Frank called the man "Ray," and gave him the vial of my blood. He smirked and winked at me as I left, before closing his door behind us. I hope he's wrong, I hope I never see him again.
Ray was nice enough, being who he is. He led me a different way than the one we came, one that took us to the room I'm sitting in, and then left me, taking my blood with him. Left me waiting, for him to come for me again.
It's a house, after all. A large, elegant, and very old house. I can't imagine exactly how large, but from just the little I've seen, it must take up acres of land. The room is beautiful, and richly decorated, but still unreasonably hot. I can feel small beads of sweat forming at my temples, and yet when I think of Frank, and his icy lips on my arm, I shiver all over again.
He's like a fever.
None of this is making sense to me. I don't understand why I'm here, or why any of this is happening. And yet, I feel like I should. I feel as if all the pieces have been lain out before me, and I simply can't put them together. The heat of this place, and Frank, and this voice in my head, mixing itself with my own thoughts; it's all become fog, filling my mind and blurring my reason.
I think that soon, I won't be the same anymore. I'll forget where I came from, I'll forget Mother. I'll have to repeatedly hear my name to remember it, but I won't ever remember being Adella Leigh Corwin, in grade school or high school. I couldn't understand what Frank meant by telling me to start forgetting. But as Ray took me up the stairs, I began to realize I could hardly remember how I had ended up in that basement in the first place.
Now the details of my meeting with him are starting to slip; the color of his makeup and his gloves and the feel of the chair. I know this must be his fault, though, he must be the one filling my head with this fog. He told me to forget, and I am. And yet, the very things I wish I could overlook won't leave me.
His smile. His eyes. His lips.
And my blood, intensely scarlet on his teeth.
When no one showed up for what I knew was at least an hour, I began to think that maybe I had reached the end. Maybe they would just leave me in this room, and forget about me, and let me slip into madness, locked in a fancy room in an old house.
Maybe that'd be best.
Of course, just a few seconds later, Ray stepped through the door, the expression on his face lost somewhere between elation and a sort of uncertainty. He came closer, nodding to me, in a way that was more like a bow than anything.
"It's been requested that you spend the day in this room," he said lightly, his words sounding well rehearsed, "and get some rest."
And with that, he mock-bowed once again, and turned to leave. I blinked, but stood quickly from the plush armchair he had led me to earlier.
"But- wait..." my voice was hoarse and dry from its lack of use, and seemed to startle him as much as it did me. I cleared my throat lightly before continuing, "Can't you tell me anything more? Anything at all?"
A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, and I couldn't help but think he was trying not laugh at my ignorance.
"Not right now, no."
"And why not?"
"You have no reason to know."
I stepped forward again, temporarily forgetting that this man could have very well had my life in his hands.
"You people have killed my mother and kidnapped me and locked me away, and you don't think I have any right to know why?"
He narrowed his eyes at me, still on the verge of smiling. I was instantly reminded of Frank.
"As a matter of fact- no. And I'd like to remind you that there's nothing much you can do about it, as of now."
My heart sank, and I felt my momentary confidence slipping away again. I backed away from him slowly, and slumped into my chair once again. Looking back to him, I expected to see a smug grin, but he only nodded again, and left. I distinctly heard the door lock behind him.
I sighed, looking around the room once again. There were no windows, and of course, no clock. The hearth was ablaze, the flames licking the very top of the mason-work, and doing nothing but reminding me how horrible it was here.
I finally set my eyes on the bed, which had a canopy with red silk draping, and was by far the largest bed I had ever seen in my life- in or out of the movies. I walked over to it carefully, not really believing that anyone had meant to leave this room, and this bed, at my disposal.
I kicked off the flimsy slip-ons I had been wearing, and climbed onto it, crawling to the middle and sitting, cross-legged, observing things from a different view. The bed seemed even larger, seeing it this way; I felt as if I would get lost in a sea of threads and fibers if I even dared to lift the bedspread, which was red to match the draping. The idea wasn't even appealing at all though, in all the heat.
