eady?” Cora asked Juliette.
The girl hoisted her suitcase and gave a wan smile.
Cora gave up. She would have guessed that Juliette would have been delighted to go back to France, but instead the girl had been sullen, even weepy, all week.
“Is there something wrong?” Cora asked. “Something you’re not telling me?”
Juliette shrugged and blinked harder against the tears that seemed always to be lingering in her eyes.
Cora sighed. She’d been so full of doubts leaving Paris and coming here, so wracked by misgivings through all the weeks of dealing with her brother and her father and George and the family business and especially with Juliette herself. But she never expected she’d feel just as conflicted — more conflicted — about going back.
“It’s time,” said Medhi.
Hugo took Juliette’s hand and led her toward the stairs.
“Did you say goodbye to your grandfather?” Cora asked.
Again, the only answer Cora got from her daughter was a shrug, though this time it was more understandable. Cora’s father, Juliette’s grandfather, sat dim-eyed on the sofa beside his girlfriend, Jimmie Sue.
“Goodbye, Pop,” Cora said, crossing the room to kiss her father’s grizzled cheek.
He looked up at her, confused. “Who are you?” he asked, sounding almost frightened.
Would this be the last time she’d see him? At least with Jimmie Sue here, she could be sure that he’d eat and not drink himself to death. But even without the bottle of bourbon each day, some light had gone out behind his eyes.
“Remember what I told you,” Jimmie Sue said.
Jimmie Sue had told Cora not to go. She’d laid out the cards the night before and advised against the trip, against Cora getting back together with Medhi, against taking Juliette across the ocean.
“Your destiny is here,” Jimmie Sue had said, talking about a man in Juliette’s future who could only be George.
But Cora couldn’t let herself make decisions as big as how to raise her daughter and whether to reunite with her husband of 20 years based on what some old cards said, could she? She might be impulsive, she might be ambivalent, but she wasn’t a complete fool.