Julian sat up, his lips slightly parted as he tried to steady his breath. It was the same lucid dream. The same dream that had made him forfeit sleep for so long. The same dream that followed him to reality when he refused to close his eyes.
He stood and walked to the bathroom, then leaned in front of the mirror. He turned on the faucet, and let the water fill his hands. He then splashed some on his face.
When he looked up to the mirror, he could see himself, but apart from that, he could see what no one else could. The monster within. Hidden by glamour. Overshadowed by charisma.
He moved away slowly, adjusting his robe.
”Of course, I trust you. ”
Caroline nodded. ”Yes. I will take my leave now. ”
Bastien didn say a thing, and she walked away. She walked slowky away from the dungeon, her bare feet gliding across the floor soundlessly. It was something she had mastered from having to sneak around in a house where only she and Julian lived. She knew even if she breathed too hard, he would hear it.
She finally locked the last door, cushioning the locks on her palm so it wouldn make too much noise.
She turned and continued on her way down till she suddenly came face to face with Julian.
”Julian. I thought you would be resting. The party is already over and… ”
”You seem to have come from the dungeon. ” He said, his right brow raised. He was looking down at her through his lashes, his head tilted slightly to the right.
She nodded. ”I just went to make sure everything was locked. Maybe it was the smoke that made me think that I hadn properly closed it. ”
He watched her for an uncomfortable minute, his eyes scanning from her hair to her feet.
”I do like the way you were walking just now. ” He looked down at her feet. ”That is your effort to not wake me up, is it not? ”
She immediately nodded, happy she would not have to come up with an excuse.
He smiled and gave a small nod. ”How is the piece? ”
”Perfect. I let her settle in, and we will see what she would want to do tomorrow. ”
He nodded. ”You may go. ”
She continued on her way, making sure to keep her head high so he would not see just how nervous she actually was. He raised his head towards the inner balcony, and his eyes settled on the room Caroline had given to Eliana.
He slowly made his way up, then knocked on the door.
It took two knocks to get her to open up.
”I am sorry, I was… ”
”It is fine. How is the room? ” He popped his head inside the vacant room. His smile grew wider as he nodded.
”Very beautiful. The bed is more than what one person can use. ”
”It is, right? ”
She nodded. ”It is. ”
He looked down at her feet, then smiled again.
”I hope you enjoy your stay. ”
She nodded. ”Your british accent…you took it up somewhere? ”
”Might be the case. ” With a small parting smile, he left the door and walked away. She watched him as he made his way up again, his hands clasped behind him.
Releasing a breath she hadn even realized she had been holding, she closed the door, hoping no one else would come.
Julian sat on the chair, his fingers ticking along with the small clock. The slight tick sound of the clock and his fingers landing on the table synchronized as he waited for minutes to pass by.
When it was fully midnight, he stood again, and left his room.
Eliana sat on the floor, her knees drawn to her. It was a cold night, and even though she had thought she would be comfortable with the splendour, she found it rather unfamiliar. As if she was estranging herself from the world.
It sort of reminded her of the very first sleepover with Cole.
”Make yourself comfortable, ” Cole said as he arranged the bed. ”It might be a little cold, so I will turn on the heater for you. You can call me to turn it off if it gets too hot. ”
She nodded with a smile at his nervousness. She had actually come to check on him, and had run late. It was monsoon season, and he wouldn let her go in the rain, especially since he was too weak to drive her.
”Thanks, Cole. ”
”Don mention it. ” He left the room and closed the door behind him.
She had just kept her small sling bag on the dresser and started to check out the room when the door opened again and Cole came back.
”Is something wrong? ” She asked and he shook his head.
”I can do it. ”
”Do what? ”
”You are here and…its maddening. ”
She laughed. ”So what do you want to do? ”
He had been perfect then. The eager, earnest sincere way he loved her, and the shyness of a first time he had. It had all been like some sort of fairy tale for her.
”I want to kiss you, ” He said. ”And maybe… ”
He had said it, but she had made the first move. She had kissed him then..and gave him more. Her heart, everything he wanted.
She shook her head as if to clear it off and raised her head to blink the tears away. She shouldn be thinking of him right now. It was bad for her.
He was marrying someone else, without remorse. Without dignity.
She thought it was all a part of her imagination when she heard the door open.
”Is that…perhaps the bed you speak of? ” She immediately looked up, and Julian closed the door gently behind him.
His smile was still there, just this time twice as sinister and dark.
”I mean…if there really was such a beautiful, big bed in here…why would you not enjoy it? ”
”I was just… ” Her voice trailed off and she took a few steps back. There was enough space between them now for her to duck even if he decided to come closer.
His smile grew even larger, and before she could blink, he was right in front of her, his hand firmly clasped on her neck as he held her over the window.
She instinctively grabbed onto his hand, and turned, her heart beating wildly in her chest.
”Tell me how much you know, Eliana. I promise I will not hurt you. ”
She turned to him, her eyes wide. ”What? ”
His eyes grew a little cold, but his smile remained intact. ”I said…tell me what you know. No one gets hurt. ”
She swallowed. ”Is everything…okay? ”
”You know everything? ”
”This room is vacant. Just like the remaining three. ”
Julians smile grew wider and realer, and he pulled her forward, releasing her neck.
”That is a good girl. ”
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