She stopped pacing and faced him. “He had a tough relationship with his father. When it was obvious Wes was highly gifted, his dad decided he should be the heir to the company, and Wes always said the only thing worse than his father ignoring him was his father paying attention to him.” She shook her head. “But I don’t want to talk about that now. I had a good day. And I have a nice outfit for Saturday’s brunch. Do you want to see it? I’ve got about an hour before I need to get home. Zep’s got a shift at Guidry’s and it’s Momma’s book club night. Let me tell you, those ladies love their books, and by ‘books,’ I mean wine.”
He let it go because he did want her happy. He’d worked damn hard to be able to give her this surprise. “First, come inside. I need to show you something.”
He held out a hand and she took it, though she winced. “Did something fall apart? I was worried about the mirror in the guest bathroom. Was it too heavy?”
“It’s perfect. I checked the work myself,” he assured her as he led her inside. They were only a couple of weeks into the project, but the house was coming along nicely. Once they’d gotten rid of many of the old pieces of furniture, they’d discovered the place wasn’t as bad as it seemed. The structure itself was solid. The roof needed some shingles replaced, but overall he felt pretty good about the budget Sera had and the timeline. She wouldn’t get everything she wanted, but the house would be livable at the end of ninety days.
“I thought you had to spend the day on the gazebo.” She let him lead her to the kitchen.
The kitchen was in the middle of renovation. It was a holy mess, but one thing about it was perfect and the proof was sitting right on the plywood bar that would soon be replaced with a pretty granite Sera had selected earlier in the week. “I lied about that.”
She frowned his way and dropped his hand. “You lied.”
He suspected more than one man in Sera’s life had lied to her, but in this case, he’d done it for a good reason. “It was the only time this week Darnell could come out and inspect the plumbing.” He picked up the paperwork and offered it to her. “I’m sorry. I know you wanted me to go to New Orleans with you, but I needed to bring Darnell out without you here. I didn’t want to worry you if something went wrong.”
She took the papers, glancing down at them. “We passed?”
This was what he’d wanted to give to her. Ever since she’d realized the inspector could shove roadblocks in her way, she’d been nervous. He needed her to understand they could handle this. “We passed. The whole house.”
“But we only spent fifteen hundred on plumbing.” She was staring down at the papers.
“We’re going to have to replace the water heater in a year or so, but the rest of the plumbing is good. Now, the electrical is going to be different.” He would have continued, but he found himself with an armful of happy blonde. Sera wrapped herself around him and kissed his cheek.
“I can’t believe it. We passed something,” she said with a laugh.
He whirled her around. “We passed. We’re going to pass all of it. This house is going to shine when we’re through.”
Her head came back so she could look him in the eyes. “Harry, I’m starting to wonder if maybe I might keep it.”
That was exactly what he was looking for. He wanted her to have choices. He was getting to like it around here, starting to think this could be a great place to settle down and raise a family. “I think that’s a fine thing to consider.”
“Thank you for this.”
He set her on her feet and she stared up at him. He didn’t want her to go but knew she took her time with Luc seriously. She’d been gone all day. She would need to spend time with him. “You’re welcome. Why don’t you show me that pretty dress and then you can get home? I’m going to stay here awhile and work on the bathroom. Now that we know the plumbing’s good, we should think about what you want in the master.”
“How about you take the night off and we go to dinner?”
He wanted that more than anything. He loved being out in the open with her, loved being able to show that they were together. The people around them were still openly gawking, but they would get used to them as a couple. But there was a problem. “Don’t you need a sitter for Luc?”
“He likes to eat, too. Maybe we could all go out. We could go to Guidry’s if you want to.”