I felt Jason turn his gaze towards me. He nudged me on the hand, drawing me back to the present.
“Don’t worry, I always have that effect on females.” The man disclosed confidently. I tried my best to recompose myself. “I just didn’t think that a beautiful young lady like you would be affected too.” He chuckled, his golden orbs level with mine.
“Oh, don’t flatter yourself darling.” Jason’s mum teased while fixing a strand of the man’s golden hair that had fallen out of place. He smiled, a rather sweet smile, but his eyes didn’t reciprocate.
I would have been flattered by him calling me beautiful if I didn’t realise who he resembled. The man looked exactly like the man in the portrait. The one Brian told me was Craig’s father. His hair, longer now, was combed neatly behind just like in the portrait. His golden eyes never left me. This only made the hairs on my neck stand up tall. Did Jason’s mother marry Craig’s father? How come he didn’t mention this to me?
“Come on, dinner is ready.” Jason’s mum suggested walking away elegantly.
“Of course.” The man agreed before tearing his gaze from me. He followed his wife towards the dining room. I followed their every move with my eyes until they disappeared behind the wooden door.
Were Craig’s parents divorced? Nothing was making sense. Jason couldn’t bear his father’s death even after a year but his mother was able to. I shook my head.
“Are you alright Mary-Kate?” Jason moved next to me. I was drawn back to reality.
I threw a confused glance at Jason. He mirrored my expression but I could see we were both confused about different things. I carefully searched his eyes for something. The answer had to be laying somewhere within his golden falked orbs. I tried the trick that had always worked on everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I never used it for assessments. I hid it from many people, including my parents. However, this time I had to use it to find answers. I locked my eyes with Jason’s. “Show me the real you.” I spoke in my head. Gaze never wavering. Slowly, I saw Jason’s eyes turn into a bronze colour.
My eyes widened. I quickly looked away when I felt a flash of dizziness go through me. I rested my hand on the wall trying to steady myself. What did I just do? I heard Jason gasp for air as if he had been under the water for a long time. He roughly grabbed my shoulders and glared deep into my eyes. I felt a fiery wave trying to sneak into my mind. I closed my eyes and imagined the wall around my mind to block him out. His tight grip on my shoulders made me flinch in pain.
“What did you do to me?” Jason grumbled.
This made me look up at him shocked. His eyes were getting brighter with every second that passed by. I opened my mouth to ask him, but decided against it. If I wanted to know what was going on, I had to play along in their scheme. Therefore, I asked an innocent smile on my lips, “What are you talking about?”
Jason eyed me suspiciously before speaking. “Never mind.” He released my shoulders. He eyed me for another second before turning away, “I guess my dad left his little spell on both of us.”
I forced a smile again when he gazed towards me. Ignoring him, I started towards where the couple disappeared into. When I entered into the dining room, the woman and the man were sitting opposite to each other on a long and impressive wooden table. Its quality was one I had never seen before. It shined like it just had a really good polishing before being placed in the middle of the room.
Why the long table when only four people were going to occupy it? The sweet scent of pork waffled straight into my nose where I stood.
“Oh, about time you love birds showed up.” The beautiful woman sang with a smirk on her lips interrupting me from admiring the table that sat in front of her.
I smiled shyly as I walked towards a chair where a lady in a white chef suit motioned. I smiled at her as I took the seat. Jason sat in the seat opposite me. He watched my every move. I turned my focus to the chef who was carefully placing plates in trays. She walked to Paul and then Jason’s mother. They both were smiling at each other across the table. It seemed they shared something so secretive and exciting.
After serving everyone else with steak and a few vegetables, the chef finally came towards me. She saved me a plate with fried pork, rice and steamed vegetables. I looked at my surroundings. The woman lightly licked her lips as she looked at the steak in front of her. I looked at her with curiosity. How was that elegant woman going to eat a steak? She was too beautiful to eat an enormous steak like that.
“So Mary-Kate.” The man from the portrait started, making me snap my attention towards him. “What do your parents do?”
“Oh, my father is a chef and my mum is a nurse.” I stated proudly.
“That’s impressive.” The man’s eyebrow twitched as he replied. However, admiration was not existent in his words. Then it was quiet again for two minutes. I counted.
A thought suddenly came to mind. I paused eating and turned my head towards the elegant woman. “Jason told me that you’re a doctor.” I addressed the woman. This was my way to get the truth. She was way out of the doctor league. She looked more suited to running companies than managing sick people.
“Of course I am.” The woman replied confidently, making me frown.
“Really?” I continued. “No offence, but you don’t look like it.”
“It is fine darling. I get that from a lot of people.” She replied placing a small chunk of steak in her mouth.
