Chapter 3, Scene 3: Malcolm McKinney
While Julian, Malcolm and I sit in my motel room, I can’t help feeling stupid. I thought my brother told me everything. After knowing him for so long, I didn't think him capable of keeping secrets from me. Now they truth comes out. I feel sheepish and silly. The worst part is that Julian and Malcolm don’t seem at all surprised by my ignorance. If anything, they expect it. That makes me feel worse.
Malcolm is the first to change the subject—it isn’t so much of a change of subject as a shift in mood. He leans forward from his seated position on the edge of the bed. “When we got involved in this conspiracy, Rory was determined to make sure you were taken care of. If anything happened to you, he wanted me to become your guardian.” When I don’t say anything, he continues. “As long as you’re okay with it, that is.”
What am I supposed to say? I've known the man for all of ten minutes. He said he was close friends with Rory, but I have no proof. Sure, Julian knows him, but Julian hasn't proved his relationship to my brother, either. Can I trust anyone?
“I don’t know,” I say.
Given the circumstances, it’s the most honest thing I can say. Malcolm seems nice enough, but is he guardian material? I have no idea. What if the whole situation is somehow a trap? What if Malcolm, Julian, and Atalanta are all in cahoots to murder me? What if they killed my brother?
“What are you thinking?” Julian asks.
I’m sure what to tell him. The truth is awkward. I can’t very well come out and say I don’t trust either one of them. I don’t know what they’ll do or how they’ll handle it. So, I lie instead.
“I was only thinking about Rory,” I say.
"We're going home," Malcolm says.
I don’t know what he means. When he says "home," is he talking about the house I shared with Rory? That’s not a home anymore, just a house. And it certainly doesn't belong to Malcolm.
"A policeman is coming to get me," I say.
For all I knew, this is true, but it also makes a convenient excuse. Malcolm can't take me with him if we’re expecting the police.
"No, he's not," he says. "I already talked to him. They don't need to question or harass you anymore."
I know from the light in his eyes that he means every word. In spite of the brevity of our relationship, he’s serious about protecting me. No wonder Rory chose him to be my guardian. Still, I don’t like that my only way out has been taken away. I plan to retaliate however I can.
"You don't have the authority," I say.
Malcolm sighs. "We'll never get anywhere if you fight me at every turn. Why don't you trust me?"
I’m not sure where to start. For one thing, I never met him prior to my brother's death. I don't know anything about him. Then there’s the fact he’s involved in the conspiracy. He has no problem with committing treason. What other crimes is he comfortable with?