Chapter 4. The Party
The slippery road in the morning scared her, and her teeth started chattering from cold. She drove her car alone, while the classical song of Frederic Chopin played on the background. Eventually, the extraordinary monotonous day began again on Thursday.
Trigonometry was her first nightmare, also for every student in the classroom.
Mr. Hansen, who was born half-African, had spent about half an hour by writing endless formulas on the blackboard, making everyone bored. There was nothing much to know about him besides, he always wore eyeglasses and formal suit.
Cathy didn’t pay attention during class, instead her eyes were observing the sky that had turned bright again.
“Are you alright?” Josh asked worriedly. “Martha said you were unwell yesterday.”
She smiled. “I’m good, of course.”
“Judging by the look of our similar white sweater, it’s not like we’re going to go picnic or something, right?”
“Yours is a gray jacket, there’s a different,” she giggled. “Alright, let’s take a ride with your bike. It’s sunny in the park.”
“Are you suggesting we’ll be going out to Patagonia Lake?”
“A greener place, yes—” she said, sounded exhausted, and her eye-bags looked even worse. “I just need to breathe a fresh air.”
“That won’t be a problem, Ma’am,” he responded.
School finished at eleven o’clock. Soon, she drove home, before getting into his bicycle.
It took a long time to ride a bike to the destination from Bisbee. They spent about an hour and a half road trip, although it went well. People referred the greenish street around here as Patagonia Lake, where the place was located near Tucson City.
Cathy enjoyed this trip, feeling the wind touched her cheeks tenderly. She threw her hand in the air, pretending as if she would touch the sun, while her other hand was holding his waist tightly. At the time, she saw something sparkling like tiny dots that yet looked strange, but beautiful. Those strange dots flew everywhere around the clouds.
Meanwhile, he rode his bike enthusiastically as if they were going to a mountain. There were big trees along the road, which surrounded by dirt stones. They headed to a little river that had a few ducks in there, and stopped by at the park, where there were birds and the sound of rustling winds.
They were lying down on the weeds, with the view of desolate pond in front of them. It was the most comfortable spot.
“Can you see those flying dots in the sky?” She asked, still observing them.
He gazed back at the view. “Yes, it’s glowing.”
“Do you think everyone can see it?” She wondered sometimes.
“I don’t think so, not just everyone. I mean, besides the fact that no one really pay attention at them,” he explained his opinion. “My grandma once told me that these tiny dots are such energies—good and bad randomly.”
Cathy narrowed her eyes at him, bewilderingly. “How could you differentiate between good or bad?”
“The good one is what you currently see, while the bad one is called the floaters that look like some of black amoebas,” he explained.
“Oh, like what I saw in the lab last time—the amoeba,” she murmured, amazed.
The conversation stopped for a while as they enjoyed this comfortable silence.
Cathy felt relaxed to be side by side with him. This moment had reminded her of the childhood memories she shared with him. The first time they met was when they turned 8-year-old. There was the time when they ran along through the yellow grasses, playing and laughing together crazily. They just clicked together, in the way they knew each other’s feeling without need to talk about it. It was like telepathy or something.
Another memory she remembered was when they were on the crowded beach. They were 12-year-old. Josh was sitting down on the shore alone, and she barged in to accompany his solitude. When she asked him to swim together, he refused, said that he was afraid of the water. She calmed him, telling him that it was okay to feel afraid since they were still a little kid. It was their bonding moment.
Once she returned to her senses, she just remembered that his dad received a special invitation of the local police’s party. Nevertheless, this should also be the right time for her to wash away her mind from the strange visions of the princess, although she didn’t see any of it today.
She exhaled deliberately, and closed her eyes while talking, “My dad will attend a luxury party in town. He wants my mom and me to come. There’s a new detective who just arrived three days ago from Portland.”
“Seriously?” He sounded excited than she was. “Can I come?”
“How about Martha?” She squinted wonderingly at him. “It will be held tonight at eight.”
“Ah, right, dang it,” he stressed out. “She just got better after routinely taking a medicine, but I still worry about her.”
“We love her so much,” Cathy added.
A moment of silence filled the air again. The winds rustled against their skins.
“So, it’s like a formal-luxury party?” He asked, bewildered.
“Everyone in the Police Department has been waiting three months for her arrival. They want to give her a huge respect and honor as the new team.”
“Why would Bisbee need another detective apart from your dad?”
“I’m not pretty sure what’s going on,” she couldn’t understand that one case.
“Does your relative will come too?” He wondered.
“Probably,” she doubted it. “I haven’t seen her today. I’m not sure where she’ll spend her vacation around this town.”
