Friday, October 9, 2015

Because Suffer Comes From Love

“Andrei Valenti was an architect at the Royal Court. He was working directly under the emperor and that made him a very rich man, at that time. Patricia Valenti was actually a French woman, who got rescued from slavery by the architect. They were very happy and lived a wonderful life together.” She started.

Aida led Victor down towards the lake. This time, though, they were riding horses. He remembered the path. When it forked, she led him on a different direction than Evan. She was taking him elsewhere.

They rode for a few more meters before she stopped and jumped off. She grabbed the harness and started to walk by foot. Victor copied her actions without a clue what or where they were going. In the end, she stopped in a clearing. It didn’t have anything special, from what he could see. But for her, it had a meaning. 

"You've been living here as a kid, right?" Victor asked. He was genuinely curious to find out more about her. No one seemed to have the desire to share information; at least not with him.

"I did. When my parents bought this place, it was worse than you can imagine." Victor raised an eyebrow and followed her closely. She patted the horse and sighed.

"A dump?" She looked into the eyes of the horse and saw her reflection. She could see the same empty body, roaming the world without an aim.

"Worse." She continued. "It was the place where people in Rome were throwing the thrash. They would throw things, animals and even people." Victor frowned.

"How-" He stopped when he saw her look to the side. She seemed deep in thought. "But your father bought it anyway?" She nodded.

"Yes, he did. He invested everything he had into this domain. He made it into what it is today." Her voice had a tinge of melancholy.

He blinked and kept his mouth shut. If he wanted her to open up to him, he had to be patient and never interrupt her. Who knew when he could ask again?

"How was it when you used to be a kid?" She chuckled and glanced at him over her shoulder.

"Lively." That word was probably the best way to describe her childhood. "You're being terribly obvious, Mr. Abbot." Victor's eyes widened. He got caught without doing much. She chuckled and walked towards him. "Curiosity is tricky, you know. It can lure you towards dangerous situations." There was something about her that made him feel thrilled.

She was a person who knew a lot about men and could subdue him; but she wasn't. She was playing with him. Sometimes, she would be the leader while sometimes, she would let him lead.

"I'm not afraid." The grin on her face was creepy. She was a beautiful woman but she had something dark; something scary, like a ghost. He walked closer and stared deeply into her eyes. Those green orbs were amazing up close. "Is now my turn?" He asked bluntly. She waited a few seconds before she responded.

"People like you, Mr. Abbot, have always roamed these lands." She started. Her gaze moved down to his lips. "Beautiful, rich and smart. But is that enough to survive?" She raised an eyebrow and moved behind him. She did it in such a seductive way. "This world is nothing but an orchard. True perfection is found in death." Her voice became a whisper. She stopped behind him and leaned in. "Do you want to die, Victor?" The way she said his name sent a chill down his spine.

"Would it be worth it?" He could hear her breathing on his neck. It felt cold; like a chilly wind.

"That is entirely up to you. Do you want to be perfect?" He froze. Hearing her ask that out loud was different from thinking it. Now that he heard someone else say that, it sounded childish.

"I treasure life, Miss. Valenti." He took a deep breath and turned around to face her. Her eyes were cold, her face was expressionless. It was really hard to decipher what she was thinking. "Do you?" His question ran deeper than he intended. Her eyes narrowed and he felt a sudden threat.

She smiled before she started to laugh loudly. He took a step back and watched her laugh as if he said something really funny.

"Life, Mr. Abbot, can be the best gift or the worst curse. It can never be both. You choose." She seemed to have come to normal.

"What was it for you?" She walked to her horse and patted his head fondly.

"I don't know. I didn't choose. Someone else chose for me." She got up and glanced down at him. He was still registering her response. As realization dawned, his eyes widened and he looked at her surprised.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After that interesting conversation, Victor got on his own horse and they paced back to the hotel. On the way, Victor glanced a few times at her. She was staring ahead but her eyes weren't focusing on something.

It was one of the few times she would remember. Remember that amazing summer of 1845.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aida was at the perfect age to be married. Her father was getting old and he needed someone to take care of everything for him. Someone had to take care of the domain.

