Sun and Moon (part 23)

There was a long silence in the room. Julia and Umbry both tried their best to regain their composure, while the boy – Noir – watched with interest and bemusement.

“You’ve been searching for us?” Umbry inquired.

“Your whole life?” Julia asked, at the same time. They both looked at each other, a litle startled, both having expected the other to say the same thing. Umbry then turned back to Noir, albeit reluctantly, but Julia kept staring at her partner. This boy seemed capable of splitting their thought processes up. They had never tripped up before. And those eyes…

“You heard me correctly. I’ve been searching for so long, so it’s quite nice to finally have the both of you here…”

“Then, it’s not us you’ve been searching for,” Umbry observed. “If you’d been searching for Julia and Umbry, the detectives, you could easily have gotten our address. Were you searching for the music box we possessed?”

“No, Umbry.” The tone in his voice was suddenly cold. Umbry got the hint and stopped talking. “You are right, however, in deducing that I was looking for something of yours that could not have been defined at face value.”

He smiled at Julia, who was still trying to figure him out. “Although I knew the first time I saw you on the television that you were the ones I was looking for. I just needed to wait until everything was in place for you.”

“How did you know we were the ones you were looking for?” Julia finally asked, biting her lip.

“Your eyes.” He looked straight into her – straight through her. She gulped and looked down. “Just like you read people by looking into their eyes – or try to – I can see a lot from how people look at me. Take now, for example. The two of you are assessing me in completely different ways. Umbry, you are assessing my posture and checking to see my reactions to things, and cross-referencing them with common disorders and associated personality traits. Julia, you’re trying your best to look into my eyes and see what you can see – and failing, I might add. You two normally come to the same conclusion about people, do you not?” He smiled at them, beckoning a challenge. “What do you see about me?”
The partners cast nervous glances at each other. Finally, Umbry spoke up.

“You’ve been alone most of your life. That much is obvious. And I doubt you’ve had a prominent parental figure. Your clothes are too big and your hair is messy. I suspect that none of your maids or bodyguards know you well enough to buy clothes of your size. Of course, that’s only if you don’t buy clothes for yourself, but you live so far out here that it would be illogical to go out in the open to buy clothes when you could stay here in the safety of your house. Anyway, you’re exceptionally smart, and have a lot of time on your hands. You’ve bought all this art here, so you must be very confident in the security of this house. Otherwise you’d trust the bank more, but instead you’re investing in material possessions that you could easily sell for more money.” She paused to sigh and then looked at Julia. She didn’t know why she was buying into this, but this boy seemed to have some sort of manipulative control over her. Somehow he was making her do it.

Julia swallowed as she took in the information Umbry gave her. She realized Noir was staring at her, but she refused to stare back.

“Julia?” He asked, somewhat impatiently.

“You’re empty.” She stared pointedly at his feet. “That was my first impression.”

“Empty?” Umbry asked.

“The eyes,” Julia said, refusing to look at them. “He’s right. I look at people’s eyes to see what they’re like. But with him it’s just like trying to look into the eyes of a hurricane. I can’t make sense of it. Empty.”

“But that wasn’t your most recent conclusion, was it?” Noir prodded, leaning forward in his seat.

“…No. I think you’re telling the truth when you say you’ve been looking for us. And I think… maybe you’re looking for…” she stopped herself.

“Yes?”

“Nothing. It wouldn’t make sense.”

Noir opened his mouth to dispute her claim, but instead wrinkled his nose. Julia was stubborn, but she’d say it to him at some point. Later. For now…

“That’s quite impressive, you two, although I must admit at this point that I like Umbry better. You’re more communicative, I think.” He looked up at the ceiling, tilting his head. “Is that why Clay kissed you, I wonder?” He mused.

There was a long pause.

“What?” Julia finally asked.

Umbry sighed. “Julia, let’s not get into this.”

“You could at least have told me.”

“It’s not a good time.”

“Of course. It’s never a good time for me, is it?”

“Can’t you see, Julia, he’s trying to get us to argue!”

“Yes, I am,” Noir chimed in, shutting both of them up. “You two are awfully easy to control, aren’t you?”
They both calmed themselves down, but Julia gave one last look at Umbry before continuing. They would go over this when they had time alone. Until then –

“Why did you bring up Clay?” Julia asked.

“He has the last music box, so he’s involved, isn’t he?” Umbry added.

“…In a way, yes.” Noir stroked his chin. “He’s the last piece of the puzzle and the odd one out.”

He looked down at them, the two girls who had been so hotheaded a minute ago that were now staring at him obediently. “I’d be insulted,” he sighed, “if you didn’t know about her.”

Umbry nodded. “I saw the files.”

Julia also nodded, to Umbry’s momentary surprise that she’d read the files. Julia understood this reaction and shook her head. “It’s obvious there was a woman in his life at some time in the past. He’s so depressed all the time.”

Noir nodded in agreement. “He was definitely better in the past. But you two only know the bare minimum, don’t you? Would you like me to tell you more?”

“What will you gain from it?” Julia asked.

“The pleasure of your company,” he taunted, smiling at the fact that she’d actually expected a real response from him.

“We will be here for a while, though” he added, half-seriously, looking outside at the afternoon sky. “You see, this is an island, and in about half an hour the only bridge to the mainland will close for the night. It won’t open until about nine tomorrow morning.”

Umbry scowled. “So we’re stuck here with you.”

He nodded, his smile turning to one of – excitement? although his black eyes didn’t betray any emotion.

“In the meantime, girls” he said, beckoning for the bodyguard to turn down the lights, “Why don’t we hear a scary story about Bianca Renford?”

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