Chapter 16 – I Wonder
It's five o'clock. I've been in DC less than a half hour and I'm already wishing I'm back home.
Normally, this isn't how things are. I run to meet my Dad, we walk to the car, we stop for ice cream on the way home and we talk and talk and talk.
Now, I'm sitting in the back-seat of my Dad's car, with a toddler sitting a couple of feet away who's supposed to be my sister. No one's talking.
I stare at Olwyn. Now that I realise my Dad's her Dad, it seems so obvious. Yeah, she looks like Dr. Bones, but I mean she looks more like my Dad than I do. When her eyes were open, it was like a mini version of my Dad was looking at me. And there's something about her nose and her cheeks and her face in general that just make her a Booth. When you look for it, it's there. She's my little sister.
But how did this happen without me knowing? Well, it wouldn't be all that hard, really. I mean, what's the likelihood that my Dad would actually tell me that he slept with Dr. Bones? Not high. It's not the kind of thing you tell your kid.
Yeah, I know how sex works. Don't look so surprised. I'm 12, not 10!
Why did Dr. B not tell him about Olwyn until yesterday? If she hadn't come back to DC from Ireland, would she have ever told him?
Ever since I was little, I was sure that my Dad and Dr. Bones would get married. I don't know why, but it seemed like an inevitability, you know? When I was a bit older, I wondered if they were dating, like my Mom was. I never asked my Dad. I guess I chickened out every time. Maybe I preferred to pretend that they were secretly in love than to hear my Dad actually tell me that they weren't.
I have always wanted a little brother or sister. But I always expected that it would be my Mom who'd have one, not my Dad.
Dad was really upset when Dr. B left. Well, he was sick, but when he got a bit better and remembered who everyone was, then he got sad. Like, a really depressed kind of sad. He pretended he was okay when he was around me, that everything was fine. I knew it wasn't. It took me a while to figure out that it was Dr. Bones leaving that was really hurting him. I wonder how he would have felt if he'd known she had his kid, too. That thought kind of scares me.
I look at the four of us, sitting in the car. We could be a happy family, driving home from the airport after a vacation, for all anyone else knows. I won't lie, sometimes I wished Dr. Bones was my Mom. Not because I don't like the Mom I've got – I love her – but If I could have two Moms as well as my Dad, Dr. Bones would have been my first choice to be my other one, if you know what I mean.
Now I'm not so sure. What kind of person hides a baby from her Dad for more than two years? I used to think Dr. Bones was the coolest, nicest, smartest person ever. Now I don't know if she's any of those things.
Dad says they're working it out, that it's none of my concern, but I don't understand that. He's my Dad, Olwyn's my sister. Dr. Bones is…well, I hope she becomes something to me. I hope she can explain why she did what she did. I don't like to think she's a bad person. This is my family. It does concern me!
I look out the window, and I can see a few flakes of snow falling. Usually, I'd tell my Dad right away – even though he's driving and has probably noticed already - but today I stay quiet.
Dr. Bones is staring out the window. I can't see her face, but I know it's sad. I've never seen her cry, but I can imagine it. I could tell, when I looked at her earlier, that she's cried a lot recently. I could see it in her eyes. It was like when my Grandpa died. My Mom cried and cried and cried. Days later, she had that same kind of look in her eyes. Pretending it's okay, but ready to burst into tears again at any second.
Now, more than ever, I wish that I could just talk to Dr. Bones. I have missed her so much since she left. I miss all the smart things she used to say, all the things she used to tell me. I wonder how someone so smart could make such a mess. But maybe it's my Dad's fault too.
I wonder if my Dad and Dr. Bones will work things out and be happy again. I wonder if they'll fall in love again. I know for sure that they loved each other some time. I could see it when my Dad was sad. You only get that sad when you lose someone you love.
