As I followed behind, little William, I could not help but notice that he walked a little more upright, and he had a strange smile on his face like he was up to no good. I wonder why so glee from his nervous self. Was he to have another round with Mona? Or break into the forbidden room to sniff out secrets?
The night was still early; however, some satisfied men were leaving the gentlemen’s club with relaxed faces from the liquor and pleasure. As we arrived, I stopped for a moment to look around. The music from inside was audible but muffled. The air was still as I examined the sign over the door — and it nearly glowed in the moonlight. The gentlemen’s club was called Cortigiana, and I could not help but wonder how long this business existed. All the times I passed or followed a dubious one in, it never occurred to me this establishment must have a history.
After I studied the old and worn sign, I went in to see little man child was already in Mona’s room. The door was shut while they discussed how he would like to see her but not at Cortigiana. William possesses the skill and art of persuasion that he was interested in more than a little something in the night from her. There he looked deeply into Mona’s big brown eyes and convinced her he wanted to share more with her than the protruding figure living in between his legs. Like a fool, she accepted, and little William had a date the next day at a café around Cortigiana’s.
Satisfied, he left her room but went down the hall they forbid him from being anywhere near. He did not break in, oddly, he stared at the door that remained locked. My suspicions where he wanted to know more about the backroom, and Mona did not understand what she was in for.
As he left and walked to his home, I was surprised to know that he lived in a mansion up in the hills away from town. I stopped in awe of his abode. Why would someone of stature need a date with a prostitute just to find out some little secret? He could find this out without the help of a prostitute. Little William was just full of secrets.
William entered the front door of the two-story house. The candle lights burned in the receiving room, and further back in the kitchen was a woman who hummed with a melodic tone and the most soothing sound it was. As William made his presence known, she shouted.
“William! Do you have any idea what time it is? Father and mother told you not to be gone too long. Besides what is it you were out doing?” she said.
While William was busy conjuring up his story to what was his sister, I couldn’t help myself. Though I knew he was talking to her, I lost track of his words as his voice became a distance in the background. I could not stop staring at her, listening to her heartbeat from across the room. I could hear her breathing as William spoke to her. She was the most stunning human I ever set my eyes on. Her hair was flaxen and fell over her shoulder down to her waist. It was in a loose braid with a pink ribbon. She was not in the usual cumbersome attire. Instead, she was in her sleeping garment that was a long, white loose-fit gown. She did not look a day over eighteen with her fair, translucent skin, and blue eyes. Her lips were full, plump with the perfect shade of pink. She was so pure; I didn’t believe she was even human. More distracting to my eyes was her body, nude underneath her garment, and as she walked to the table to sit with her tea, I could see the shape of her legs and hips. Her breasts hung loosely, and her nipples shown through the sheer gown, and I wondered why she was not wearing a robe.
It seemed as she smiled at her brother, that this family was not as formal as others. She seemed free, comfortable. I broke my lustful thoughts when her soft smile tightened, and she scolded William.
“William! You know you were not supposed to leave me here alone. Father told you while they were away, you were not to be out after dark.” She smiled again, as though she enjoyed getting onto William. Then she playfully remarked, “Okay, now tell me where you were.”
Her shoulders shook while her face became coy, as though she could not wait to hear some presumed instance of debauchery. The strange little sister who thinks she in charge is happy to hear about her brother’s personal sexual encounters.
William shrugged and said, “Well, nothing really. My friends and I ate dinner at the club. And that was it.” He sat next to her with a smirk keeping his eyes on the space on the table.
“I do not believe you, what else? Tell all or I will tell father you were late.” She said as she rested her chin in the palm of her small hand.
He sighed and shifted his weight in the chair. “Why! Why Sofia!”
Well, even though William had some secrets, I was most intent on finding out myself, at least now I know her name. Sofia and she does not understand that she has become my latest obsession.
William sprung up from his chair, running his hands through his dark wavy hair. His low sitting ponytail had previously loosened from the night’s adventures, leaving his waves brushing across his high cheekbones. The soft flicker from the flame of the candle highlighted them away from his deep-set eyes, making him appear sullen and dreary — a look I had not seen on a human’s face in a long time. Dark he was, and he kept his secrets from his precocious sister.
Startled, Sophia rose from her chair and stormed away, not saying a word. She ran up the long staircase with a solitary tear running down her soft cheek. William followed her and hollered out, “You do not get to know everything about me! I do not care! Tell them what you will!”
Well, well. Little Sophia is sensitive, and I will assume spoiled as being the youngest. She is used to getting her own way a lot, but still, I couldn’t control my urge to be close to her. I left William at the bottom of the staircase and followed her to her room.
She was on her bed, crying into her pillow.
Her room was dark, with several rows of books that adorned the shelf. Across the room was a vanity mirror decorated with a few fine fragrances and sprays for linens from afar. She must have loved the scent of lavender because her room flourished with the scent with a trace of juniper.
Her jewelry box though significant did not house many expensive jewels. Her bedding was silk with dark green furnishings on a large wooden bed frame that was incredibly old. The bed held loosely fit curtains all around to maintain the dark when the sun showed through the large window facing the east. The tapestries that hung around the window were not as heavy and looked as though they had seen better days.
She continued to whimper into her pillow, and as I got closer to her, I could smell her; and how sweet she was. Rushed breaths swarmed her pillow, and her heart pounded in her chest. Her sensitiveness, naivety, and desperation made me want to touch her, to know her, and to be of her.
Someone pounded on the door, and it was little William. He shouted, “Sophia, let me in. I am sorry.” William’s voice was humbled and apologetic, but Sophia stared at the door with reddened eyes.
“Go away! You always become so angry when I ask you questions. Don’t you understand? I never get to go out. I only see the girls from boarding school or those from the church.” Church, now there was a word. So, the family is religious, could not be too much, I did not see evidence of anything. No cross or no bible, especially odd being surrounded by a city drenched in Catholicism.
William did not leave the door. Instead, he leaned up against it, and he said, “Sofia, open the door.”
She jumped off her bed, passed me, and swung the door open. She glared at her brother with steely blue eyes. “Why are you so secretive? You leave, sometimes all night. You come home; you are melancholy for days. You avoid the family. I do not understand, William.”
I could feel her loneliness. Away at school, her brother is gone a lot, and apparently, so are their parents. She is not allowed out much either, but why? I can see why she would be so lonely and open to things. She craved a connection to someone that cared for her. I watched her chest move up and down through that sheer nightgown, and I knew at that moment if I did not get away from her, I would lose control.
I left the two talking in her room, and I stood outside this large house that seemed cold, even to me. I could hear them whispering to one another, and I could still feel Sophia’s loneliness and desperation. More so, I could still smell her — it must have been from her lavender-scented linens mixed with her natural scent that even to a demon such as myself, was intoxicating.
William left his sad sister alone in her room, and I went back into the house. I followed him into his bedroom, which held a secret passageway to another area of the house. His room was nothing spectacular, nothing out of the ordinary except the hidden door through the fireplace. It opened to a set of spiral stairs made of stone. He hurried down the dark and narrow staircase and arrived in the basement. And did he ever have a strange collection?
Some shelves held equipment that looked like they would use it for a hard day’s work. But there was an ax on the wall that seemed out of place, and it smelled of blood. I did not see many farm animals, only horses outside. I walked closer to examine the edge, and it appeared clean, but I know a blood scent when I smell it, and it was not a farm animal, it was human.