I had stepped out of the romance novel and into the mystery section.
I didn't know why, but there were a lot of things that seemed to be out of place.
First was the fact that Aunt Victoria had not been back from the country yet.
I had now been here for a week, and no one even mentioned her name.
Second was the fact that Finn and Sam were always around.
It seemed as if they were always there to open a door for me or to pull out a chair.
I had come to think of them as my silent stalkers.
Tori was no help.
She was a professional at diverting the conversation when I asked questions.
I couldn’t get much information out of anyone.
Every day we ate our meals together and then went our separate ways.
I spent most of my days in the study alone.
At night I had the sensation of being watched, although no one was ever there.
I had checked every corner and crevice of my room one night.
Once in bed I lay listening to the sounds of the house.
It had been completely dark in my room, but I knew I heard it this time......there were definitely footsteps beside my bed.
Startled I had jumped up, grabbed the lamp on the bedside table and started swinging.
The only thing that came out of my little episode was a broken lamp and a bruised ego.
At the sound of the shattering Sam had burst through the door,I wasn't sure how he had gotten to my room so fast.
"What’s wrong?" He had demanded.
I was sitting on the floor tangled in the lamps cord.
It seemed that Sam was never more than a few feet away from me at any given time.
And Finn wasn't any better.
What was his problem anyway? He never spoke to me, but he was always watching me.
I needed to clear my head..
I needed to talk to Grace.
The phone rang once.
It was so good to hear her voice.
"Liz! Tell me everything.....Why didn’t you call me sooner........ I have been so worried.......How are you?"
I was smiling for the first time in a week.
"Ah Sorry, it’s been weird, but I have a lot to tell you." This was my pathetic excuse for an apology.
"It's okay, what have I missed?"
"Err....You won’t believe me but there's a guy living here at my aunts who looks like Christian Bale and sounds like James Bond."
"Yeah, and I have a Cousin named Tori who I never knew existed."
"Cool! How's your Aunt? Is she nice?"
Was she nice? I wouldn’t know.
I was staring out of the window of the study watching everyone on the street and suddenly I realized that I hadn’t left this house since I first walked through the door.
No wonder I was feeling a little like a hostage.
Why hadn't anyone offered to show me around? Told me about a nice place to shop?"
"Liz...are you still there?" Grace sounded worried.
"Here’s the thing Gray, I haven't even met my aunt, she’s supposedly visiting in the country.......But no one ever talks about her......it’s really odd."
"Is she sick?"
I had asked this same question, but if she was no one was saying anything.
"I don’t know...."
"When are you coming back to LA?"
"I don’t know.....But it might be sooner than later."
I had money stashed in case of an emergency but it was all the money that I had.
Grace and I talked for a few more minutes; she asked me about Finn, and what it was like in London.
We had to say good bye sooner than I had wanted.
The time had run out on the phone card that Sam had given to me.
I sat in the library for an hour after we said our good byes.
"This is childish." I told myself as I snuck out of the library listening for the sound of footsteps.
I wasn’t sure what would be the reaction of my roommates if I tried to leave, but I imagined them blocking the door and then holding me hostage for some kind of...something.
I was slowly making my way down the stairs, counting on my way down, there were 14 steps, and I was currently on step 8.
When planning my escape I had contemplated climbing out of the window, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to commit suicide on a hunch, so I had chosen to sneak out the front door instead.
I could hear someone was playing the piano.
Good, maybe they won’t hear me over the music.
Now I needed to make it through the entry way and out the door.
I peaked around the corner and saw Sam playing the piano.
I slipped past that door way, and then paused when I heard hushed angry voices.
Torn between the freedom of the outdoors and listening to what they could be arguing about I stood frozen in the hall.
"I won’t lie to her." That sounded like Finn.
"She’s not ready for the truth!" That was Tori.
"I can't lie to her." he said again.
I looked at the door leading to the outside world.
That would have to wait.
I stepped closer to the door.
Were they talking about me?
"What’s your problem Finn? You know you’re not making this easy..."
Yeah what’s your problem Finn?
"I can’t do it Tori."
