Cord burst into his study, unable to take it anymore. Why did he tell the woman that? He had no obligation to explain himself to her, yet he did and rather too honestly!
He gripped the head of his cane and threw it on the floor, the action of which made a loud metal thunk and then a smash of a glass he most thought from the vase next to his work desk.
Owing it to his ability of hypersense and how he knew of the castle spaces by heart, he crossed the unlit room and shoved the thick curtain aside. Contrary to what the humans believed, the Vitalis Master, him, wasn’t even burned by the sunlight when it contacted his skin. The light unsettled him though, being that he was too attached with the shadows, but the discomfort wasn’t enough to halt him from approaching the casement window.
Although he couldn’t see, he sensed that the woman and her friend were leaving via the car he had arranged. He felt the boiling of his blood waning and so did hers, disconnected gradually as the vehicle moved towards the castle stonewall.
It emptied him consequently and he loathed the feeling. However, it was better this way. Better than making a mess of himself if he were to chain the woman with him.
Yes, chain and claim her. That was what his instincts told him the moment he felt her presence nearing the castle last night.
But he controlled himself, painstakingly, and he was proud of himself now that he had surpassed the hurdle.
She will be gone for good. Gone. And the only thing that will keep him sane was the belief that she will continue on donating blood to the Red Cross Organization in New Zealand, where his butler had actually been contacting this past few years.
Her blood bags, that will be his lifeline, but a wild thought crossed his mind again: what would it actually feel like if he were ever to sink his fangs on her skin?
Amanda was all smiles all the way to Noman’s apartment where she temporarily stayed during the Belgian Grand Prix two-week long activity. This day was day two of it.
During the travel, Noman mostly supplied their conversation with the mutual understanding of not mentioning the events in the bedroom and the Vitalis Master. He talked about his experiences in the party, the grandeur of it and the famous celebrities he had seen. It was a safe topic to discuss. One that was both friendly and savory in the ears of a driver who may have an expressed loyalty to his Master.
Amanda was at the same time busy texting Matteo who left five miscalls in her phone and three messages of concern. The last message he sent was the information about another test drive of six more Formula Ones their Company owned and this was the message that she didn’t deliberately ignore.
Yes, I am fine. Dom is fine. I will take a shower and change my clothes first before I go there, she texted.
A few minutes later her cellphone rang.
Noman pulled a goofy look at her. “You should answer that, ” he said. “Your boyfriend might become impatient Cait.”
“He isn’t my boyfriend, ” Amanda corrected, shaking her head, still deliberating if she should answer him.
“He will be if you accept his advances, ” he added. “The man’s so besotted with you. He would have been already my fiancé if I were in your shoes.”
Ha! No surprise in that!
“I don’t like to marry, you know that, ” she reminded with a huff, “And besides, he can get a different woman. He won’t have a hard time. He has the looks.”
“Yeah, but not like that man back in the mansion, ” he pointed and with that, Amanda easily avoided the topic with a press of her answer button.
She gave Noman a glare before answering - a sign that she wanted his mouth zipped.
“Hi Matt!” A soft smile appeared on her face. She listened intently on the voice from the other line and bobbed her head.
“Yeah, you read it right. I’m on my way to Dom’s apartment.”
Then, she paused and listened again.
“Of course, he is with me. Why would I leave him in the castle?”
She looked at her best friend with a grin and bit her bottom lip.
“No, the Vitalis Master maybe Dom’s type, but the man is unachievable.”
Noman narrowed his eyes at her and puckered his lip like he was scrutinizing their conversation.
“Let’s not talk about that man shall we?” Amanda requested, disliking where the conversation strayed.
She nodded again and smiled. “Alright, I’ll see you in an hour.”
“Un-achievable huh?” was Noman’s quick remark the moment Amanda cut the call.
“Yeah, because that man for sure has royal blood in his veins, ” she answered with a serious face. “He also holds a status we commoners cannot achieve. And he owns a bloody castle with bloody uniformed servants and a freaking butler. Does that make my point?”
Noman suppressed a laugh and crossed his arms over his chest, amused of her sudden outburst.
“Yes, you did. You very well did, my beautiful best friend, ” he answered.
Amanda smirked at him and remained silent.
After twenty minutes, the luxury car they were in stopped right at the entrance of Noman’s apartment. They disembarked and headed straight to his fourth floor unit.
