A/N: Ha, I know I neglected this story long enough. I couldn't find the muse to write it for sometimes, but I do now. Here, enjoy the first chapter. ^_^
Disclaimer: See prologue
Warning: attempted murder, minor character death, minor slash Ethan x Justin, mentioned Ben x Michael
The Haunted Britin
Chapter 1: Moving In, The Guy in The Painting
Justin Taylor was dead tired.
It had been the longest drive from his boarding school. It was boring as hell and his father wasn't helping at all by bitching so much about how little care Justin had for maintaining his name.
For GOD's sake, Justin wasn't living for his dad's name only. He was living his own life.
"…and your so called friend… who was it again, Alan Frog?"
"It's Ethan Gold, dad," Justin corrected in annoyance, but it simply fell on the deaf ears of Craig Taylor.
"What's with that look he kept giving you at the graduation party? He gave me the creeps!" and Craig continued bitching with deep unpleasing frown.
Justin sighed long, his head beginning to ache. "Look, I already aced all of the subjects you wanted me to. I even applied to the university you wanted me to. What the hell is your problem now?" Justin snapped at his old man angrily. His father was such a control freak. Sure Justin had come to fulfill his every impossible demand, though he didn't say that he had already been admitted to PIFA.
"Hear me out, young man. You are not going to speak to me like that ever again," Craig glared heatedly at his son, his eyes cold and distant.
Justin glared back at him tensely. "I can live the way I want. I'm 18 now." He wanted to say he already decided to leave the house as well, but wisely tried to hold his temper so as not to complicate things.
"Your disgusting lifestyle is out now and ruining our good name, so I'll make sure you can't do that."
"What, by killing me and burying my body in some remote area? Is that the reason you're bringing me here?" Justin scoffed at his father disgustedly. "And you call my lifestyle disgusting. What will you call a random habit on killing and burying your own child?"
"Shut up, Justin!" Craig hit the break and the car screeched into stop, making Justin body almost slammed into the dashboard.
"What the hell are you doing?" Justin shouted at his father in surprise and fear. He was just kidding with his accusation. No way would Craig kill his own (gay or not) child for real… right?
"If you're not shutting up in a second, I will seriously consider your advice of what I will do to get rid of you from our family," the middle aged man threatened the blond haired boy with serious look.
Justin widened his eyes at his dad. He had to be joking! Did Craig really want to…!
The beautiful blue eyed boy gulped slightly and stared at his father's face warily. His dad was sweating a lot, hands on the steering wheel slightly trembling as if he was really nervous. Craig looked back at Justin and Justin could see the darkness in his dad's eyes. The slightly cruel arrogance and pride that almost could destroy anything that was obstructing his path.
Justin hated that look most.
No… it couldn't be happening. As homophobic as his father was, Craig was still Justin's father. They had their own share of happiness as family, father and son, together. Did Taylor's name was really that important for his father? More important than his own flesh?
"Dad…?" Justin was beginning to get worried. He didn't know any more if he could trust his father with his life.
"Be quiet and let me drive in peace," Craig said coldly as he turned his face back to the road. Then he started driving the car again.
Justin was quiet now, not wanting to make his father more upset that he already was. However, when they were almost crossing the border of the state of West Virginia, Craig speeded up. The road was dark and misty. It was difficult to look what was in front of the car, and Justin began to feel that his father had speeded even more.
"Dad, you're speeding," Justin commented slowly, turning his face at his father. Craig totally ignored him and pushed the gas pedal more and the car was moving way too fast to Justin's liking. "Dad, you're going to get us pulled up." He tried again, but still, his father continued disregarding him. Then by the time Justin tried to shout at his father, Craig had passed the safe driving speed limit.
"Dad! Slow down a little! Are you going to kill the both of us!" Justin screamed in horror now as Craig smirked.
"Maybe that's not such a bad idea," he said in lunatic look.
Justin widened his eyes in terror and mortification, and tried to make Craig hit the brake again. However, when he realized what was in front of the car, it was too late. The car crashed into something and he remembered screaming before everything went dark.
