Lunette gasped, all the muscles in her body jerked upwards and the tiny bottle of liquid fell to the floor, splashing its contents out to the wood below. Lunette turned to the window, her hands shaking and raised to protect herself.
“What a shame, better save that before all goes to waste.”
“What are you doing here Jerrard?” Lunette’s voice rang out, high pitched and trembled. Her arms lowered but did not return to her side.
“I thought we had an agreement. It’s past five o’clock, and you’re late. So, I’ve taken the liberty of escorting you.” The pale man smirked and moved to enter her room; a form-fitting suit adorned on his figure. Somehow, he had opened the window, the locked window, and had raised it without her noticing.
“I don’t want to go.” Lunette decided. She turned her attention to the floor and picked up the bottle. She hissed to herself and grabbed a few tissues to mop up the spilled mess.
“I don’t care,” Jerrard stated, cocking his head slightly and looking to the clear liquid she mopped up. “And what is that may I ask.”
Lunette avoided eye contact and continued to clean, “An infusion of witch hazel, Aloe Vera, and other herbs.” This somehow caused Jerrard to laugh. It was shocking enough to hear laughter come from such an individual. “What?”
Jerrard’s smile faded quickly but there were still hints of humor in his voice, “It’s comical,” he then walked over to her and grabbed her arm, “but we’re going to be late, time to go.”
“Hey!” Lunette cried out, only to have her mouth covered.
“We wouldn’t want any mishaps with your loved ones down-there would we?” The burning sensation on her palm increased
Lunette froze, ignoring the pain and instead pondering the threat to her family. She didn’t have enough time to think before being escorted forcefully to the window.
“Wait…” She struggled to mutter past his cool hands. Jerrard released his grip over her mouth but not her arm. “They’re going to see I’m gone.”
“It does!” Lunette then backed away as soon the grip loosened. He was much gentler, though still rough, when compared to Silas. “Let me meet you out front, I’ll think of something.”
“Fine,” Jerrard coldly agreed, “My patience does have a limit.” He slinked out through the window and jumped down from the fire escape. Lunette walked to her door and abruptly turned on her heel. She ran to her window, shut it, and locked it once again.
I might need to put nails on the windows, she thought to herself as she walked down the steps of her apartment. Tatiana was in the kitchen watching a cooking show through a tiny TV on the counter.
“Tatiana,” Lunette started, her figure now standing by the kitchen entrance. Her aunt didn’t move. Instead, her elongated fingers gripped onto a carrot and continued to slice into it carefully while watching the television program. “Tatiana!” she called out, loud enough to cause her aunt to finally turn.
“Oh, sorry! I thought I’d make us dinner while your grandmother’s out. And you know, I thought I’d make your favorite.” She smiled, though recklessly waving the kitchen knife as she spoke. Lunette gave a weak smile back, unsure of what to say now. At first, she was going to lie to her and tell her she would be eating out with friends. But the smile on Tatiana’s face resembled that of a puppy, she couldn’t stand to make her sad.
“U-um…” Lunette sucked in her lips a little and played with her fingers.
“You’re going out?” Her aunt questioned, motioning to the jacket Lunette had on.
“Oh…well, I was invited to go out.” She could already see the excitement fade from her aunt’s face, “But I won’t be gone long! I’m just going shopping with some friends.”
Tatiana’s eyebrows rose with slight surprise, “You made friends? I thought you were against that?”
“Well,” Lunette looked to the floor, “things have to change sometimes. But anyway, I have to go now. But I promise I’ll eat when I get back.”
Tatiana looked to her niece and saw her weak smile. In truth, she wanted Lunette to stay home always. A peace of mind that she knew where the girl was. But if Lunette was making friends, finally, this could be an improvement. “Okay, have fun. But don’t forget about lying earlier. You will be paying for it.” She smiled warmly and watched Lunette finish getting ready and leave.
Lunette closed the door with a heavy heave and Tatiana looked out of the kitchen window to the street below. Sure enough, there was a sleek black car waiting for Lunette. Tatiana let out a reluctant sigh and shook her head slowly. She began to cut the carrots once more, every so often hearing a scratching noise coming from the ceiling.
From outside, Lunette let out a shiver as the cold world around her enveloped her being. “There you are, I was starting to wonder if I would have to take another visit.” Jerrard commented from the driver’s side of the car. Lunette rolled her eyes and went into a back seat.
