Will doesn’t even startle when her finds her on the other side of the door. Only looks dull and flat.
“Hey,” she says, and holds up the bottle of whiskey. He lets her in.
Margot settles herself across from him, in the bones of his house. Watches him tilt his glass back and forth, a shifting pool of amber. He could be wearing the same clothes he was when she had first come to him. Could be wearing the same scarred skin. And now here they are again.
“How are the dogs?” she asks. She ought to give him that, the chance to talk about his pack. She is here to be wildly self-indulgent, after all. No, not wildly. This part at least, the air around Will, has lost its frantic edge, though his movements have become even more jerky. Just self-indulgent then. She is here to be self-indulgent, so she ought to give him that. His dogs. The whiskey. Watching him without the expectation that he will watch back.
“I think they’re happy.” Will looks so soft, even in his closed way.
After the pool of blood and water sliding up her forearms, after the vicious-fast way Alana had reached around her and stuffed bits of Hannibal’s hair and scalp under Mason’s fingernails, after the way they had slotted together their limbs and just held each other for a moment, Margot had gone out to the barn to look at her horse. Clover. Stroking her nose, she had been struck by the realization that she could keep her. That she wasn’t going to approach her bed to find a bloody lump of horseflesh tucked in the covers ever again. At least not from Mason. Did Will feel breathlessly safe too, looking at his dogs?
Margot lets herself smile at him, and doesn’t look at him so he won’t have to navigate her eyes on him to see that she is happy. “I think they are.” She shifts and readies herself to request what she came here for.
These days, she feels like everything she does is wildly indulgent, like a child letting their desires hurtle them from from rule to broken rule. She presumes, anyway. As a child, Margot had been solemn. Cultivated a ladylike stateliness atop her strangeness, inherent transgression in her being enough. She feels the ghost of the solemn child and the ghost of a never-existent exuberant child pushing at her ribs in how she can now go around, alone or to someone without the pressure to run or return home to the family. She feels heady with it.
“Will. I want you to be my best man at the wedding.”
He startles at that. Not very obviously, this Will’s expressions so flat compared to the him he had showed her last year. His new surprise was just a change in his breath and a few blinks, but well. Margot had needed to become good at reading men’s faces.
“Me.” He twitches a little. “Why do you want be in your wedding to Alana ?” A little drawl slips out of him with those last words. He is likely thinking of Alana and how he had thought of her the last time Margot had come to him, she knows that now. Private carnage is easier to see in the aftermath of having been to the slaughter.
At dinner parties, the business connections all acted bubbly and thrilled for Margot Verger, new head of the farm and ready to rise above the tragic murder of her brother and marry her beautiful fiancee. Very modern and progressive of them, a pair of strong career women. Glossy and hollow as it was, the congratulations and the white buzz of wedding planning and little shocks of pity as each guest realized she had no family to be in the wedding party are all the better for her and Alana to shape their new life with. Still, there is a faraway lurch in Margot’s body when she looks at the women promising to lend themselves to be her bridesmaids and hears echoes of just how long they had laughed with Mason at their father’s table. A feeling of unreality, that she has stepped into a pain-haze child’s dream, and that Mason is laughing just out of view as he waits for her to come back.
“You believed me about Mason,” she says, honest as she can. All that she can bring herself to give to Will when this connection between them has always been about understanding the unspoken all too well. “I didn’t even have to ask for you to assume he had it coming. ” Will had understood that, and why she was still living with him and everyone who disbelieved her, and, hell, maybe even some of why she feels lost now. Why she sometimes tries to keep her mind in the state of hazy unreality where Mason is still waiting for her.
I tried to kill my brother , she had said, and Will had responded, I tried to murder Dr. Lecter.
Will had chased Hannibal across an ocean. Alana had seen that and given him to Hannibal. She had never quite had to live with that kind of monster, so Margot had watched as she cut the ropes and backed away. Will had to understand the shape of it, the dumb animal shock at knowing that such a towering constant that you had loved in whatever faint way is gone from your life, at the cause of your own hands.
“Well,” Will says, “I don’t think anyone could have seen your brother without assuming that he had it coming.” He gives a minute shrug, shiny-eyed.
Margot laughs at that, a single breath out her nose with the realization she is just coming to. That the Will who had believed her and the Will who had sailed across the world and the Will who is sitting in front of her looking soft despite himself all built different kinds of longing around their open wounds. Holds them open in more ways than one. “You believe everyone, don’t you, Graham?”
Looking like he is lost in a haze of his own, he tells her, “I did,” and reaches for the bottle again, drums his fingers in a wave down the glass. Picking at the wounds.“That’s...that’s why I’ll do it. I’ll stand for you at your wedding.”
Margot laughs more fully. This wild, mundane relief with Will at the injured disasters they both are--that exists in every state of reality. “Pour me another, then. This is the bachelorette party, and you are about to get drunk and hear some facts about horses.” She holds out her glass. For the better things they have coming.