Title: Death at Volterra Manor
Word count: 1,646
Paring(s): Kelly/Louis with implied Kelly/Liam, Pacey/Steph/Niall, Krista/Harry, Torye/Zayn, The Wanted/Kevin Jonas
Summary: I arrive at a Volterra gathering expecting our normal festivities, except I find myself thrust in the middle of a mystery I don't want to solve. Murder, deceit, romance, betrayal... This story will leave your heart pounding.
The sun was starting to disappear behind the rolling hills that surrounded Volterra Manor when I arrived. I glanced at my watch and sighed – I was about three hours late to the party my friend Kelly was hosting and, by the looks of it, the last to arrive. I paid my cab driver and bid him a good evening before stepping out to face the large mansion with a feeling of uneasiness. There was something off about the way the trees were moving in the soft summer breeze. Something was wrong.
I walked through the castle-esque doors with some hesitation and was greeted with nothing but an empty, dimly lit foyer. I hugged my purple cardigan to my chest – it was always too drafty in old houses, especially large ones.
“Hello?” I called out. Had I somehow mistaken the address of the party?
Instead of a worded response, a shrill scream tore through the silence of the manor and shook me to my core. I dropped my purse and rushed in the direction it was coming from at the fastest speed I could manage. Luckily, the scream lasted for a long time – enough time for me to run through the maze of corridors and rooms – at least five minutes. I burst through the doors of the library, where I found my friends and the other guests staring in shock at the blood red tank in the center of the room.
I looked in horror at the scene before me. Liam, the source of the piercing scream, was still carrying on with his shrill cry. Kelly – the host – was clutching her long term boyfriend, Louis’ hand, their faces ashen. Stephanie, Pacey, and Niall – the strange, but interesting polyamorous lovebirds – were all looking at the floor with traces of guilt on their faces. Krista and Harry, a new couple, seemed to be missing. Zayn, my on-again-off-again fling, ran up to me and clung to my limp arm. And in the blood red tank…
Four horrifically mangled bodies floated in what I assumed what was once water. Something swirled inside of it and I squinted, trying to make out what it was. Then realization slowly dawned on me: Volterra Manor had a shark tank in its library.
“What…” I stammered. “What in God’s name… Who is that?”
“It’s the guys from The Wanted,” Zayn whispered in my ear, like it was a secret only he wanted to share with me.
“Who are The Wanted?” I asked softly.
“Does it matter?” Liam shouted, cutting his scream short. Man, that guy could scream. “They’re irrelevant and we are so much better than them!”
“You’re definitely better than them now,” Kelly said solemnly. “Since they’re, you know, dead.”
“Wh-What the hell happened?” I sputtered. I tried to piece together a reasonable explanation from the few pieces I’d gotten from when I arrived to that point in time, but my mind drew a blank.
“We don’t know,” Stephanie replied, her eyes never leaving the ground. “We were in the other room and then we heard Liam scream…”
“I don’t know what happened either!” Liam’s voice raised another octave. I feared he might start screaming again. “I came in and found them like this!”
“Well they obviously didn’t decide to go for a swim,” Pacey accused, their eyes filled with irrational hatred and daggers aimed towards the annoying man-child. “Everyone knows Kevin Jonas is a killer. Not even The Wanted would want to go in there.”
“Are you saying someone pushed them?” Niall asked, his eyes flickering to Liam suspiciously for a second before moving to his partner’s.
“Is there any other explanation?” Pacey snapped.
“Guess not,” Niall shrugged. His face shifted into a somewhat indifferent expression – almost as if he was bored with this entire situation.
“Where are Krista and Harry?” I asked, hoping to stop a lover’s quarrel before things got worse than they already were. Somewhere in this mansion was a murderer. We didn’t have time for petty fights. Someone decided to feed Kevin Jonas irrelevant British boy band members instead of fish and, if we didn’t figure out who it was soon, anyone else could be next.
“I haven’t seen them in a while,” Zayn whispered into my ear again.
I was in the middle of shrugging him off when Krista and Harry waltzed into the room as if they knew their cue. I forgot about getting rid of the leech on my arm and looked at them suspiciously, knowing full well that everyone else was doing the same.
“Oh, they found it,” Harry said with a frown.
“I told you they would eventually,” Krista replied in a sing-song voice that made my gag reflex act out. New relationships were the worst. They were too happy.
