Chapter 48: Pure Engineering

663 68 28

"Two packages arrived for you!" Rosa had placed them at Wynter's seat when she came down for lunch on Saturday. "And after Indio sent that book, too."

Rosa hovered as Wynter checked the addresses. The small, heavy box was from Jesse and she already knew what it was. The other was a large envelope, rather than a package, and it was from Tina.

"I think this is probably for you," Wynter said. She couldn't imagine why Tina would send her anything. It felt like paperwork.

"Nonsense. It's addressed to you. And what's that from your brother?"

Wynter took her seat, ignoring the question, and opened the envelope. Inside was a note along with a smaller, thick white envelope. She read the note while Rosa fetched the food.

I've been giving these little kits to all my girls and boys in foster care. It's a lovely craft project to make a Mother's Day greeting card. This is everything you need, including the instructions. Have fun!

Why on earth did Tina think she wanted to give Rosa something meant for mothers? Was it normal for foster kids to do that? Wynter shoved the note back into the envelope.

"Open the other one, please," Rosa said, coming back to the table with the pot of soup.

Wynter balked. "It's definitely addressed to me."

"I'd like to make sure it's nothing inappropriate."

"Jesse says it's illegal to open someone else's mail."

"I'm not opening it. I'm asking you to open it."

Reluctantly, Wynter peeled the tape off the mailing box, hoping Jesse had done a good job of disguising its contents. She opened the flaps, withdrew a velvet pouch, and loosened the drawstring. A dozen colored rocks spilled onto the table.

"It's for my science fair display," she explained as Rosa picked up a piece of citrine.

"Very pretty. There's a little store in Richland that sells this sort of thing. It's where I buy those painted candles for the dining room. We could've gone there to buy what you needed."

"I guess he wanted to do something nice for me."

"Still, I like to support local businesses—"

"I don't like New Age stores," Wynter said flatly. "Jesse got these from the science museum."

"Alright. I understand." Rosa smiled as she poked her fingers into the pouch, overly casual to hide the fact she was feeling for contraband. She tilted the mailing box as well, to check it was empty. When Indio's book arrived two days ago, Rosa had flicked through it out of interest but not bothered checking the envelope it came in. Nor had she complained they could've bought the book at a local bookstore.

"If he was going to give me drugs, he wouldn't mail them," Wynter said, feeling bold.

"Has he ever given you drugs?"


"Does he do drugs?"

"I don't know." That wasn't quite true. She was fairly sure Jesse did smoke weed sometimes and he'd admitted to eating hash brownies. "I've never seen him do drugs," she amended, wondering why Rosa didn't ask her if Indio had ever given her drugs, given his history.

She ate quickly and took the rocks, along with the mailing box and Tina's stupid craft project, upstairs to her room. Dismantling the box carefully, she checked all the seams. Nothing there. Flummoxed, she sat on her bed and wondered what to do next.

> The rocks arrived, she texted Jesse.

>> Go away. I'm not up yet.

> It's 12:30!

Out of Tune (Wynter Wild #2)Where stories live. Discover now