"Just do what you’re doing now." Tori sounded like she was really upset.
"Bloody hell Tori, I've bee a complete ass to her, why don't you just tell her?." he retorted.
“I will, when I think she's ready.” She replied.
“If you don't tell her soon, I will.” He threatened.
Did it sound like he was closer to the door?
I moved then, I ran out of the house and into the street. After turning the corner of the street I walked quickly trying to get as far away from the house as possible.
I couldn’t help looking behind me to see if anyone was there.
Once I had gotten far enough away I slowed to a walk.
Was I just over reacting? Everything seemed a little silly now, but what could they be lying to me about? I wondered.
I realized that all of the money in my purse was American, and I didn’t have a clue where I could exchange it. I vaguely wondered what the exchange rate was.
I had not planned for what I was going to do once I had escaped my prison, Wasn’t the escape enough to prove that I was seriously over reacting?
I could just go back to the house and ask someone to send me in the right direction, but that seemed like too much of a risk to my new freedom.
Where to go from here?
I thought about the possibility of asking someone on the street, and I wondered how the locals treated yanks like me.
It was very likely that I would get lost without directions, and I realized I didn't even know the address of my prison.
With that thought I spun around to go back but I slammed into a wall.
My wall had arms that wrapped around me to keep me from falling, and I looked up at Finn's handsome face.
We were so close I could feel his breath on my face, and I could see his eyes, it was as if I were looking at them for the first time, they were a dark blue, almost black.
Then just as suddenly as he had grabbed me, he let me go.
"Sorry." He said as he took a step away from me.
I stared at him for a moment confused and then I demanded "What are you doing here?" I have to admit I sounded a bit breathless.
"I saw you run out of the house, I was afraid you might get lost."
"Oh..." I wasn't sure what to say but obviously I hadn't escaped unnoticed.
“Would you like for me to show you around Liz?" His voice was so beautiful, it sent a shiver through me and for some reason the thought of being alone with him made the bottom of my stomach drop.
I should say no...
"Where were you intending to go?" He asked as we began to walk.
You see Finn, I was trying to escape you and that house and the other two people in it.
"I just needed some fresh air." I lied looking towards the sky,it was a bit overcast, but it felt good to be outside.
“Ah" Was all he said.
"So how did you meet my family?" I asked realizing this was a possibility to get information out of him, he had said that he didn't want to lie to me, or at least I thought it was me they were discussing.
"Our families have known each other a very long time." he said.
Okay, I would try something else.
"So why are you staying at my aunt’s house?"
I was watching him to judge which questions might push his buttons.
"Victoria asked me to stay." Was he trying not to smile?
"Why?" I didn't care if it was rude of me to ask, after all it was rude to stalk people, and he obviously did this to me all of the time.
"You'll have to ask her that."
I would if she even existed.
"Where can I exchange my money for pounds or whatever it is that I need?" This could be helpful.
At least then if I tried to flee in the middle of the night I could pay a cab.
"It’s a bit too far to walk."
I frowned realizing we had somehow made it back to the house.
"Would you like to join me for some tea?" He asked as we slowly walked up the steps to the house.
"No thanks, I'm not very fond of tea." I said as I walked past him into the house.
I could feel him watching me as I went up the stairs.
Once I was in my bedroom I threw myself onto the bed and buried my face in the black and white comforter,I suddenly had the urge to cry.
Why couldn't any one talk to me? What was going on here?
It wasn't fair; I hadn't asked to come here, if it were up to me I would still be in LA, sitting outside my favorite coffee shop, having a cup of Joe with my best friend.
Were all British families this nuts? No I didn't think so; I just had the worst luck,I couldn't even be myself here,I felt as if I had lost everything, and now finally I was losing myself.
This couldn't be allowed to happen.
I had to have a plan, there had to be a way to make them talk.
We all met in the dining room at the normal time.
I waited as Finn pulled my chair out for me; I was trying not to roll my eyes.
Once we were seated I spoke before anyone else got the chance.
"When will Aunt Victoria be back?"
Tori looked up, she seemed a little startled.
