“I don’t…” Bones’ growl trailed off as he angled his head, seeming to think. “I didn’t have a dad,” Bones muttered impatiently, drawing a knee slowly up. “I had a… fucking step dad.”
A moment of silence passed before his brows drew together hard. “Bones? Why do you think I was stolen from you? Who stole me, what happened?”
Winter’s heart ached at seeing Reginald confused and worried. “Maybe…” she began quietly, drawing Reginald’s gaze. “Maybe you’re forgetting too?” It hit her then. What if Reginald was the real person here, and not Bones?
Their eyes cleared with an innocent curiosity. “I don’t remember,” Reginald said. “All I remember is Bones calling me and being there. I remember something bad had happened but he never told me or showed me. He said he’d tell me and…”
“I can’t remember!”
Their face had hardened and softened in the span of two seconds. Soft, pained eyes turned to her. “He can’t remember,” he reiterated quietly. “Don’t worry, Bonesy,” he whispered, his eyes drifting a little left. “You don’t’ need to remember right now.” He patted his own right hand a little. “We’ll figure it out. Winter will help.”
“She’s not doing shit!” Bones’ dark fury twisted their face as he stabbed her with a lethal gaze. “This isn’t her business.”
“Are you sure about that?” she challenged.
She was sure it was Bones who squinted at her. “What part? You wanting to die and somehow picking the one person who wanted nothing to do with you?”
The mean words stung a little. “Okay, yes,” she said, fine with admitting the truth. “That and…”
“That and what,” Bones cut in.
His face turned sensible looking, and lowered. “I think she’s trying not to point out the oddity of you and I,” Reginald said.
“She’s the odd one,” Bones argued. “Wanting to die when she’s perfectly free and perfectly able to live.” He stabbed her with his angry eyes.
“Bones,” Reginald whispered, lowering his eyes.
“No,” Winter said, nodding, looking for common ground they could agree on. “He’s right, that is stupid.” They both seemed to look at her now, the gentle fierceness in their gaze creating a strange chaos inside her. “I was stupid,” she corrected. “Wasting my life trying to die. Bones is right. Dying doesn’t fix anything, it’s just another way of running when the going gets tough. I see that now,” she whispered.
She braced at seeing Bones’ hard face. “You have no idea what a hard life is,” he muttered.
“Why do you say that?” Reginald wondered, his brows drawing in anger.
“She doesn’t,” Bones said, still eyeing her. “She’s lived a measly few years as a whore.”
“How do you know that,” Reginald demanded, his voice harder.
Bones shrugged, leaning back against the wall. “Tell him,” he said, his brows raised to her. “Tell him I’m wrong.”
“I don’t care if you’re right,” Reginald said. “You don’t get to determine how bad something is for somebody”
Winter realized how much she needed to win Bones trust. Or at least become somebody he might have a use for if she was going to stick around and try to sort him out. “What can I do for you?” she decided to ask out right. When they looked at her, a mix of mild wonder and hate, she explained. “There must be something you could use me for,” she said.
(STILL IN EDITS)
“Like what?” The absence of loathe meant Reginald had asked. “You mean like for work? You know, she could help keep the books,” Reginald muttered, looking a little left.
“That’s not what she means,” Bones bit, eyeing her suspiciously.
“It could be,” Winter said. “Anything you might need me for, I can help.”
“I don’t need you for anything.”
“What about Reginald?”
Bones glared at her. She’d cornered him. But judging by the look, he wasn’t planning to stay there.
“I really would like to have her,” Reginald whispered then looked at her. “Like a friend,” he explained, as if he worried she thought he meant pet. “A girlfriend,” he further clarified.
She smiled a little, liking that he wanted her for more than a friend. “I would love that,” she said, relaxing a little.
“Jesus,” Bones muttered in disgust.