Bayou Baby (Butterfly Bayou 2) - Page 81

She wasn’t surprised that was what Angela thought. It was certainly what Cal had thought, but she was curious about Harry. He hadn’t mentioned anything when they’d talked earlier. “And Harry said?”

“Harry said I was wrong and that even if I wasn’t, once you got to know Sera, you would like her.”

“I don’t know if I would say I like her.” She couldn’t quite admit it yet. Not out loud. It still felt a bit like a betrayal of Wes. “But I think I should try to be tolerant if she’s going to be around. Harry seems very taken with her. I would have thought you’d be all right with the situation. You’re the one who argued I would lose Harry if I didn’t change.”

“You don’t change.”

“I assure you I have. I wasn’t always the woman you know. I changed for your father, and now I’m thinking it wasn’t for the better.” She took a sip of the rich Cab. “Angie, I know I’ve told you in the past to not cause scenes, but you realize there’s a place for them, right? Your grandmother was wrong about some things.”

“My grandmother was a terrible person. She didn’t care about anything but appearances. No, I don’t tend to follow her rules. Dad wasn’t much better.”

“And I went along with it.”

Angie frowned. “If you hadn’t, Dad would have divorced you. Mom, what’s brought this on? I don’t understand what’s happening. Did you cancel the dress order because someone wasn’t nice to Seraphina?”

“They treated her like garbage,” she explained. She’d been able to hear her mother-in-law’s voice, clucking about how every woman in the world had to deal with a jerk like Brian Brewer, and Sera should have been gracious and found a way not to make a scene. “I know I say a lot about wearing the right clothes and presenting yourself properly, but I realized today that if my sister had walked into that store, they would have treated her the same way. Harry gets a pass because he’s an attractive young man. He’s white and handsome. My sister had her privileges, too, don’t get me wrong. But she was poor, and in our world that means she could be preyed on.”

“Did Sera slip something into your tea?” Angie asked. “You sound a little woke there, Mom.”

“Well, of course I’m awake.” She shook her head. “All I’m saying is I’ve been reminded lately that I came from humble beginnings. There were good things about that world. Sweet things. Things I miss, and I’ve started to wonder if I can’t find some of that part of me again. I realized I’m not actually offended by the sight of someone’s toes as long as they’re properly maintained. And I like dogs. I’m thinking about getting a dog. A small one, though. I think I might like a sweet companion.”

“Who are you?” The question came from her daughter’s mouth with a little bit of shock tingeing it.

Wasn’t that the question? “I’m not sure. But I think I would like to find out. I definitely think I want a different life for my granddaughters, and maybe that starts with changing what I find tolerable. Your grandmother thought it was perfectly acceptable for a man like Brian Brewer to treat a woman like Seraphina as if he had the right to whatever he wanted from her because she was below his station, but god forbid I wore the wrong shade of lipstick or expressed a damn opinion. Or use the word ‘damn’ for that matter.”

“I’m going to need more wine.” Angie poured herself another drink. “Is now a good time to tell you Austin and I have decided to put off having kids for at least five years?”

Well, that was disappointing. And also encouraging. “You want to work on your career?”

“I know everyone on Austin’s side of the family thinks I’m going to settle down and be a wife and mother, but I want something more. It’s not that I don’t—”

She held a hand up. “You do not have to explain yourself to me. Maybe I would have questioned you a few years back.”

“It was Cal and Wes’s places to make something of themselves,” Angie said tightly. “Dad told me I had it easy. All I had to do was convince someone to marry me.”

Sometimes she hated her husband. “You have a degree.”

“I know the only reason Dad paid for college was you convinced him it would be a good place for me to find a husband. But then you didn’t push me. I think you wanted me to have the degree because you didn’t. Because you knew you didn’t have any way to fight back if things went wrong. Dad controlled everything.”

“And your grandmother made sure I understood that if I left, I left with nothing. I had to sign a prenuptial contract.” There had been so many times she’d wanted to leave, wanted to find a way out, but she’d settled. “Your father never hit me. You should understand that. But he didn’t love me.”

Tags: Lexi Blake Butterfly Bayou Romance
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