They weren’t really his sons—Papa Frenchie’s sons—biological, blood relatives.  They were his stepsons.  His second wife’s sons.  From her first marriage.  But his daughter was there, Nora—Valerie’s sister.  She watched as Frenchie was beaten—she lived there—not in the same house, but on the property, Frenchie’s property.  He built her a house on his land, near the house he bought with his second wife, this just outside of Hemphill.  The money coming from a fire.  Frenchie’s first house burned down, along with the barn, where the fire started.  The fire questionable, even delaying the insurance claim.  Folks in the area wondering if in fact it wasn’t Warren Bloodwood’s doing, William’s father—Bridgette’s second husband.  Some even rumoring Frenchie paid him, this before his philandering in Sissy Walker’s garden was found out leading him to the knife, maybe in the motive not just the money, but Wishbone Walker hearing the news, and not from Bridgette.  That being said the insurance claim finally paid out, and Frenchie got married again, but not forgetting his children.  Nora wed to an out of work pipe fitter for the gas company and too fat to work for herself, glad to live on Frenchie’s land in a house he built with help from Nora’s brother, Evan, also out of work and set up in a trailer down by the Sabine with Frenchie’s help.  Other than Valerie, neither of them talked to Bridgette.  Robert Lebeau handed the duties of taking care of her now after her days in the bar were over, after her time with a Bloodwood and that time spent in the 9th Ward were over—alone now with her own memories, her own dreams of crossing that river—the Sabine River.

You know a little bit about the family now.  Bethany’s family.  And David’s.  Nothing mentioned of Bethany’s siblings, and other than Dewey and Gerald, nothing mentioned of David’s other brothers.  But you know a little of Duke and Cleota, their origins, maybe even some of their passions, their dreams, and now you’ve heard stories told by Robert Lebeau and Valerie, of past beauty contests at Mardi Gras time, and Robert’s own insights into what happened between Warren Bloodwood and Sissy and Wishbone Walker shared with his daughter while feeding the pigs.  That river, the Sabine, crossed many times already—both ways.  Intertwining their lives—Bethany and David.  Intertwining the families.  One the history of sharecroppers, slaves migrated north to East St. Louis.  The other with Creole and Cajun ancestry.  New Orleans in the background of East Texas.  And Bridgette may have been asleep that night, the night David and Bethany’s twins were born, dreaming, but she and Cleota perhaps the matriarchs of it all—the mothers—the mothers to this story of Bethany becoming a mother.  So maybe they should tell it.  How two families become one in law.  The matrix of it.  Those variables at play in human behavior, in the dynamics of a relationship.  That relationship of blood mixing with blood.  The incompatibilities.  And the typing of the cord blood.  That cord Marie Toussaint cut to lessen Ben Threnody’s grip on the noose wrapped around his own brother’s neck…

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