As the hard shadows of the granite table covered her feet to the toes, the soothing sounds of the baby grand piano bounced off her chest like a light rain on the sidewalks of the country club golf course. She looked off into the wicker of the high back chairs and imagined a world without sound, a world without voices and crying and yelling and screaming and desperate calls for help. She covered her face with a strong hand and let the notes carry her into another place, a place better then this.
The fog rolled in over the hills like rushing water, and she knew that the moon was casting shadows over the town like the sun at midday. She quietly stood, hoping not to upset the pianist as the notes faded and grew, and her shoulders rose and fell. It was interesting just how many notes it took to create a masterpiece, and just how few to create a disaster
"Be quiet," said the woman with ivory eyes, eyes cold and yet alive like uncontrolled fires. She knew that later on she would see those eyes in the fog of her dreams. But she looked dead ahead now, challenging the eyes like a lone knight in the wilderness. Then the eyes flickered off and she started, suddenly intrigued by
the ivory and all that it contained, or that it had just thrown away with one careless glance.
Interestingly enough, I wasn't scared. Everything at night seemed faster then it ever could in the day time. My forty seemed like seventy, and my seventy seemed like one hundred and ten. The trees, ghostly and grabbing out at my windows like old ghosts, lost in their dances, flew by like bats after dark. I shuddered, taking the curve with precision and confidence, unaware of what lay around the next turn.
Suddenly I slammed on the brake with both feet, my teeth clenched as I turned the wheel violently, hoping with all hope that I would miss the girl who stood there on the yellow stripes, unafraid and unmoving.
The car shuddered and shook, the rubber of her tires burning away as I drifted around the girl, dark smoke rising into the night like puffy clouds. I rolled down my window and called out the girl's name.
"Jirae, get in," I ordered her. "We're already half an hour late."
Jirae turned, still fully composed and got into the car, not phased by the upscale design, make or model. "Wavorly contacted me the night before last," the girl said, her accent catching the silence like a hook.
I nodded. "What all did he tell you? Or is he still trying to be mysterious?" I asked, my voice dripping with sarcasm and hatred.
"Jaele…" Jirae scolded me, furrowing her eyebrows. "He is our brother, despite how much you detest him. Don't pretend like there isn't at least a little love for him somewhere in your soul.
I turned and looked at Jirae, my twin sister. "I hate Wavorly, and I'll never forgive him for what he did to us, no matter how many times he apologizes. I hate him."
"Fine," Jirae shrugged. She knew better then to fight with her twin: it only ended in tears and silence, and now wasn't the time for it. "At least promise me there's nothing you're going to do to make this whole transaction any more impossible then it's already going to be."
"How can I promise that?" I asked, looking over at my sister, restarting the motor of the Aston Martin and shoving it into gear, letting the clutch out and peeling out and onto the road. "If Wavorly or Eisley start being difficult-"
"Eisley?" Jirae asked, her voice dripping with curiosity. "Eisley is going to be there?"
"Well she's our sister, isn't she?" I asked Jirae, and she looked at me.
"Hardly," Jirae folded her arms across her chest, setting her jaw and biting her bottom lip, a habit we had in common. "She's even less then our half sister, and even then she's never been there for either of us. Who decided she should be there now? This is family business-"
"Exactly," I interrupted her rant. "And she's family, even if you don't like her."
"Fine." She said again, again wisely choosing not to fight.
I was the oldest of the children, and even if I was only a few minuets older then my twin Jirae, I still easily assumed the position of first born. Jirae was the shy and reserved usual second child, but she awarded me by coming out of her shell for me, showing me her thoughts and her feelings when she hid them away from everyone else. Wavorly was full of the first male mentality, sometimes completely alien to both Jirae and I. The things he said, and more importantly did were just too far opposite of anything I ever would have done, it seemed traitorous. My feelings towards him were more then just usual sibling rivalry, and everyone knew why.