Justin was woken up by the sharp pain attacking his head, especially his right side of the head. He groaned painfully as he tried to move his body. "Oh, god…," he moaned slightly as he felt the throbbing ache in his head, followed immediately in his entire body.
Justin opened his eyes slowly, trying to make out where he was and to remember what just happened. He realized that he was in the passenger seat of the car, his father's car. The bit pieces of images when he was talking to his dad flashed inside his head in disordered chronology, and by putting together those flashes, he remembered fully what happened.
"Craig Taylor… if you're not dead yet, I am so going to kill you…!" Justin grunted in fury mixed with pain as he tried to open the door. His body was quite trapped by the wrecked car body, but he still could move, with maximal restraint of course, despite the ache.
"Dad?" Justin called his father, but no one replied him. He peered at the driver seat, but the door was ajar and his father wasn't there. "Leaving me to die, huh…? That asshole of a father…!" Justin gritted his teeth, trying to fight the pain and the nausea now, since the situation hit him pretty hard.
Craig was really trying to kill Justin, his own kid.
By the time Justin was successful in getting out of the demolished car, he immediately wretched while kneeling and bowing on the soiled grassy ground. "Shit…!"
Justin wouldn't cry. He wouldn't cry over something like this. Not when his father could get a satisfaction from this. He had decided since a long time ago that he wouldn't let anyone control his life. And this… this charade… had lost the little respect he had for his old man, and he swore now, that this event wouldn't even discourage him to live his own full life freely.
Justin wiped the remaining of his heaving with the back of his hand and steeled his determination. He would survive this. He had to think and act smart. First, he had to know what he should do now.
Justin looked around. It was still dark, so he probably hadn't been out for long. His surrounding was still misty and his vision was blurring a bit. He shook his head and cleared his sight. He narrowed his eyes to find any marking in the area. Trees, rocks, or something that he could use as a clue of where he should go.
Justin was standing tentatively, checking if he had any bone fracture or twisted ligament. His limbs range of movement was still okay even though it was slightly hurting. Justin tried to walk slowly while wincing with every step.
"Okay…, where should I go…?" Justin thought aloud, feeling a bit disturbed by the silence around him. The car must have hit the border of the highway and jumped out to the forest area because after walking forward for some distance in front of the car, he could see trees, a lot of trees.
"Wrong direction," Justin nodded and turned around to the opposite direction. If in front of him was the forest, then behind was the highway.
Justin didn't know how long he was walking after he found the highway. However, one thing he was certain that the area was quite secluded. There were no house around, and it was so close to the forest. He walked further some more in the misty darkness before he saw something in front of him.
It was light. Dim light, but it was still light and he could hope that there was a house just a little bit up front.
Just like he had thought, Justin found a house… Or is that a castle?—the blond boy couldn't help dropping his jaw as he saw the size of the house… palace. There was a very high iron gate in front of him, and from the bars, he could see the gigantic beautiful house. He bet that he house had already aged judging from the condition of the iron bars which were colored slightly red by rust and the thick ivies that covered the gates and the walls of the main house.
Huh? Justin thought it was odd that he could make out the feature of the house despite the distance and the darkness. Well, at least it's a house. I can ask for a help from here….
Justin tried to open the gate, but it was strongly locked and chained down from the outside. This gave Justin more odd questions in his head. Now… what the fuck? How come the gates were chained and locked from the outside yet there are lights from inside the house?
But something very strange happened as Justin tried to look for another way to go inside. He heard something, a sound, of something dropping. Justin couldn't really see it despite looking at the ground. Judging from the clanging sound, he was certain it was something made from metal.
Justin squinted slightly to the general direction of the ground, and found the lock. He tilted his head aside in confusion before he looked at the gate. The chain was undone. Justin's head began to throb at the strangeness of the situation. What the fuck is going on? Did the lock just fall on its own?
Justin tried to shake his head to clear his mind. He suspected that he had a concussion and started hallucinating all of this. But he still had to ask for a help. His eyes began to blur and the pain and ache on his body was killing him. With barely any strength he tried to open the gate, and somehow the gate opened or more like opening on its own accord.
