Lot let her head fall, chin to chest. She took a deep breath. Colt and Ashleigh were great. Uncle Charlie was good too, in spite of his own grief. But of course, all she wanted was her mother to wrap her arms around her, to say ‘Of course you can do this, Baby, you’re the strongest woman I know.’
She was wrong of course. Lot was nothing in comparison to her mother. And now what was she supposed to do without her?
But, she also knew her mother would never stand for a pity party, especially not when there were guests coming to the house. She’d raised Lot to be a better host than that. And if there was ever a time to not disappoint her mother, now would be it.
Lot got up and got dressed quickly. She braided her hair back the way her mom always liked. She put on the lipstick her mother got her for her last birthday. She practiced smiling in the mirror, and when she felt like she looked like she was no longer in physical pain, she stepped out of her room, fully expecting to be flanked by Colt and Ashleigh as they tried to protect her from as much as they could. But the hall was deserted except for Uncle Charlie, her mom’s younger brother and the closest thing that Lot ever had to a father figure.
“You look lovely, Charlotte. Your mother would be so proud of how well you’re handling things.”
“Thanks, Uncle Charlie. You’re doing really well too.”
Uncle Charlie smiled. “Well, thank you for that. I don’t feel like I’m handling it well at all, to be honest.”
“Well, it’s a rough situation.”
“Right, of course. Speaking of rough situations, I thought I should warn you before you go out there, keep you from being blind-sided. They’re here. Henry and Martin are here to pay their last respects to their mother. They’ve promised to be civil. I don’t think I need you to make the same promise, but—“
“I will be civil, Uncle Charlie.” Lot linked arms with her uncle, “No more stress than necessary. Let’s get out there, though, get this over with.”