“Did you two…” Louis looked at Harry with a mixture of confusion, suspicion, and horror. “Did you guys do this?”
“What? No!” Harry exclaimed, taken aback by the accusation.
“We came in here to make out, you know,” Krista replied. Her giggles seemed out of place in such a terrible situation, but no one seemed to think anything of it. “We saw them in there dead and stuff, so we went to another place.”
“And you didn’t think to tell anyone?” Kelly asked with a quirk of an eyebrow.
“We had other things on our mind,” Krista shot back.
I shrugged. It seemed like a good enough explanation to me. Other people didn’t seem so convinced.
“What kind of person does that?” Pacey asked, venom lacing around their words. “Psychopaths, maybe. Are you two psychopaths? Psychopaths kill people.”
“We didn’t kill them!” Harry exclaimed, wrapping a protective arm around Krista. My gag reflex was triggered again. “We figured one of you guys would find them and do something about it. Besides… Does anyone really care about The Wanted? Doesn’t that mean less competition for us in the charts?”
“People are dead, Harry,” I pointed out. “So I think it does matter. Even if they were just an older, sadder imitation of your band and I don’t know their names.” I glanced around the room to see if anyone could help me out with that mystery, but everyone looked as clueless as me. “Well, even if no one knew their names. I’m sure they are – were – pretty nice guys.”
“Yeah, don’t be so cold about it,” Stephanie agreed.
“Says the girlfriend of the king of cold,” Krista shot back.
“Hey!” Niall yelled, showing a hint of emotion for a moment before his face relaxed back into his usual lost expression. He shrugged. “Whatever.”
“How do we know Torye didn’t do it? She wasn’t here either,” Liam pointed out in the short silence that followed Niall’s limited reaction.
“What the fuck, Liam?” Zayn snapped. “Torye wasn’t here because she wasn’t here.”
“Yeah, seriously, Liam. Shut the fuck up,” Pacey growled.
“Liam, what the hell is your problem?” Louis asked, genuinely bewildered. “Torye just got here. You watched her walk in.”
“I can’t believe I kiss the mouth those words came out of,” Kelly hissed, her grip tightening on Louis’ to prove a point.
“Why are you even here?” Harry asked with a roll of his eyes.
“You’re like the Jerry of the real world,” Krista said, her face twisted in disgust.
Liam hung his head and started to weep deeply, but no one seemed to notice. Either that or they just didn’t care. I assumed it was the latter.
My heart swelled with love for the people around me who jumped to my defense, even for the breathing Ken-doll Zayn. I beamed at my friends and their boyfriends happily. Even if one of them was a killer, I knew that I would lie to them under oath in court because I knew they would do the same for me.
I looked at the tank of water and blood and floating body parts for a long time in silence before emitting a long sigh.
“I didn’t come here to solve a murder. I’m not Agatha Christie or some shit. I honestly don’t even know the names of these people and I really don’t think anyone else does either. So can we just get drunk and then hire someone to clean this mess up later?” I rubbed the bridge of my nose in exasperation. “I’ve had a pretty tough week and I want to make out with this guy,” I pointed at Zayn disgruntledly. “What do you say?”
There was a long pause before someone spoke.
“Sounds good to me,” Niall said, breaking the silence with his classic nonchalant shrug.
“Yeah, whatever,” Kelly agreed.
Everyone else nodded in unison. Slowly, each of us throwing one last glance over our shoulders at the murder scene, we left the library. Kelly locked it so no one would wander in there drunkenly later on, which I was grateful about. I cared about everyone else – with the exception of that rat bastard Liam, who I knew Kelly was having a thing with on the side (and maybe I resented her a little for that too) – so I didn’t want anyone else to fall in/get shoved in/die in general that night.
The rest of the night was filled with drunken laughter and lots of making out.
Swimming in his tank, Kevin Jonas ate another piece of delicious nobody boy band. His tiny shark brain was thankful that sharks could smile, because he was grinning like a mad shark now. Kevin Jonas was a smart shark. Kevin Jonas was a happy shark. Kevin Jonas was a trickster shark. And because of all of that, Kevin Jonas was a full shark.
The Wanted didn’t know Kevin Jonas could breathe out of water. The Wanted thought Kevin Jonas was a regular shark. The Wanted died for making that mistake. The Wanted made bad music, but The Wanted made wonderful snacks.Kevin Jonas would never tell.