We all met with a lawyer before Queenie’s funeral a few days later. It really came as no surprise to anyone that she left her entire fortune to her great-grandchildren, Lemon and Mac. “Is that it?” Johnny tried to suppress a yawn without appearing rude. He’d been released from the hospital the day before and while he was recovering quickly, he was still tired all the time. “Not quite. Let’s discuss your mother now.” The lawyer stated without looking up from her computer. “But why?” Malcolm asked. “She’s not dead.” She peered at us over her glasses. “I’m aware of that but she has a living will in the event that something happened to her before her death that left her unable to communicate.”
She pointed to a stack of files on her desk. “Mrs. Landgraab states that she isn’t to be put in an assisted living facility and that she would want to live out the remainder of her days with her family. The son that takes on this burden will inherit her company and all of it’s assets. The other son will receive her estate.” No one spoke while all of the details sunk in. “We’ll take her.” Malcolm declared solemnly. Johnny rested his hand on his shoulder. “Are you sure, little brother?” He met Johnny’s eyes fleetingly and nodded. “Someone has to do it.” He muttered. I stared at Malcolm’s wife, Siobahn, until she noticed me. She shrugged and smiled. I suppose Nancy wasn’t much of a threat anymore but still, Siobahn was a much stronger woman than I could ever be.
As we said our goodbyes to Queenie that afternoon, I held my small family close to me and reflected on the events that led up to this moment. Queenie’s good reputation had been tarnished when she took the rap for poisoning Nancy. According to the police, she admitted everything to them when she called for help on that fateful night. My name never came up though and while I should’ve been relieved that I’d gotten away with helping her, I didn’t feel good about it. I was far from innocent. Nancy had already woken up and was in a vegetative state. She wouldn’t be able to exact her vengeance on us ever but it still wasn’t worth losing Queenie over. My guilt had me on edge…but it was just another thing that I would have to learn to live with.
“I need just a moment longer if that’s okay.” I told Johnny when it was time to head to the cemetery. “You can leave Lemon with me.” He put her in a chair then leaned over to kiss my cheek. “Take your time.” He murmured in my ear. “I’ll be in the car.” I walked up to Queenie’s silver casket and trailed my fingers over the ornate silver casing. “Thank you.” I sobbed loudly and covered my face with my hands. “Thank you for everything.”