I know Valerie was trying to get herself all ready."
"Do you think I am overdressed, Mama?" Valerie asked.
"No, sweetheart," Stacey said kindly, "you're fine."
"I hope Dylan will be there," Carlton Johnson said, "I actually found him to be rather helpful with all the moving in he did."
"Which he shouldn't have had to do," Valerie said, shooting a tough look at her other son, Marcus, "he wouldn't have had to do all that, if MARCUS had stayed and helped out."
"All right, Mother," Marcus said coldly, "I get the idea."
"Enough," Evelyn said to the squabbling outfit, "Marcus, you shouldn't have run out on us to leave Dylan and the others to help us move; and Valerie, you've made your point. I don't want any squabbling tonight."
A few minutes later, the family arrived at the Harpers Mansion.
"Wow," Carlton breathed, "gorgeous house."
"There are more opulent ones in Chicago," Marcus said, diffidently, "I am sure."
"Has Mr. Harper said who would all be there?" Carlton said, pointedly ignoring Marcus.
"I think he said most everyone will be there," Stacey said, "I think even his niece, Anyssa and her husband will be there."
"Wow," Viola said, "I didn't know she was his niece."
"She used to live in Chicago, herself," Marcus said, "I think her parents were wealthy themselves."
"She was adopted," Carlton said, getting irritated by Marcus, "she is a Harper too."
Valerie touched Carlton's shoulder, "It's all right, Carl," she assured her son, "things will be all right."
The crew walked to the main door. Stacey rang the doorbell.
Velda Smithfield, the social secretary, answered the door, "Come in," she said breezily, "the parlor is open, and dinner will be served soon."
Everyone went in, except Marcus, who sat in the car and sulked. He had NO desire to be in this dumb dinner.
He thought he would slink out, and head to the Silver Kettle, where his new friend, Janet, was waiting.
"Hold it, Marcus," Carlton said, "I don't think you're going anywhere!"
In the parlor, everyone was meeting and having some pre-dinner drinks before the meal was served. Stacey and Shelby were talking as if they had been long time friends. Viola was talking with Anyssa and her husband, Bryan Forson.
"So, you lived in Chicago too?" Viola said to Anyssa, "What part?"
"North side," Anyssa said, "I recently helped sell my mother's former estate."
"That had to have been an undertaking," Viola said, "you had to have some help, didn't you?"
"Yes," Anyssa admitted, "my best friend, Susannah Lucas, helped me out."
"You know the Lucases?" Carlton said, "Wow! They are great names."
"My dad and Sam were best friends," Anyssa explained, "Susie and I were always close, but our friendship deepened when we were in College. She, Bryan and I took law courses; and Patrick Kurtz, our other friend, studied Medicine."
Marcus let out a long-drawn out yawn, which earned him a vicious look from his mother, "This is so boring!" he said.
Dylan glared a blistering look at Marcus, he had no call to be so rude to his family.
However, a phone call rattled the entire company.
"Dylan," Velda came into the parlor, "something terrible has happened."
"What is it, Aunt Vel?" he asked.
"Someone is doing a cross burning on the Marshall's yard!" she said.
"Ohmigod!" Dylan winced, "Alex, can you come with me?"
"Sure hon," Alex said, "has the police been called?"
"Anne found out about it from Aunt June," Velda said, "we'll wait for you to return before we have dinner."
"Right," Dylan said.
An hour later, Dylan and Alex were exhausted, but were back. "What happened, Dyl?" Aileen Mercier said, running over to her half-brother, and getting him a soda.
"It was pretty bad," Dylan said, his voice thick with sadness, "fortunately the house wasn't burned down!"
"Have they said who spearheaded the cross burning?" Michael said, astonished that something this hateful could happen in their town.
"They've not said," Alex said, "Anne said the investigation was ongoing."
Meanwhile, Marcus, sickened by what happened, whispered to his mother of where he had to go.
Valerie nodded, and Marcus stormed over to the Silver Kettle.
Waiting there was Janet, and she was wearing a white sheet.
"YOU!" Marcus screamed, "You tried to burn my house down?!"
A blond headed man stood next to Janet, "I did it, you little piece of garbage!" he snapped, "I did it to purify this town!"
"Your bragging will be destroyed!" Jennifer VanPatterson-Patten snapped, "by your own words you are hanged!"
The young man was swiftly arrested and taken to jail. So was Janet. The man was her brother, Christopher Helgerson, who was worse and meaner than she was!
The Helgerson siblings meant trouble, and there would be hell to pay when they were caught.
What will happen next?
- Now that racism has raised it's ugly head in Harpers Falls, what will the response be against the Helgersons?