Jerrard raised an eyebrow but said nothing about her obvious refusal to be near. Lunette still didn’t trust Jerrard or his siblings. At least in the back seat she may have a fighting chance.
The drive to the estate was short but extremely quiet. The two never exchanged a word with one another until they reached the manner. “There’s more cars.” Lunette noted out loud.
“Yes, didn’t I tell you we were having a family reunion?” It was true, she did recall him mentioning something like that. It would also explain why Jerrard was wearing nicer attire.
“As long as I’m not what’s for dessert.” Lunette sneered and fixed herself into her seat. She couldn’t see it, but Jerrard had a crooked smirk on his features as he looked forward.
The two exited the black luxury vehicle and walked towards the house. The sky around them was now pitch black but the home was yet again illuminated by the numerous lights that stuck from the ground. The cool lights flickered ever so slightly as they lit the slate stoned path towards the main entrance.
Jerrard walked ahead of Lunette and came to meet black, hickory-stained doors. The twin doors met one another at a faded, grey-green knocker. The intricate designs of the knocker looked familiar, almost as if it were a family crest or a significant symbol. But Jerrard didn’t bother to use it as he climbed the stone steps and past the white pillars.
The door opened, and Lunette could already hear faint noises of people chattering. She gulped and froze in her step, unsure if she should enter the residence. Jerrard didn’t bother to look behind him and entered the home, disappearing inside. Lunette stood in front of the steps, eyeing the entrance and the lit interior of the home. She could dimly make out the staircase and chandelier that hung from the ceiling. She thought about running away but was unsure about how far she would get before getting captured, lost, or worse.
“Hello, Lunette.” A familiar voice brought her back from her thoughts. “Please, come in. I can assure you that you are more than welcome.” It was Walter, dawning a dark blue suit that could easily be mistaken for black.
Lunette stood there cautiously before she managed to place one foot in front of the other and walk inside the home. Walter smiled and she weakly returned a similar expression. She stepped onto a large rectangular rug that had carefully printed designs. Her eyes then turned to the large, smooth-stoned staircase. A smaller rug that matched the center cascaded down the steps and fell to meet its family at the end.
“This way,” Walter motioned, his hand held out to the left side of the staircase and towards a hallway. Lunette nodded and followed the man as he made his way down the corridor. The walls were a lighter color, presumably white, with black paneling that cut in half. Various depictions, paintings, and photographs lined the hallway as they continued on.
They passed a familiar spot, the living area with the fireplace, and met two women sharing small talk over a glass of, presumably, red wine. One woman, slender in physique but nonetheless beautiful stood right in front of the fireplace, a tight, long black dress covered her frame. She was the first to meet Lunette’s eye with her deep blue ones. The other woman, who was facing the slender beauty, turned her head and met Lunette’s gaze. Instantly Lunette looked away, fearful.
It was the familiar gaze of intense green eyes that terrified Lunette, whose heart was now racing. It was no doubt, Vera. “Will she…”
“No, do not worry.” Walter answered quickly, seeming to know Lunette’s worries. Although he reassured her verbally, his tone didn’t seem compelling, and he never once turned to view her.
Eventually, Walter and Lunette came to the end of the hall. A bare wall stared back at the two figures, seemingly out of place considering how well decorated the rest of the hallway had been. Walter pulled on the end of his sleeves and collar, fixing them into place. “U-um?” Lunette peaked her head out from behind him.
“Oh, my apologies.” He grinned to her before placing both of his feet firmly to the ground. “Atlas.” His voice rang out as if calling for someone. Lunette wrinkled her brow and looked around, expecting a figure to come up. Instead, the dim sound of wood creaking filled the space.
Lunette watched the bare wall with amazement as a bookshelf slowly emerge. It was as if the paint and paneling was liquid, allowing the shelving unit to pass by. With a heavy groan the wall fell into place with the bookcase, encasing it tightly.
Walter grinned, “Oh, humans don’t usually carry these. Do you?”
Lunette let her mouth drop slightly and her eyes squinted at his face. “No.” She answered slowly, bewildered by his question. She shook her head and turned her attention to the bookcase. It seemed familiar, but the more she observed it, the more it appeared foreign.
