Chapter 1: Gone
Unravel Me Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Fleurie- Hurricane)
“I let you down, I’m sorry.”
I glided across the ice, my skates rattling in protest as the voices inside my head continued to torment me.
“This place is gone! You can’t save it anymore!”
I wobbled, nearly falling over but quickly regaining my balance.
“All they’ve done, is consume, everything!”
Skidding to a stop, my breath was knocked out of me as I rested my hands on my bent knees feeling as though I was going to fall over.
Harsh breaths of air escaped me, my heart thudded against my chest like a drum.
“It’ll break his heart,”
“Goddammit!” I shout, kicking at the ice, sending sprays of water everywhere.
Still panting, my brown eyes did a scan around the skating rink for any witnesses that might’ve saw me.
When I saw nothing I felt relieved. Relief that quickly evaporated as I thought about it.
It shouldn’t be empty at this hour.
Sighing, I pushed the stray wisp of red hair that had come undone over the pathetic excuse of a bun I tried to tie back and slowly skated out towards the opening of the Rink.
This would be the last time I’ll walk out through here.
“This place is gone! You can’t save it anymore!”
“Do you expect me to give up David!?”
I flinched at the loud words, startled by how Ethan’s guest, David, was speaking calmly until he finally exploded.
Leaning closer towards the closed office door, I strained to hear what they were talking about but didn’t have to since they were speaking loudly.
Eavesdropping was bad but I was curious. Ethan was like a father to me, and I would be damned if anything happens to him while I was here.
“I told you to take what you can from this place, and leave.” David-Ethan’s guest- said, his voice filled with agony.
“Why didn’t you listen to me? Graymoore is coming tomorrow. They’ll demolish this place,”
Demolish this place?
I sank further on the wall I leaned on, the words hitting me like a brick.
“I’m an old man David, what’s the use of killing off an old man? I’m already dead.” Ethan sounded defeated, I could hear him move to sit on his 40 year old rattan chair.
No, this can’t be right!
“Mr Lane...” David paused, his words weary. “If its not Graymoore that takes this place, its BourneFell.”
He made it sound like Graymoore was really only trying to help us instead of demolishing this place.
“Graymoore and BourneFell it doesn’t matter does it? Their vultures I tell you. Their the same, only different names.” I’ve never heard Ethan said a sentence with so much hate in my life.
It was odd and so out of place.
With Ethan, he was the picture of patience and kindness with warm brown eyes that held so much compassion. I can’t imagine him speaking this way.
“Mr Lane...” David trails off, silence suddenly filling the room. “Ethan I can’t help anymore. I’ve tried but-”
“Get out David, I... I need to be alone.”
Ethan’s tone was just flat and... tired. Like he’s given up. I shifted on my feet, feeling as though I was being smothered with the news.
I was so tempted to barge in and demand what was going on. But I knew if I did that, then I would probably give David a black eye.
David sighed loudly and a few moments later I hear his footsteps nearing the door. I debated if I should past by and ignore him but decided against it.
I wanted to see who this person was and what authority does he think he has.
He was younger then Ethan by a few years. Jelled greying black hair, black suit, red tie and a black umbrella on his left hand. I could tell it all as he walked out.
It screamed money.
Probably gets all that money from knocking down buildings.
“The Rink’s closing down?” I asked, keeping my face lowered so he couldn’t see the expression I had on.
The hoodie I wore was probably helping me in that anyway. David glance up at my question, surprise that I was standing there.
He opened his mouth and closed it not wanting to speak until his eyes dart over to the grey hoodie I wore with the words; ‘Lane’s Skating Rink Supervisor’ Yeah, I was one of Ethan’s employees.
Staring at me once more, he shifts the black umbrella on his other hand and nods.
“I’m afraid so Miss.”
I shut my eyes and tiled my head up so it rested on the wall. At the back of my mind I thought maybe this was a dream.
But this was real.
“It’ll break his heart,” My voice was shaky, indicating just how close I was to letting the anger get the best of me.
“Ethan will... Ethan will cope,” He sounded unsure. If he knew Ethan he should stop those Graymoore bastards from taking over Lane’s Skating Rink!
Why was he helping them instead?! Anger suddenly clouded my vision and I could feel my fists just itching to fight.
“Easy for you to say,” I kicked off the wall so I was standing eye to eye with him. The hood fell over slightly, revealing my brown eyes but not my hair.
“All they’ve done is consume everything!” My voice made him flinched. He took a step back, nearly tripping over his shiny shoes.
I didn’t care who this bastard was. He could go to hell for all I care. He worked for Graymoore.
The company that took everything away from everybody.
“You work for the people who’s sole job is to take everything away! How can you live with yourself?” I hissed venomously, the anger rolling of me in waves.
He blinked. Once, twice.
Yeah, let that sink in you bloodsucker.
He shakes his head vigorously. “I-I’m sorry Miss, but I must get going,” He brushes past me, in a hurry to get away from the words I had thrown at him.
I scoffed loudly, shaking my head at his cowardice.
“My name’s Vanessa Vail.” I called out loud, watching as he stops mid way and turns back to meet my guarded eyes.
“If I see you again and that stupid black umbrella...”
The hood was irritating me so I pulled it off allowing my long red curls to fall over my shoulders.
“Well, the people in this town don’t stay away from me without a reason.”
His eyes widen at my threat.
Welcome to NorthVille.
This was a small town with a small community. Which means everybody knew each other but him.
Before he could reply, I turned on my heel and entered Ethan’s office not before slamming the door behind me in the process.
