They had felt like a family.
She shook it off because it was far too soon to think that way. As far as Luc knew, Harry was just another kind male authority figure, like Remy and Zep. She was careful not to show too much affection for Harry around Luc.
Celeste was another story entirely. Sera had decided never to even mention Luc’s name around Celeste. The less she knew about Luc, the better.
Lila snorted as she moved into warrior pose. “Yeah, it will be Peanut who takes down our peeper. I told you, babe, I can handle Kenny. I think you should watch the Beaumont situation, though. I’ve always thought Celeste could blow. That woman’s wound up tight.”
“I’m supposed to go shopping with her,” Sera explained. “I’m meeting her in New Orleans to find a dress for the wedding. Well, not really to find a dress. Celeste already picked out the dress. I have to go and try it on and let them tailor it for me. She’s concerned with my boobs.”
“That’s where she’ll do it,” Hallie vowed. “She’ll hire an assassin to sneak into the dressing room and it will be death by Chanel. You know my momma says everyone gets killed in New Orleans.”
Hallie’s mom believed big cities were the work of the devil, but then she felt the same about tank tops, push-up bras, artificial intelligence, and avocados.
“Hallie Rayburn, do you have something you want to share with the class?” Joy LeGrande was one of the two yoga instructors who ran sessions across the parish. She stared at the back of her class, her dark eyes hawkish. “You do understand that this is supposed to be quiet, contemplative time, right?”
Hallie’s eyes went wide and she looked a lot like she had when they’d gotten caught passing notes in English class. “Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, ma’am.”
Hallie could be awfully deferential to anyone in a position of power.
“We were talking about the fact that Celeste is probably planning on killing Seraphina.” Sylvie was not.
Every head turned, all eyes on Sera.
“They’re joking,” she said weakly. “We should definitely move on to some core work, right?”
“It’s true. I thought it was another rumor,” Joy said, putting a hand on her nonexistent hip. The woman was fit. “You caught that gorgeous hunk of man. All right, you need to dish because he’s turned down every single woman in this town, and a whole lot of the married ones, too. Don’t you give me that judgmental look, Mary Lou. I saw you looking at him.”
Yoga was completely put on hold in favor of intense questioning that Sera had not expected. Women who hadn’t given her the time of day in years were suddenly interested in what she was doing. How is the house going? Is Harry working on it with you? Have you been to Beaumont House? Does Celeste really have a movie theater in that place?
Lila rolled up her mat and joined her husband on the bench, obviously unimpressed with the impromptu press conference, but Sera’s friends stayed at her side as she learned the only thing worse than being the town outcast was suddenly being its sweetheart.* * ****
“I want to know what you’re doing with Sera. I pretended everything was all right with Harry, but I know you’re up to something.” Cal hadn’t even knocked on the door to the office Celeste used while she was in New Orleans. It was across the hall from his office and much smaller. She’d always loved that other office, which was reserved for the CEO. Not for its horrible dated and masculine furnishings but for its view of the Mississippi River. The CEO’s domain had floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, and when she’d stood there waiting for her husband, she’d always felt like she was looking out over her kingdom.
Well, she had until Ralph inevitably walked in and put her in her place.
Lately, she’d started wondering what her place was.
She sat back, studying her son. Cal looked different in a suit. She’d never really thought about it, merely accepted that a suit was what the CEO wore to work, but Cal didn’t wear them in his normal life. He dressed well, but much more casually. The suit seemed odd on her laid-back son, and yet he put it on every day according to the network of employees she had looking in on Cal when she couldn’t.
“I’m not doing anything with her at all.” Except sending her a couple of dozen e-mails about the rules for how to behave. She’d found herself actively enjoying writing the snarky missives and waiting for Sera to reply with equal sarcasm. The young woman had a wit she often hid in deference to camouflage. If there was one thing she’d learned about Seraphina Guidry in the days since she’d made the decision to change up her tactics, it was that Sera preferred to go unnoticed now. Sera dimmed her glow in order to stay out of the spotlight.