Updated: Mar 5
So as I draw near the end of the book (in the edits) it is hard to say how the book will end, as I have changed it often. But it has been a while since I posted, so I thought a small excerpt would be a nice post and change of pace.
Here is chapter 18 of Lahash and Black Moon Lilith.
Lahash has been duped into being a chaperone for Sophia and the playwright Carlo Goldini. In life, Carlo did exist and I managed to tie in some interesting facts of his life into my book that is based in Italy.
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From Lahash & Black Moon Lilith
I wanted to know where William was before I went back to the theater. The only place that made sense he would be was back at Cortigiana’s. I wondered if he and Stewart were cooking something else up. Or was he up to no good on his own?
As I arrived, I saw him walking to the back room with Mona and being I was still in the flesh, I couldn’t just stand and watch his sexual expressions, though I wouldn’t want to; besides, it was clearly a waste of five minutes of her life and worse, she could spend it with another.
So, I pulled up a chair at the bar and ordered my favorite drink, Disaronno. Drinking that sweet liquor took my edginess away, that I felt was going to take over the longer I had to spend uncovering little man boy’s mystery.
After some time, I saw him walk out of Mona’s room, but she didn’t follow. I dashed away to hide within the shadows, and I watched him exit and catch a carriage with someone already in it. I couldn’t be certain where it was headed, but I knew I had to get back to the theater.
As I arrived, it was in between scenes from the theater show. Mini Carlo and Sophia were having the time of their lives by the look of it. Laughter was audible even as far away as I was. I felt sick again, and it clouded my mind with the things Gretta said. It made me angry as I looked at Sophia and remembered our conversation. How could she allow her daughter to suffer abuse at the hands of William? She is a witch, so couldn’t she cast some spell to protect her daughter? Or did she still practice at all?
These maddening thoughts continued through my mind until I was close to them. “Carlo, I see that there is an intermission. So how has the show been?”
“Well, I can’t say that I am happy to see you back, Lahash. After all, we were having the best time.” Carlo sneered at me and when Sophia heard his biting comments, her face grimaced.
“Carlo, I am still having a wonderful time.
Carlo’s face flushed and sheepishly he looked away from her and cleared his throat. “I apologize Lahash. You know it is just that I have become so fond of Sophia, I just want every moment with her that William will allow.”
Sophia stared at me as he spoke and as he said the complimentary things about her, it was like she heard nothing he said. He continued on, and for a few moments as she and I locked eyes, that we were in our own world. A place where we both could hear nothing, and we didn’t need words.
“Right, Lahash?” Carlo stared at me with a confused look.
“Oh, I apologize, Carlo. What was it you said?”
“Well, I was just saying how wonderful it has been to spend time with Sophia and said that we should get back in. The break is over.”
After strolling in, I made sure that Sophia sat between us. The lights dimmed and her face glowed. I could hear her heartbeat and even more trying was that I could smell her. I leaned in and whispered, “Are you having a good time?”
A smile emerged from her face, and she leaned into me. “Now I am since you got here.” She winked an eye and went back to enjoying the show.
I didn’t anything else to her for the duration of the play, as I replayed her last words over and over in my mind. Coy she was, here with Carlo, and responding to my sweet little nothings in her ear, all knowing how her brother despised me.
Lahash gets Sophia Alone
Once the evening was to end, Carlo and I escorted Sophia up the stairs and before we could open the door, William was standing right there, and he made sure he opened the door.
“Oh, William, I see you are back home. So how was your evening?” I didn’t wait for an invitation to enter, or for William to tell me to go on home. As I skirted by him, he scoffed and then stared at Carlo.
“Carlo, I trust you had an excellent evening with my sister?”
Carlo lifted her hand and kissed it. “Yes, William, I did and I appreciate you sharing her with me for the evening.”
“Well, don’t get too used to it. I mean, you will leave town soon, right? For your new role, as playwright?”
Well, well, little man boy sure knows how to put a damper on a date. Not that I mind, he is just helping me along.
He said, “Well, yes. But I wanted to visit with you and your father about that.”
“Oh? Well you won’t be able to do that soon. My father is away on business and I don’t know when he will return.” Little man boy tried to close the door as he took Sophia by the arm and pulled her inside.
“William, I can wait. How about I come by later in the week? Or would it be best that we connect again, say, at, Cortigiana’s? Or at the dinner Lahash is hosting.”
Great! And then mini Carlo just unloaded information that I know Sophia didn’t need to hear.
William brought the meaning of curt to a whole new level. “That will be all Carlo, good night.” And just like that, he slammed the door in his face and didn’t give Sophia any time to say goodbye.
