Broken Bonds

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Dirty laundry.

“Here is the rest of it.” Rey put the bottle with unused ointment next to the other bottles and vials of medicine Brynn put on the floor of their wagon. She herself was crunching down next to them, an expression of total concentration on her face.

Rey left the house, Elaine was staying in, soon after she bandaged her hand. Mac waited for her outside and apologized for tricking her, but their ways separated soon as well.

He left to catch up on some much-needed sleep, and Rey went back to their temporary home. Since none of her patients were in need of urgent care anymore, she wanted to find Brynn. There was a chance the older woman would need her help with something.

But she found the house empty.

It was not the time to panic yet because she could still think of one place where Brynn could be. And she was right.

Their usually fairly cleaned wagon was a mess when Rey stepped inside. The back area was occupied by a huge pile of their clothes and the rest of the floor was covered with various books, bottles and even dried-up herbs Brynn dragged out of her chests.

Rey whisper-asked: “What are we doing?” She didn’t want to disturb Brynn completely.

“We are looking for something we are missing.”

Brynn’s answer didn’t really shed a light on the situation, so Rey tried again: “Huh?”

“One of her patients is not getting better. She is trying to figure out why.”

Lia offered a better explanation. And Rey flinched.

Up to that point, she had no idea that what appeared to be a huge pile of clothes was actually a huge pile of clothes with a small addition of Lia hiding underneath them.

“And what on earth are you doing?” Rey asked, her adrenaline spiking. She hated getting scared.

It was Brynn’s turn to give a clear explanation: “She is hiding from her newfound lover.”

“I am not hiding!” Lia objected. Her voice came out muffled thanks to the clothes covering her mouth. S’s green T-shirt amongst them.

S refused to change it for the longest time. He would probably still be wearing it now, if, by the time the third day of smelling torture, Brynn wouldn’t threaten to sell him to the first couple that would pass them by.

They didn’t have the time to do laundry yet, and Rey didn’t want to be in Lia’s shoes right now. Then again, it served her right for being a coward.

“And he is not my lover,” Lia continued, “he is not my mate, my mister right one, not even my one and only. He is nothing. Absolutely nothing! I am miss forever unattached.”

“Okay, miss forever unattached, you might want to work on that nickname a bit more,” Brynn couldn’t suppress the chuckle after hearing it, “but if I may interrupt you, I am trying to save a life here.”

“What do we know?” Rey asked. It was unusual to see Brynn so distraught about one of her patients.

“Woman. In her forties. Stabbed pretty badly. But she is a werewolf. And she seems strong and healthy. There is no reason, I can think of, for her not to start healing. Yet she refuses to do so.”

“It is bad, isn’t it?”

Brynn nodded: “If I won’t find the way to trigger her healing gene soon, she will die.”

“M-b-e- s-e d-n-t.” Another round of muffled words came from the corner, but Lia had to do something for the clothes to press even deeper because this time Rey couldn’t understand a thing.

“Maybe it would help if you got out of your anti-man nest before another attempt at using human speech?” She cut through Lia’s unrecognisable mumbling.

“Maybe,” Lia gritted through her teeth. She pulled the clothes away from her face and gifted Rey with a nasty look before she continued: “Maybe she doesn’t want to be healed.”

“It is a possibility,” Brynn agreed, “but try to explain that to her mate. He has been on my back ever since we came.”

Sorry to say this to you, but your mate wants to die.

Yeah, that wouldn’t go over very well. Rey could vividly imagine the size of the bruise Brynn would bring back from such conversation.

“I am kind of desperate here. Should I try to put her to sleep? Maybe if her mind goes to sleep, her body will take care of itself? But there is a chance, she won’t wake up at all. I don’t know. I can’t exactly ... Or can I?”

Brynn’s eyes widened and before Rey or Lia had the chance to react, she grabbed a couple of bottles and some other things and jumped out of the wagon.

“What was that supposed to be?” Lia asked.

“Brynn in action,” Rey shrugged, “she will tell us more once she comes back. What is more important now, miss forever untouched, is you and your mess.”

“It is miss forever unattached if you don’t mind. Your version makes me sound like a prude. I want to be touched, I just don’t want to be attached.”

“A little bit too late for that, don’t you think?” Rey wondered, the tortured eyes of Lia’s mate haunting her.

“Not really. No,” Lia said. She crawled out of her hideout and started collecting the pieces of clothing scattered around. “We need to do the laundry.”

Rey could take her bait and give up their conversation, but she wasn’t ready to do so: “Lia, talk to me. What is this about?”

“You know what this is about,” she said, tossing the clothes in Rey’s direction. She had to catch them to avoid being smacked in the face. Now that they were even closer than before, Rey agreed with Lia even more.

They really needed to do the laundry. Like a week ago.

Rey decided to change her tactic: “You want to leave, right?”

The nod from Lia came way too quickly, and it was way too persuasive.

“Then you have to give him a chance.” Before Lia had the chance to say no, Rey carried on: “You know the rules, Lia. If you don’t spend time together with him, I will not leave this place. It won’t be me and my sob story keeping me here. It won’t even be the injured. It will be you.”

Lia was looking for something to attack back with, but Rey played her in the corner. It wasn’t exactly one of her proudest moments. But as Lia said before, she didn’t ever want to be a reason for Rey to be hurt.

And Rey just used it against her.

“I will drag you away then. Maybe Brynn will even mix one of her sleeping potions for you.”

Rey shook her head: ” Brynn is too righteous to do something like that. And she wants the same thing as me, Lia. For you to give him a chance.”

“I don’t have to do anything!” Lia said, anger flaring in her eyes again.

Rey kept a stoic expression on her own face, and she shrugged her shoulders: “Well, then I don’t get to leave.”

“I don’t really want to disturb your moment,” S’s voice came from the outside and shifted the attention to him, “but we have a situation here.”

“What kind of situation?” Rey started asking, her hands already working on pulling the curtain open. Her own voice died as her eyes landed on Brynn standing next to him.

“We don’t really have a situation. I tried to tell him, but he outran me. Everything is fine.” Brynn said. “I promise.”

Lia ignored Brynn’s attempt to cool off the situation they apparently didn’t have. She jumped out of the wagon and yelled out: “Bring me the bastard who did that!”

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