Bayou Baby (Butterfly Bayou 2) - Page 16

“That doesn’t seem fair,” Cal replied. “That house has been in their family for a hundred and fifty years. They weren’t always middle class. Mom forgets that from time to time.”

“Aunt Celeste wasn’t always rich. She forgets that, too.” His aunt could be kind to him, but he didn’t like how she talked about Seraphina’s family. It wasn’t his place to correct her, though, since he barely knew the woman.

“Yes, she likes to forget that entirely.” Cal nodded his way. “She doesn’t ever mention that when she met our dad, she was a stewardess.”

“Flight attendant,” Angie corrected. “They’re called flight attendants these days.”

“Well, in those days she was a stewardess and she had an affair with a businessman who married her when she got pregnant with me, so she was merely luckier than Sera,” Cal pointed out. “Don’t tell her I know that, by the way. She always tries to tell me I was a preemie. Grandmother Beaumont slipped that story in whenever she wanted to let me know I was half poor. Like that came in my DNA or something. You know, now that I think about it, Sera’s the lucky one since she’s the new owner of Guidry Place, all the land, and according to whoever Josette was talking to this morning, a crate of Confederate gold.”

Angie rolled her eyes. “You listened to the rumor mill? You know by the time it gets to anyone willing to talk to that mean girl that it’s likely all crap.”

He shrugged slightly. “Yeah, there was also something about a bunch of dead bodies and having to hide Irene’s serial killer past in order to take possession of the house, but I just figured it had already gone through Gene.”

Papillon was an odd place. “So Sera’s inheriting a mansion?”

“It’s a mansion in name only,” Angie explained. “It was a mansion back at the turn of the twentieth century. Sometime in the fifties, most of the family moved into town and bought the house Delphine and Sera still live in. They founded the restaurant, but Irene wasn’t interested in it so she took care of the ancestral home. When the grandparents passed, they left Sera’s side of the family the restaurant and Irene got the old property. Everyone assumed she would sell it off at some point or leave it to charity. I’m surprised she bequeathed it all to Seraphina.”

“Sera’s the only one who ever gave that old woman a moment of her time,” Cal replied. “I’m not all that surprised.”

“I wonder if that’s why she did it.” Angie pushed her chair back. “I’ve got to go change shoes. I’m not going to be the one to tell Mother that Seraphina is now our neighbor. She can find that out on her own. I hope it’s merely a rumor because if it’s not, Sera’s inherited more than a house that will likely fall apart around her. She put herself in between my mom and something she wants, and that never goes well. See y’all after church, and it’s not fair that I have to go and you don’t.”

“I’m not the one getting married.” Cal yawned and sat back. “I don’t have to impress the priest. Harry here isn’t even Catholic. He’s the luckiest one of all. He can watch all the football he wants every Sunday.”

“Hopefully there will be football in Hell,” Angie said with a wink. “Bye, boys.”

Harry still had some questions. “Why does Aunt Celeste hate Seraphina? You said she was friends with Wes. I get she didn’t want them to date, but according to you, they didn’t.”

“Nah, Sera wasn’t interested in him that way. My sainted brother wasn’t her type,” Cal said. “She was more into bad boys, if you know what I mean. Sera got around in high school. Never could convince Wes that it wasn’t going to happen.”

“And your mom hates her because she didn’t want Wes?”

“Nah. She hates Seraphina because she blames her for Wes losing his damn mind and going into the Army.”

Harry stared at him. He got that Wes hadn’t needed the Army the way he had, but he still didn’t think joining up achieved a level of crazy.

Cal sighed. “I didn’t mean it that way. It would have been great if serving his country was truly what Wes was doing, but it wasn’t. He was running away.”

“From what?” As far as Harry could tell, Wes’s life should have been very good.

A grim expression crossed his cousin’s face, a serious look he rarely saw there. “Wes was in his last year of college. Sera was working but for some reason she went up to Baton Rouge and they had a big fight. I don’t know exactly what happened. I think Wes probably gave her some dumbass ultimatum. I told him he should be patient and eventually she would give in and sleep with him. I mean, he couldn’t actually marry her, but he could have a good time. Like I said, I don’t know what happened, but he came home and told Mom and Dad he’d dropped out and was going into the Army. He said he would prove to Seraphina that he could be man enough for her.”

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