Sera had met Angie’s fiancé but only because they’d both been at a church function and it would have been rude not to introduce him. She was sure if they’d been somewhere else, Angie would have ignored her the way Celeste would want.
“Austin wants it all over with.” Angie took a seat at the round breakfast table, crossing one leg over the other and showing off the red sole of her shoes. “Sometimes I think we should have eloped.”
“And deprive the town of the wedding of the year?” Sera expertly uncorked the wine and poured two glasses. “That would be cruel.”
Angie gave her a long sigh and took the wine. “I suppose so. I know my mother would be disappointed.” She glanced around as though looking to make sure they were alone.
“Momma’s gone to her bathroom. She’ll be at least an hour or two.” Her mother took long baths during which she read old romance novels and soaked in lavender-scented bath salts. She had a gorgeous claw-foot tub. There was one at Guidry Place, though like everything there, it needed to be refinished.
Like Harry had offered to refinish the rockers she’d loved as a child. She’d stood there as he’d run a hand over the arm of the chair. Like he could feel the thing, see himself bringing it back to its old glory. Harry had the most beautiful hands.
She took her own glass and sat down opposite Angie. “How did your mom take the news?”
There was zero question in her head why Angie had shown up this evening. The news that Sera now owned Guidry Place, a property close to Beaumont House, would have made the rounds. Celeste likely had heard it at her Sunday luncheon.
Angie’s expression went tight. “Not well. She’s upset. She thinks you’re going to move in.”
“I might have to for a little while.” She’d been overwhelmed by the amount of work she was going to have to do. It would take months to get the place ready to show. “It’s a lot of work. I have to do some of it myself because I don’t think Irene understood how much repairs and refurbishing cost these days.”
“Or you could sell it to my mother.” Angie leaned forward. “You know she’s wanted that place for a long time.”
“I know she’s talked about tearing it down.” It was stubborn of her because she knew Celeste would buy it, but she wasn’t about to sell her childhood paradise to a woman who hated her. A woman who would only see it as a piece of trash to be removed.
“She would like to build a new guesthouse and a pool,” Angie said, as though that was completely reasonable. Everyone needed two guesthouses. “She would give you a good price.”
“No, she wouldn’t. She would try to screw me over and you know it.”
“I won’t let her. You have to see you’re in over your head. You’re not ready for something like this.”
She wasn’t but she had to find a way to make it work that didn’t include selling out to Celeste. “Tell her I’m going to fix it up and I will likely sell it, but only to a family that plans to live here, or Sylvie talked about selling it as a bed-and-breakfast. We need more hotel rooms around town.”
“I don’t know that Mother will like that idea.”
“I don’t care.” She was tired of being afraid of Celeste.
Angie’s eyes widened. “You need to. You know why you should.” Her voice went low despite the fact that they were alone. “Sera, I like you. I’ve always liked you and that’s why I’ve tried to protect you all these years. Mom only knows you rejected Wes. She doesn’t know you slept with him, and she definitely doesn’t know Luc is her grandchild.”
“I don’t honestly think she would care. I’ve thought about this for years.” She was tired of keeping secrets. “The woman hates me. She wouldn’t want Luc to come anywhere close to her precious name because he’s half mine.”
She’d stewed over it all afternoon as she’d walked through the house. Maybe Hallie was right and she should come clean. It would cause a scandal for a while, but then it would die down and maybe she wouldn’t have to leave. She would have to explain to Luc why half his family wouldn’t spend time with him, but it would be okay. Her family would give him all the love he needed.
Angie put her glass down. “If you think that’s true, then you don’t know my mother. I want you to think about this. In the three years since Luc was conceived, she’s lost Wes and my father. She’s actively trying to tempt Harry into coming here to live, and that second guesthouse she wants to build is so Austin and I will stay here. She honestly thinks Austin won’t mind commuting hours to New Orleans. She’s terrified of having an empty nest, and Luc is a sweet little bird who won’t fly away for a long time. She won’t care that he’s half Guidry. She’ll take him and make him all Beaumont.”