In there, Amanda readied herself: showering, applying little make-up and slipping in her chosen clothes of faded jeans, a quarter-sleeve striped blouse and a white scarf.
By nine thirty, she was all dressed up and ready. By quarter to ten, the Company driver arrived to get her leaving Noman all to himself, checking his students’ essay papers online.
When Amanda stepped out of the Company van in the clubhouse entrance of the Circuit some minutes later, Matteo was already standing there, all smiles towards her.
“You look beautiful, ” he commented when she approached him. He bent and kissed her cheek like he always does, but a lot more lingering than the previous others.
“Thanks Matt. You look dashing yourself, ” Amanda remarked, eyeing him from head to well-polished shoe - sporting white pants, a blue coat and a gray shirt under.
He really was a fine male his age, handsome, charming and she would have kept him as basis for a perfect male model if not for the Vitalis Master who just messed up her understanding of the word handsome. Shit, that guy was just downright a threat to the humankind with his unnatural beauty.
“How’s your night at the Vitalis Castle?” Matteo asked, giving her a broad smile. He slipped a hand on the small of her back and led her to the back of the clubhouse where the race cars were kept.
“Pretty much normal, ” Amanda answered, making a mental note of not giving too much away.
“Hmm, you didn’t have any weird dreams most people experience when staying in a building like that?” he pressed on.
“Ah, no. Luckily.” She shook her head and gave him a tight-lipped smile.
“Good to hear, ” was all Matteo could make.
“So what’s the status?” Amanda asked, remembering his text message earlier. They passed through a narrow corridor and then turned to an opening where it led to the mechanics area.
“Six race cars for a test drive, ” Matteo answered, now in business tone. “You have to pick two to complete the race list.”
Amanda nodded. “I see, then leave this to me.”
She pulled the scarf out of her neck and handed it to Matteo. The latter cheerfully threw it over his shoulder.
After opening a large metal cabinet of uniforms, Amanda pulled one that suited her - a black and pink jumpsuit - that screamed ‘drive expert.’ She disappeared into the changing room and appeared moments later clad in it with her hair tied into a high ponytail.
“You done for the day?” Matteo asked as he stood in the same viewing area yesterday.
Amanda nodded once. “Yeah, ” she said and raised her arms over her head for a stretching exercise.
She finished checking the six race cars their Company had acquired, engine wise, and it covered for seven hours of hard, backbreaking labor and some very exhilarating drives. The sky had the beginnings of an orange and violet hue with feathery clouds completing it. A gentle cool breeze surrounded the area, something that she enjoyed in New Zealand too.
Matteo handed her the white scarf and she took it without delay.
“How about dinner with me now?” he asked, smooth on bringing it up.
Amanda shook her head lightly and gave him an apologetic face. “I’m sorry Matt, but I promised Dom we will have a nightout tonight.”
“Oh, I see.” Although disappointed, Matteo still gave her a smile. “Let me drive you to the apartment then.”
“Sure, ” Amanda agreed. “You can get the car. I will go to the ladies room first and wait for you in the clubhouse exit.”
Matteo grinned. This confident side of her he admired so much. “Good enough for me.”
They each walked a different path. Matteo on the left, while Amanda on the right side of the more than spacious parking space lined with metal benches and unused tires.
The path she chose lead to a comfort room - a one-storey building detached from the main clubhouse and other storage areas. The landscape around it was nicely maintained, with grass and ornamental plants placed on the sides.
Inside, Amanda attended to her needs: answered the call of nature, slipped out of the jumpsuit and arranged her hair down with the scarf rounding her neck. These she did in just five minutes tops.
She exited the building, humming slowly to herself, feeling relaxed, but that all too soon changed.
Her ears caught an eerie sound of a gurgling and whimpering noise and then, a strangled squeak.
Amanda’s heart picked up a beat. Surely, it was just nothing? But it sure sounded too weird and dangerous and very near her.
She advanced on, hurrying her steps, but instantly jerked in surprise when the corner of her eyes caught two shadowy frames, just a few paces right of where she stood. This side of the building, lacked light and what blaring clubhouse spotlights available overhead didn’t reach them.
The two men stayed under the shadow. One was back against the wall of the building. He was in a guarded position, both hands clawing the other man’s back who was much taller than him.
That tall man’s head covered in a baseball cap dipped so close next to the short man’s neck that Amanda thought they were having a lover’s tryst. Until she noticed red. Blood. Tainted in the short man’s white long-sleeved shirt.