I turned my head towards Jason. He was unpleasantly quite. I watched him as he played with his vegetables. I ignored it and continued eating my food, which was quite delicious.
I placed my spoon in the small bowl when I finished my chocolate pudding. I smiled to myself feeling satisfied with the food I had just eaten.
“What’s wrong son?” the man from the portrait uttered after the chef had removed all plates from the table. “You haven’t said a word.”
I watched Jason waiting for his reply. He turned his head towards the man and then at me. I caught a glimpse of his eyes. They were still a bronze shade.
Jason cleared his throat and spoke, “Oh, I’m just tired that’s all.” His voice seemed deeper than usual.
“I hope that you’re not working yourself out.”
“Oh, no.” Jason forced a chuckle. “I’m fine.”
“Ok then.” The man said with a hint of disbelief in his voice. I looked at Jason who was bowing his head. “I am going to read for a bit if anyone cares to join me.” The man excused himself while fixing his suit.
“I’ll join you honey.” Jason’s mother replied walking gracefully towards the man. “Mary-Kate, it was nice to meet you. Have a good night.”
I quickly stood up smiling and waved a little. “Same to you two. Have a good night.”
Jason said a quiet good night to his parents.
When the couple were out of the room, I walked towards Jason. I placed my palm on his shoulder. He flinched before glaring at me. I furrowed my eyebrows, he looked really pale.
“What’s wrong Jason?” I asked looking at him.
“Nothing.” He whispered. He tried to stand up but fell back onto the chair.
“Come on, I’ll help you to your room.” I offered weaving my arm around his. I dragged him up the stairs towards his room before lying him on his bed. He looked very tired. Did he eat something that wasn’t good for him? I was sure he didn’t touch any lactose or gluten.
I removed his shoes and placed them on the ground and carefully pulled the black duvet over his body. I looked at his face. It was unusually pale and his usually dark pumped lips looked thinner and pastel. I looked around the room and realised that the light was actually off. The moon slightly shone outside the window.
I sighed and closed the curtains. Before closing the door, I glanced at Jason. I couldn’t see his face properly and I didn’t bother checking if he was asleep. I dragged my feet towards my temporary room. I opened the door and closed it behind me while kicking shoes from my feet.
What just happened? What was I doing here? So many questions rang in my head making me feel light-headed. I wished there was someone who could answer all of my questions. I straightened up quickly in realisation. Brian!
I sneaked out of my room quietly. I hoped that he was in his room, since I didn’t see him for the rest of the day after Jason took me away. I walked on my tippy toes towards Brian’s room, listening carefully for any movements in the house. Nothing.
I quietly knocked on Brian’s door; no one answered. I knocked again and this time I heard shuffling coming from the other side. The door opened and I was greeted by a tired Brian.
“Oh, it’s you again.” He muttered.
“Can I talk to you for a minute please?” I pleaded with my palms together.
“No, your boyfriend will kill me if he sees me with you.” Brian warned.
“I don’t care.” I replied. “He is already passed out on his bed.”
“What did you do to him?” Brian asked surprised.
“Oh.” He replied looking down at his feet.
“Can I come in?” I asked, scared of being caught. Brian sighed and opened the door wide for me to enter.
When I entered the room, I was surprised. It was unpredictably very nice. Candles illuminated the room. It was a bit dark for my eyes. The room was covered with dark coloured walls and a few band posters. A queen sized bed covered with a dark red duvet stood next to the window. Just like any typical boy room, there were a few shirts and shoes scattered on the ground. However, soft music I didn’t recognize was playing from a stereo in the corner, making the atmosphere beautiful and enchanting.
“Wow.” I breathed.
I noticed a book lying on top of the duvet. I walked towards it and picked it up.
“May I?” I asked pointing at the book. Brian nodded while watching me closely.
I browsed through the book. There were a lot of striking drawings- dragons, angels, vampires, wolves, portraits. I opened a page with a portrait of Anna-Marie. I smiled knowingly at Brian who was in turn looking down at his feet. I looked back at the portrait with awe. He really captured the highlights in her hair, her small pointy nose, her deep eyes and fair skin.
I looked up at Brian again and pointed to the picture. He quickly realised what I was doing and snatched the book from me. I noticed his cheeks become a faint pink.
“Aw.” I cooed at Brian. “So cute.”
“No! Shut up.” Brian said walking away from me.
“You like her.” I teased.
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do!” I continued accusing him.
I heard him sigh and he turned towards me. “Fine, I do; but don’t tell anyone, ok?” I nodded and pretended to zip my lips and locking them up.
“Does she know?” I asked quickly.
“No.” Brian replied despondent.
“You should tell her.” I suggested.
