Chapter 20 – All Saints Day

Fidele by Jenna Lynn Brown

This chapter contains explicit content.

Breakfast was a tense affair. Even on weekends, Emmanuel was usually gone by the time Caleb was up and dressed, and Caleb was already cranky from staying up too late and eating too many sweets. Having to eat breakfast in the dining room instead of the kitchen, on top of having his grandfather glowering at him from the head of the table, made Caleb turn away from his hot cereal with a mulish set to his mouth.

“You need to eat, peanut,” Noel said and sliced open a biscuit to spread with butter and honey. “How about just this?”

Caleb turned away from the biscuit, too.

I gasped in exaggerated shock. “Caleb! You’re saying no to Mrs. Bell’s biscuits?”

He glowered at me, looking very much like Emmanuel. It was amazing, really, how the strong Thibodeaux features were passed down from father to son — aside from the dark shade of brown to his hair, it seemed Grace had hardly left her imprint on him at all.

“Eat your breakfast, boy,” Emmanuel growled. Noel gave him a look through narrowed eyes, and put the biscuit on Caleb’s bread plate.

“You’re not going to eat candy all day,” he said. “We’re all going to the cemetery this morning whether you’ve eaten breakfast or not, so just eat something healthy. You’ll be happier.”

Eyebrows still lowered, Caleb picked up the biscuit and took a tiny bite out of it, which he chewed as slowly as he could. Noel sighed but didn’t press it.

When our three plates were empty — and Caleb had eaten two bites of his biscuit and drunk a few sips of milk — Willie brought out an armful of fresh bouquets, and we all walked through the garden to the path that led to the cemetery. Emmanuel went first, his expression grim and businesslike. Noel went second, a few bouquets tucked in the crook of his arm, his head down. Caleb and I brought up the rear, my slow pace matching his small stride.

Halfway to the cemetery, Caleb took my hand and looked up at me. “It’s All Saints Day,” I said. “It’s the day we honor the people we love who have died.”

He stopped walking, the thunderous look he’d been wearing all morning changing to something wary. I stopped too, still holding his hand. “Do you remember Uncle Noel talking to you about this before?” I said gently. “We’re going to leave flowers for your mama and daddy, and for your grandma Fabienne, too.”

He gave a cautious nod and we resumed walking. His hand clung to mine, and I wondered if he remembered taking this walk the previous March.