Author's note: Hope you enjoy! If you want to read the next chapter just post me a comment and I will. ^_^
Matchmaker's Mansion: Ch. 13Shay’s grey eyes roved over the tops of the building surrounding him. From his rooftop view he could see the people walking below: blurs of color on the dull brick street. The dark clouds overhead matched his mood. Wind stirred his clothing.
He breathed in and out into the scarf around his neck that kept him warm from the cold weather. Flashes of memory spun before his eyes. When he had seen that streak of blood on Asha’s face it had taken him back years ago when he had seen a face
“I’m so sorry…Dawn,” his whisper came out in puffs of white. “I’M SORRY!” he bent over with the effort of his screaming. It was all Asha’s fault. Why did she have to be here? If only she would leave…then he would be fine…and his sister would no longer haunt him. Also, she would be safe…
“Please sit down right here,” Shaun pointed Asha to a plush black chair that swiveled in one place in front of a wall mirror. A sink and other products lined the counter before the mirror.
She lowered herself down into it, practically sinking in the cushion, and waited for further instruction.
Shaun stood before her in another one of his Victorian suits, this time a forest green that actually looked quite good on him. His angular face seemed to match his outfit perfectly. He clapped his hands together, “Today we have a special treat for you.” He started to pace in front of her, waving his finger, “It seems that the boys at times do not look kindly on your appearance.” Asha was taken aback: the boys had never looked at her like she was some ugly little thing. But then she remembered Shay’s drawing. She suppressed the urge to giggle.
“So,” Shaun smiled with delight. “we’ve taken the liberty to improve your image.” He snapped his fingers and through the door came a woman. Her hair was perfectly curled in long black ringlets, eyebrows defined, and lipstick applied. The woman considered her, tapping her cheekbone with the comb she held.
“Have fun!” Shaun said and left.
Asha looked to the woman. The woman gazed back with a twinkle in her dark eyes and said in a thick accent, “We have a lot of work to do.”
Asha gazed out through the floor-to-ceiling window with a curl wrapped nervously around her finger. Scents of flowers swirled around her in the room that she remembered to be the one she had kissed the boys in.
Her reflection looked right back at her in the window and she still had trouble believing that the reflection was her no matter how much she looked. The frizzy locks that she had never taken the time to beautify were now smooth waves of chocolate. Her boring brown eyes actually looked somewhat mysterious with the light smoky eye makeup accenting her eyelid.
She turned at the sound of the door opening.
Chase stood in the doorway with Ever behind him. Chase’s face had turned to stone in a mixture of shock and surprise while Ever smiled sweetly behind him.
“You look beautiful, Asha,” Ever said in his deep voice that made her tingle with excitement.
Chase swallowed, his one visible green-blue eye staring at her. He shook his head, his blonde hair swaying with the motion. Lifting his head, he said, “Are you a princess?”
Asha giggled, “Nope, it’s just me.”
“Waaah!” Chase said, taking careful steps towards her as though she was dangerous. “You look totally different!” He slowly circled her, looking her up and down. She twirled for him in her flowy pink dress, not blaming him at all for thinking she was a princess—she certainly felt like one.
Ever joined them, grabbing Chase by the collar to stop him from circling her again. “Would you like to continue dancing around the princess or with the princess?”
Chase glanced from Ever to Asha, smiling. “With,” he said. Ever reached over his shoulder and pulled over his guitar. The black instrument almost seemed to be a part of him—she couldn’t recall a single time he hadn’t been without it. Chase reached out and gently wrapped an arm around her waist. Pulling her into him, Chase took her arms and placed them on his shoulders.
Asha ducked her head to hide the heat that colored her cheeks. Ever strummed a chord and Chase immediately began to slowly dance, leading Asha along with him. His arms around her waist sent a welcome warmth around her, like he had created a bubble of happiness around them that no one could pop.
Gently drifting with the music, Asha let her head rest against his chest. His heart beat along with the music in a slow rhythm and she could feel it thump against her cheek. She closed her eyes as she felt Chase’s arms tighten around her, sending slight sparks up her back.
She caught the words “falling for ya” among the strum of the guitar and wondered if she was…falling for Chase. He definitely wasn’t making it difficult to do.
She yelped with surprise when Chase suddenly scooped her up in his arms. He twirled, Asha hugging his neck desperately. Her dress flowed out behind her in a ripple of pink.
He laughed aloud and she could feel it vibrate in his chest beneath her hands. With her arms around his neck, she laughed along with him in giddy happiness. The air around them was a blur, the colors of the flowers bleeding together as they spun.
They slowed gently, Chase tottering a little. She rested her head against his shoulder, trying to make the dizziness stop.
“Are you ok?” Chase said and she opened her eyes to see his face looking down at her. A gentle smile rested at the edge of his lips and she found herself staring at them. His arms tightened around her, holding her up in bridal style. Bending his head, his lips neared. She closed her eyes, waiting for it. His lips lightly brushed her’s as soft as a pair of butterfly wings.
