I wonder what Maxwell could want with us. I hope he doesn’t give us another case to work on. I’m still exhausted from the last one and that was a week ago. Well, I knew it wouldn’t be easy the day I accepted the offer to be a member of the Hidden Clave. Arianna retreated to her walk-in-closet to retrieve a change of clothes. Shuffling through the countless tops that hung neatly in her closet, she pursed her lips as she tried to decide between the black cashmere sweater that had metallic runes woven into the hems and a soft chiffon blouse the colour of cornflowers that had embroidery around its neckline.But back then Gabriel was still alive to lead the group. She settled on the chiffon blouse and a pair of black slacks but packed the sweater into her bag just in case. Picking her outfits from among so many choices always gave her a headache.She let out a sigh and proceeded to the bathroom for a cold shower.
Dominic was lying in bed with the white sheets twisted around his waist, showing off his broad shoulders and nearly all of his lean-muscled body. His platinum blond hair stood out in unruly spikes, gleaming palely against the black pillowcase with golden flowers. A sheen of sweat covered his skin courtesy of the dream he was having before just before Adrian’s phone call had abruptly woken him from his slumber. It wasn’t an unfamiliar dream, but he treated it as a sign of some sort. Whether it was a good or bad omen, it was something he himself had to figure out. Even awake he could recall Gabriel’s exact words.
They were in Gabriel’s room at The Cove having a drink and simply admiring the panoramic view of the city. Gabriel’s strong, lean frame was silhouetted by the bright lights of the city as he stood by the window looking down at the traffic that seemed to never end even in the wee hours of the day while Dominic sat comfortably on the leather armchair facing him. The meeting was impromptu and Dominic couldn’t help but feel that something was amiss, so he just sat there staring at his best friend while Gabriel appeared lost in thought. Just as he was going to take a sip of wine, Gabriel spoke up.
‘Dominic, I have a favour to ask of you, but first I need you to answer a question with absolute honesty.’ he said grimly without taking his eyes off the view.
Dominic answered without so much as a pause, ’You know I would do you any favour if it is in my power, but it is the mysterious question that sparks my curiosity. I give you my word that I will answer your question truthfully.’ He got up from the chair and headed towards where Gabriel was standing just as he voiced out the promise.
‘Do you love my sister?’. Dominic stopped dead in his tracks. The question was so much of a shock to him that he almost lost his grip on the wine glass in his possession. Had he heard wrongly? He turned to look at Gabriel just to make sure that he hadn’t. Gabriel was now looking at him with a stern look on his face that made Dominic slightly fearful. How did he know? It took me two years to realise it myself, he thought as his heart raced.
Gabriel upon reading the look on his face said, ‘Remember you gave me your word Dominic and I know your word isn’t just an empty promise. I need to know how you feel about Arianna.’ Even though his mind was blank, Gabriel was right, he did give his word and to him that meant something unlike some men who dismissed it as if they were mere words.
In Nocturne, many would use words as binding promises that lasted lifetimes, words held power and they were no joke, nevertheless there were tricksters that wriggled through loopholes of incomplete or wrongly worded promises. He was not one of them. Mustering up what little courage that was left after the shock of the question, Dominic answered, ‘Yes, I do love her.’ Dominic hadn’t realise he was staring at the wine until he looked up at Gabriel to saw the relief in his eyes and a smile that seemed to cast away the tension that had built up while he had been waiting for his answer.
‘I’m so glad to hear you admit it Dominic. In my eyes you’re the perfect match for her. However, after the incident with Christine I doubt that you can climb over the wall that she has built around her heart.’ Dominic was about to speak, to assure him that he would try despite that but was cut off by Gabriel’s smooth voice.
‘And now about the favour that I was going to ask you.’ there was a pause as he strode towards Dominic to stand in front of him.
‘I need you to take care of Arianna if anything ever happens to me. I need your word Dominic. I know it’s a selfish favour to askof you but you’re the only person I can entrust my twin to. Even if the both of you don’t end up together I know you will keep her safe.’ he said while looking him straight in the eye.
Something nagged at him, a growing feeling of worry and unease built into a hard knot in his chest at the mention of that, the urgency in Gabriel’s voice bothered him, ’Why are you asking me this now,Gabe? Are you or Ari in danger?’ he voiced the question with genuine concern.
Gabriel waved his hand in an attempt to dismiss any ominous feeling he had, ’No, no we’re both fine. I just wanted to make sure Ari has someone she can trust and depend on just in case I’m not available. Now what is your answer Dom?’ He wanted to ask Gabriel more about his intentions regarding the favour but something in Gabriel’s eyes told Dominic that the topic was not open for discussion.
Dominic didn’t even need to think about it before his answer left his lips, ‘It would be a privilege to make sure Arianna is safe and sound. I give you my word I will protect her as if she were mine.’
~by S.Dawn & R.Shiori