He bewildered too. “Being alone without a tour guide?”
“That’s what my mom said,” she chuckled. “I feel like they’re hiding something from me.”
“Well, it makes sense, since Elle physically look nothing like you,” he giggled back. “Martha was crazily bewildered when I described what she looks like.”
She rose from the ground and murmured, “I know, somehow I need to find out.”
Manson had already returned home from the office to pick up his family. He sat down along with his wife at the dining table, while waiting for Cathy and Elle to finish dressing.
His wife gazed at his brown eyes intensely, “You look so overwhelming at this point, is she even your boss?”
“Sweet darling, she takes this job seriously. She is even four years younger than me,” he tried to make her understood. “Wait till you see her.”
“You’re forty-seven now,” Haile muttered. “Whatever, she sounds like a busy person.”
Elle just walked downstairs, looking beautiful in her navy-blue dress.
“Good evening, Mr. Charlotte.”
“Oh, Sylvia Elle, right?” He asked, friendly. “We barely met since I’ve always come home late.”
She walked toward them and smiled politely.
“Don’t you have last name?” He wondered. “Is it Aloise, since you’re Haile’s relative?”
“I don’t need any last name,” she said, clearly.
He glanced, bewildered at his wife who looked as if she didn’t want to involve in the topic.
Cathy came subsequently, wearing a floral dress that looked perfect on her pale skin.
“So, is this really going to be a formal party?” Cathy asked as she approached them.
“You’re not allowed to wear a jacket and jeans in there, trust me,” he joked and giggled.
Haile dragged his arm hurriedly, and shouted out, “C’mon guys, we don’t want to be late.”
They arrived in twenty minutes to downtown by a car trip. There were several cars in the parking lot, and some people had just arrived.
The place located in the best restaurant in Bisbee. The restaurant was renovated with the new look of fresh white-painted walls, although the ambience still felt old and western. However, there was no sign to identify whether this place was a restaurant or not from the outside, since it looked more like an office building
“Mr. Charlotte!” A man greeted her dad. He wore a police uniform, his hair was like a peanut color. “And your family—welcome!”
“Oh, Mr. Wagner, how’s everyone doing?” Manson asked.
Before they entered the place, they had a small talk first. Haile was listening to their conversation, while Cathy and Elle peeped from afar at the huge lobby.
“They must be serving a good cake,” Cathy assumed, as she beckoned her chin at the huge table of food and beverages that seen from behind the pillars.
Elle didn’t respond, in fact, she had always looked expressionless, and she was so quiet, although her eyes were carefully observing random people’s arrival.
Cathy’s cellphone suddenly vibrated inside her purse, as she checked it out quickly, it was Josh. “What is it?”
“I follow your dad’s car to the restaurant,” he said on the phone.
She astonished, and accidentally got cough. Her mom turned to her in bewilderment.
Haile caressed her back instantly. “Are you alright, darling?”
“I need some fresh air. Don’t worry, mom.”
Cathy went outside hurriedly, as she reached to the parking lot, Josh was already there with his bike, stood next to the payphone. He wore a white long sleeves blouse and black butterfly-tie.
He approached her while waving his hand cheerfully, but then she confronted him, “What are you doing?”
“The party must be serving yummy food, can I join?” He literally looked starving.
“First, shame on you. Second, they absolutely have delicious food,” she giggled, but then she looked worried. “Does Martha know?”
As they walked together to the building, he answered, “Don’t worry. She’ll be fine as long as I don’t eat any junk food. So, what’s this party all about?”
Her eyes were searching for the new face in the crowd as they went inside, but she only knew some familiar people that all dressed in formal suit and gown. “I haven’t seen the main guest yet.”
Elle stood next to the long table filled with various food and beverages. The two of them caught her gazing oddly at the food.
Josh approached her first, while Cathy picked up a guava juice. “Do you know what you want to eat?”
He wanted to help Elle to choose the best Italian food that was seen on the table—Beef Lasagna. But she had not yet answered him when someone came greeting them.
“Hi, kids, look at how well you’ve grown up!”
He was the same police who welcomed her dad before. At the time, Cathy just realized that he resembled a boy from school, and it turned out that he was Jordan’s dad. His name was Luke Wagner, and he turned 51 this year. Surely, he looked older than her dad.
“Who’s this beautiful stranger?” He was enchanted by the girl’s presence beside them.
“She’s my relative, Sylvia Elle,” she introduced her.
However, Elle hadn’t changed her expressionless face that looked unreadable. She stayed silent.
“Does Jordan come too, sir?” Josh asked.
“He’s too sleepy to walk,” he giggled about his son. “Anyway, enjoy the food, kids.”