We held our own grudges and dispositions, by-products of a family more then involved in an organization with a bigger purpose. Hardened by life as instruments of necessity rather then important pieces of a family unit, we were less trusting of outsiders then was usual.
This applied to everyone, except me when it came to Eisley, our Father's daughter. Born in England and kept apart from the three of us until only a few years ago, she was the youngest and certainly most different. Apart from the British accent and her dark brown skin, she was just a different entity then Jirae, Wavorly and I. I always speculated it had something to do with growing up under my Father's heavy thumb.
"It's been so long since I've seen Wavorly and Eisley," I said to Jirae, quietly, down shifting as I slowed and turned onto an unpaved road hidden in the darkness.
"Do you think either of them is going to be anything like civil?" Jirae asked me, and I nodded.
"Eisley loves me, remember?" I reminded Jirae, who smirked.
"Loves you?" Jirae asked. "She's your half sister. I know our family is screwed up, but it doesn't go that far."
"It doesn't?" I smirked, looking over at Jirae who raised an eyebrow in mixed curiosity and disgust before going back to her own vanity, looking in the sun visor mirror at her face and hair. "You look just fine, Jirae. You look like me," I told her.
"And I suppose that'll have to be good enough, for now," Jirae said coldly, although I knew she wasn't serious. She laughed and I laughed, and we smiled at each other, knowing full well that there wasn't anyone else we'd rather resemble.
After driving a quarter of a mile down the rocky trail we came to a rather large estate, hidden in the ghost-like eucalyptus groves like a treasure. Jirae got out and I locked the car, smiling as she took my arm and we made our way down the path to the front door of the house where both Wavorly and Eisley were waiting, their breath rising in clouds like cigarette smoke.
"Good day," Eisley greeted me, although it was clearly night, her British accent warming me instantly. I smiled at her, taking her hand and bringing it to my lips, trying my best to be charming, and trying my best to ignore Wavorly fully. Memories flooded back to me, memories of Eisley's skin and hair and lips, but I shook them away before they disabled me completely. Keep your mind on what's to come, I told myself, knowing full well that now wasn't the time to reminisce on times past. Eisley smiled down at me from her place on the steps, kissing my cheek before making her greetings to my sister, who treated her coldly.
I watched with anger as Wavorly waited patiently for Jirae, ignoring me.
"Hullo, sis," he welcomed Jirae, who hugged him full on, her face still void of emotion although I knew inside she was smiling. "It's been quite a while." He looked at me and I looked at him and we both nodded, nothing more needing to be said.
"Shall we go in?" Eisley asked, her eyes locked on me and I nodded. Naturally, being the oldest, I led the way up the marble front steps and into the house, the others falling into step. I knew this was how Father would have had us enter, and I knew that facing our Mother was going to take more then any single one of us could muster, so we had to band together even though I couldn't stand Wavorly and Jirae hadn't so much as looked twice at Eisley. It was going to take all of us together or none of us at all.
Her skin was like ebony, dark and smooth, pure and cold, bringing me to life and killing me all in the same touch. She sighed into my ear, biting it gently and her cold breath chilled me like nothing I'd ever felt before.
"Don't," she whispered to me, referring to my shivering. "Don't be cold. Let me warm you," she told me, and I realized that she was warm, at her core. But something wasn't right, something wasn't how it was supposed to be.
"We can't just do this," I told her, pulling away. "Think of my Father. What will he say?" I asked her, but she smiled faintly.
"It doesn't matter," she promised. "He'll never have to know, and besides, you can hardly resist," she insisted, kissing me then, on my lips, and I realized that I was shaking all over.
"Are you cold?" she asked me after a long moment, looking into my eyes with her ice blue irises, covering me with her arms. I shook my head no, but she stopped kissing me, laying her head beside mine and closing her eyes. "Promise me that you'll stop shaking," she asked, and I nodded, unsure why it really mattered, but sure that I would do whatever if it made her happy.