Justin didn't have time to think how weird it was because he was too busy being grateful. It would be too much painful if he had to use anymore strength to open the gate. He felt weak already. He then traced the one way small soiled street to the front door, crossing the dark front yard. He didn't have time to look around because he was so focused on the light.
Finally, after walking for forever (it did feel that long), Justin arrived at the front door, and he was greeted with large double dark-red wooden doors. He looked for a bell, but he didn't find any, instead there were big door handles, shaped in lion's head on the middle of the doors. He lifted his sore hand and knocked at the doors. The sound echoed inside, he could hear it.
"Come on… please open the door…," Justin whispered urgently. He felt sick again and his head was hurting so much he might pass out. And he didn't want to pass out outside. It's cold and he didn't want to die from hypothermia.
Some minutes later he could hear footsteps from the inside and finally, the doors were opened. Someone stood in front of him, but Justin couldn't really make out his face because his sight was too much blurring now. "I'm sorry… for the inconvenience…, but I was in an accident and… my dad left me… uh… I need your phone to call ambulance…."
The man, Justin assumed it was a man from his tall built, long dark pants and suit, was silent for a moment before he spoke with soft voice. "You can't be here. It's not your time."
"What?" Justin looked up in confusion. Did the man just turn him down? He needed medical help, damn it! He tried to look more closely, he could only make out dark chocolate hair and honey colored eyes, but his face was still hazy. "I need…help." Justin wanted to protest, but somehow, his consciousness was wavering and he couldn't express his anger and annoyance right.
"I can't help you…." The man's regretful voice was the last thing Justin remembered before everything once again blacked out.
When Justin woke up the second time, he was already in hospital.
"What… happened…?" Justin rasped from the bed he laid down, eyes hurt slightly by the blinding white light above him.
Justin could hear his mother's voice from somewhere. "Mom?"
"Oh thank god! Justin…. You scared me…. Thank god, you're awake…," Jennifer then was instantly beside his bed, holding his hand. She looked weary and tired and it seemed she had been crying.
"What happened…?" Justin's voice was still croaky and his throat was dry so much it hurt to talk.
"You're in coma dear…. Accident. The car hit the road border and it rammed into trees. You hit your head pretty bad and fell into coma for two weeks. I thought you wouldn't wake up again…," fresh tears fell down on her check and she cried again while kissing the back of Justin's hand.
"Mom… the car…?" Justin's memory was hazy and he had difficulty to access it. "What was I doing in the car…?"
"You don't remember?" Jennifer looked up at his face in widened eyes.
"No… something…, something bad happened…. I didn't…, I don't know…!" Something really painful attacked him suddenly. His chest tightened and he had a difficulty in breathing. "Dad…!" flashes of images about his father and his cold distant voice, accusing and hard tone, "-he… he tried to…!" He began to panic and all his breathing passages constricted suddenly. He couldn't breathe, hyperventilating.
"Justin! Oh god…! Doctor! Somebody! Please help my son!"
Justin could hear the panic in his mother's voice. Then there was blur of whites everywhere, trying to help him, probably the doctors and nurses. After they did something to the iv, and Justin followed the instruction to try to pace the breathing, he could breathe again, slowly the air filling his burning lungs.
The doctors and nurse left him after he was stable, much awake now and slowly remembering what had happened.
"Justin…," Jennifer looked really worried, but Justin had to close his eyes and blocked the accursed memory of the fact that his father was trying to kill him by leaving him to die. He was going to pay that! Justin gritted his teeth as anger and resentment welled up inside him. "Where's dad?" he asked, finally, already composing his emotion so he didn't lash out.
"Oh, Justin… Honey…, he didn't make it." Jennifer said with very sad face.
What?—Justin couldn't believe that.
"But… he left me to die!" Justin protested a bit hard. "He just left… after the accident, he left me to die alone in that car!"
He can't be dead! It's impossible! If he died, how come I didn't see him when I woke up in the woods?—Justin remembered the image of him, crawling in the darkness fighting his own fear of abandonment, trying to survive alone at least until he found help.
"I had to walk injured and alone for miles to find help!" Justin was beginning to shout at this point, and he was really-really angry.
