This scene was cut from the original version of At Grave's End. The plot in the beginning changed, so some of the events in this outtake don't coincide with the events/timeline in the final book. But because people asked to see the scene where Bones described how he came to have a big red diamond that eventually became Cat's engagement ring, here it is.
Oh, and all the "bleeps" are because of the profanity filter on the forum, which changes the words from their original naughty form into something more genteel, lol. Having a profanity filter on the forum cracks me up, to be honest, because I'd probably be the biggest swear-word offender, not anyone else
This scene would have taken place after Cat accepts Bones's proposal on page 17, but again, events in it are different, so it wouldn't have fit into the final storyline.
There was silence, complete and total. Then Don cleared his throat, Juan shuffled his feet, Tate muttered a curse, and Dave was the first to speak.
“You know, Dave, ever since he unplanted you, you’ve taken his side!” Tate sputtered. “That little vampire stunt before was one thing. Hell, if it scares the others away from coming after her, then great. But this is different. She will take it different. Aren’t you the slightest bit concerned for her welfare? Shit, Cat, does your mother know?” Why am I not surprised
? I thought. “Yes, my mother knows. We called her yesterday. She cried.” Huge gulping sobs of misery, intermittent profanity notwithstanding
Bones smiled at the memory. Vindictive son of a bitch.
Dave rallied to the accusation. “I care about Cat’s welfare as much as you do, Tate. And I’m not ‘taking his side’ because he raised me. Come on, buddy, open your eyes! She loves him, and if you weren’t so prejudiced, you’d see he worships the ground she walks on.”
“Right you are, mate,” Bones lightly replied.
Don tugged on his eyebrow before folding his hands in front of him. “Are you sure about this, Cat? What’s the hurry? You both certainly have no lack for time.”
I rolled my eyes. They were as cheerful as a trip to the morgue. At least Denise had been excited for me. She’d screamed in delight. We had a date later to plan the wedding.
“Don, and this is for all of you also so I only have to say it once: Yes, I am sure. Now, I better start to hear ‘congratulations’ and ‘best wishes’ from the rest of you, or I am going to be seriously pissed.”
“Happily ever after to you, Cat,” Tate sarcastically shot.
“Thanks ever so,” Bones answered in the same tone.
“Much happiness, querida
, Bones,” Juan said with more sincerity.
“Commander,” Cooper nodded, speaking for the first time. “Bones. Long life and love to you both.”
More elaborate than I expected, as Cooper was notoriously taciturn. I left the ‘life’ part alone, because I didn’t think it was meant to be insulting.
“Thank you, Cooper. That’s the goal.”
I stared at my uncle, who was the last holdout. Don flicked his gaze between me and Bones and then stood, holding out a hand.
“Welcome to the family. You’ve inherited quite the clan. A murderous father-in-law. Deceiving, plotting uncle-in-law. And the most frightening thing of all – a resentful harpy of a mother-in-law who will do her best to make your life an undead hell. You’d better love her as much as Dave thinks you do.”
Bones laughed and shook Don’s hand. “The perils are fierce but the prize is worthy. Don’t fret, old chap. I love her more than even our mate Dave realizes.”
Don cast a glance at my new ring. “May I?” he inquired.
I extended my hand, fingers down for better viewing. Don turned the stone into the light, forehead wrinkling as his brows drew together. Finally he released me and his face had an odd expression.
“That’s quite a ring. It tells me just how much I don’t know about you, Bones. Sure she should be wearing it so casually?”
He shrugged. “It’s her engagement ring, why wouldn’t she wear it?”
“Let me see that.”
Tate stepped forward and took my hand. “Who gets someone a ruby for their engagement ring?”
“It’s a diamond,” Don said quietly.
I was surprised to hear that. So was Tate. He dropped my hand. “What’d you do, Bonehead, rob a pharaoh’s tomb?”
Bones smiled without humor. “No, mate, I didn’t steal it. This gem was my payment for murdering a king after he killed the children of his rival. You could call it a bloodstone. If a diamond could bleed, I reckon it would drip stones like this.”
“You’re a regular Grimm’s Fairy Tales, aren’t you?” Tate breathed.
I coughed to interrupt the potentially nasty moment.
“We’re, ah, having a traditional wedding. Sort of.” I almost laughed at the notion of any wedding we would have being called traditional. “Point being, there will be a ceremony, reception, that sort of thing. You’re all invited, of course, and I would love for you all to come, but let me say this: if you can’t play nice, don’t bother. I want one happy day without all the bickering, griping, taunts, jealousy and other bullshit that is the norm. There will be a lot more of Bones’s friends there than mine, let me assure you, and few if any of them will be human. If you can’t handle that, stay away.”
God, why don’t I just calligraphy that on a card and mail it? Maybe this traditional wedding thing wasn’t such a good idea.
“Do we have to be beaten and hung in cages as well?” Tate deadpanned, alluding to the last party they’d been to at Ian’s.
A snort of laughter came from Bones. “That’s reserved for Justina.”
I elbowed him none too gently in the ribs. “Very funny, both of you. No, any beatings are on your own time.”
One by one everyone voiced their acceptances. I was relieved, not knowing until just then how much I’d wanted them all to be there.
“Good. Now I have one more thing to ask. Don.”
This was the hard part. I cleared my throat.
“This is optional, and you are under no obligation whatsoever to accept. I will understand, hell, even empathize if you decline.” Disclaimer aside, now I went onto the request. “No one’s left in my family but my mother, my father - that piece of shit - and you. So I was wondering, since we’re doing this the quasi-normal way, er…would you walk me down the aisle and give me away?” I finally blurted.
Whatever he’d been expecting, that wasn’t it. His whole body froze, his hand still in mid-tug on his eyebrow.
“You don’t have to,” I repeated, dismayed by his reaction. “It was only a thought...”
The word was low, and then it was my turn to be blown away by the distinct shine in his eyes before he swiveled his chair to face the wall behind him.
Dave coughed. “Uh, guys, let’s go see what’s going on downstairs. I think I just heard Belinda break someone’s legs.”
“You can hear that?” Juan asked.
Dave snatched him by the collar of his shirt and propelled him out the door. Tate and Cooper left under their own power.
“Maybe you aren’t such a bastard after all,” Bones said quietly when the door closed behind them.
Don turned back around, more composed but still exhibiting greater emotion than I’d seen before.
“I don’t have the advantage of your years,” he stated to Bones. “And I have learned in my own brief ones that ruthlessness can succeed where trust has failed. Where brotherhood has failed. Where all else has failed. It’s a hard lesson to learn - and an even harder one to unlearn. I don’t trust you, Bones, but I think –” Don paused and blinked twice before gazing at me. “I think one day I might trust you. That’s more than I’d ever thought to have again.”
He swiveled back around again, and his voice wavered just a little. “Would you both excuse me? I find I have something in my eye.”
Bones escorted me to my office as I kept my head lowered, because now I had something in my eye, too.