Oliver had received many confused glares when he left his cabin. Inside his brain were ridiculous tossing and tumbling emotions, all of which broke him into a sweat. A hint of anxiety could be spotted in his nervous expression. How long would he last until someone figured it out?
But there were people who already knew. Oliver was sure of it. Mr. Murray had to have mentioned it to his employees, at least the assistant that escorted us. What was her name? Janet? Then there was Cecil, another family friend. Surely she knew about Karina’s death. That was why she brought that bodyguard with her. She was scared, but so was Oliver.
At least the number of people around him had dwindled as he was escorted away from the courtyard. Still, Cecil and her bodyguard (and her numerous cats) were still there. Neither one of them looked Oliver’s way however, and the other woman, Tassia, also.
Of course, Tassia Murray was also there. Oliver remembered her vaguely, as all of Mr. Murray’s wives blended together in his memory. To Oliver, however, she was just another face that would scoff and shame him.
“Okay,” Mr. Murray’s assistant spoke, then held an open palm towards the door to her right, “Ms. Evesong, your room is on the floor above us. Ms. Lourdes and Ms. Georgiou, you will staying in this suite.”
“Thank you,” Cecil replied with a soft, calm tone. She was always a kind woman around Oliver.
“And Mr. Gutierrez,” Oliver stiffened at the call of his name, “your room will be directly across.”
Oliver stuttered, struggling for a response, “Th-th...Gracias.”
“De nada,” she responded, “Todos de los empleados hablan español, si no entienda ingles.”
Her fluency shocked Oliver. His hands were clammy, and he developed a twitch in his eye, “Um, no. I know enough English. It was just...habit.”
“Well, dinner will be served in an hour. Feel free to unpack and situate yourself. You have been here before, yes?”
“Y-yes, once,” his grip tightened on the handle of his luggage.
“Then you know where the dining hall is?”
“Ok. You can find either Helen or me if you need anything,” she stated before walking towards the center of the villa.
Cecil and her bodyguard were still there, now studying Oliver. His hands were so sweaty that his luggage slipped from them. Now they twitched considerably, and goosebumps jutted from Oliver’s skin.
Cecil’s focus fell to the floor. She was not scared of Oliver, but was disappointed. Her bodyguard tilted her head at a similar angle, almost in unison with Cecil. It was as if they were fixated on something on the ground.
“Meow!” A sound forced Oliver to jump and scramble to find the source. Then, it dawned on him.
Oliver looked down at the pet that was now caressing his leg. A cat: one of three. Oliver vaguely remembered that Cecil adored felines, almost to the point of obsession. Then again, Oliver could not judge about obsession when he himself sought after El Infierno.
Cecil smiled, then brought her head back towards Oliver, “Hello, Oliver! It’s been some time.”
Oliver paused, “H-Hello Cecil. I-I see you came prepared with a b-bodyguard.”
“This is Ms. Georgiou, and yes, I came prepared.”
The bodyguard approached Oliver and extended her hand, “A pleasure to meet you, Oliver.” Her tone seemed forced, implying a feigned courtesy.
Oliver’s hand shook as he reached for Ms. Georgiou’s. Her shake was firm and strong, which contrasted Oliver’s weak, nervous one. Her grip was crushing his fingers, like the cops nearly broke his arms to take him from his noose.
The flashbacks overcame Oliver, and he fled to his room, locking the door. Dinner in an hour, but Oliver would not leave his sanctuary.
“Oliver?” asked Cecil, whose voice was muffled by the walls.