We could be that happy family, the four of us. I wouldn't always be there, but somehow I like the idea of my Dad, Dr. Bones and Olwyn living together in a house, being a family together. Maybe they could have another baby. Dr. Bones used to make my Dad so happy. And I think he made her happy too.
Maybe I'm wrong, because I don't know all that much about love like this, but I can't believe that two people who used to make each other that happy could lose that connection forever. I don't want to believe it, anyway.
I bet Olwyn is really smart, like Dr. Bones. I wonder if her name is Brennan, like her Mom. I guess it has to be. I wonder if they will change it. It would be nice if she was a Booth, too. I like the name a lot. But Brennan is nice too.
I think it's weird that Olwyn knew about me before I knew about her. Why did Dad bring her here, anyway? Wouldn't it have been better to come alone and tell me about everything and then let us meet each other? I guess he wasn't thinking properly. If I'd just found out I had a toddler, I guess I would be a little mixed up, too.
Olwyn calls my Dad 'Daddy'. I still think that's kind of weird. In a good way, though. I'm just not used to sharing a parent – my parents have been sharing me my whole life – but I think it will be okay. She's really cute, and very pretty, for a two year old. She talks a lot, more than I've heard a kid that small talk before. She's like her Mom. I think she will be a pretty cool little sister.
Have they moved back here, or are they just on vacation for the wedding? What will happen if they go back to Ireland? My Dad has a hard enough time with me living in Chicago. It'll make him sad if Olwyn – and Dr. Bones – live in another country. I don't want him to be depressed again. It wasn't fun for anyone. Especially not for Dad.
Will they spend Christmas with us? It would make sense. I know I like having Christmas with just my Dad, but it would be so much better with Dr. Bones and Olwyn. Little kids are great at Christmas. They still believe in Santa and everything is so magical for them. And Christmas is a time for family. Maybe my Dad and Dr. B will remember that and have a happy Christmas together. Maybe it'll be the start of a happy life together.
But maybe I'm getting my hopes up too high.
I just want to talk to them. I don't care if the car isn't the right place for it, I just want answers. But I guess, maybe they don't want to talk about it in front of Olwyn. I get that, she's only little. Even if she's sleeping. I have never felt this impatient in my whole life, not even last Christmas Eve when I had asked 'Santa' for an iPod. I didn't sleep a wink that night.
I pull that same iPod out of my pocket, unravel the headphones and place them in my ears. I don't know what song to listen to. I just hit shuffle and listen to whatever comes on. I'm not even really concentrating on what's playing.
I've spent my whole life just wanting my Dad to be happy. He and Mom, they sorta get along. Most of the time. In an ideal world, they'd be together. But that's not gonna happen. I think Dr. Bones could make my Dad happy, or at least I always imagined so.
My head is going in circles. Nothing really makes any sense to me anymore. I want everything to just be okay like it used to be. Part of me really wants to talk to them and find out what happened but at the same time I kinda want to just accept everything the way it is and move on and just be happy. But that wouldn't work. It'd be like tidying your room by putting all the mess in a closet and leaving it there.
My Dad pulls up outside his apartment building. It's already kinda dark out. Olwyn is still sleeping. I've been so wrapped up in my worries I barely noticed the car journey pass by.
I step out of the car and feel the snow crunch under my shoes. It's not very thick but it's still coming down. I like snow when I'm wearing the right clothes, but I'm not right now. Right now I'm already starting to shiver. I waddle through the snow up to the door of my Dad's apartment building. Dad's getting Olwyn out of the car – she's still pretty much asleep – and Dr. Bones is typing the code in to unlock the door. I guess my Dad must have told her it before, when they were still friends.
I drag my shoes across the mat behind the door. The warmth inside hits me really hard, even after only being out in the cold for a few minutes. We all head up to Dad's apartment in silence – we don't want to wake Olwyn.
Dad lays Olwyn on his bed and puts a little blanket over her. She mumbles something I can't hear and turns over, back to sleep. Then the three of us go to the kitchen.
Well, here it goes.