"We're not sure, sometimes when she’s out in the country it takes months before we can get her to come back to the city."
I took note of the way she stressed the word months.
"She doesn't want to meet me?" I asked trying my best to sound hurt, and I hoped that worked, I was never a very good actress.
"Of course she does, but she expects that you will be here when she returns!" Tori said smiling,
I could almost believe her, except for the fact that I didn't.
"Finn said he took you for a walk around the neighborhood." Sam said.
Was I a poodle? He took me for a walk! It was more like followed me and then got caught.
"Yes...and I was hoping tomorrow Finn would take me around town to show me the sights." I smiled brilliantly.
I was watching Finns face to see what his reaction would be.
It looked like frustration.
"That's a great idea!" Tori said sounding less then enthused.
I watched as Finn finally looked at me with an odd expression.
"Sounds fantastic." He said.
We ate the rest of our meal in silence.
I wasn't very fond of fish, but I ate enough to be polite, although I wasn't sure why I still felt the need to be polite.
I waited until Finn asked to be excused and then I followed him.
He turned around to acknowledge me once we had made it to the stairs.
"Something I can help you with?" He asked. One of his perfect eyebrows was slightly raised.
"I was hoping we could talk." I said suddenly feeling nervous.
I had put a lot of thought into what I might say to him, but had come to no solid conclusions. How much could I really trust Finn? I didn’t know him, and the only hunch I had was a conversation I was only 90 percent sure was about me. Maybe he had an aversion to lying, but if so that still might give me an advantage if I could just stop being a coward and ask him those uncomfortable questions. The possibility of getting a few answers gave me a very heady sensation.
I realized that Finn was staring at me, I wondered how long it had taken me to have my mental epiphany.
“Would you like to have this conversation on the stairs? Or perhaps we should go some place more private?” He said this in a whisper, he was now looking over my shoulder, and I realized the others must be watching.
“Meet me in the Study?” I asked resisting the urge to see if someone was really there.
He nodded and then walked up the stairs.
I decided to go back to the dining room, and when I turned around I saw that Sam was leaning against the wall watching me. I faked a smile as I walked toward him.
“I was afraid he wouldn’t want to be my escort tomorrow.” I explained.
After a short time I made my way to the study, Finn was already waiting for me.
He had been staring out of the window, but when I opened the door he turned towards me. My stomach did the annoying flip flop it always did when Finn was around.
I shut the door and then leaned against it.
“Will you answer a couple of questions for me? I asked deciding the best tact was to be honest and open.
“If I can.”He replied..
“Why are you guys acting so weird around me?” I said,it was a whisper when it escaped my lips.
“To protect you.” He said taking a step towards me. I watched him as he stuck his hands in the pockets of his trousers.
“From what?” I asked, I could see him struggle with the question, Would he tell me the truth? Would he keep Tori’s secret?
I gasped as he suddenly was in front of me, I hadn’t seen him move,and now his hands were grasping my shoulders as if he were going to shake me.
“There are dangers you couldn't even imagine, but they are real, and waiting for you to make a mistake; Waiting for us to make a mistake.”He explained.
I frowned, was he talking about Tori and Sam? Somehow I doubted that they would hurt me, it seemed more likely that he was talking about some unknown enemy.
My mind raced through possible answers, Mafia?Gangs? Human Trafficing?
The thought that I had some unknown person or persons waiting to hurt me seemed impossible; I had never had an enemy in my life, except for kindergarten when Madison Lewis had stolen my crayon.
I shook my head and I looked into his troubled blue black eyes, no one had eyes this color, it was impossible.
“Listen Liz….Just promise me you won’t run off like you did this afternoon?”
I frowned.“Only if you promise to explain whats going on.”
We were so close; I realized I could see every line of his face, every eyelash, and his breath on my face was infiltrating my senses, making my legs weak.
"Why not? this is crazy!" I demanded, and then he released me and stepped away.
“We can talk more tomorrow, it’s getting late, we should get some sleep.”
I moved away from the door so that he could leave, tomorrow he would answer my question’s, or I was hopping on the first plane out of London