Logan’s eyes narrowed, and Noonoon changed tack.
“She only be here a week, Miss Cici, and Mr. Pierre, he already plum crazy about her.”
“He told me,” Logan said coldly, imagining Cici preying on the vulnerable old man.
“He been doing real good. I know you wants him to move to New Orleans and all…”
“To a fabulous assisted living arrangement near my house that I can personally supervise.”
“But places like that aren’t home, and we all know how busy you be. How often could you get yourself over to see him? Mr. Pierre, he be happy here. Old people at those homes just sit and stare.”
“You can’t take care of him day and night. You have your own family.”
Since the house was open to the public, Noonoon’s main job was as a housekeeper, not a caregiver to his grandfather. She’d agreed to help with him temporarily.
“Well, now that Miss Cici is here…”
“She’s not staying.”
“Well, she sing and play the piano for him every day. She talk to him. Most nights they eat dinner together. She cooks. You remember how she loves to cook.”
“The way she runs around all over the world, she won’t be here that long.”
“You sure about that? She shore is settlin’ in. Says she’s tired of all that running, that she’s had enough pain to last her a lifetime. And she have her book to write.”
“Not another book. I hope she’s focusing on something that has nothing to do with me this time.”
“She hasn’t mentioned you.”
He wasn’t reassured. Cici’s book on the oil industry in Louisiana after Katrina had made Claiborne Energy look bad. Had she mentioned even once how many people had jobs because of Claiborne Oil? No, her book had been full of pictures of rusting pipelines and oil-covered wildlife and shots of boats on water that used to be land with captions blaming companies like Claiborne Energy for the state’s vanishing marshlands.
“And she wants to see about her uncle Bos and all,” Noonoon was saying. “He’s not too strong, you know, after his treatments. Stubborn cuss, though. She calls and calls him, but he still won’t speak to her. You’d think after all these years, he’d forgive her. All she ever did was be friends with you and Jake.”
Guilt made a muscle in his jaw pull. So, she was still estranged from her uncle. Just like he and Jake were estranged from each other…because of that summer. Not that most decent people in these parts thought Bos was worth knowing. Still, he was her uncle. He’d taken her in when she was orphaned.
Bos and Grandpre’s enmity had sharpened over the issue of Bos’s cockfighting. Once fighting cocks had become illegal, the two had had fewer issues to quarrel over.
“Cici said she wants to live somewhere quiet, and you of all people know the garçonnière is mighty quiet.”
“You gave her the garonnire? My old rooms?” He was shouting, and he never shouted. Not even when someone as hard as Mitchell Butler tried to screw Claiborne Energy for millions.
“Mr. Pierre, he be the one who rent it to her,” she defended herself softly.
Remembering the cute red Miata parked by the two-story octagonal building, Logan’s pulse began to thud. So, the dangerous, flashy sports car was hers. Why was that a surprise? Cici had a reckless streak. And no wonder…with that trapper cockfighting, swamp-rat of an uncle who’d raised her, mainly by neglecting her.
If his grandfather had been himself he would know that Cici couldn’t be dedicated to him in any real way. No, she probably had some secret agenda.
“Sorry I raised my voice,” Logan whispered, straining for control. “This isn’t your fault. Or hers. It’s mine—for not moving Grandpère sooner. I’ll deal with her now.”
“Oh, Miss Cici, she don’t like anybody bothering her in the afternoon. Not unless it’s an emergency. You see, she writes when Mr. Pierre naps. Then at four she and Mr. Pierre, they give the last tour together. I reckon she be free to talk around five.”
“How can he manage walking so far in his condition?”
Noonoon’s sharp look made him wince as he remembered he hadn’t seen his grandfather in a month.
“Miss Cici got him off his walker. Gave him a cane and bought him a new, lightweight wheelchair. She hired Mr. Buzz to build ramps everywhere. She pushes Pierre when he be tired. With the ramps he can get up to all the slave cabins now.”
More ramps? Logan’s pulse in his temple had speeded up. He didn’t believe Cici had come home to care for his grandfather. She had never known how to take proper care of herself. No way could she take care of Pierre. Not for the long haul.