So everyone would know soon. She loved Marcelle, but the woman ran the salon, which was a hub for gossip. The only place worse was Guidry’s, where the whole town met to eat, drink, and talk about everyone else. Once Sylvie knew, Hallie would know, and they would be over here trying to help. They would be good friends to her like they’d always been, but all she wanted was Harry.
By this time tomorrow she would have a lot of eyes on her, and some of them would be paid by Celeste Beaumont to make reports.
“How dare you show up on my doorstep,” she heard her mother say with a vehemence she reserved for the IRS and those who didn’t believe in the power of tarot cards. “You know I have a gun.”
“It’s Louisiana, Delphine,” a familiar voice said. “We all have guns. Well, if you’re going to shoot me, do it. I don’t have all day, and honestly I could use the eternal rest.”
She would know that dry, the-world-is-my-never-ending-annoyance voice anywhere. Celeste was here. She was on her porch, and a sudden terror threatened to take over. Was she alone or had she brought the police? Would she walk out there and Armie would explain he didn’t want to do it, but he had to take Luc into custody? Would a CPS worker be waiting to haul her little boy away?
“Seraphina, I need to talk to you,” Celeste said in a raised voice, as though she knew exactly where Sera was. “I’ll be on the porch when you’re ready. You seem to have a place to sit out here. I’m prepared to wait however long you need.”
She heard heels clicking along the front porch and then a squeaking sound that let her know Celeste had taken a seat on one of the rockers.
Her mom shut the door. “She can wait for all of time. I wish we had sprinklers so I could turn them on and see if that old biddy would melt.”
“She’s alone?” There didn’t seem to be a bunch of county workers waiting outside. She could see through the big window that only Celeste’s Benz was in the drive.
“Yes, she’s alone. She’s got a bunch of files, though,” her mom explained. “I could make a homemade flamethrower with a lighter and hairspray and burn them all up. She’ll have to have her lawyer write it all again. That might be a good way to deal with this. Kill her with legal fees.”
Her momma trying to MacGyver her way out of the situation was a bad idea. “I’ll talk to her. It’s best to find out what she wants now rather than later. Watch Luc. He needs his lunch soon.”
This likely wouldn’t take long. Celeste would barrage her with paperwork—none of which she would sign until a lawyer explained it to her—and then she would be on her way.
And maybe she would call Harry and talk to him. It wouldn’t be wrong to talk to him and make sure he was all right. He’d been through a lot, too. He’d thought he’d found some family, and now they were lost to him.
He was alone. Did he have to be? Celeste would come after her one way or another. Maybe he was right. Maybe they should face her together.
But not now because she’d sent him away. Now she had to face the enemy alone.
She walked out, unwilling to put this off for another second. She pushed through the screen door and onto the porch. Celeste was wearing her normal designer uniform. Sheath dress, fussy jacket, pearls she could clutch.
That wasn’t fair. Everyone needed their armor. Even Celeste.
“What can I do for you?” She wasn’t going to take the low road. She was going to act like the woman she wanted to be. Kind. Patient. Reasonable. Strong. “If you need to serve me with papers, I’ll take them.”
Celeste looked up and for a moment she seemed shocked that Sera was standing there. She looked down at the thick stack of papers in her hand. They were in a manila folder that looked like it had seen better days. “This? No. This isn’t legal paperwork. It’s medical records. Wesley’s records. I kept them. I know. I could have put them on the computer, but it’s hard for me to change.”
Now it was Sera’s turn to be surprised. “Are you worried about Luc?” She found the rocker beside Celeste’s and sat down. “Luc is healthy. I promise I don’t miss appointments, and I’ve talked to our pediatrician about the cancer Wes had. We watch him carefully.”
“I thought it might be helpful in case anything came up later,” Celeste said, her hands clutching those records like they were a lifeboat. “Luc might need them down the line. You should know that high blood pressure runs in my family. I had a grandfather who died of colon cancer. He needs to be careful about that and perhaps screen earlier than normal. I detailed some of it this morning, and I’ll send you an e-mail if I remember anything else.”