Now I remained with the awkwardness and looking at Sophia boring her narrowed eyes into little man boy, was, well, thrilling. I struggled to hide my excited feelings to see William escape this one.
He turned away, heading upstairs, and she shouted, “William, what was Carlo talking about? What is going on at Cortigiana’s?
Trotting footsteps up the wooden stairs halted, and he gripped the rail until his knuckles were white. “It is a meeting for elite members. Father goes to these all the time. What difference does it make that I attend?”
“No, William, why would Carlo attend? He hasn’t been in town that long.”
No more white knuckles as he released his death grip on the rail. “Well, because he is a playwright, it was easy for him to receive an invitation for this meeting. No big deal, really.”
His response seemed to satisfy her, but mildly. She turned to me. “Lahash, will you be going too?”
I cleared my throat. “I have received an invitation, and out of respect, I was going to attend.”
She crossed her arms and looked at the floor. “Are you free soon?”
I grinned and said, “I am free now.”
Before little William could bounce down the stairs she said, “Excellent, let’s go for a drive in your carriage.”
She grabbed my arm and pulled me outside and she jumped in without so much as any help or to acknowledge man child screaming at her to get in the house.
I stopped before I got into the carriage and said, “William, we will go into town, I think there is a bistro sill open, we can have coffee, I will return her soon. I promise, I will take care of her.”
Little man boy didn’t seem to buy what I was selling, but I don’t think it would have mattered, Sophia was determined to get some alone time with me and I was all too happy to give it to her. Besides, I have will and always will.
Her demeanor was light, despite brooding William and maybe it was my hopefulness, but she seemed relieved that her date with little Carlo ended. Her gesture surprised me, but I did my best to remain unwavering.
Looking out of the carriage window, she stared out into the dark and her eyes squinted, but at what, I couldn’t say. Her head whipped around at the sound of the door closing. “Take me to your home,” Sophia said.
“Sophia, I promised William coffee and back home. Now if I were to not honor my word, this may be the last time we can escape, I should say.” I smiled at her while I moved myself to sit next to her.
“I don’t care, I want to see your home. Can’t you make coffee there?”
I felt a heavy feeling suddenly weight me down, and it drove me mad at the thought of puny man boy having this hold over me, and all because Sophia. “Very well, but just for a brief time. I would like your company again, and to do so, we must keep William happy, or at least until your father arrives and I can introduce myself.”
Bright eyes that were upon me dwindled at the sound of her father, and I knew I said something wrong. “I must apologize, have I said something wrong?”
“No, Lahash. My father is always away, and I wished he would come home. I am tired of William. He is driving me mad, and I feel like I am suffocating living in that house. School can’t come soon enough, and I fear I won’t last until I go back.”
“When might that be?”
“In a couple of months. I had to come home early, and I missed some schooling, but mother has been kind enough to have a tutor over. We finished the course work, and I could take a break and return as though I never missed.”
“What brought you back so early, Sophia?”
She swallowed hard, and I could hear her heat beat pick up at hearing the question. She drew a deep breath as the carriage pulled away from the house. “William. It is always William.”
I sat silent for what felt like a millennium and then I asked, “What happened?”
Her head swiveled away and her eyes once again stared out of the window. “I don’t know if I should tell you. But I feel like I hold too many secrets, anyway. William, was believed to have hurt someone. A young woman, she lived several miles outside of town. Anyway, they believed William chopped her up. Chopped her up! Can you believe that?”
And that question certainly provoked an answer from me, that I couldn’t tell her. Sophia seemed just about as delusional about the little man boy as her mother was. I didn’t have it in me to answer her in truth, that not it wouldn’t surprise me at all that he would be accused at such an atrocious crime. But looking at her and knowing the sympathy she felt toward him, I didn’t have it within my demon self to indulge her on how it was I knew what I did, let alone tell her my opinions of that little man child she calls brother.
So despite I had to put aside much of my ego, I had to play naïve to it all and I said, “Sophia, I don’t understand, please explain.”
“Well, it was a woman. He had permission from her father to court her. I remember a chaperone being with them. He swears he took her home with the chaperone there and came home. The next day father received word that William was suspect in her gruesome death. Both my parents were away, and I was at school, so there has been no one to vouch for him. Oh, it was horrible, Lahash.”
A tear left her eye and I could see it run down the side of her face, even in the dim light of the moon. Despite her emotion, she went on.
Did William Commit Murder?
“Her body was cut up into pieces, and she was laying in their field several yards from the house. The chaperone has never been found, so after a while they believed the chaperone must have hurt her, and since he can’t be located, it is a mystery.”
