Chapter 1: Dom

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Dominic

There was just something about funerals that made you want to call your mother.

My mother and I had always managed a strong bond, unbreakable by time or how difficult I was during my adolescent years. Kat had this with her mom at one point and they lost it. Now, Kat won't ever have that connection again and having to stand back and watch her deal with that reality put an ache in my chest that only one woman could soothe out.

I was driving myself and Charlotte back to the house with her strapped in the backseat, the rain still pouring down sheets of unrelenting gloom after the funeral. The car ride had been silent aside from the pelts of water on the rooftop of the car. I'd never seen Charlotte as subdued as she'd been this week and my heart went out to her every time a frown replaced one of her contagious, bright smiles.

Pulling out my phone, I glanced back at Charlotte through the rearview mirror to see her staring out the rain streaked window watching the world that has been so unfair to her pass her by.

Huffing out a helpless sigh, I pressed call on my mom's name.

She picked up within the first two rings as most moms do. "How was it, Sweetie?"

"Sad and short. No one else showed up." I tried to keep my voice low for Charlotte's sake.

I heard my mom hum out a sigh of her own. "That's really too bad. How are the girls doing?"

"As well as can be expected. Kat is... she's going through it." I'd never seen anyone look as lost as she did after the service finished up. I hated how little she was letting me in right now but after everything she went through with her mother only to have it end exactly how she always feared, it was to be expected.

Kat was a brick wall when we first met and even now that I'd hammered through the thick of it, I knew there wasn't a shot in hell for her to welcome me into the emotional madhouse that was surely going on behind her tired eyes. Not yet anyways.

"Life has not been kind to that poor girl."

"You don't have to tell me that," I murmured. "Is Kat still at the house with you?"

"Oh, honey I'm not at the house. I took Maya to get some food at that place with the indoor playground."

"Is Heather with you?"

"Do you think I'd really extend the invite to that woman?" she said in hushed tones.

I almost laughed at that. Almost.

"Good. The last thing Kat needs right now is to be alone with Heather."

A few minutes later we were parked and walking into Heather's house. I'd gotten into the habit of calling it 'her' house ever since I filed for divorce and to be honest, I'd always hated the house anyways.

It was too big and too flashy. In my early stages of denial of mine and Heather's failing marriage, the grandness of the house made me uncomfortable, like everyone around us could tell we were trying to compensate for something. That something being a lack of a healthy marriage.

"Kat?" I called out into the house as her sister and I walked in from the rain.

There was no response.

"Kat?" Shaking the umbrella free of water droplets, I waited patiently for her response looking all around the foyer for her to pop into view.

Again, nothing came.

Then, what sounded to be soft sniffles appeared behind me.

Turning on my feet, I spotted Charlotte looking to her feet where puddles of water were forming from the rain as her bottom lip protruded and quivered as she appeared to be crying to herself.

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