"Justin…, the police said he died instantly… in the car," Jennifer said, concerned and confused.
"No! I woke up and I was alone in the car!" Justin insisted.
"You're panicked, Justin…. I'm sure you couldn't really see," Jennifer moved closer and held his hand more tightly. "He's dead, Justin… You're safe now. That's what's important." She hugged her son tenderly, stroking and caressing him reassuringly.
Justin closed his eyes and hugged his mother back. He still couldn't believe that his father was really dead. "You… believe me when I said he tried to kill me, mom?" he whispered in frightened voice as it finally dawned to him. He was about to die. He really almost died. Oh god…!
Jennifer tightened her hug on Justin body. "He was an asshole," she said, and Justin cringed at that. He had never heard his mom curse someone before and the cold harsh tone was disturbing even for him. He knew that his father and mother's relationship was degenerating after he came out as a gay boy, and he felt bad for being the reason of that.
"I am sorry…," Justin said, very sadly.
"What are you sorry for?" Jennifer looked confused as she released him slowly and looked at his eyes.
"I am sorry… that you lost him this way," because of me. He didn't mention the last part out loud, but it seemed Jennifer could read him.
"It wasn't your fault. It was his own damn foolishness for not being able to see how wonderful son he had. He was insufferable control freak and a kind of guy who never felt grateful for what he had. I am glad he's finally gone for good. Justin… you shouldn't blame yourself. Your father and I were already in separate ways when you came out. I was proud you can stand on your principle and fight for it."
"But… if he didn't know… if I didn't tell him, we would still be together and he wouldn't die like that…."
"It was an accident," Jennifer put her hands on Justin cheeks. "Look at me, Justin. It was an accident, you hear me? No one could have known what he was up to." She looked at Justin's eyes deeply and she was so sure that Justin started to believe it himself. "Okay?"
Justin nodded slightly and Jennifer smiled softly at that before hugging him once more. "My boy…. I'm not going to let bad thing happen to you ever again… I'm going to protect you…."
"Mom… I'm 18," Justin said, slightly rolling his eyes.
"Doesn't mean you'll stop being my son," she said tapping his back lightly.
Justin sighed long at that. "Okay…," he smiled and kissed his mother's cheek. "Okay…."
Justin flashed on the image of an old house. Huh? He tried to remember more about it, but then his memory was fuzzy again and he decided it wasn't that important, so he forgot about it in the next five minutes.
Five years later…
"Ethan, have you finished packing yet?" Justin was waiting for his boyfriend to come out from their little apartment. They had decided to move out after the first disturbance of gay bashing happening in the neighborhood. Justin suspected that the perpetrator was from the building in where he and his boyfriend, Ethan Gold, were living together, and he didn't want take the risk.
So, after a month looking for a house he could afford, well, Ethan was a professional violinist and Justin was a professional painter and a successful art director in a big national advertising company in Pittsburgh, so of course he could afford almost everything, he finally found a suburban house in West Virginia. Well, judging from the size, it was actually a mansion.
Justin wanted to buy the mansion, but the price was ridiculously high, and the tax would be hard to pay (of course he still could afford it). Luckily, the real estate agent said it was open for renting to try to live in for a year before he officially purchased it. So if he didn't like the house anyway, he could cancel the purchasing and just paid for the renting before moving out.
It was actually great for probation period. Justin didn't have to put it for sale again if he wanted to move out this way. But he doubted that he wouldn't love the house. It was really beautiful. Yes, it was probably a bit too big for only two people. Ha, he could always invite his best friends and his family to stay there with him and Ethan for awhile. There were a lot of bedrooms in the mansion anyway.
Justin suspected it was a hotel once… probably. So he could actually run it as a hotel if he wanted to. That way he wouldn't be alone in the house when Ethan was having a concert aboard or vice versa when Justin had to go for business trip. And it would earn them more money for the investment.
"Yeah, I'm done!"
Ethan's voice brought Justin back from his brief train of thought. The curly dark haired man came out from the room with a large red suitcase and a dark chocolate violin case. "Are you going to put your violin in the moving car?" Justin asked then with a raised eyebrow when he saw Ethan's beloved music instrument.