“I can’t.” Brian whispered his eyes furrowed downwards. He glanced up at me before averting the subject. “Anyway, what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Fine,” I walked towards Brian’s bed and sat down. He didn’t move an inch. “You said before that the portrait was Craig’s father, right?”
Brian nodded his head while placing the book on his desk. “I just had dinner with the same man from the portrait.” Brian didn’t respond. “If he is Craig’s father what is he doing here? Did he get married to Jason’s mom?” Again, Brian didn’t reply.
“And when I looked at Jason, his eyes had turned brown.” I paused. “I have never seen his eyes with another shade. Wait, no. I have seen his eyes red, I think; but I had never seen them brown before today.” I looked up at Brian for an answer, but he didn’t reply.
“Do you know why I’m here?” I asked standing up, frustrated at his silence. “Why haven’t my parents called me?”
“I think you should go.” Brian whispered.
“No, you have to answer me.” I persisted.
“I can’t.” Brian said pulling me towards the door. “You have to go.”
“I am not going anywhere.” I said pulling myself from his grip knocking a candle from its stand in the process.
“Now, look what you’ve done.” Brian said quickly picking up the candle and wiping the wax off one of his shirts.
A muffled voice came from outside the door. “What fell?”
A knock sounded on the door, making me look at Brian in panic. He looked back at me with a terrified expression on his face.
“Brian, are you alright in there?” The deep voice asked again. I guessed Craig’s father.
“Quickly, in the closet.” Brian whispered to me before walking towards the door. I did as I was told. I half ran towards the closet, opened the doors and closed them as quietly as possible. I heard the bedroom door open.
“I heard a noise.” Craig’s father said.
“Oh, that was the candle I accidentally knocked over.” Brian replied. “Sorry if I disturbed you.”
“Oh it’s fine. Good night son.” The deep voice said before the door closed. Was Brian Craig’s brother? After all, they shared the same golden hair and yes.
I heard shuffling feet coming towards the closet. Suddenly the doors opened and Brian glowered at me with a grave expression. “You really have to go back to your room.” Brian spoke.
“But you haven’t answered my questions.” I quickly reminded him walking out of the closet.
“I can’t tell you.” Brian replied with frustration. “You’ll have to ask Craig by yourself.”
“Craig?” I asked confused. “Why would I ask Craig?”
“Wow, you’re not a really smart girl, are you?” Brian said shaking his head.
“I am smart, thank you very much.” I said crossing my arms in annoyance.
Brian chuckled. “Can’t you see that the person you’re calling Jason, isn’t Jason?”
“What do you mean?” I asked trying to put some sense into what he just said.
“You think I wouldn’t recognize my own boyfriend?” I questioned.
“You’re the one who came telling me that his eyes have turned brown. Are Jason’s eyes brown? Why hasn’t he kissed you since you got here? Why haven’t your parents called you? Why don’t you remember how you came here?” Brian fired question after question.
I felt tears threaten to spill from my eyes with every question Brian threw at me. That was all true. Why hadn’t I recognized this? I guess I was caught up in my own little world that I hardly took notice.
“Brian you have to help me.” I said holding onto his hand.
“I can’t Mary-Kate.” Brian said flinching away from me. “You have to do this by yourself. Besides, if my brother finds out I helped you, he will kill me. No kidding.”
I just looked at him with tears in my eyes. How could I be so stupid? I let go off Brian’s hand hopeless and walked towards the door. I looked back at Brian who was trying hard not to show his face at me then opened the door and left.
A few minutes later, I found myself staring at the door that led into Craig’s room. Knowing now that it wasn’t Jason, I had to find the truth behind his intentions. I hesitated before turning the door knob. The room was quiet and cold. I could hardly make out the heap on the bed. I closed the door and quietly strolled towards Craig’s bed.
“Craig.” I called out his name. There was no reply. I moved closer to the bed. I turned on the bedside lamp next to the door. I gasped but quickly covered my mouth with my hands. Craig was sleeping in the same bed I had placed Jason in. So it was true, it definitely was Craig and not Jason. His blonde hair fell over his relaxed face. I sighed not knowing what to do. How was I going to get answers? I couldn’t wake him up. He would finish whatever he wanted to do to me.
I saw a dark line protruding from the collar of Craig’s suit. I inched my hand towards it curiously. Did he have a tattoo? I lifted his collar and came upon the same symbol Jason had on his back. A cross with a handle on it. It was the same size as Jason’s. I felt myself drawn to it. I was curious as to why Craig had the same tattoo as Jason. My fingertips were only a few hairs away. Jason had told me not to touch his. What was so special about it? I sucked in a deep breath before touching his skin.Before I could make aware of what was happening, I felt myself getting absorbed into darkness.