I sighed deeply again, throwing myself back on the large pile of pillows behind me, staring up at the cherry top of the canopy.
It wasn't this hot down with Frank, was it?
No, it's much warmer down there.
I closed my eyes, trying to picture his face again. It was blurred to me, like a charcoal drawing someone had run their hand across. All that was clear was the feelings now. Hatred and anger and embarrassment and fright.
I shook my head, furrowing my eyebrows and closing my eyes tighter.
The cold. Cold and blood. Don't forget it, cold and blood.
"Yes," I muttered, "cold blooded thief."
Sometime soon after, sleep finally got the best of me, and set my fatigued body and weary mind at ease for the first time in a week.
I awoke later with a start, confused as to what had woken me up. Soon however, I understood the sharp, throbbing pain at my temples must have been the reason. I sat up slowly, wincing at the feeling of blood pounding hard in my head.
Looking down at myself, I saw that I wasn't in my own clothes anymore, either. Someone, at some point, had taken them off me, and dressed me in a white silk nightgown that I never would have dreamed of wearing myself. I felt my face grow hot, to think that someone I hardly knew- or perhaps, didn't know at all,- had seen me naked.
Nothing else had changed. I was still on top of the coverlets, and the room was hot and dim, as always. I glanced over at the fireplace half-heartedly, silently cursing the flames that hadn't died down at all-
I froze, staring hard into the shadows just beyond the light of the fire, almost convinced I was hallucinating, but no; standing beside the hearth was a man with his back to me, and not a vision at all. My head throbbed painfully, and I all but ignored it.
Without turning around, or even moving in the slightest, the man said very coolly, as if it had been our topic of discussion for some time: "You've slept all day, Adella, with the rest of us. It's nearly dusk."
At first, I wasn't sure if he had actually spoken, or if I had heard the words inside my head. His voice sank right through me, making it impossible to tell. Though I knew right away, that whoever stood before me, was the person I had been sent here for. I felt a small twinge of fear stir inside me, but I waited, with mounting anticipation, for him to speak again.
He seemed so calm, and so self-assured, standing by those flames. His hands were clasped together at his back, and he stood very straight, but incredibly relaxed. He was clad entirely in black, that I could see, and it made his short hair, a clean, pure white-blonde, stand out.
He was just the opposite of Frank.
"You know, Addy"- I felt the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand up when he spoke my old nickname -"it's very important that a group of people always underestimate their leader to some degree."
He turned then, so quickly that I hardly saw him move at all. His face was relaxed but stern looking, and paler than his hair. His outfit- a collared shirt, stripped tie, suit vest, trousers, and shined shoes -was in fact entirely black, save for the white stripes on his tie. I stared at him shamelessly, unable to tear my gaze from him, and yet, he was at my bedside just as quickly as he had turned to face me, and I didn't even see it. He never seemed to rush, though. All his movements were fluid and smooth, as if he were a dream.
He continued, sitting at the edge of the bed. "Because you see Addy, the less they expect of you, the more you can amaze them."
He looked straight at me, and for a split second I felt the urge to cringe and recoil from the strength of his gaze. His eyes bore into mine, honey-jade daggers that I could feel slicing right to my soul. He tilted his head, his expression growing thoughtful.
"How's your head?"
I realized, as he said it, that my head was absolutely fine. The throbbing was gone, and- so was the fog. The previous night's events were clear as ever, from the looks on Frank's face to the feeling of his hand, heavy on my chest. And his lips, of course, and his tongue...
"Frank, like everyone else, has underestimated me. He genuinely thought he could fuck with your mind, and that I wouldn't notice." His tone was sharp, but still calm. "He actually would have succeeded, too- you'd forgotten almost everything -if I had been anyone else. But he tasted you, after I specifically told him not to. He ignored my rules." At that, he rested one of his pale hands lightly on my ankle, and a wave of chills washed over me. I blinked, still staring at him, and a small smirk ghosted across his features. "I don't like being ignored, Addy."
I sighed inwardly at hearing him use that name again.
Could he know Dad used to call me that?
