"You ready for this?" Logan asked Rory, as she straightened his tie just around the corner from the funeral hall where Mitcum's ceremony was going to take place in twenty minutes.
"Are you?" she replied skeptically.
"I just mean that there are bound to be some whispers," Logan explained with a sigh "some yellow media presence even," he warned.
Rory hadn't thought of it, she had been so occupied with the idea of being his wife and the mother of his child, she'd almost forgotten what it had been like the year before for Logan. For that moment she was grateful she hadn't brought Hope with her. Without her, there was no evidence on the timeline of occurrences.
Rory squeezed his hand lightly in assurance as they stepped up the stairs. It was one of the largest funerals Rory had ever witnessed, with at least a few hundred guests. They walked down the aisle quietly without making much eye contact with the other visitors. After pausing momentarily at the casket respectfully, Logan headed over to his sister and mother to hug them briefly, Rory hugged Honor and carefully shook hands with Shira, who was wearing sunglasses and a dark veil. She was glad not to meet Shira's eyes directly, though Rory didn't even know if Shira was paying much attention at this point. She'd most likely shaken hands with a few hundred people this morning and with her known endearment for various legal substances Rory was doubtful she was entirely present.
Honor had taken it upon herself to make the eulogy, and Logan was internally grateful for that. He wouldn't have had the slightest idea what to say without sounding either insincere or hateful. It was a cremation, so thankfully the event was short enough and there was a twenty minute drive to the wake at Soane Hall gave the two a moment to breathe.
As they stepped into the lobby of Soane Hall, they were surprised by camera flashes. This was it, they were now in gossip pages of every major magazine in the UK at the very least.
"Logan, my condolences," said a tall bald man who approached them.
"Charles," Logan nodded, adding "thank you for your sympathy," politely.
Charles eyed Logan and the woman on his arm with a curious look, anticipating an introduction.
"Charles, this is my wife Rory, Rory, this is Charles Dankworth from Hachette Livre.
"How have you been? We've missed you," Charles inquired.
"Good, focusing more on the US market these days," Logan replied briefly.
"And what does your lovely wife do?" he inquired.
Rory felt her small-talk skills were slightly out of shape when she began to choose what to say: I'm at home with the baby? I am a freelance writer? Currently in between positions? Wrote a piece for the New Yorker last year? I'm a published author? Either of these could backfire in some way or lead to more questions. Her answer was delayed enough, and Logan replied for her.
"Rory is a writer," he said plainly, and pretended to see somebody in the distance and excused both of them.
He too was now in front of a dilemma, whether or not to use this even to advertise Rory as an author. While it was his father's funeral, he clearly didn't understand or want to deal with that yarn ball of emotions here even though he knew he needed to untangle it at some point. However, there were good contacts present, some better than others, and her book was certainly worth the attention. A similar dialogue to the one before played out at least thirty times within the next three hours. Rory had gained a little confidence by now, especially when she recognized the names, and even told some people about her book. People were surprised by his marriage, as he had been out of the sight of the public eye for more than half a year now. A number of people inquired what Logan's plans were and what he was working on more specifically. Rory had never witnessed a wake that involved this much mingling. She kept peeking over to Logan to see how he was handling the event - but he seemed to be unemotional. She even considered whether she'd made a mistake by coming here. Perhaps Logan didn't need him there? She pushed that thought out of her head as she reminded herself of the quality time she and Logan had shared last night, at night and in the morning. Funeral or no funeral, they had needed that.
The only person not mingling was Shira, who was sitting in an armchair at the back of the hall with her drink, accepting condolences but not engaging further in their conversations.
"I think it's time I go try to talk to her," Logan said nodding towards Shira. While Logan had gone over to the Hunzberger mansion already twice during the few previous days, her mother had refused to leave her room and he'd spent the day organizing his dad's affairs with the help from Honor.
Rory continued talking to Honor, with whom she was much more at ease with.
"I'll leave you in the safe hands of you, sis," he added with a smirk before he left.
"Hi mom! I am so sorry for your loss," he said quietly and bowed slightly to hug her once again. At least here, publicly, he knew her mother would simply go along with it. He smelled alcohol under her perfume cloud, but that was to be expected. Logan took a seat next to her.
"Hi Logan! Glad you could make it, I've missed you. I wish it had been under different circumstances," she replied, taking another sip.
"How are you doing, mom?" he asked, "anything I can do?"
"Honor's taken care of most things, I think. There's the reading of his will at some point, but it'll take a while," Shira replied coldly.
"I know I didn't leave things perhaps the best way since I saw you last, but I spoke to him a couple of months ago. I promised to consider returning to HPG even, I haven't yet though, it was all so sudden. I've been busy with work and… Hope," Logan explained hesitating at the end, realizing he hadn't spoken to his mother about her daughter at all until now. He'd assumed Mitchum had told her, but he could've also just kept it to himself as he used to do with many things.
"That's a lovely name, Logan," Shira said, shedding a few tears.
"Mom, I didn't know what... if you knew…," he added feeling bad for not trying to keep better contact with her. While she had always taken his father's side in things, there were always many things she kept to herself. As far as Logan could see, she'd wanted to know. He should've at least tried to trust her.
"I need to go freshen up," Shira said as she rose, leaving Logan alone with his thoughts.
Rory came out from the powder room stall only to find Shira touching up her lipstick in front of the mirror. For a recently widowed woman, she looked unusually together to Rory.
"Hi! My condolences," Rory said hesitantly. Not knowing if she at all wanted to interact with her. She felt as if Shira might actually be upset at her for being there.
"Thank you, Rory," she said pleasantly.
"So did you bring a nanny?" Shira inquired straightforwardly.
Rory looked around the powder room to check whether there was anybody else in the room.
"No, she's at home," Rorry said carefully.
"You should really take care of that then, you're leaking," Shira gestured towards her shirt.
Rory looked down and saw her breast pads had soaked through, leaving small but still noticeable stains on her shirt.
"Shit," she muttered, and headed back to the stall to clean herself up. She removed the pads and replaced them with some paper tissues for now. Her breast were already feeling hard and tingly. She was glad she was wearing a blazer that could cover it up once buttoned up. But she knew Shira had been right, she needed to leave.
"Rory," Shira stalled her for a moment, "I really do wish to see her someday, if it is alright?"
"I guess, if Logan…," Rory began hesitantly.
"I know we've had some strong disagreements in the past but things have changed now that Mitchum is gone," she explained. "Despite this, I would still like to know my granddaughter. And I wish you and me can eventually overcome our differences," she added.
Rory's short experience with Shira was that while she seemed entirely harmless and friendly, she could spit fire like a volcano if needed. This made her very cautious. She also knew that this was the closest she'd hear to an apology.
"I hope so too," Rory replied carefully, excusing herself.