“What made you come home?” From what he could tell, most young folks who left didn’t come back.
“What always makes us come home? I had a family member who needed me,” he replied in a gravelly tone. “Is that why you’re in town? I hear you’re Cal’s cousin but you’ve never been here before. I thought the Beaumonts were all tight.”
He wouldn’t call the family tight in an emotional way. There was a careful distance between them all, and he worried it was more about grief than anything else. They seemed to be stuck in a cycle. “Celeste Beaumont was my mother’s sister. I’m not from the wealthy side of the family. I grew up in Texas. We didn’t get down here a lot. Did you know them as kids? My cousins, that is.”
A single shoulder shrugged as he placed the final beer in front of Harry. “I’m a bit older than Cal, but sure, I knew them. It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone else. And Cal has always been a little wild. Wes was quieter. It was obvious he was the favorite. He was smarter. Everyone thought he would take over the company one day. It was a shock when he up and joined the Army. And Angie was just kind of there. She was a shy girl. She kind of blended in wherever she went. But they seemed like solid kids. Cal wouldn’t let anyone bully his brother or sister. He was a pretty good guy. And then he started drinking.”
He stared pointedly at the beers.
“Yeah, I don’t think he’s going to stop anytime soon.” His cousin partied pretty hard, and it was obvious it was starting to be a problem. Harry picked up two beers in one hand and one in the other. It was not his first rodeo. “I’ll see if I can keep him under control tonight.”
“Try, because I do not need the sheriff up my ass if Cal causes trouble. He might not come out here often, but if a Beaumont gets hurt in a bar fight, I assure you I’ll get a visit,” Cain said with a frown.
“I’ll make sure he’s cool.” It was the only reason he’d agreed to come out this evening. He hadn’t wanted Cal driving. He turned to the table his cousin was sitting at and caught sight of the third person in their party this evening. Zep Guidry. Yeah, maybe making sure Cal got home all right wasn’t the only reason he’d done it.
How many times did that sweet-faced blonde have to turn him down before he got the message? He started for the table. He wasn’t going to pursue her. Not romantically. He’d received that message, but he got the feeling there was something more to the feud between his aunt and Seraphina. He also worried it was a battle Sera wasn’t going to win.
He set the beer in front of Cal and Zep and slid into his chair.
“So you met Cain,” Cal said, taking a sip. “Watch yourself around him. He’s on the dangerous side, if you know what I mean.”
“I do not.” He’d seemed pretty cool.
Zep leaned in. “There’s a rumor he works for a drug dealer. Now, I stay away from all that stuff because beer works fine, and no one ever lost their teeth from drinking beer.”
Cal shook his head. “I don’t know about that. Herve lost his front two teeth in that fight and it was all because he’d been drinking beer.”
Zep rolled his eyes. “You know what I’m saying. I don’t do anything to hurt this face of mine. It’s my moneymaker. It’s how I bring in the tips.”
“You have to play the handsome card because you’re the world’s worst waiter,” Cal pointed out. “If your brother didn’t own the restaurant, you would have been fired long ago.”
Zep simply shrugged. “That’s fair. But like I was saying, I’m not into the drug scene, but the word is Cain is part of that world. His sister was. Suzy Cunningham was a nice girl until she got involved with drugs. Died of an overdose. I would have thought that would teach Cain, but he’s a stubborn fool. And hopefully he didn’t hear that because he can also be a violent fool from what I’ve heard.”
Harry hadn’t gotten those vibes off the man, but hiding his true nature would make him an excellent criminal. “I have to ask why we’re here, then, if it’s so dangerous.”
“We’re walking on the wild side, cos,” Cal said with a grin. “Guidry’s is full of families. Hell, they have a playpen in the middle of the dining room. We’re men. We need our space.”
Couldn’t their space include a regular cleaning? He wasn’t a fussy man, but he liked things to have a certain level of hygiene. He didn’t need to walk on the wild side. He’d already seen the darkness the world could offer. He tried to always look for the light, but Cal seemed determined to push boundaries. A rock song started to pulse through the place and Cal stood up.