That was how Aida started to meet men. Some of them were rich and ugly but a majority was formed of rich and old. It was a complete disappointment.

Until she met him. The boy who got lost in the forest. The boy with brown eyes that reminded her of a puppy. The boy with cute dimples and an adorable smile. He was perfect, in her point of view.

Without thinking, she walked over a branch. The noise grabbed his attention. In the process of avoiding being seen, she fell on her side. She looked down at her ankle and tried to see if it was fine. She flinched. She sprained it.

"Are you alright?" It was really bright outside. However, she saw the hand stuck in front of her. That helping hand was someone's. His face was enlightened by the sun, since he was practically in the way.

She blinked and the face of Victor appeared in front of her. She was confused.

"Sorry. It's just- you suddenly became pale and looked sick." His voice was nothing like he's. It was manly and soothing, but it wasn't genuine. Victor was a person who had seen enough and lived his life in a certain way. The other one was from a different time. The other one was the first one and that was never going to change.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She was silent for the whole way back. Victor didn't pry into her memories. It was obvious she was remembering something very important for her.

Abel was waiting for them at the stud farm. He helped them down and took the harnesses. His eyes moved from his mistress to Victor. He glared at the man before he left.

"He hates me." He mumbled.

"He doesn't." He turned to her. She was standing aside, watching the sight.

When they arrived at the hotel, it was already time for dinner. The twilight was amazing. Watching the sun fall under the forest made him miss his parents.

"Has he been like that from the beginning?" She cracked a small smile and smoothly threw him a subtle glance.

"He is very protective." Victor rubbed the back of his neck and followed her to the front door.

"Why? It's not like I am going to steal anything from him." Her smile fell quickly.

"You have nothing to steal, anyway. He has nothing but his twin brother and me." Victor frowned. For some reason, the atmosphere became awkward again.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Once they entered the foyer, Aida walked straight upstairs. She left the handsome man in the hands of her trusted staff. They weren’t allowed to talk about their past. Truthfully, it didn’t even matter anymore because their souls were already hers; the hotel’s.

She stopped in front of the piano. That magnificent piece of art inherited by her father was the only thing she held dear. No matter how many centuries passed, that piano never grew old and neither did her memories. The one who taught her how to play wasn’t her father. It was him.

She closed her eyes and started to play a melancholic tune. It was Beethoven’s Sonata in C Major Opus 2. She could never forget that song. The beginning was an allegro con brio that could make you remember your childhood and the amazing time you spent with family. It would make her remember the summers at the Royal Court. While her father was working, she would play around with the children at the court. 

Next, it would slowly go into adagio. The memories with him were most pregnant on that part. He taught her that part first. He would stay with her from morning to dawn, never speaking about their lives or their dreams. It was only about music and their souls becoming one while playing.
Then, the scherzo. A tune that would remind her of the trouble she got into when she ran with him. They got lost in the forest but that didn’t matter. She taught him how to dance and introduced him to a life of rich and selfish. Her father never approved of him as a possible groom.

“Aida, I want you to stop seeing him.” His voice was soft but it held that firmness of a father. She shook her head.

“I love playing with him. I love hearing him tell me stories about the outside world. You never let me see it. You never let me travel. It feels like I’m captive in this house.” Andrei Valenti narrowed his eyes at his daughter.

“It used to be so much easier when you didn’t care about men.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest and glared at her father.

“Do you want me to be unhappy?” Her accusation surprised and angered the old man. “I don’t want to end up like Amelia, father. I want to love and be loved”

“That doesn’t exist, Aida! Not in this world! Not in this century!” She jumped on her feet and leaned up to her father.

“I don’t belong in this century!” Her father watched her run out the house in anger. He was sure she was going to see him. He couldn’t let that happen. He couldn’t let some freelancer deprave his daughter. She was everything he had. If anything were to happen, she was his only treasure.

Andrei ran to the reception desk and opened the last drawer. He took out a beautiful revolver, never used before. He took a deep breath and searched for courage in his heart. He got an image of Aida being deprived as a woman in a dangerous world and that encouraged him enough.

