Bronwyn stared down at the wound as if she didn’t know how it had gotten there. Then she threw Reyna’s arm away from her.
“Rotten! Trash! Sick!” Bronwyn gagged as the smell of Reyna’s blood assaulted her. “Make it stop!”
Reyna clamped down on the wound. She couldn’t exactly ask Beckham to heal this. They couldn’t exactly show their hand to Harrington. But fuck…it was going to drive Bronwyn mad. Reyna reached out for Beckham and tried to project that she wanted him to stop the bleeding but not heal it completely. Do what he could.
She felt his energy wrap around her like a cocoon. It was warm and then hot and then burning. She gasped at the pain. Then it was gone. Her breathing was ragged when she looked down to see the cut was healing over but not whole. Thank fuck he could read her so well. Even like this.
Bronwyn had stopped shrieking and was staring at Reyna from a crouch on the ground. “You hear them too.”
“Yes,” Reyna lied.
“I was built for an army. Battle is my lullaby. Murder is my fairy tale,” Bronwyn muttered.
“You don’t have to be.”
“I haven’t had an army in a long time. No battles. No murder. Just voices. So many voices.”
“I’m sorry.” Reyna’s heart broke for the girl that Beckham had shattered into so many pieces she could only find herself surrounded by violence and death.
“Why are they so loud around you? They should be quiet. I can hear the battle cries below. The sweet scent of destruction on the wind.”
“I remind you of him,” Reyna said.
“No,” Bronwyn said. She straightened again and stared at her, a complete blank slate of insanity. “No.”
“You can smell Beckham on me. You can hear his voices in me. You can feel your brother when you are near me. The voices are louder because of him. He did this to you.”
“Stop,” Bronwyn commanded.
“He did and he’s so sorry. He wants to help. He still loves you.”
“I said stop!” Bronwyn started counting loudly as if it would drown out the memories that Reyna brought back to her.
“You can’t change the past, but you two can have a future.”
Bronwyn ceased counting. Her eyes slid to Reyna like a viper ready to strike. Then she sprang toward her. She grasped her by the throat, crashing her body back against the table she’d indented earlier. Bronwyn held her aloft with her feet dangling off the ground.
Reyna gasped and choked. She struggled to free herself from Bronwyn’s solid grip, but it was useless. She couldn’t budge her. And as she kicked and clawed at Bronwyn’s hands, she realized that she might die. That she might have finally underestimated Harrington’s ferocity.
“Bronwyn!” a voice snapped from the doorway.
Time slowed to a standstill. Bronwyn released Reyna, letting her fall into a heap on the ground. Reyna gasped for breath, coughing as air filled her lungs again. Bronwyn turned to face the new arrival. Every movement rigid and deliberate.
“Beckham,” Bronwyn said softly. A child’s voice. One who hadn’t seen her brother in fifteen long years. And hadn’t seen beyond the monster within him in much much longer.
“I’m here, Bronwyn. I’m finally here.”
“You let them take me,” she accused.
“I believed you dead.” He took a step toward Reyna. “You were my second, my sister, do you think I would not have torn apart the world to get you back?”
“You left me to rot.”
Another step closer to Reyna. He was circling Bronwyn, getting Reyna out of danger.
“I mourned you.”
Bronwyn laughed. It wasn’t musical in any way. It was madness personified. An insane high-pitched squeal.
“Fifteen long years and I missed you every day.”
“You do not feel,” Bronwyn accused.
“You know that is not true.”
“What I did to you, I…it was wrong. I’m so sorry. You are still my sister.”
“No!” Bronwyn assessed the situation as Beckham finally put himself directly in front of Reyna. “You are not a person,” Bronwyn said, tilting her head sideways. “And she is not leaving.”
“Your quarrel is with me,” Beckham said instead. “One last battle for the ages, B?”
“The girl stays.”
Reyna’s head moved back and forth between Beckham and Bronwyn. For the first time, she could completely see how they were related. When Reyna had first met Bronwyn, it had been such a blur. She hadn’t even known until weeks later that she was Beckham’s sister. Now seeing them so close together, it was obvious.
Beckham must have noticed the second that Bronwyn relented, because he said, “Reyna, go. Now!”
“But what about you?”
“I will take care of this. Be ready.”
Reyna gritted her teeth, took one last look at the stalemate happening in the room, and sprinted toward the door. She hated leaving Beckham behind, but what could she do? He was supposed to be in a van a mile away. She’d been so fucking freaked out by Bronwyn she hadn’t even felt him moving closer toward her. He must have hightailed it over here as soon as he healed her. Which meant…he could be weak. He was going up against his insane sister…and he might be weak. Fuck, fuck, fuck.