“Oh shit!” she jumped upon seeing red eyes glowing at her and two sharp teeth, like fangs, on display.
This tall man reacted surprised like her. In a heartbeat, he pulled out a revolver from his black coat and shot his victim straight in his neck, right in the carotid artery where two pinpoint wounds once lay.
The short man dropped like a sack of potato unattended. Dead.
Amanda’s mouth dropped, hands trembled, feet solid cold, eyes wide upon witnessing an on-sight murder. In that instant, she feared for her life, but she squared her shoulders and clenched her fists. She ain’t a cowardly woman. She’ll fight if circumstances demanded it.
Unluckily for her, at this very moment, it does when the culprit turned for her, orbs still aglow.
Amanda thought he’d use the same gun to silence her, but she was wrong.
He advanced towards her with purposeful strides, grinning, until he halted just before he could step into the light.
“Cait!” Matteo’s voice along with his Aston Martin engine revolution snapped Amanda’s attention.
She whirled around, saw him stare at her from inside the car with confusion, and blinked.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, but Amanda didn’t answer for she immediately returned her attention to the scene of the crime.
The culprit, to her dismay, had now disappeared.
“Somebody...somebody just died, ” she announced, her breath breaking. “He was murdered!”
Matteo, who was oblivious, scanned the area behind her and saw the unknown man sprawled on the ground against the wall.
“Merda! Stay there! Don’t come near the dead!” He quickly fished out his cellphone from his pants pocket and swiped the emergency hotline. “I’ll call the police!”
Amanda did as he told. It was not like she wanted to go to the man’s side anyway. It was clear to see that he was dead. With that wound in the neck, who wouldn’t be? But something came out unusual for her as she stared at the body.
There was no blood freshly gushing from the wound. No puddle of blood even in the cement.
None at all.
It was like he was drained of it.
She thought about the tall man and how unusual his eyes were. It was her first time seeing such. It frightened her, yes, made her feel unsafe, and because of that, it made her want to protect herself at all cost.
“We have taken her statement, Mr. Threvelli, so your girlfriend is good to go, ” announced the female Chief of Police where Amanda and Matteo were temporarily detained.
After calling the authorities, Matteo grabbed Amanda away from the murder scene, into the hood of the car. He embraced her protectively there, especially after realizing that the tall man he noticed walking hurriedly into the back of the building was the murderer.
To Amanda, his embrace was a short comfort, something that she didn’t really need, but calmed her nerves nonetheless. She had seen many deaths in the television, some from her past, but never like this odd one.
It took the police hours scouring the whole of the Circuit to trace the culprit but he was not seen again. The body was taken into custody for examination and Amanda too for her account of the murder.
“No, he isn’t my—” Amanda butted in, but Matteo raised a quick hand to stop her.
“Thank you Chief Moretti. We will be heading our way now, ” he said, tipping his head in gratitude. He stood from his chair, his elbow touching the desk nameplate of the Chief in the process. The metal nameplate spelled her complete name, Irisha Moretti. The only woman who was able to enter the police force owing it to her strong values in law and quick wit.
She was a beautiful woman, in her early forties, looking every bit strict like Julianne Moore in the Hunger Games. She looked polite and easy to approach though with a ready smile on her face.
“Yes, ” the Chief cleared her throat. “Well, we have the security camera of the Circuit to verify everything and to hopefully pin the culprit down, but if we needed additional help, we will call Ms. O’Malley.”
“Yes, please do that. I am willing to help in your investigation Ma’am, ” Amanda affirmed, standing up herself from the chair.
They exited the police building and headed straight to their parked car on the road. Matteo like a gentleman opened the door for Amanda while she gave him a grateful smile.
“Are you sure you will be okay?” he asked when they had settled inside.
“Yes, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I am strong enough to stomach those disturbing memories, ” she replied, feeling confident.
Matteo’s chest swelled with pride. This woman just fascinates him every single time. “Yes, just as I know you would be, ” he commented.
Once in the apartment, Noman demanded for an explanation with regards to her tardiness. She gave him what he asked, the same one testimony the Chief of Police heard. He gawked and blinked many times, surprised, but this didn’t change the party mood he had built for the night.
“Let’s go or we will be late!” he demanded to Amanda who had just finished putting her yellow party stilettos on.