The last part of the sonata was allegro assai. As her fingers danced along the keys, she opened her eyes and remembered what happened that night. How the accident occurred and how she gave her life for love.

Aida and Vincenzo met at their usual spot; a clearing close to the lake. It was the place she first saw him in and it was the place they could easily find if they got lost. Her legs were driven there by a divine force. When she got there, Vincenzo was on the ground, watching the sky.
She walked closer with small steps.

“What are you doing?” Back then, she didn’t have anything dark. She was innocent, as much as it concerned her soul. She didn’t kill and didn’t hate. She only knew love in that moment.

“The clouds,” He started. “It’s up to us to decide what shape they create. For example, I see a child running to her dog” She was a curious woman. She raised her head and looked at the clouds. Vincenzo looked at her. “I also see two eyes. They are beautiful and kind. They don’t know what they shouldn’t know. They are entrancing. They’ve never seen evil but they are full of love.” He continued. 

“Those amazing green eyes; I love looking at them.” He finished. At that moment, her eyes were searching for that cloud.

“I don’t see any cloud that would look remotely close to a pair of eyes.” She commented. He chuckled and grabbed her hand. He pulled her down and she fell over him.

“That’s because you don’t look in the right place.” He whispered. Her eyes softened as the distance between the two was decreasing. He grabbed her neck and raised his head in order to kiss her. That little touch sent fireworks throughout her entire body.

She let him do whatever he wanted with her. But he wasn’t an innocent. He had seen a lot of things in his life yet nothing was as surprising as her.
Nothing, except her father.

He found them cuddling on the grass. He waited in the shadows and saw him touch her from time to time on her legs or on her back. He saw them kissing and when he saw how much it was evolving, he interfered. He shot one bullet that went straight past his arm. He jumped up and surveyed the place. She did too.

“What was that?” She wasn’t half as scared as he was. It never happened before to him but he had seen it happening to others.

“You should go home, Aida.” He helped her up and patted her head. He smiled in order to make her feel better and safe. She blushed and leaned in. She gave him a small peck on the cheek and became even redder. “You’re a sly fox, aren’t you?” He narrowed his eyes at her playfully. She chuckled.

“I might be. But only around you.” Andrei rolled his eyes. He couldn’t understand how Aida was so blind to what Vincenzo was. She was young and foolish. He waited until she left before he shot another bullet. Vincenzo’s eyes widened and without realizing, he turned towards him. Andrei was ready to shot him dead and throw his corps in the lake. That didn’t go as planned, though. Aida suddenly appeared in front of Vincenzo right when Andrei shot. He couldn’t see right and didn’t know if he shot correctly so he shot again.

When he opened his eyes and walked out of hiding, he saw Vincenzo on the ground, crying. But he wasn’t hurt. The one shot was his daughter. Andrei’s eyes widened and he felt his heart stop. He pushed Vincenzo away and grabbed Aida’s hand.

She was shot in the abdomen and straight in the forehead. She died instantly.
“No.” He breathed out. “NO!” He started to cry and pulled her lifeless body into his arms. “NO! no, no, no!”

He killed his daughter. He killed her with his own two hands.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He closed the hotel for the weekend. Actually, from that moment, Andrei Valenti became a ghost. He couldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep. The only thing he could do was paint. He painted a dozen pictures of her in just a few months. His body started to crack as his heart was already broken. As soon as he would finish the sketches, he would rip them off and throw them into the fire. The staff left him and he ended up all alone in a big and lonely house.

One day, a woman entered without a clue. It was raining outside and it was cold. When the woman entered the foyer, he found dust and misery. No one has been taking care of the hotel for two years already.

“Hello?” She asked but no one responded. She could only hear her echo. She walked upstairs and found the portraits. Everyone who died on the domain; everyone who ever entered the hotel and from diverse reasons didn’t make it outside; everyone who Aida met; everyone was there. 

As she walked down the second floor, she noticed an empty spot. It was really spacious. She could only wonder who it was reserved for.

