Of Blood and Bone (Page 36)

Of Blood and Bone (The Minaldi Legacy #1)(36)
Author: Courtney Cole

There is horror on Evangeline’s face.  “She locked you in your room?  Alone?” 

I nod. “She didn’t know what else to do.”

“There are many other things that she could have done,” Eva says drily.  “What do you mean when you say ‘the darkness’?”

“The only way I can describe it is to say that everything becomes blurry and then shortly after that, I enter oblivion.  I don’t know what happens or what I do.  When I wake, I can remember feeling blurry and entering the blackness, but nothing after that.”

“How long has this been going on?” Evangeline asks, her voice no-nonsense and medical.  She’s trying to tap into her psychiatrist self, to remain impassive and detached, but I can hear a thin strain of horror in her voice.

“All of my life,” I answer simply.  “I don’t remember a time when it didn’t happen.”

“Is this why your mother thinks you are evil?” Eva asks. “Because you have blackouts?  Perhaps they are seizures. Have you been examined by a doctor?”

“Yes, this is why my mother thinks that I am evil,” I tell her.  “And no.  I personally have not been examined. My mother would never hear of it when I was small.  It would have been devastating for the family name for this to get out.  You see, it doesn’t just affect me. It affects Minaldi men.  My father was afflicted.  His father, his father’s father and so on.  My father once told me that my grandfather had gone to a doctor in desperation, but they could find nothing wrong with him.  It is a medical mystery, a genetic anomaly.”

“What do you do when you become ‘afflicted’?” Evangeline’s voice is small now, as though she is afraid of the answer. She is gripping her wine glass with white fingers.  I’m not sure what is paler, her fingers or her face.  The blood seems to have leached from her entire body.

“I think I’m violent,” I tell her.  “It’s been getting worse.  And I fear that I might be responsible for the deaths of the girls in Valletta.”

She gasps and her wine glass tumbles to the floor and shatters, spattering the couch and the rugs and our legs with crimson wine.

Evangeline leaps to her feet, hunting for things to clean up the mess.  “I’m sorry,” she tells me.  “I’m sorry. I was just…. this is surprising. This is not what I was expecting to hear. I’m sorry.”

She is keeping her distance now and I don’t blame her.  She flutters about like a hummingbird, finding paper towels and a broom and dust pan.  I take the broom from her and when my fingers brush against hers, she cringes away. And then she apologizes.  When I look into her eyes, I see fear there.

And it is crushing. 

I hadn’t realized that I would care so much about what she would think. But the fear in her eyes practically reaches in and crumbles my spirit into twisted up bits.  More than anything else, I don’t want her to fear me.  I would never purposely harm her, so I tell her that.

“Not purposely,” she agrees.  “I know you would never purposely harm me, Luca.  I know you well enough to know that.”

She is still keeping her distance as she throws the broken glass into a trashcan.  I notice that she stays a small distance away, leaning against the marble counter in the kitchenette.

“I know when it is coming,” I tell her.  “You’re safe.  If I begin to get an episode, I’ll let you know and you can stay away from me.”

She sticks her chin out, an attempt at pluckiness.

“I don’t want to stay away from you,” she tells me firmly.  “I want to help you.  I know that I can, Luca.  This is the twenty-first century.  Medicine has come a long way since your great-great grandfather tried to get help. Back then, they were still using leeches to suck toxins out, for God’s sake.  I can help you.  I promise.”

I stare at her.

“You should never make a promise that you can’t keep, Evangeline,” I finally answer.  I can hear the hopelessness in my voice and I’m sure she can, as well.

“I don’t,” she answers.

And I know that she believes it.  Evangeline Talbot has spirit.  I have to give her that.  It never occurs to her that perhaps something is impossible, that something just can’t be done. That she can’t do something.  It’s a trait I admire about her.  It’s something similar to what lives in me.

I finally nod.

“Okay.  I’ll let you try.  What should we do first?”

Evangeline thinks on that for a moment.  “We’ll have an initial session. We’ll just talk.  I need to get a feel for things.  And I’ll want to have a blood panel run on you; just to make sure your blood levels are all normal.”

“Fine,” I agree.  “We can start tonight after dinner.”

“Fine,” she answers.  She smiles and there is no fear there now.   And for a scant moment, just one, I feel hope.  I feel like perhaps, just maybe, Evangeline can help me. But then reality comes immediately crashing back down because I know she can’t.  There’s no reason for false hope.  No one can help me.

But I smile back at her anyway.

“It’s a date.”

Chapter Twenty-Two

Eva

Luca doesn’t show for dinner.

He sends a handwritten note excusing himself.  Apparently, there was an urgent matter at Minaldi Shipping and he had to leave unexpectedly.  He won’t be home for at least another day and so he promises me a rain check.

I can do nothing but think about what happened last night, about the things that he told me this morning…about his theory that he is the one killing the girls in Valletta.  The mere thought causes chills to race down my back, standing the hair up on my neck.

It can’t be him.

I don’t know if that’s what I really believe or what I want to think.   Either way, I sit on my balcony with my laptop and throw myself into research.  I uncover everything I can possibly find about the murders in the newspapers online.  I research disorders that could possibly explain Luca’s symptoms.  I try to piece everything together.

More importantly, I focus on my own feelings about him.  I’m angry with him; for scaring me, for confusing me, for practically accosting me.  I say practically because I really did want it.  I’m so conflicted by the events and my own emotions that I consider leaving.