He left them to greet other guests who just arrived at the door. Subsequently, Josh smirked as if something was hateful.
“Who’s asleep in this barley time?” Josh muttered. “No wonder that Mr. Clark didn’t accept him in the baseball team.”
No one was aware that Elle chuckled in disbelief at him.
Soon, the rustling sound came from a microphone, making every guest turned around to stare at the small stage that designed with red curtain.
“Test, test…” Manson stood there, holding a microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen—”
The guests began to sit on their chairs when he started speaking.
“Let me introduce our new detective, who finally wears our special badge of Bisbee,” he sounded excited. “Please welcome—Chantel Mcintyre Herron.”
Everyone applauded mercifully when a beautiful woman dressed in a long white dress and big gold earrings was coming out from the stage’s red curtain. She appeared like a goddess, who possessed a flawless white skin, sharp blue eyes, and she had a short wavy black hair. Moreover, her charisma was outstanding.
Meanwhile, Josh and Elle still stood side by side with Cathy near to the table of food and beverages, watching the detective’s arrival. Cathy remembered that the woman had the same surname as Scott’s, but she couldn’t be assured.
“Please, call me Chantel,” the woman said, with such a deep and wise voice. “Thank you for your concern and hard work for welcoming my late arrival, since I had things to take care urgently in Portland. This is my pleasure to start living here for a few months, maybe forever. Who knows?”
The guests giggled along at her humor. But suddenly, Josh bewildered at the view, “Hey, where’s your sister?”
Cathy rolled her eyes back and forth, until she baffled to understand how Elle already managed to stand near the stage.
“When did she leave us?”
He noticed. “Did she sneak out, I mean—”
For a second, Cathy noticed something slightly odd with the view. “Does the new detective staring at Elle?” They stared coldly for a split second, but she wasn’t sure. “Maybe I was wrong—”
An old waitress dressed in black uniform came to her, informing, “Your mom is calling you to sit at the table number one, Miss.”
“Thanks,” Cathy nodded and smiled at her.
Josh had not finished talking, and she already knew whom he referred.
“She’ll be fine.”
He panicked afterward. “Wait, don’t let your mom see me. She’ll yell out if she knows I’m being an intruder. She’ll probably call Martha.”
Cathy grimaced at him. “My mom isn’t that bad.”
“I’ll wait here,” he smiled, relaxed.
“Are you sure?” She pitied him, and then he nodded assured.
Cathy went ahead to search for the table number one. There were not many tables in the room, but the space got crowded with random people, making her almost fell weakly on the floor.
Soon, she saw her mom was the one with hot-red lipstick and wore a white dress. Her mom sat along with the police, and they seemed to have a little talk.
The podium speech had finished on the stage, and the next schedule was dinnertime.
Before she dragged the chair, her dad called her name from afar, while Detective Chantel walked beside him.
“Please, let me introduce the woman behind the new badge,” he had an impulse joke.
“Such a humor,” Chantel shouted.
Somehow, Cathy sensed that something was pricking beneath her skin and crawling all over her body, as if she stung by an electrical jolt. Her instinct told her that the source was coming from that new detective. Seemingly, her mom was the only one who noticed that same sensation too. However, she had to endure the uncomfortable feeling in front of many people here.
“This is my daughter, Catherine Charlotte,” her dad was so proud to introduce her.
Chantel stared differently at her now.
“Your daughter?” She sounded surprised for a moment. “Beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Cathy said, innocently.
“And I am her mother, Haile Charlotte,” she pushed Cathy to stand behind her, like guarding a little child from something dangerous. They shook each other’s hands carefully. Cathy wondered with her mom’s sudden protective act.
“Haile?” It seemed Chantel tried to remember her as if she had heard it before, perhaps from a particular event. “I thought, I may know your name somewhere?”
“Maybe out of the line, cocky to think,” her mom sounded a bit sarcastic, Manson choked his throat on purpose to give her a warning sign.
“You’re totally not an American, I supposed,” Chantel narrowed her eyes at them. “For instance, I am born half Romanian.”
This charismatic woman was truly tall compared to her. When she stood along her dad, they seemed to have almost the same body height, although she only wore five centimeters heels. If she stood without heels, she could be as tall as Elle.
Now that she remembered about that strange girl, she hadn’t seen her anywhere in this room. When she gazed back at the guests, Chantel was still giving her a polite smile.
“You have a beautiful daughter, since my son is handsome too,” she added a humor to break the ice, just like what Manson did.
There was something on the surface that didn’t look fall into place about this woman. Cathy wanted her instinct to be wrong, but the vibe had given a clear sensation that couldn’t be vanished. Her mom also acted unusual, suddenly looked overwhelmingly worried.
