ʻʻSo, Claire,ʼʼ Luke began, seeming to be slightly hesitant when he tenderly touched a hand to my back. He didnʼt seem shy outside the door. Maybe before we encountered his ironically cheery brother, Jasper. ʻʻShould I show you the room?ʼʼ
ʻʻYeah, sure. And then if you donʼt mind I would love to take a quick shower.ʼʼ I met his gaze and was answered with a warm smile.
ʻʻOf course. Thereʼs one in your room.ʼʼ He returned, extending his arm down to pull my bag into his own grip. I allowed him to, tugging a strand of hair behind my ear and thanking him. ʻʻFollow me, please.ʼʼ He began striding smoothly up the staircase and I found myself trailing behind. But before I reached the third step I turned and smiled briefly at Jasper.
He didnʼt smile back. His youthful and jovial irises had abruptly shifted to cold and dark, the brownness outweighed by the undeniable black of his dilated pupils. His thick eyebrows were drawn as he settled his glare on his brother climbing the steps far past me, suddenly ignoring my presence. Odd, considering his previous enchantment at my arrival. He then peeked up at me, quickly, before turning and disappearing into the house.
I rotated back around, somewhat deflated, and ascended the mighty staircase. As I walked I was immediately pulled to envy at the classy, modern decor that dotted the house around me. Paintings that sported vibrant colors were hung just about anywhere, with sleek, skinny, black frames that reflected the illuminating lights all around the home. I was in awe of how gorgeous this mansion was that I had forgotten why I was here in the first place. No. I reminded myself mentally. Iʼm here for a show, nothing more...nothing more.
Luke started to stalk along the corridor wall, passing numerous wooden doors leading to rooms unknown to me. His dirty blonde waves were chopped short in the back and spiked up (assisted by some expensive hair product I had assumed) casually in the front. His skin was tan and smooth, with fair threads of curling, winding hair submersing the stretch of his visible arms. I allowed myself to consider him attractive, to make this stay less miserable.
ʻʻAnd here we are,ʼʼ Luke announced cheerfully as he twisted a knob. ʻʻSorry, thereʼs no lock.ʼʼ
ʻʻNo, no, itʼs absolutely fine. Iʼm not a big fan of locks anyways.ʼʼ I assured him heavily. He was already doing so much for someone he barely knew that it wasnʼt even a possibility to condemn him for something so insignificant. I fiddled absently with my clothes as I began following his lead into the dark space of the room. As soon as his finger flicked on the light switch the room danced with an intense sense of warmth and life.
It was a stunning suite with a luxurious looking king sized bed, a beautiful gray sofa stationed over by a low cherry red coffee table and a marvelous stone fireplace with a tv placed on the rack attached to it. If this was only a guest room, I couldn't even fathom the master room. An adjoining bathroom was to the right of the bed which pleased me tremendously. The last thing I wished for was an accidental walk-in from one of the two almost complete strangers while Iʼm showering.
I shuffled to the center of the room and completed a full 360° circle, taking in the beautiful space. ʻʻWill this do?ʼʼ Luke asked innocently as he gently touched my suitcase to the dark hardwood floor.
I nodded fiercely and smiled a bit too widely. ʻʻItʼs better than my room.ʼʼ I joked as I glanced at the bathroom. ʻʻItʼs okay for me to use this, right?ʼʼ
ʻʻClaire, why would you even ask such a thing?ʼʼ He cheerfully laughed. I took that as a yes as he waved me off. ʻʻIʼll call you when breakfast is ready.ʼʼ He announced and started stepping from the room.
I felt the wave of uneasiness that swam in my belly beginning to settle, as if a malevolent spirit had just departed from the room.
Once alone and locked securely in the comfort of the bathroom, I began stripping off my two day old attire, hoping it didnʼt wreak too fondly of unpleasant body odor. When I pressed it against my small nose and sniffed in I realized it unfortunately did.
I tossed my T-shirt into the bin beside the sink and unbuttoned my black shorts. They dropped lifeless to my ankles and I stepped out from the rings of denim. I shimmied out of my underclothes, unleashing my hair from the lazy bun it was messily stuffed into. The blonde cascaded over my shoulders in an untidy storm of bleached curls. I stared glumly at the stranger in the mirror. I touched a finger to the purple stained skin beneath my tired eyes and sighed.
The bath was concealed by a wall of misted glass. I moved into the tub, immediately twisting the handle to HOT, letting the water trickle down my sore, stressed body, wanted every nerve and every fear to evaporate, for the pain to be misted away with the steam.
I ran my tangled hair under the sweltering water, letting it rivulet down my face in small streams. It gently raced over my closed eyelids and slightly ajar mouth. It seemed to heal my cracked and chapped lips. I wondered if it could heal my soul.
Finally, I allowed myself to simmer on everything that has happened.
Mandy. I let her down. She could be dead and here I was at some guyʼs house that I barely knew. He could be a psychopathic murderer for all I knew. Well, too be completely honest, it was Lukeʼs brother, Jasper, that I was uneasy about. Something...unstable emitted from him. Like his whole existence wreaked of insanity. No, Claire. Youʼre jumping to conclusions again. Heʼs just a fan.
I sighed heavily, dragging a tired hand over my soaked hair. This was emotionally strangling.
As I began to scrub the dirt from my hair, I suddenly was submerged in a strange, enigmatic sensation. My whole body felt open and violated, my nerves were racing. It was so sudden and abrupt I hardly had time to process it. I felt like...
No, that's silly. Stop overreacting Claire.
I slowly readjusted my stance, gathering myself to straighten. I peered out the glass, trying difficult to see clearly out. It was just a typical bathroom, from what I could tell, nothing amiss. It was just my paranoid mind playing tricks on me.
But the feeling, it still remained. Like I could hear someone elseʼs heavy breaths over the pounding of the water against the tub. Like I could barely make out the shady black figure crouching in the corner.
Like someone was watching me.
Was Claire really being watched?
Can Jasper be trusted?
Maybe youʼll find out in the next chapter?
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anotherMystery / Thriller
"Claire, I'm not a psychopath." Jasper stated with a hint of amusement fanning over his subtle grin. I glanced up from the floor and gazed up into his sinister brown eyes. "Isn't that what psychopaths say to make them sound less psycho?" I forced a...