It was so sweet. The twins made various little sounds like a chorus. Mars was the most earnest in his efforts to acquire this knew knowledge. Venus clutched at her toes, but she didn’t take her attention from her father’s darkly handsome visage for a second. Star had never seen her daughter stay that still in one place for so long.
‘Luc…how the heck did you cope?’
His dark head turned, his eyes gleaming with amusement. ‘It was a true learning experience…Zut alors! They have some appetite for their breakfast! I forgot to arrange high chairs, so feeding them was difficult, but we managed, and I got them washed and dressed as well,’ he pointed out with considerable pride in his achievement.
The twins were only wearing vests. Star swallowed back laughter. ‘You washed them too?’
‘Of course I did…with a sponge. Venus turned that into quite a game. Watch Papa try to catch me,’ Luc shared with a rueful grin of recollection, rising upright as Star bent down to cuddle their son and daughter. ‘She found out that I’m clumsy, but persistent! I now badly need a shower.’
There was a fine dust of what just might have been baby cereal in his black hair. He hadn’t managed to shave yet either. He paused in the doorway and looked back at her. ‘I have very real respect for you now, mon ange,’ he asserted seriously. ‘How did you cope with them on your own? It was really hard work. I felt like I needed another set of eyes and at least two extra pairs of hands.’
‘You were brilliant, absolutely brilliant,’ she assured him softly, her eyes full of warmth.
‘Non…I was lousy this time around, but next time I’ll be better.’
A lot of other men would have been in a bad mood after more than five hours of childcare, and most rich men would have suggested that perhaps leaving Bertille behind had been a major mistake. But Luc wanted to be a hands-on father, not a distant one, and she was impressed that he wanted to rise to that challenge when he didn’t have to.
While Luc was in the shower, Star started getting dressed. Her mobile phone buzzed. Realising it might be her mother calling, she lunged for it like a maniac.
‘Star?’ Juno gasped.
‘Yes, it’s me. Where on—?’
‘I am so sorry that you’ve been forced to go back to Luc. This is all my fault. I feel so dreadful, but, darling, you don’t need to stand one more day of that womanising rat! I’m coming to rescue you…OK?’
‘I don’t want to be rescued, Mum.’
‘I still love Luc, and we’re together again, and you really must stop talking like he’s Public Enemy Number One just because he’s Roland Sarrazin’s son,’ Star spelled out steadily. ‘And that wedding night stuff? I was wrong. He wasn’t with Gabrielle.’
‘Surely you don’t believe that, just on his say so? It’s a good thing I’m flying into France this afternoon!’
Star stiffened in dismay, feeling that the last thing her marriage required right now was her mother’s enervating presence, and then feeling instantly guilty at even thinking that. ‘But we’re not at Chateau Fontaine. Luc and I are on our honeymoon, and although I very much want to see you, and hear your side of what happened with that loan Emilie gave you—’
‘Star…I’ve already sent Emilie a cheque in full repayment of that loan.’
‘How on earth have you managed to do that?’ Star asked weakly. ‘Have you borrowed the money from someone—?’
‘When will you be back from this honeymoon?’ her mother cut in impatiently.
‘In two weeks.’
‘Well, if you’re prepared to wait another two weeks to meet my new husband, I expect I can wait another two weeks to meet my son-in-law again…Luc’s got more lives than a cat with you, hasn’t he?’
‘Mum…did you say what I think you just said?’
‘You’re just going to have to wait for the exciting details,’ Juno pointed out with satisfaction. ‘But I can tell you that I am blissfully happy. So I’ll see you in a fortnight and you can meet Bruno then too. Bye, darling!’