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Man of the House

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Charlie stood in the room that would soon be his own and stared at himself in the full-length mirror that had been shoved in the corner with a pile of other things that still needed to be moved to the attic. He fiddled with his tie for what felt like the thousandth time that morning. His brother Sam sat nearby on an uncomfortable chair he'd found among the antiques that had previously cluttered the room.

"It's straight already, you dork." Sam jumped up and ruffled Charlie's hair before he could stop him.

"Will you quit it," Charlie said to him irritably, smoothing his hair. "I am supposed to be walking Mom down the aisle in less than an hour. I don't have time for this."

"Oh, come on! It's fine," Sam whined.

Charlie glared at him in the mirror. "I know you think that everything is funny, but this is a big deal. Why don't you go see if Nannie needs any help with the chair guys?"

As he tried to smooth down the cowlick that Sam had disrupted, Charlie thought about the wedding, which all happened so quickly he couldn't help but worry. As the man of the house for the past five years, it had been his job to take care of his mother and siblings. If he didn't do it, who else would? Certainly not his father, who never so much as sent a birthday card. No, it was Charlie who was there to babysit the younger kids, and it was Charlie who helped make dinner every night. He couldn't let himself relax just because Watson was in the picture. What if he turned out to be just as much of a jerk as Patrick was? Then again, Watson seemed like a perfectly nice man who was going out of his way to make them feel welcome in his family.

Charlie would just have to wait to see what would happen. He still had another year of high school ahead of him, and even then, he could go to Stoneybrook University if he had to. "That settles it," he thought aloud, straightening his tie and smoothing his hair one last time before heading downstairs to give his mother away.