I know more about you than you do.
My eyes grew wide and my face felt hot once more, and he nearly smiled again. I found my voice again, which had seemed to grow more useless here as time went on.
"That... that was you that whole time?" I asked quietly. At last he did smile, but it was so slight and so short-lived, I thought I had just imagined it.
"It's nice to finally hear you talk," was all he said, before there was a knock at the door. He pulled his hand away from my leg and glanced over to the door, and I immediately wished he hadn't. "Come in."
The door was eased open slowly, and Frank stepped inside, wearing another all-white ensemble. I looked down at my lap, trying not to blush again.
"You... wanted to see me sir?"
"Yes, come. Shut the door."
I heard Frank do as he had been told, and as the man he had called "sir" rose from my bed, I could feel Frank staring at me coldly. The sound of the man's voice made me look up at them both again, carefully trying to avoid Frank's eyes. The man had stepped around behind him, and was draping his arm lightly around Frank's waist.
"You remember Adella, don't you?" he asked, gesturing to me. Frank's eyes flashed, with worry and callous.
The man nodded. "Of course." He turned his head so that he was looking directly at Frank, instead of me. "Do you suppose she remembers you?"
Frank turned his head as well, visibly shrinking away from the man's gaze. Their faces were inches apart as he answered quietly, "Perhaps."
The man nodded again. "She does. She does now." He reached up, taking Frank's chin and turning his head so he was looking at me again, and speaking right into his ear. "Do you know what she thinks of you, Frank?"
I quickly tried to bury my thoughts, or think of other things beside what was happening. Frank said nothing, only glared at me, and I knew he thought I had somehow told the man everything. At last, when Frank still hadn't answered, the man spoke for him.
"Cold blooded thief, Frank. Now why might she think that?"
Frank shook his head slightly, his fists clenched at his sides. "Haven't a clue," he said calmly. I could hardly believe he had the nerve to lie, with the man so close to him.
I blinked, and in that instant, Frank crumpled to the floor. I watched, petrified, as his blood spilled from the slit in his throat in a torrent, staining his white clothes and skin a deep crimson. The man stood above him, watching, smoothly wiping the blade of the small dagger I had never seen him pull on a black cloth.
"You see, Addy? Do you see how important it is to be underestimated?" I turned my gaze back to him, staring in disbelief as he coolly set his knife and cloth back into the pocket of his vest, and took a small step back, away from the quickly spreading pool of blood on the floor. Still looking down at Frank, he shook his head, as if in pity. "Chance and consequence, sugar. Chance and consequence."
I snapped my eyes shut, as the gurgling sound of Frank drowning in blood rose from beside the bed. My stomach turned over and over, and I wondered what it would be like throwing up on an empty stomach.
Finally, it stopped; Frank's gurgling, his gasping, and the sound of his hands flailing uselessly in the sticky puddle around him. I sighed, but the man only said, "Are you quite done?"
I opened my eyes, thinking he was speaking to me, and worried that I had angered him and he would turn his blade on me. Instead, I saw Frank, slowly and shakily using one of the posts on my bed to help himself to his feet. My head swam, and I begged for something to make me pass out and forget all of this.
Frank, completely covered in his own crimson mess, panting and positively seething, shot me a glare, but immediately hung his head and nodded at the man.
"Good. Get cleaned up so that we can eat. All this has made me ravenous."
Frank nodded again, heading gradually towards the door again, trembling and weak. The man only turned to me, sighing. I simply sat there, staring at the dark handprint Frank had left on the post, still paralyzed by fear and confusion.
"I'm sorry about that Addy. But I promise I'll send someone to clean up. And to give you some food. I'll return later. Now if you'll excuse me..."
He stepped carefully over the pool on the floor, heading for the door himself, all the while avoiding Frank's bloody footsteps. He reached the door, pulling the black cloth from his pocket again to turn the handle, but then stopped, and looked back at me.
"God, how completely rude of me," he said, rather apologetically. He bowed slightly to me, saying as he stood again, "Gerard Way, Miss Corwin. At your service."