Well well, we have a psycho, brooding serial killer here and I may as well add con artist to that list as well. I was afraid to ask anymore questions, as I could see how upset Sophia was, and she wanted to get away and the last thing she would want to discuss is all the drama from her family.
As she wiped away the tear, I offered her my handkerchief from my jacket. She snickered under her breath. “You must want to get away from me now. I know our family is just a wreck.”
I leaned in, “Actually, no, I don’t want to get a way from you. Not for a moment.”
She gasped and stared into my eyes, and I could see further into her memory. I saw her with William the day that she returned from school, and she kept asking him questions about what happened to the woman in the field. He continued to pace and brush his hands through his hair as she scolded him. Until he quit pacing and frantically turned around to face her. It was then that he raised his hand to strike her, and just as his hand was about to meet her face, the memory went dark, and I would imagine it was the truth, she was in the dark being knocked out and proverbially, in the dark.
After our eyes unlocked from a drawn out moment, I knew I must take her mind away from those dreadful moments of pain. Instead, I wanted to turn this moment into something else, and not allow the opportunity to escape.
As we pulled into the drive at my home, I brushed my hand down the side of her face and without hesitance she leaned in and put her lips on mine. Once our lips met, I was frozen in shock and she, like me, paused and only our lips softly touched for a few moments. Then she put her hands on the side of my face and pressed her mouth into mine, and it was no secret to either of us, she would to be mine.
After several heated moments of kissing in my carriage, she released her hold of my face. The hold that was intense and driven by a need for love, acceptance and a release.
“Forgive me,” she said as she wiped her mouth with my handkerchief, “I have wanted to do that for so long and I know with the way William has been toward you, that you wouldn’t want to ruin it.”
A smile emerged across my face, and I didn’t try to hide it. “Well, I suppose you see more than you let on. What about Carlo?”
With the handkerchief in her lap, she played with it and said, “Well, he is handsome, and he is fun to be around. But…”
I said, “Go on.”
“Well, he is a great distraction.”
She puzzled me with that comment. “A distraction for whom? You seem to have a lot going on, and I am sure that there are many other distractions that would love to court you.”
A snicker erupted from her and one that she tried to muffle under the handkerchief. “I know that there are others that would like to court, and I know father approves of maybe one of them. But Carlo is different. He is fun, interesting and witty. By the way he isn’t just a distraction for me, it is also for William.”
I felt like a third wheel. Even though being a babysitter for the two of them was bad enough, it is as though it really is I am just the third wheel.
“Lahash, why do you look disappointed,” she said. I suppose she could read me like a book, unlike me, she and her family I could not figure out as easily and I didn’t like that feeling. That resentful feeling, as though they left me out of something extraordinary. Then, as I fumbled for the right words, she said, “You and I need Carlo as the distraction for William. As long as William concentrates on Carlo as the threat that William believes him to be, then he won’t focus on you.”
My Sophia is quite cunning, and I felt the smile return to my solemn face. “You are very observant, and you understand your brother beyond what most others recognize. So this entire time, you are just using Carlo?”
Her cheeks blushed. “Well, what else would you have me do? Have my brother hating you and making it hard for me to get away?”
“Sophia, what made your brother trust me, to take care of you while you were with Carlo?”
“That Lahash, I am trying to figure out myself, but I imagine, there is something about you in the way you handle him, that makes him at ease. He doesn’t believe that you would do any wrong to him. That is a miracle, he hates everyone it seems.”
I helped her out of the carriage, and I said, “Let’s not ruin things, with your brother. For now, let’s keep this to ourselves.”
She took me by the hand and smiled with a nod. “Of course, I will. Now show me your home.”
Her eyes widened as she took in the scenery of my abode for the time being. Quite a large estate, that my workers cleaned up fast, and Sophia was impressed.
Gasping, she said, “Lahash, the certainly is a hidden jewel. I can’t believe in all my time in Milan, I have never seen this place. It is like a castle.”
“Sophia, it has been here for a couple hundred years in my family. When I am away, I keep it locked up. You must have overlooked the gate when we entered. You were distracted.”
“Yes, I was,” she said, and took my hand.
As we entered through the large double wooden doors, she was pleased with what was inside. Smiling, she ran her fingers down the wall as she entered the dining room through the arched doorway.
“Lahash, these mosaics are beautiful, and I see you love art. Wherever did you find these pieces?”
“Well, let’s just say I have connections. I love art and to have it on display makes me happy. Italian architecture during the renaissance period I have to say was my favorite to date. So, why was it you wanted me to bring you here?”