"Of course not. It's classic and delicate. I'll put it in our car trunk," Ethan smiled and gave Justin a light kiss on his lips.
"Okay. I'll tell the moving car to go first, then, to deliver the rest of our furniture," Justin kissed back and took out his cell phone to inform the moving car that was waiting for them in front of the building.
"You put your painting supplies in the moving car?" Ethan asked as they walked in the lift to go down to the ground floor.
"Yeah, the suitcases have already filled our small car," Justin whined. "I should buy a new car… a bigger one. Minivan or so," he sighed lightly.
Ethan chuckled. "We're not nomadic, Justin. Our car is fine," he shook his head at the pouting Justin. "Besides, it's elegant to have a Mercedes, almost classic," he grinned.
"You and classic," Justin huffed. "Sometimes I think you love classic more than me."
Ethan laughed heartily at that, his eyes twinkled in humor and Justin couldn't stay annoyed at him. He smiled softly before grinning himself. He was really glad that they could be together. After his father passed away, he was finally free to admit his feeling to Ethan and they immediately hit it on from there.
It wasn't easy at first because they were interested in different things, but Justin and Ethan were compromising and finally they could find the common ground. They wanted to be together, so communication was the key. If Ethan didn't like something he would tell Justin and vice-versa.
Their jobs which required them to leave the apartment for quite sometimes was also being a problem, because Justin didn't like being alone and Ethan was easily horny. They also compromised that. Whenever the other was out of town, the one at home could go 'find' a 'company' or 'companies', as long as it was just onenight stand and wasn't done in front of one another, they would close their eyes and pretended such thing never occurred.
Surely, it wasn't perfect, but Justin was relatively happy with his life. His family was okay after his father's death. His mom married a nice guy named Tucker, and his sister, Molly went to boarding all girl school in Chicago and was happy with her friends. She came home for summer and winter holiday and stayed with his mom and Tucker, and sometimes she visited him and asked him to drive her around when she was in the mood for playing, or shopping for that matter. Yep, Justin loved shopping. For clothes, that was.
Justin also had Daphne, his best friend from junior high school before he went to boarding school in senior high school. They met again after he was in college. Sure, Daphne was in medical faculty in other college, but they still contacted each other and often went out together whenever they had an open schedule at the same time.
Ethan's family was more than okay. Sure there was awkward moments when he and Ethan had to visit Ethan's family because apparently they were the only gay couple in his family, but his parents were pretty open minded to the same-sex relationship. He loved Ethan's grandmother. She was unique and eccentric. His grandfather was a bit strict of house rules, but as long as he and Ethan showed enough respect to him, he didn't bother them much.
"So… finally we moved out," Ethan sighed after staring at the building for some time. He had put down his suitcase in the trunk and looked almost longing at the apartment.
"Yeah, to a bigger and nicer house," Justin nodded, feeling the same loss of their home for almost four years.
"Mansion. It has fucking stables," Ethan shook his head, still in disbelief. "How come we got our hand in that thing again?"
"The mansion? My mom works as a real estate agent. She has connection, and her friend said he would be happy to help her find a house for her beloved son," Justin grinned.
"I can't believe we hadn't just asked her a month ago, so you wouldn't have wasted time looking before you finally gave up and called her," Ethan said, climbing to passenger seat.
"You were in Paris, Ethan. I didn't want to shock you by the sudden decision to move out of our apartment from the phone," Justin pointed back while climbing to the driver seat and started the engine.
"Yeah, that too," Ethan nodded. "Well, it's worth it, though? Can't wait to spending a romantic time in a new home," he grinned and leered at Justin provocatively.
"Horny bastard," Justin chuckled and punched his arm lightly while he drove away to their destination.
Surprisingly, the road to West Virginia wasn't really busy this time of year. Two hours of driving in top speed of their Mercedes and they were in front of the gates which separated the mansion area with the roadside.
"This mansion is gorgeous. It really looks classic from the outside," Ethan sighed slightly, looking totally in love with the mansion and its area around.