“Ethan, what the hell is going on?” I demanded striding into the office but stopped dead in my tracks as I saw him staring of into space.
“We need to do something, we can’t-”
“There’s nothing to do.”
He picks up a yellow note with red scribbling on the table before handing it to me. I took it, my eyes scanning over the words.
Definitely should’ve punched David.
“So that’s it? You’re just going to give up?” It was ridiculous. This can’t be it, can it?
I resisted the urged to crumple the piece of paper with the words;
“I let you down, I’m sorry.” Ethan couldn’t even look at me in the eye. Apparently the table was more interesting.
“Why didn’t you tell me Ethan?” My voice was shaky and I realise I was on the verge of tears.
“What would I tell you?” He finally says, brown eyes meeting mine.
“That the Rink’s closing down? That the only place you’ve truly felt at home was to be demolished?” He wasn’t angry just frustrated.
“I could’ve helped-”
“I didn’t want you too. You have other things to worry about,” He argued, cutting me off.
“Damnit Ethan, you’re not making this fair!” I snapped, throwing the crumpled paper to the ground.
There goes my control.
“How long have I skated here? How long have I worked here? Ethan, I’ve been here all my life, you practically raise me when my mother didn’t!” I shout finally losing it.
The bond we have was never broken. But what happened today had unraveled it.
Ethan raised me, he took care of me, he taught me how to skate.
This place was important to both me and him. Now it was being taken away.
“Which is why, I’m letting this go. You can’t live your life forever in a dump like this!”
“Why the hell not?” I fought back, taking a step forward from where he sat across of me.
Abruptly he stood up and slammed both his palms on the desk.
“Because you can’t! Vanessa, you’re a smart girl. You could go to a great school!”
His brown eyes looked directly at me, needing for me to realise that this was it.
This was the moment my life would change from the decisions I would make.
I opened my mouth to retort but hastily shut it back.
“Ethan you and I both know that I don’t have the money for that. What is the point of dreaming if it isn’t going to happen?” It was impossible to argue with him.
He was as stubborn as mule.
My head pounded with the amount of emotions I was feeling. It was all to much.
All to quick for me to handle.
Swiping under my eyes, I wrapped my arms around myself and walked towards the cracked window of Ethan’s office.
It had a view of the entire street below. An entire empty street. Graymoore had taken over some parts of the town. This just happens to be one of them.
I felt a hand on my shoulder, instinctively knowing it was Ethan. My hate filled gaze soften into one that could only be described as pure exhaustion.
“Vanessa, I want you to have this.” He hands me a whitw envelope with a symbol on it.
Six ovals around the circle connecting with each other in the middle.
In bold letters, designed directly below the ovals. Rolling my eyes at their fancy term I flipped open the letter and peered inside.
There was a piece of paper in it.
I scrunched my nose, confused. Until I saw the numbers.
“Ethan what the fu-”
“Language!” He scolded, effectively cutting me off. Ignoring his angry stare I look back at him with a glare of my own.
“This is a lot of money!” I hissed, waving the signed check around.
“Yes, and its all for you.” He sat back down in his chair and ran a hand through his hair tiredly.
“What?” My voice was a whisper, my eyes found the floor. Was he crazy? He was going to give me this amount of cash?
“There’s enough in there for you to start over somewhere else, somewhere far from NorthVille.” It took a moment for those words to sink in, but when it did I wish it hadn’t.
“Vanessa I’m only going to say this once, so please listen.”
I brought my eyes to meet his, and saw that they were watery.
“I know you love this place as much as I do.” He shakes his head, placing a hand over the table in front of me.
“I can’t change what’s going to happen next... But my only advice for you, is to move on.” He swallowed, holding back the tears that threaten to escape.
I wasn’t so lucky. When the tears fell, they didn’t stop. A sob almost left me but I held it back.
Ethan was right. This place had already been paid for. Even if I fought with all my might, they have the lawyers, the money. Something we don’t have.
I felt helpless as I stood there, listening to Ethan’s words.
I loved this place. It was my home. It was more then what my mother ever offered me back at the house.
This was my solace, my haven, my peace... Leaving this place? It was parting with the memories I made here. The good and bad ones.
As much as I hated it. As much as I disagreed. I had to move on. I had to leave.
I couldn’t control what happens in this place even though I wanted it to stay. Sniffling, I wiped the tears away.
“So,” When I finally spoke, I had reeled in all my emotions, my tears and heartbreak.
“Need some help packing up?” I asked. A small smile lit on his face once he realized I had understood what he said.
“The day’s not over yet, I’d say we throw those doors open, no fee needed. What’d you say?” As he spoke, a smile grew on his face. A smile that made him look years younger then what he was now.
So with everything in me, I smiled back, ignoring how my heart broke. How my chest screamed in pain at the thought of this place being teared down.
Walking away from him and out the office, my legs felt heavy.
One last hooray for Lane’s Skating Rink.
I threw my bag over my shoulder, my skates dangling off the side of it as I headed to the power switch for this place.
When I found it, I slowly shut the lights off, one by one until the Rink was covered in darkness. It felt...
Like the memory of this afternoon. Shaking my head, I urged myself not to think about it.
Once everything was secure, I walked out the main doors and wrapped a metal chain around the bars before locking it.
I pulled at the chain to make sure it couldn’t open before quietly leaving the place.
The street was empty and the moon was high. I took one look at the place I once called home, all the bittersweet memories coming back to me.
“Goodbye, old friend.” I whisper, my words carry onto the wind and into the empty night.