Those stairs needed help. They should be the first thing on her list. Or his. “I’ll fix the steps. I’ll go out there early tomorrow. I’ve got some wood that will fit for now. She should rebuild the whole thing at the end of the project, but the first thing we need to do is fortify them or no one is getting in that house.”
Zep sighed in obvious relief. “Thank god. I was worried I would have to work on my day off.” He hoisted the mug and drank. “Whew, I was taking it easy because I didn’t want to have to pound nails when I had a hangover. Now I can drink. I think I’ll go dance, too. Cal, don’t take all those ladies. Leave a couple for me.”
Zep pushed his chair back and winked Harry’s way.
It looked like the party had started. Harry sat back. He wasn’t taking everything Zep said to heart. Sera really didn’t seem like she was into him, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t help her out. He would simply do it quietly, and that included making sure his aunt didn’t do something she shouldn’t. And if Zep was right and all Sera needed was time to get to know him and figure out he wasn’t a jerk like her last boyfriend, then he would be in place when she was ready.
After all, it wasn’t like he had to leave Papillon right after Angie’s wedding. He could hang around, do some jobs, save some money. Zep was right about it being nice here.
He sat back and mentally made a list. Maybe patience and some manual labor would pay off.chapter fiveSera took a deep breath and tried to understand the words Sylvie was saying over the sounds of Luc giggling at something his uncle was doing. She glanced back in to where Zep was drinking his coffee and Luc was having lunch because it was eleven in the a.m. and he’d been up since dawn. Zep had dragged himself in at some insane hour and was only now thinking about getting ready for the day.
It must be nice to be able to sleep in. She honestly didn’t miss going out to bars and partying, but she did miss sleeping until ten in the morning.
“Sera? Are you listening to me?”
She forced herself back to the conversation at hand. “I am. What’s going on? You said something about codes.”
“Yes.” A long sigh came over the line, a sure sign that Sylvie was getting frustrated. Or anxious. “I was down on the second floor and they were talking about sending out code enforcement.”
“Sending them out to where?” She was running late as it was. She didn’t need city hall gossip. She needed to get out to Guidry Place and start working. She’d gotten online the night before and she was fairly sure she could change a couple of boards on the porch stairs. It wouldn’t be pretty, but hopefully it would be enough so workers could safely get in and out of the house.
Not that she had workers yet.
“Sending them to your place.”
She groaned at the thought. Sometimes her mom had some kooky schemes that led to her using their front yard in ways the neighbors didn’t approve of. Like the time she’d decided to drag out all the Christmas lights for a Christmas in July extravaganza, as she called it. She’d tried to charge for it, though Sera rather believed all those lights coming on at ten p.m., because that was when it was dark enough to see them, was really what had set the neighbors off. And using dried mashed potatoes to simulate snow had brought out a not-surprising amount of critters. “I’ll find Momma. I have no idea what she’s planning, but I’ll shut it down.”
Like she didn’t have enough to do, but this was her life now. Adulting sucked.
Would she see Harry today? Would he run by the porch and give her a wave? What would she do if he stopped and offered to help again?
Turn him down. That’s what she would do. It was the only thing she could do. No matter how much she could use the help to get those steps ready.
“Why would you find your mother? This is about you.”
Sylvie’s words effectively stopped the whole Harrison thread going through her brain. “What? Why? What did I do?”
She quickly went down the line of possible violations. The yard was mowed because she’d nagged Zep enough until he’d done it. Oh, she’d had to start doing it herself, but Zep had just enough shame that he’d taken over. They hadn’t violated the burn ban since her momma held that women’s healing seminar where she’d had everyone burn away the pain of their past by setting gifts from their ex-lovers on fire.
“It’s nothing you’ve done,” Sylvie said. “I think it’s all Celeste’s doing. You had to know she would come after you once she realized you’re the new owner of Guidry Place. I kind of thought she’d offer to buy it, but it looks like she’s going to get nasty.”