Bayou Baby (Butterfly Bayou 2) - Page 19

Sylvie shook her head. “It’s gone downhill since I was out here last.” She sighed. “It’s been years and years. I feel bad. I should have come out here and seen Irene. I got busy.”

Sylvie was particularly busy because for the last several years she’d served as the mayor of Papillon. Like many of Sera’s friends, Sylvie left the small town they’d grown up in for college. She’d gotten a degree in public administration. She’d been planning on going to DC, but when the mayor of thirty years had died suddenly, she’d come home to take care of her town. Her chock-full of crazy town. How Sylvie managed to get through a single town hall, Sera had no idea.

“She would have met you with a shotgun.” Sera didn’t want her friend to feel guilty. Her aunt had been isolated in her last years. “She knew you took over the mayor’s office. She pretty much threatened anyone from the government. You know how she liked to think everyone was out to take her land and force her into medical experiments.”

Sylvie chuckled. “That sounds like her. Still, I played out here, too, back when she didn’t mind having ragamuffin kids running all over the place.”

“Does it have electricity?” Hallie hadn’t moved more than a couple of feet from her shiny new SUV. Unlike Sylvie, Hallie hadn’t played here. Hallie’s mother had been in a longtime feud with Irene over a banana bread recipe and wouldn’t allow Hallie anywhere near the woman who’d accused her of culinary thievery. Not that Hallie would have played in the mud and caught crawfish. Even from a young age, she’d been worried about the state of her hair and nails. Hallie was definitely the girly girl among them.

“Of course it does.” The electricity was unreliable at times and a whole lot of the lights blinked off and on, but they worked. When they wanted to. “And it’s got AC and plumbing and everything. You don’t have to come in. You two can go if you want to. I’ve got some things I want to check out. I’ll call Remy and have him pick me up when he’s done with his shift at the restaurant.”

“That’s hours from now,” Sylvie pointed out. “Besides, I’m curious about what it looks like inside. How much crazier could it have gotten? I remember she used to have a collection of ceramic owls. They always creeped me out. I kind of want to face it again as an adult and maybe I’ll stop having nightmares about owls.”

The owls were still there. And they were still creepy and weird.

Hallie moved in beside her. “You love this place, don’t you?”

She’d kind of expected that Hallie wouldn’t want to stay long, and Sylvie always had something come up. Sera had come fully equipped with a notepad, her cell phone, and a pen so she could start making lists. Probably long lists. Long, expensive lists. “I do. I love it a lot. I know it looks run-down, but it’s an amazing house and it’s got a gorgeous view of the bayou.”

It had a lot of land around it. Sera had always thought her aunt could have done amazing things with all that land. In her mind’s eyes she saw a big patio with an outdoor kitchen and a firepit. She could throw parties where tourists could enjoy the beauty of the bayou with all the amenities of a great bed-and-breakfast. She could have lovely weddings out here.

She could raise a family here, like her grandmother had.

“Have you given any thought to living here?” Sylvie asked. “Not that you’ve had much time to think at all. It’s a lot to take in, but I remember you talking about what you would do with this place when we were kids.”

The whole estate had seemed magical when she was a kid. Back then she hadn’t seen the disrepair. All she’d seen was the beauty. The whole world had kind of been that way. She wanted Luc to have that, to see the world the way it should be before he had to face the way it truly was.

“Really? Live here?” Hallie wrinkled her nose like she couldn’t imagine the thought. “I mean I know you can’t live with your mom forever. But this is so far out of town. I always thought you would get one of those duplexes out near me.”

Hallie lived in a small neighborhood mostly filled with families of oil rig workers. Her particular neighborhood was one of the nicest in town because it was where the engineers and drillers lived. There was another neighborhood, though close to Hallie’s, that was made up of manufactured homes and duplexes and fourplexes that served as housing for the roughnecks and their families.

Sera couldn’t afford either. She couldn’t afford renting a room somewhere, not that she would because she wanted Luc to have something more than a bathroom down the hall. “It works to stay with Mom and Zep. It cuts way down on the need for day care. I tend to work days and Zep works nights. He’s surprisingly good with Luc, though I worry he’s already trying to teach him how to charm the ladies. He might be actively using Luc to help him pick up women. Wow, I’m basically a walking stereotype. Twenty-five years old, living at home. Single mom in a small town. Barely finished high school. Can’t seem to keep a job.”

Tags: Lexi Blake Butterfly Bayou Romance
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