Home > Tragic Bonds (The Bonds That Tie #5)(7)

Tragic Bonds (The Bonds That Tie #5)(7)
Author: J Bree

From the look of the room, there is only one child in the family and only really one Bonded.

I startle at the sound of a door opening at the far end of the room, two women walking through. One of them is dressed in a sleek Chanel coat and a pair of designer heels, her hair carefully pinned back and pearl earrings in her ears. This is North's mother.

The woman who follows her in is almost an exact match of her, their features are so similar that they have to be twins, though she looks far more unkempt than her sister. Her clothes are still designer but she’s not as sleekly put together—they hang from her thin frame. Her hair hangs lank around her long face.

Every inch of her is ghoulish, but I feel guilty for even thinking that.

“You're not supposed to be here, Emmaline. You promised you would stay away.”

I frown and turn to look at the little boy. But he doesn't react to either of them being in the room. His eyes stay firmly on the polished toes of his shoes. I take a much more critical look at him, but there is no sign of neglect or foul play on him. There’s no bruises or cuts on him, and at the last moment, I remember to check his fingers.

They’re still straight, so whatever happened to him, it was after this memory.

Still, the unease in my stomach grows.

“I know it upsets the perfect little family that you have established here, Marceline, but Father came to the house. He had a lot of questions about why we were living there. I didn't know what to say.”

North's mother turns back to her sister, an ice-cold smile on her face as she shrugs back at her. “Tell him the truth. Tell him that you can't stand your own Bonded and you ran away. Tell him you did your duty by giving him a son, and then you snatched him away from the family because you can't stand the thought of your own Bonded being around his son.”

Then she leans in a little closer and murmurs, “You should tell him everything, Emmaline. You should tell him about what you do with that little son of yours.”

I don’t know what that means.

It doesn’t make any sense to me, not even with the dark cloud that hangs over the little boy’s head, but then the memory twists and distorts until we’re in a new setting.

This house is much less luxurious.

There’s dust covering every surface, and when I look a little closer at the walls around us, there’s fingerprints and grime all over them too. Cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling and moth-eaten curtains over the windows, it looks as though it’s some old, abandoned Victorian-style house, though I have no idea why Nox Draven would be somewhere like that.

He couldn’t possibly be living here.

But I find the little boy huddled up in the corner, his head ducked down and his knees pulled up tight to his chest. His hands are covering his ears and he’s rocking gently, a small, self-soothing motion.

He’s terrified.

I look around the room, but there’s nothing there, no signs of something harming him or coming after him. The way he’s acting, I’d imagine someone was beating down the door or waving a weapon around, but there’s… nothing.

I’m drawn to him, drawn in by his pain and desperate to take away his distress. There’s nothing that I can do in this form, it’s a memory after all, but I squeeze myself into the tiny space with him. I jam myself under the window into the tiny crevice where I can be close to him, even as useless as the gesture might be.

There’s footsteps on the stairs, slow and steady, and a small shadow leaks out of the boy’s chest at the sound of it.

Brutus.

The puppy version of him, but he’s also smaller, less powerful than I’ve ever seen him, just a tiny puff of smoke.

The door opens again and his mother steps into the room, glancing around until her eyes fall on him.

She doesn’t seem worried about his distress. She doesn’t move to comfort him or show any reaction to his extreme terror at all. My own mother would have fallen over herself to get to me, to pull me in tight to her and rock me until she healed every little wound on her precious child.

Nox’s mother doesn’t even notice the state her son is in.

And just when I think it couldn’t possibly get worse, she speaks. “Come here, Bonded. It’s time for bed.”

Bonded.

The word enters my consciousness like a bullet, tearing a hole through everything I thought I knew about this family and the strange dynamics of the Dravens, because that word is only ever spoken between Bonds. Between lovers.

Why the fuck is she calling him that?

I glance at Brutus, his void eyes staring at the boy as he waits for the command, and there’s a moment where I think that maybe he’ll tell him to lunge. He has to. He has to protect the little boy, because there’s no way that the sinking feeling in my gut is wrong here, no matter how much I don’t want to believe it.

Bonded.

North’s mother had said, What you’re doing with the boy.

She couldn’t be… to her own son.

But she did.

And I’m forced to watch it all.

Every moment, every trauma and horror and sickening second of it all, until William Draven comes to call and North Draven figures it out, his own rabid shadows tearing the rapist apart.

I watch that memory too, except I watch that part with open eyes and a vicious sort of pride in my Bonded, even while my heart bleeds out for the little boy with a halo of dark curls on his precious, broken head.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Nox

 

I wake up in a car.

It's hard to explain exactly where in the car I am. Every seat is already occupied, and I don’t actually have a body, but I know that my consciousness exists somewhere within the confines of the vehicle. I shouldn’t be this calm. I should be concerned about how the fuck I got here and where my physical self is, but there’s no question in me that this is where I’m supposed to be.

I’m safe here.

I’ve never really felt this sort of security before, this amount of rightness and contentment.

Once I get my bearings a little more, I look around at my surroundings. I only recognize one of the people in the vehicle, and even then it is a shock to see my Bond looking so young and so… fragile. That stubborn strength that shines out of her isn’t there yet, the little girl still untried and whole, none of the cracks and splintered pieces taped back together that she wears so nonchalantly.

Her hair is also black.

It's the first thing that strikes me, the fact that the usually silvery halo around her face is the same dark color as mine. There's a sort of innocence in her eyes as well that makes it obvious that I have fallen into a memory of hers that happened long before she was taken by the Resistance.

Something important changes inside of me.

Something I will never be able to doubt again, because that safe feeling is seeping into my bones, warming me from the inside out. No matter how much my mind would like to rage against that, to question it and poke holes in it, there’s no arguing with a soul-connection.

She couldn’t hide anything from me right now, no matter how hard she tried, and all I can feel is how right she is for me. Made for me, carved from the same stone and separated to walk the earth in search of each other. All of the feelings that I’d hated my brother and best friend for having, all of them fill me at once.

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