“Who are you?”  A deep husky voice asked. The woman turned around quickly and met an ugly sight. The man standing in front of her was tired of life. She could sense it. His eyes were red from crying and avoiding sleep.

“I am a guest. I need shelter from the storm” The man narrowed his eyes at her. He heard thunder and understood her reasons.

“Alright. You can choose whatever room you want. You don’t need to pay. Leave whenever you want, I don’t care.” He rubbed his forehead and stumbled to his room.

“Your daughter died.” She said in a quiet tone. He froze.

“Everyone knows that.” He responded. Everyone in Rome and around knew that Andrei Valenti lost his precious daughter.

“Do you want her back?” The man scoffed. He turned around and leaned against the wall. He was a little drunk and the images were swaying slightly to the side.

“Is this a joke? Do I look that miserable and gullible?” She nodded bluntly.

“You look even worse. But that’s not the point. I can help you bring her back if you offer me your services.” Andrei raised an eyebrow. He thought for a few moments while staring at the empty spot on the wall.

“What do I have to do?”The woman tilted her head and touched the empty spot. She caressed it softly and smelled the wood.

“Make a portrait with her. The biggest, the better. Make it as realistic as you can.” The man was on the verge of giving up. He was easy to influence and manipulate. He was the perfect prey.

“And what do you want from me?” She chuckled and took a few steps towards him.

“Make me a mansion as beautiful as yours. Come and work for me in France.” He frowned.

“But what about Aida? If she comes back then-“ She shook her head.

“There is a price for everything. I get her soul back, you leave with me. That’s the deal. Accept it or not, you choose.” She stood there for a few more minutes but he didn’t move nor talked. He turned her back to him and started to walk to the stairs.

She was on the stairs when Andrei came running from the hall.

“Deal!” He screamed. The woman chuckled and nodded.

It took him two weeks to make it. From the smallest details of her face to the way she used to smile, he painted everything. Her long fingers and the ring she used to wear as memory from her mother, it was breaking his heart. But he continued to paint. He painted her from waist up. She had her back straight and her chin rose up and slightly to the side. She was proud and smart. She was sly and knew how to manipulate people into doing what she wanted. She was above everything and everyone in the whole world. She was right. She wasn’t from that century.

The next day was a Sunday. He finished it and ran after that mysterious woman. He found her in the restaurant, drinking tea.

“It’s done. Now what?” She raised her head and looked into his eyes.

“Place it on the empty wall in front of the stairs. That way, everyone can see it from the foyer.” He nodded.

He hired a few men for that. In a few hours, the portrait was hanging proudly at the end of the stairs. It was big; it took almost the whole wall. He was happy with his work. He smiled softly and caressed her hands.

“My precious Aida.” He mumbled. He could feel himself start to cry again.

“Now, move aside.” He heard the woman whisper in his ear. He jumped in surprise and moved aside.

“Ubicumque estis,
Let vocem meam vos ducet
Ad finem persequi tenebrarum
Et venite ad me, Aida Valenti.”

She continued her spell to the point where Andrei heard something about the Devil. Suddenly, the woman’s appearance changed. Her eyes became longer and her nails became claws.

“Wait! Just bring her back! Don’t do anything else!” The woman hissed and pushed him down the stairs.

“You have no idea how much you have to give in order to have her come back!” She screamed at him. He fell down the stairs and hit his head. It wasn’t serious but it was bleeding. He got on his hands and knees and looked at her.

“Audite me, Diabulus!
Venire ad hoc mundi
In forma et figura magicae
Resurgere a profundissimum inferni
Veniat ad me, Aida Valenti.”

The architect’s eyes widened when he saw the woman rip the flesh off her fingers with her bare teeth. She placed them on Aida’s hands and left her bloody prints. Nothing happened afterwards. Andrei had to leave with the stranger and he never returned to see the result.

He died two years after he left. He died in France and never found out if Aida came back or not.

“But she wasn’t the same.” Aida mumbled as she played the last note.

That was her story. 

No comments:

Post a Comment