Beth smiled and looked up at him. Robert smiled back at her and took her hand. She walked beside Robert, looking around the neighbourhood. She didn’t remember ever being in this part of town. Were they even still in town?
“We are,” Robert said, as if she’d said the question aloud. She made a mental note to ask him about it later.
Beth followed Robert to a house that seemed to be empty and they went around to the back. Robert stepped over the low fence and lifted Beth over it, leaving her sides tingling where he’d touched her.
Robert crouched down in front of the back door of the large house, tapping at the lock.
“What do you think, stellina? Shall we break the lock?” he asked, looking up at her from where he was kneeling.
“Won’t that be a bit obvious?” Beth pointed out.
“Hm. We’ll have to pick the lock then. Never been a man of patience,” he whispered to himself.
He pulled something out of his pocket and set it down beside him. It was a little box. Robert opened it and when Beth saw its contents, she knew exactly what it was.
“Why exactly do you have a set of lock picks?” she asked.
“You never know when you might need to break into a house,” he murmured. “Now, zitto, tesorina.”
She assumed that meant ‘be quiet’. She watched Robert pick the lock. It didn’t take long and within five minutes, the door was open.
Robert gestured for her to enter first. Beth walked in but stopped when she realised Robert wasn’t following her.
“Care to invite me in?” he asked, his old smirk on his lips.
“But... why can’t you come in?”
“Well, clearly, someone lives here, carissima. Two someones in fact,” he said.
“Come in,” she said.
Then Robert was gone and it took her a moment to realise he was silently rifling through pieces of paper on the desk behind her.
“Whose house are we in, exactly?” she asked, turning around.
“Zitto,” he murmured again. “The house of Miranda and Liam Perry.”
“The people you’ve been stalking?”
“Spying on, not stalking. There is a difference, my love.”
“Ooh,” he said quietly, straightening up.
“Found something?” Beth asked.
“Indeed I have. This might interest you.” He handed her the sheet of paper.
Whatever it was had been handwritten. And whoever wrote had either copied it, or knew Latin. Beth began to read through whatever it was.
“It talks about vampires,” she said to Robert, who was still looking through documents. “And a hidden room, somewhere in the house. But, I don’t know what this word means.”
Suddenly, the piece of paper was plucked from her hands.
“It means most evil, or evillest. Whichever you prefer,” Robert said, handing it back to her.
“You know Latin?” she asked him as he walked back to the desk.
“Every aristocratic young man did. I studied it for the last eleven years of my life. Wrote a book in Latin too.”
“Demons, Hell, the Devil, that sort of thing. Got into trouble over it.”
“Why?” Beth asked, continuing with her translation.
“A young Catholic boy writing a book that was considered Satanic in nature, I should think not. Fifty lashes and locked in the pantry for a week. I wished I’d never bothered. Still have it somewhere."