“Hey, you’ve been at Miss Marcelle’s for six months,” Hallie pointed out. “You’ve settled in real nice there.”
“And you get your hair done in Houma.” That fact had not been lost on Sera.
Hallie blushed. “Well, I’ve been going to Darlene for years. It would be rude to ditch her now.”
Sylvie held a hand up. “And my momma would be real upset if I didn’t go to her. Black girl hair right here.”
Sera wasn’t all that great with white girl hair, either. She hadn’t expected Sylvie would be a client. After all, her mom—Miss Marcelle—did run the salon.
Hallie had complained about Darlene and her overuse of the scissors for years, but Sera simply sighed because she didn’t blame her friend. The truth was she wasn’t good at her job. She could do a serviceable haircut, but she wasn’t all that creative. She pretty much offered everyone highlights, and that was all she had. “Yeah, well, I do more cleanup than I do styling these days. I’m not very good. I don’t have a passion for it. I tried but the only people who still come in and ask for me are Lisa and her sister Lila. My clientele has become mostly men, and they stare at my boobs. Marcelle ran one out last week.”
“I heard she chased him out with a broom because that was how she took out the trash,” Hallie said.
Sylvie frowned, an expression Sera had seen her friend use on the most annoying of constituents. “Momma was so upset,” Sylvie added. “She tried to get the sheriff to track that jackass down. Then she tried to get me to make a city ordinance, since I am the mayor. I had to explain to her that grabbing a woman’s ass is already illegal and we don’t need an extra law.”
It hadn’t been a great day. Sera had been left in tears after that jerk had hit on her. “He grabbed my butt and asked if I did private haircuts. When did I become this girl?”
Hallie turned to look at her. “What girl?”
“The bad girl. The one men think they can play around with until the one they marry comes along.” It hadn’t been like she’d had a bad reputation in school. She’d dated Ben Reed for three years until he’d gone off to college and hadn’t come back. She’d never cheated on him, though he hadn’t liked Wes hanging around all the time. She’d made one mistake and it looked like she would pay for it forever.
Sylvie’s eyes had gone soft and sympathetic. “You aren’t that girl. No one really is. Men are jerks. At least a lot of them are. Most of them can’t see what’s standing right in front of them because they’re always looking off at something in the distance.”
“Oh, I think it’s more than that.” Hallie leaned against her car. “You want to talk about this? Because I avoid this subject like the plague, but I have thoughts.”
Sylvie stared Hallie’s way. “Hey, she’s had a day.”
Hallie shook her head. “Nope. If she’s ready to talk, then we should talk. You know it.”
Was Sera ready? If she wasn’t by now, she wouldn’t ever be.
“You think I should have told everyone who Luc’s father is.” She knew it bugged the hell out of her best friend that she wouldn’t tell her the secret.
“I think whoever Luc’s daddy is needs to step up, and it would go a long way to quiet down the rumors,” Hallie said.
Sera knew what the rumors were. “I’ve never slept with a married man. I told you. It didn’t even happen here. It happened when I was in Baton Rouge.”
“It shouldn’t matter,” Sylvie insisted. “It’s Sera’s business and no one else’s.”
“Don’t be naive. You grew up here, too. This is a small town and an oil town,” Hallie pointed out. “You know how the wives can be. They’re very territorial. When you find a man who can take care of you, you protect your marriage. At least that’s the way these women work. You remember when the company sent out a single female engineer? They went crazy. The woman literally made twice what their pot-bellied, middle-aged husbands made and they thought she was going to steal one of them. Like she spent four years at Texas A&M getting a degree in petroleum engineering so she could steal a rigger from the arms of his wife.”
That poor young woman had had a time of it, and she’d hauled herself right back to a nice cushy job in Houston the minute she’d been able to. Sera didn’t have anywhere to go. “I’ve never dated a married man. I’ve barely dated at all. I turn down almost everyone who asks me. I liked Jackson.”
Hallie sighed. “Yeah, I did, too, until he turned out to be an ass. I wish I’d never introduced you to him. He seemed like such a nice man.”