"Yeah, the trees and the rose bushes, even the grasses look glamorous," Justin nodded in agreement. Though every time he saw the reddish brown gate and the ivies, he couldn't help feeling familiar, and wondered if he had ever seen such place before the open house period. Yet, he wasn't convinced because he really couldn't remember it.
Anyway, like Ethan, Justin also loved the house, the yard and the interior. The pool house… he had dreamed to make it his studio for the lighting only. He wasn't sure about the stables, though. He didn't really want to buy a horse… or horses for this matter.
"The moving car is not here yet? I thought you sent them first?" Ethan then looked around to find the trailer of the moving car, but he couldn't find it.
"They should. Probably lost, what an incompetent driver," Justin rolled his eyes as he opened the door and walked to the gates to open them. The real estate agency had gotten rid of the iron chains and let the gate open a bit.
When Justin opened the gate further and stepped on the front yard for the first time, he saw a distortion around him for a second, he thought he might tumble and fall.
"Justin?" Ethan's voice called him from the car, and Justin blinked.
"Huh?" Justin was dumbfounded. "Did you see that?" He turned to Ethan, very-very confused.
"See what?" Now Ethan set his confused look as well.
"Oh… okay. Just my imagination then… strange," Justin shrugged lightly, still a bit confused. It was weird, after all. He didn't feel anything when he was looking around at the open house. He then resumed his intent, walking further inside to open the gates wide enough for their car to pass through. "Could you take the car to the garage?" Justin shouted from his spot.
"Okay!" Ethan shouted back and got out of the car only to climb on again on the driver seat to bring and park the car to the wide garage beside the main house.
Justin closed the gate again after lingering his glance at it. For some reasons, when he looked behind the bars, he felt a bit trapped, but he quickly dismissed the thought as nervousness of moving to a new environment, and hurriedly ran to the car to help Ethan unload their suitcases and Ethan's violin before they moved to the front door of the house.
"They key?" Ethan put down his violin case and held out his hand.
Justin put down his suitcase and fished out the key from his jeans right pocket and handed it to his boyfriend. Ethan accepted it and put it in the keyhole before opening the lock. There was the click sound and the double doors opened immediately.
"There's no knob on the door. We should update the security," Ethan murmured slowly, eyeing the doors with a frown.
"Don't. The doors are beautiful like this," Justin argued.
"I thought you'll be more practical for security. You do have several thousand dollars paintings about to be displayed on the walls of this house," Ethan raised his eyebrows at that, looking fairly surprised that Justin of all people would argue him about it.
"Well, I am still an artist. For absurd irrational aesthetic reason, I wish to keep the originality of this house. I mean look at it. It's wooden house. How many wooden houses do still exist around? And you've got to admit that this house style is old enough to be regarded as a 'threatened to extinct' thing," Justin nodded at his completely logical explanation of his strange urge to maintain the house as it was, without any upgrade or so.
"Okay, okay… you don't have to babble that much to convince me," Ethan laughed at Justin's antics and Justin smirked in victory. He always won the argument about something like this.
"Besides, it's in the middle of nowhere. I doubt there will be any thief around," Justin added the last argument and Ethan just had to kiss him to shut his gloating up.
"I know," Ethan said between kisses, and Justin had to push him away as he saw someone walking to their direction after turning from the corridor.
"Hey, someone is here," Justin whispered lightly and Ethan slowly released him and turned at the direction of their intruder.
"Hi," it was a tall man with light brown hair and muscular body. He wore round glasses, looking smart. His expression was warm and friendly that Justin instantly thought he could get along well with him. "You must be Taylor's family," he said with a nice smile. Yes, and he was handsome too.
"Wait, not Gold family?" Ethan pouted and Justin grinned.
"My mom rented it for us, Ethan," Justin said, poking Ethan's ribs. Ethan chuckled at that.
"I am Ben Bruckner," the man held out his hand to offer a handshake and Justin instantly accepted the gesture with a smile as well.
"Justin Taylor," he said.
"Ethan Gold," Ethan followed, shaking Ben's hand as well.
"Nice to meet you. I'm one of the buyer wannabe, also aiming to get this house if I find it pleasant to live here," Ben winked slightly.
