There could be no doubt that the allure of Miss Mary Adell was captured in her eyes. Her dark pupils had a way of swallowing any and everything they looked upon. At least, that was the feeling I had when those wild, dark pupils turned their attention to me. Were I the type to believe in the supernatural, I would have called her quality, otherworldly.
I am most sure that the power of her eyes had been present my last visit to her home, but as I was preoccupied with the state of my injury, I didn’t fully register it. Now, with no pain to distract me, the full, unnerving aspect of her eyes threatened to break my composure. Would that Cross were with me now, if only to distract me with his incessant droll about the Corbet Adams case, at least, then, I wouldn’t feel so helpless.
“And, to what do I owe this unexpected visit, Mr. Martin?” The only thing strong enough to break the spell her eyes had placed me under was most assuredly the melody of her voice. Though her question rang with no hint of annoyance at being disturbed, a sudden pang of embarrassment fell heavily in my stomach.
“I do apologize, Miss Adell, for the untimely return.” The heat rising in my cheeks broke the momentary trance I was paralyzed in. “Please don’t think me too forward, but I come to warn you about your fiancé.” Every inch of my insides began to shake. I had not the strength of will to handle such delicate matters as Cross did. Surely, it was not my place to warn her of her suitor’s murderous nature. But, I could not stand idly by while he did his best to get away with murder. What would stay his hand from Miss Mary herself if he one day lost his temper?
“Warn me? About Manuel?” Her voice changed immediately, the melody replaced by an abrupt staccato. “What about Manuel?”
This new sound in her voice sent shivers down my spine. I hated to bring even a hint of distress to her. There was a change in her eyes as well. What were once alluring dark wells, were now sharp and penetrating.
“Yes, I’m afraid that is my intent,” I all but stopped breathing as I watched the change in Miss Adell come about. “It is difficult to explain the circumstances behind the suspicions surrounding your fiancé. But, suffice it to say, that my one meeting with him was not the most pleasant of events.” Her eyes flitted, searching for any deceit I might be offering.
“I do not wish to cause you any undo alarm,” I continued. “But, I believe that it was Mr. Cross’s earnest impression that your fiancé had something to do with the death of Corbet Adams.” I swallowed hard as I finished that last, damning sentence.
“It’s not possible… it’s not possible,” Miss Adell’s searching eyes abruptly dimmed, the last whispered breath of her suitor’s name escaping her lips as she fell. “Manuel—”