The Koto's mansion was huge, now she knew why Photographer Geoff was too head over heels of getting a portion of his wealth, and she knew now too how this man had managed to buy the business which wouldn't put too much money to his revenue because, clearly, he didn't need them anymore. It was built with a Colonial Architecture design, one spacious house with two floors, and all she could see outside were windows, there was also a garden on each side with a fountain on the left side of the asphalt path their van was taking going straight to the main mansion's parking.
Even with how huge the place was, Reign could still feel the loneliness of the owner, the whole surrounding was quiet, but she knew there were people inside by the bright light from the inside, and the cars that formed a straight horizontal line outside the house.
She saw her manager waiting outside, waving her hand upon seeing the familiar van where she was, and leading them on the parking at the end. She was wearing a black blouse, black slacks, and black shoes, and of course, it was almost mandatory to wear black when mourning for someone, that was why she was also wearing a black pencil dress.
She went out of the car, the manager walking back inside after seeing her come out. She followed her with her shoulder bag hooked on her arm, now hearing that there were actually noises coming from the inside, merely murmurs of sympathy, and whispers of the good things the old man had done in their lives.
Perhaps, if the man was hearing this, he would hit them in their heads for being hypocrites. This was what he was talking about of fake leniency.
When she stepped inside, she was surprised to see more number than she expected, they were mostly old men and women, she assumed they were Mr. Koto's business partners and friends, the place was also immense so the people all wearing black were scattered all over the house with served sandwiches together with which seemed like non-alcoholic wines on the glass.
The old man's coffin was placed on the left side from entering the door, surrounded with lights, candles, and flowers, the picture of the old man was on the side, next to his information. Manager Betty waved her hand and motioned her to come and see the old man. She tried her best not to roll her eyes, and keep her hands to herself in case she wouldn't be able to hold back to smack and took the eyes of these old men's thirsty gazes at her.
"I should've worn clothes like yours." She muttered to her manager as soon as she reached her place and they both looked at the old man inside the coffin.
"They will still look at you the same even if your whole body is covered. There are no ugly ladies with thirsty perverted old men." She whispered back, pulling her close to her as she placed her arm around her waist, "Anyway, you were right, the autopsy showed his death was of suffocation and not a heart attack, but we changed the information right here so it won't cause much of a fuss."
"Right, the pieces of evidence were on-"
"Betty," They looked back when someone called the manager and saw an old man with a glass of wine in his hand, its handle in between his pointing and middle finger while smiling widely to them, to Reign in particular. "You might want to introduce me to this young pretty lady you are with whom I have been hearing a lot more frequently lately, Miss Flora Williams, am I right?"
Reign looked at the hand stretched in front of her, his dazzling Rolex watch was too irritating in her eyes as it looked like he was flexing his wealth on her. She glanced around her, noticing every eye was watching the encounter intently.
"Take it, Flora." Manager Betty whispered, shouldering her to take the hand of the old man.
In the end, though too far from her will, she just took it, not even lasting a second before taking it back again, and hiding her hand as she faked a smile to the man. "Yes, it's me, sir."
"Nice to meet you, you're indeed prettier in personal. If you do not mind, you are free to attend the party I will conduct on the night before the award show on the next day, I would gladly see you there and even make you my muse." He said, his smile never fading from his lips.
"Party? Is that for artists?" She asked her manager.
"Yes," The manager finally spoke, "He is Mr. Harold Farm, the owner of the Annual Award Show. He will conduct a party before the day of the award show just this year for an early celebration, usually, it was after the award show, but since tragedy happens, it was stopped for years, and now, it is back but placed before the awarding."
Reign nodded, but she was frowning inside. Why does it have to be the CEO of the award show is an old man? She would certainly have a hard time, especially that he was eyeing her with something that she certainly hated. She had to have a lot of self-control for not choking this man with her bare hands as she tried getting more information to him.
She was thinking yesterday if the award show had something to do with choosing who would receive the red card and who would not. and speaking of that red card, as far as she could remember, Martin had received their invitation card, and what he got was black, and now she wondered who among those four had gotten the red card. She should ask Martin.
For now, she had to secure a spot at the party.
She smiled at the man, "It's a pleasure to be invited by the CEO himself, and it would be a bummer if I will refuse so I will gladly come to your party, sir."
"Great!" His smile widened, "I will send to you the invitation. I'll see you, then. Nice to meet you, Miss Flora."
He took her hand and placed a kiss at the back of it, and Reign had to hold onto her manager's blouse to stop it from abruptly taking back which would surely seem rude to others. She felt his beard prickling on her hand, and she just wanted to nauseate by that. When he was done, she once again gave him a small smile before immediately taking back her hand and hide it on her back.
They watched as the old man walked back to his circle of friends with a huge and proud smile upon seeing his friends' envious face that he got to approach and talked to one of the most influential people in the country nowadays and even got a kiss on her precious hand.
"You can now frown." Manager Betty uttered as she turned their backs to the people and face the coffin again. "I'm sure you got alcohol in your bag."
Reign immediately fumbled her hand into her bag and subtly took out her small alcohol, putting a lot in her hand especially the back part, and rubbed it harder, making sure the germs were out and she wouldn't feel the disgusting pricked of his white, almost hurt more than thorns, beards.
"Can we go somewhere without any gazes triggering me to pull their eyeballs out of their cage?" She whispered, a little irritated as she glanced to her side where another group of old men was still looking at her...legs.
"Let's go to the kitchen." She suggested and pulled her out of the visual t*****e.
They went to the door under the grand stairs, it was the kitchen, a grandeur one as when she opened it she felt like she was in some modeling venue with how the expensive utensils flash when reflected with lights. There were no people inside, they settled on the high stool of the minibar at the very back and peacefully talk there.
"Now that I noticed, where are those we are with yesterday?" She asked, pertaining to the vloggers and their manager, Photographer Geoff and the bodyguard.
It was still Sunday, and it was the first night of the funeral. She was called by Manager Betty earlier while she was talking to Victoria and told her about it. That janitress had been very informative and helpful on her task, and she was paying her to give back her effort of silently guarding room 236.
"The vloggers are still working but they'll be here any minute, Geoff is still in the hospital. Jeremy got a good blow on him, and Jeremy is, well, meeting a lawyer for fast processing of the fraction of Mr. Koto's wealth so Geoff wouldn't have a say."
"Is that really the reason? Isn't he greedy inside too?" Reign asked, moving her chair from left to right with her legs crossed.
The manager looked at her, "What do you mean?"
"I don't think he was telling the truth when he said he was taking a bath and waiting for the soup to arrive when he died." She started, meeting the manager's confused stares, "I met this janitress who collected the garbages that day, she came into room 236 to get their trashes, I asked her if she met Jeremy at the living room, or the bathroom, or kitchen, but she said there was no one inside. She also heard Mr. Koto's groans and grunts, and calling Jeremy's name."
The manager looked at her in disbelief, she was also weighing if she was actually telling the truth and would want to believe what she was saying, but then she let out a chuckle, a humorless one with an adamant shake of her head. "That's not what I think, it was Martin."
"Martin? Martin the vlogger?"
"Yes, the one you were with that night. Didn't you notice the scent of the room? It smells like his perfume. He also had scratches on his arms, which probably came from Mr. Koto's fingers in defense." She explained with conviction, but it didn't make sense to her.
"How is my claim? Jeremy-"
"What is it about me?"
They jumped in surprised as they looked back and saw the bodyguard wearing a black polo shirt with a blank expression, a brown envelope was in his hand.