"Ooh, a competitor," Ethan whistled with twinkling eyes. "Really confident you can afford the original prices of the house, Mr. Bruckner?"
"Please, call me Ben," he said with a humorous laugh. "Well, I am not so sure, but I do have money saved for this house. I am a professor, by the way, in literature and comics study."
"Great! I draw comic for fun!" Justin said, excited that he had a fellow fans of literary and comic, even though he was more to the artistic side of the drawing rather than the story.
"Really? Wow, you could be a very nice friend of my husband then," Ben's eyes also twinkled at the news.
"Oh, you're not alone?" Ethan asked, looking curious.
"Of course not. Who wants to live in this too big house alone?" Ben chuckled. "I am with my husband, Michael Novotny, and my in laws, Michael's mom Debby and his step father, Carl." He explained as he urged Justin and Ethan to come inside and walked to the corridor together. "Come, you can choose your own room and put your things and interior anywhere in the house to suit your taste. But you have to share spaces with the other families that will be buyers-wannabe too."
"We will share the house for a year?" Ethan looked surprised.
"Yep, like going back to a borading house in college again, so we have to build a good friendship here and learn to tolerate each other. Whoever stays the last until the end of the year will become the owner of this house officially," Ben said with a spirit. "I won't lose."
"That will be our line, Professor," Justin answered the silent challenge with a good-natured grin, and then he and Ethan shared a gleeful expression at the upcoming excitement in knowing all the buyers-wannabe later on.
Justin hadn't had a chance to look around the house in the haze of unpacking his suitcases and furniture the moving car had dropped an hour later in his new living space. He couldn't call the house his yet because there were so many family competitors to claim the house, but he planned to at the end of the year.
After he finished putting his clothes and painting supplies in order, he had decided to find spaces outside his room to put the furniture later on. Strangely, he and Ethan had separate rooms. Well, he didn't know why, but he felt the need of privacy even from Ethan. He could always play to Ethan's room and slept there in the same bed as him. He just needed a space for himself and for his things sometimes.
Justin walked to the corridor and began to open every door he came across. Some were still locked, probably bedrooms for other's families. He came to the wide area just one room after the front door and was amazed of how beautiful the view was. It was like a common room in the boarding house, with fire place in the center front and home theater beside it. The television was huge enough to be watched from twenty feet behind. The couch was big enough for twenty people sitting together and there was still blank space to dance if they wanted to dance there.
The wooden walls were covered in nice warm brown and furnished glamorously until it was shiny in the light of big the crystal lamp hanging in the middle of the opened ceiling to the second and third floors. It was amazingly beautiful that Justin almost moaned at the urge to paint the room with the people he would meet later.
But then his eyes were drawn suddenly by the painting of a very handsome man, sitting in a wooden chair with solemn expression. Justin widened his eyes as he stared at the guy's dark chocolate hair and deep honey colored eyes. A flash of gorgeous smile entered his head, but before he could remember what it was about, he blinked and it was gone, only leaving the feeling of familiarity and recognition, yet he couldn't put a finger on what it was exactly.
Slowly, Justin walked closer to look at the painting further. Despite the strange familiar feeling of the guy inside the painting, the painting itself was really beautiful, almost freaking alive. Justin could really feel the depth of feelings the painter had for the man in the painting. It was… intense. The scale of 1:1 sized photo painting was encouraging the feeling that it was indeed incredibly alive. It was almost disturbing if it wasn't for the beauty.
Justin felt like his soul was captured by it and he couldn't release his gaze from him. He was just so…
Justin's heart beat faster and faster, harder and harder until he felt like it would burst out. The emotion he was feeling right now was so intense. So… unnerving. He had seen that person before even though he never met him. That person in the painting. He was even sure that he had ever fallen for him. But where? Why?
Justin couldn't help wondering as his feeling was attacked by so many emotions he recognized so well, but was also alien for him to have for just a guy in a painting.
Who are you…?
End of Chapter 1
A/N: Haven't gotten to the horror part. Wow, I actually updated this. I thought I wouldn't be inspired more and the story would die even before it began, but I guess, the idea was just dormant. So… what do you think? Did I build the background story okay? Feedback is loved, guys… ^_^