It was large, standing taller than Walter, who was about six-foot. Though she couldn’t tell, the entire frame was carefully handcrafted. Shelves extended from the top, all the way to the bottom, with the last shelf being considerably thicker and reaching the floor. The top of the case fanned inward to a near point, with accenting inscriptions. Lunette tilted her head, trying to make sense of the foreign language etched into the wood.
Walter stepped closer, his fingers skimming over the various books that lied on the shelves. Though there were some bare areas, the bookcase was packed with an array of styled manuscripts. Walter’s hand stopped against a thick, red, leather-bound hardcover. But, instead of pulling it out, Walter pushed against the bindings with the tips of his fingers. Astonishingly, the book began to sink into the case a considerable amount. The bookshelf gave a large click, followed by the sounds of gears moving against one another. Lunette watched carefully as the bookcase was released of pressure against the wall, a hiss of air escaping it. The shelving unit then began to swing inward, as if on a hinge, and light entered the hallway.
A familiar scene came before Lunette as she observed a red and gold room on the other side. Walter stepped forward into the room and motioned Lunette to follow, she obeyed, perplexed at the bookcase portal. Lunette’s eyes fluttered around the room towards the various objects that scattered shelves and stands, unphased since the last time she was in here. Her eyes then turned to view the single couch. Silas was sitting there talking with a tall, dark, and broad man who stood nearby. The bookrack closed behind her and she couldn’t help but jump at the noise it made.
“Hello, Walter. I see you’ve brought our guest.” The man who stood near Silas commented. Lunette glanced up to meet his honey-colored eyes and quickly tried to avert the stare. She stayed behind Walter, but closer to the bookcase than anything. “My dear, hello.” The man said, now directly in front of her.
“Oh!” Lunette gasped as the man took her hand, leaned down, and kissed the back of it.
“My name is Luca; I’ve come with my sister to meet you.” He smiled and straightened. Lunette had to raise her head to view his features as he ascended. He had strong facial features against his rounded and soft nose. His skin reflected the light in such a way it almost seemed surreal. His dark complexion not only absorbed but refracted the light in the room. It was pure obsidian.
Lunette stayed silent as she observed his stature compared to Walter, they were like night and day. “Where’s Jerrard?” Silas quickly asked.
“I’m not sure, if you don’t mind Luca, we should go and prepare for the feast. The rest of our guests will be entertained by Vera in the mean-time.”
“Of course.” Luca smiled; he was overly enthusiastic. His voice was deep and had traces of an accent which Lunette couldn’t pin down.
Walter and Luca exited the room leaving only Silas to remain. Lunette backed herself to a wall, trying to be careful and avoid knocking over the trinkets. There was an awkward silence between the two and Lunette desperately wanted to escape it.
When she finally lifted her gaze, she was surprised to see Silas eyeing her up and down. “What?” She questioned, trying to keep a stern tone.
Lunette wrinkled her nose and eyed him. Much like Jerrard and Walter, Silas too was dressed as if attending a special occasion. “Was I supposed to be dressed nicely?”
Silas cocked his head; his arms tightened their fold against his chest. “I mean, it is a party, for you.”
“What?” Lunette almost laughed, her lips upturning at the corners. It was when Silas remained silent, scratching the back of his neck in discomfort, did Lunette recognize he was serious. “A party? For me? But why?”
Silas met her eyes again and shrugged. “The clan thought it would be a good time to celebrate I guess.”
Silas moved his head diagonally, eyeing her carefully. “You really don’t know anything huh?”
Lunette let a gust of air leave her nostrils. “It doesn’t help that no one’s telling me anything.”
Silas mimicked a similar face, “You’ll get used to it. And what better way to know then now.” Lunette kept her eyes on Silas, trying not to become comfortable with his presence. She still wasn’t sure what the entire family was, and she certainly didn’t appreciate being stalked like prey. It didn’t help that the entire family was secretive, awkward, and lacked a certain sense of compassion. A precise warmth that regular people shared.
A knock came from the rim of the bookcase. “It’s time.” Jerrard announced. Lunette darted her gaze between Silas and Jerrard, unsure of what to do next.
“Time to go.” Silas began, taking the first step towards the door. Lunette watched carefully as the young man stepped back into the hallway and followed along with a distance between them. Jerrard pulled the red-bound book back into place, and the case closed against the wall with a thud, reverting it back to a simple shelving unit.