Her heart skipped a beat.
Her eyelashes heavy with mascara lifted to see Chase staring down at her.
“Um…could you help me with something?”
“Sure,” she said, a little half-heartedly. It wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting to hear after a kiss. She looked over his shoulder to see that Ever had disappeared. Looking up at him in his arms, she said, “What do you need help with?”
“I know it’s around here somewhere,” Chase said, rummaging through a drawer.
“What’s the title again?” Asha said, fingering the books stacked on a desk.
“I think it’s ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” he said.
Asha straightened to survey the room. A bunkbed sat in the corner, another bed in the center of the room with a tv across from it. The rest of the room was full of desks, cabinets, littered with sheets of music. She knew Ever definitely occupied the room. Evidences of the other boys was few.
Collapsing into a swivel chair, she stared blankly at the row of books in front of her. Each one had a brown leather cover exactly the same with a tail of silk coming out the bottom of them. None of them had a title down their spine. With a finger she pulled one out, the first one in the row.
The cover cracked as she opened it. On the first page was the sentence “this journal belongs to” and signed beneath it was “Shay Augustine.”
Asha flipped the page to the first entry and read the first paragraph. Her head jerked back, astounded by what she had read. Immediately, she got up and in a rush ran for the door.
“Oh! I think I found it,” Chase said with excitement. He reached to the back of the drawer and tugged at the book that had managed to get itself lodged beneath a box. Pulling it out, he smoothed a hand over it’s velvety cover. The dust floated into the air around him, but the title “Beauty and the Beast” was clear on the cover.
“Hey, Asha! I found it,” he waved the book in the air, but Asha wasn’t there. He got up quickly, looking all about for the pretty girl in the pink dress. His eyes locked to the open book on Shay’s desk. Written in scribbled handwriting that looked like it belonged to an elementary kid, were the words:
“HELP ME—there’s something wrong with me. I didn’t mean to do it! I didn’t mean to kill Mommy, Daddy, and Dawn.”
Asha opened every door as she passed, jerking her head in to look around. Shay had to be around somewhere. She opened the door to the room they used they most, the one with the couches and huge tv, to see Ever on the far side. She dashed through the room, lifting her dress a little so she wouldn’t trip on it.
“Ever!” she said hastily. He didn’t turn from where he was. She stopped beside him to see that he was staring at himself in a round wall mirror.
“Yes?” he said, his eyes moving to the side to see her.
“Do you know where Shay is?” she said, trying to catch her breath.
“He’s on the roof,” she turned to go before he even finished talking. “Wait!” She stopped. Wiggling his arms, he managed to slide his leather jacket off and flung it around her shoulders. The weight of it pressed down on her. “The stairs to the roof are at the end of the hall.”
“Thanks,” she said and sped off. Ever’s eyes followed after her and when the door slammed shut he turned back to the mirror. A youthful face reflected back at him, one with smooth skin and a strong jaw. But if he stared hard enough he could see through the youthful mask to the man beneath—one that was much older.
Shay stood with his feet forced between the metal bars of the gate lining the edge of the roof top.
If he jumped everything would be over. He wouldn’t hurt any more people. He would atone for murdering his family. In fact, he would be with them.
Shay leaned forward to see the street far below. But perhaps he wouldn’t die. Maybe the demon inside him wouldn’t allow him to die. After all, Ever still looked youthful after all the years that he had lived. It was like the demon inside made them immortal.
The thought of living forever with himself was horror. He unstuck his foot and raised it over the gate to step out onto the ledge. His other foot soon joined the other one, the tips of his shoos placed in line with the edge of the roof.
The breeze ruffled his midnight hair as he closed his eyes. One more second and he would be gone. Gone from pain. Gone from the people he didn’t want to hurt.
He shifted his weight to the front, feeling himself slowly lean forward. In a few moments he would be gone. There would be pain, but then there would be bliss. His balance was just about to go—one little push with his toes and he would be over.
A hand yanked back on his jacket and instead of falling forward, he fell backwards. His eyes flashed open to see the stormy sky above him. Crashing to the cement of the rooftop, he groaned. A bruise already began to form on his backbone. The rest of his muscles spazzed from the impact.
Rolling onto his side, he cracked open his eyes to see Asha sprawled out beside him. Like a wounded princess, her beautiful waves of hair floated around her head and her pink dress billowed out around her small form on the cement. Her eyebrows were pinched together, one eye squinted open to peer over at him.
He tried to find his breath as he stared at her with his wide gray eyes, realizing that it wasn’t the impact that was making him breathless.
A scrape bloodied the side of her cheek and a driblet of red sat at the edge of her lips. With pain-filled anger, she said, “You selfish brat,” and closed her eyes.