Each tables displayed with a pretty banquet. Every guest enjoyed dinner together in this party. Meanwhile, Cathy sat at a few tables away from the new detective. Sometimes she stole a glance at her, while thinking that there was something definitely wasn’t right—something evil.
Cathy couldn’t tell if her judgment was right or wrong, it was as if she could see the unseen fire on her bright blue eyes that looked sharp and intense. The voice echoed inside her head, telling her to stay away from the unwanted danger.
At that second, Chantel caught her staring, and so she smiled back to her.
Her mom looked worried, and asked, “Are you okay?”
Cathy tried to hide her feeling, although she knew for the fact that it was wrong to feel that way toward that woman. Besides, she noticed that her mom knew what she felt. It conflicted her mind, whether her mom was someone who skeptical or not about such a thing. It was the hardest part to believe.
The party ended at midnight. All the guests enjoyed the food and beverages, and they thanked Burk’s Resto for the accommodation.
Josh had returned home earlier when Cathy waited her parents doing a formal farewell with the police staff, where she could see them at the building terrace. At the time, Elle just came to the car, surprising her.
“Where have you been?” Cathy asked bewilderingly.
And she answered her in a mysterious way, just as usual, “Just around.”
Chantel knocked at the door, of the place owned by her son. The place wasn’t far from downtown that she only took fifteen minutes by car. She parked her black sedan in front of the unlocked fence.
When she rang the bell again, a tall boy opened the door.
“Hi, son,” she tried to hug him even though her body felt tired, but he pushed her softly.
“Mom, please don’t,” his words made her sad.
She sighed, and then went inside with her son.
From the outside, it looked classic and small like another house in this neighborhood, but the interior was minimalist, and mostly dominated with gray color.
They stopped in the dining room. He sat at a glass table.
She followed to sit oppositely from him, and asked yearningly, “Don’t you miss me, Scott?”
He heard that melancholy tone, but he answered her constantly, “Don’t say that.”
“Look at us, you ruin this family by abandoning your husband and son,” he was despondent at his own words. “This is your fault.”
“I come here for you, not just for my job,” she perplexed, disappointed. “How could you say that?”
The silence between them lasted for five minutes, since she couldn’t continue this awkward conversation. Her body felt wearily after attending her first longest party this year.
“Isn’t it miserable?” Chantel said rhetorically. “I did this.”
She walked away unsteadily, without knowing that Scott wept silently while looking at her back.
In her bedroom, she stared at her own reflection, against the mirror of dressing table that engraved with silver frame. She stared at some of small wrinkles on her forehead that would only appear when she removed her thick make up.
“Such a trouble,” she muttered to herself. “This isn’t the life that I want.”
Suddenly, she shivered from the coldness when a curtain flew open, letting the winds swirled strongly, pushing down the window to open.
Behind the shadow of the night, a creepy tall figure appeared to see her. He had black skin as if it was burnt down in hell, horns like sheep, and dull wings. “Is there any particular mess, my Queen?”
He called Chantel as his queen, he hailed to her.
“Could you see the girl who saw me with light eyes,” she sighed, still staring at her own reflection in the mirror. “All I could feel was hate and revenge. I still perceive it like an open wound in my heart since it won’t ever vanish.”
The silence intimidated the room. Subsequently, she gazed at his burning red eyes, and his face that was like a monster. He was the devil’s minion. She called him Wrezire.
“She’s not human,” her voice sounded weak, and then her tone turned into a huge rage “—she’s an angel, precisely an archangel!”
She beckoned her finger at the window, “Like the one from that empire, our wretched old times.”
“That white hair angel is shape-shifting into human form,” Wrezire said creepily. “She’s our biggest obstruction.”
“Why would she be sent here when we already have arranged such a good plan?” She asked, and then screamed out angrily.
She threw away all the cosmetics on the dressing table, and the next second, she chuckled insanely. The demon watched her well-wary and didn’t dare to say anything.
“Why would she exist to surround that royal?” She thought hardly. “Is she reincarnated like me, or what—”
The demon nodded, he knew the right time to answer her real question. She rose from her chair to approach him. They stood in the same body height now.
“We need to open the portal,” she said as her breath got his nose tingling. “Only by their real descendants it will be opened profoundly—the Aloise.”
“Their only descendant who is destined as Puissant—will be a hard one to find,” he chuckled afterward. “We can get the kid with the brown hair, if we don’t have a chance to get her mother.”
Chantel stared at him, relieved. “Ah, Charlotte’s daughter.”
When he had done whispering, he disappeared into ashes of the cold night.