19. SANGUINE

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St. Peter's Basilica, 1626
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    Two months.

     Eight weeks.

     Fifty-six days, give or take a few.

     Two months—the amount of time that had passed since the day Isaac discovered William's letter from the notorious Nathanial Beckett.

     One stupid piece of paper.

     Four fucking words.

     That was all it took for him to rethink the countless number of hours he spent with Josiah, doubt the limitless emotions he felt when he was around him. To negate everything that had happened between them.

     A damned letter reduced the unpredictable, reckless and unbounded nature of his relationship with Josiah to one thing.

     Pain.

     The first thing he did was pocket the wad of money in said letter for himself, seeing as he would need it to survive on his own.

    Yes, he made a spontaneous decision to leave Eton for good.

     If there was one thing he was familiar with, it was lies. His familiarity with the concept was something that grew exponentially, like an epidemic with no cure.

     For example, when he was barely fourteen and his father told him he was going away for a month, he was so ridiculously naive to believe his father's fake (although believed to be real at the time) luxury goods would be more successful elsewhere, thus forcing him to leave for business purposes. His father's products were shit.

     Or, when he was fifteen and his new home was made of cold pavement and crumbling brick, he believed his friend, a sixteen year old girl whom he'd grown affections for, was genuinely happy in his company. By this age he'd learned to doubt what he was told, but he'd never expected that deep within her was a darkness that consumed her. He was naive enough to fall for a smile.

     Now, on the verge of eighteen, he'd grown so accustomed to being told lies he didn't want to bother with any phony explanations from Josiah. He remembered Charlie's warning. Maybe he should've trusted the jealous bastard. Lies—he didn't want to hear anymore for the rest of his life.

    But he was also scared of truths.

     So he took the money for himself, and for the past two months has been living in William's home, waiting for the day he'd be evicted due to lack of bill payments. Hopefully, by the time this happened, he'd found his own source of income along with his own place. He'd managed to do it once; he could do it again.

     At the same time this mess was happening, William's autopsy revealed that his death was caused by a brick to the head, because the indentation in his skull wasn't proof enough that head damage was the cause. Typical sketchy-alley-in-the-middle-of-the-night murder.

     Two months.

     It took two whole months for the police to find someone related by blood to William—a third cousin who was not very happy to hear that she was in charge of funeral costs and responsible for the fate of his corpse. At least, that's what Isaac assumed her reaction was based on the level of effort put into his closed casket ceremony. It was held in a small church, and his casket resembled a cardboard box; however, he didn't blame her. It's not like William meant the same to her as he did Isaac.

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