"Mum! You're looking a little better today," she wears a smile, full lips pulled back to reveal teeth that weren't as perfect as she wished them to be. Even though stained by years of coffee drinking, her smile was beautiful. Frequently reminded that she had her mothers smile, her family would tell her stories about the beautiful Evelyn. How she was stunning, her eyes a stunning green, her cheeks lightly dusted by rose. You look just as she did at your age, hey would gush squeezing her cheek painfully as she tried to dodge their invading touch.
"Don't lie Lil. I look like shit and both you and I know it." The older woman grins, patting the seat next to her. Arms which had once been lean and muscular, are thin and fragile looking. Lilith's eyes hovering on them for just a moment, mixed emotion playing on her face, before her facade is replaced, eyes sparkling she takes a seat next to her mother.
"As the rumours go, 'you are the most beautiful woman to walk the streets of district 11.' I still hear them you know, and it's true. You are beautiful- have the nurses given you dinner yet? I can get you something-"
"Stop fretting!" Her mother scolds, knocking away her hands which had moved to fluff the pillows behind her back.
"I can't help it," she challenges, her lips pouting.
"I'm fine." Her mother says, causing Lilith to back down with her hands raised, grinning.
"Okay, okay, I'll stop."
"Hows your father?"
The room, which was bathed in the dying light of the sun, suddenly felt cold. Like icy winds had shattered the dirty glass of the window, wrapping hits cold arms around her lean body. The last time she had seen him he had been passed out on the living room floor, the smell of alcohol strong in the air. Mud covered shoes still tied to his feet, bottle still gasped between aged fingers. Carefully she had removed his dirty shoes, removed the bottle and placed a blanket over his unconscious body.
Then left, tears of frustration and anger pricking the corner of her eyes.
He hadn't always been like this. He had been a good man, and deep down beneath the bad habits he had picked up, she still did believe that he was. A few years ago when he found out that his wife was terminally ill, he had nearly worked himself to an early grave. Hours upon hours of labour intensive work to pay for the bills, to hire specialist, to save his wife.
But as the years went by slowly be lean slipping. At first he was only gone for an hour every night. But then one hour turned into two, two turned to three, three turned to nights. Sometime she would not see him until the early hours of the morning, where he would stumble in, and clasped onto the nearest thing- whether it be a bed, sofa or chair.
"He's..." she should lie, tell her that he's fine. But her mother wasn't a fool, she knew that he was lost, that he was broken. How long had it been since he had last come in here? "Well, he's... Uh... You know." Struggling for the right words her fingers fiddle with the hem of her shirt, eyes avoiding her mothers.
"It's okay, Lil. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked. I- I just miss him, you know?" The pain in her voices forces Lilith to meet the older woman gaze. She looked so small, so weak and fragile under the covers of her bed. Over the past few years she had watched both her mother and father slowly fade. Her mother to illness, her father to self abuse.
"I know, I'm sorry. I'm sorry he is doing this to you. I wish I would fix this." Lilith felt helpless, and she hated it. But she hide it, whenever she could, behind smiles and laughter, hoping that the outside world would never find out how much she was struggling. Sometimes she wished she could open up, share with the world just how frustrated and pained she was with her father and her mother. Sometimes she just wished that she didn't have to deal with any of this, that she could just toss it all to the side and pretend that it doesn't exist.
But she couldn't. She wouldn't. She loved her parents, so much, that she would forever pretend for them. Forever wear that perfect little smile, bottling away the feelings that churned like an angry ocean, locked away.
"Oh, love, please don't say that! Don't worry about me, I'll be okay. Tell me more about your art? You must bring some in next time. I would love to see some!" Pride shone in her eyes, frail fingers aching for Lilith's hand. Her touch was cold, her skin chilled from the lack of blood circulation. Lilith tried not to concentrate on how they looked thinner, her knuckles more prominent than ever.
"Its so good, Mum! My work is really starting to improve! Getting more sales, which is good because-"we need the money, she was almost about to say, cutting herself off, refusing to add to her mothers worry. She loved her art, sculpturing in particular. She had slowly begun to build a name for herself, outside the Rhodes name which had become so well known due to Harbinger winning the 71st Hunger games. "Because some extra cash is always appreciated in the Rhodes household.
I saw Drogon the other day." She says, changing the subject. "He seems a little off. More distant-"
"He's always been that way, Lil."
"No, mum, it's different. He's sad. But he doesn't open up. I hope he talks to someone, even if its not me."
"You know, Lil, you don't have to always be looking out for others. Sometimes you just need to look out for yourself. Put yourself first."
Lilith smiles, one that only reaches the surface. Maybe one day she would learn to put herself before others.
But for now she was happy with putting those she loved before her.