Chapter 52: Try
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (DJ Ricky Luna- Automatic) & (Tomme Profitt- With You Till The End)
Purple lights are flashing on and off, the DJ is working the crowd into a frenzy over the many hoisted glass platforms.
The Skuro emblem is flashing across the ceiling, a logo consisting of an upside down skull with two rectangle blocks, criss-crossed.
Clusters of people are drinking, laughing, enjoying themselves, as they sat across high tables all along the stage where professional dancers have begun their gig.
The DJ swiped at his console, eliciting a new beat into the crowd as they jumped up and down, roaring with excitement and laughter.
The cool air is a blessing on my skin.
I feel the edges of my short hair fan my cheek as I twisted along the bar, following the base.
“Automatic, that’s automatic!”
With velvet and gold furniture, dark ceilings and walls, a mixture of chandeliers and spotlights, Skuro was known for its alcohol and rave.
Its been eight months since it was open and in that duration, the popularity increased ten fold among the people of New York City making it one of the most prestigious clubs in town.
Dozens of people, boys and girls alike, wearing colorful attires, suits, casuals and dresses filled the club to the brim.
This is a place people go to let loose and have fun.
It truly was a remarkable sight.
“Three, two, one...!”
Glasses shatter on impact, alcoholic liquids sloshing all across the high table and floors.
I stopped dancing and stared at the scene from across the room where I stand, arms folded, gaze narrowed in annoyance.
That particular group had been at it since I arrived hours ago.
I’ve kept my eye on them, following my instincts.
Most of them wore expensive suits and had girls clinging to their arms. They were beyond intoxicated and was starting to bother those that simply wanted to have a good time.
I won’t stand for it.
Placing my fingers in between my lips, I whistled loud enough for the bartender downstairs to hear me.
Even through the loud music and mindless noise, Benji still caught it, eyebrow raised in question.
I pointed at the rowdy group and gestured with my thumb to get them out.
He glance over to the group and nodded before reaching for the Walkie-Talkie by his waist.
I suspect he was calling the bouncers and was proven correct when several males, wearing the Skuro logo walked over to the rowdy group to get them to leave.
Even from far away, the drunken group was beginning to make a lot of fuss. They pushed at the bouncers and threw drinks, demanding to see the person in charge.
Clearly, they thought they were obligated to stay because of their status.
Just because you have money meant you own anywhere you went?
The Skuro was open to all so as long as you had money to pay for the drinks and services. We don’t do special treatments.
After a bit of struggling, the group was finally escorted out and I watch them go, feeling smug.
That’ll teach them.
An arm slipping across my shoulder and molding me to their side gains my attention.
“Vanessaa...” He sings and I know without a doubt, what he was trying to do; Get my attention because he was bored and losing.
I shake my head, exasperated. “What, you got tired of playing poker?”
Evan throws his hands up in the air and lets them fall. “Matthew keeps winning.”
“You knew he’s the best among us, why did you even try?”
“I needed to save my manly pride.” He shoves me, bitterly sad. “...and because he kept egging me on.”
Rolling my eyes, I bypassed him to walk over to the others as they lounge across the velvet couches, all long limbs and black jackets.
When we arrived a few hours ago, Elios decided it was a good time to play poker to pass time. The others had agreed, choosing to bet on peanut shells instead of actual money in fear of Matthew over powering them.
Which was a good idea because the male clearly had more peanut shells then the other five.
You would think owning the Skuro, a business, would mature them out of their childish ways.
That hadn’t done shit.
“I know you have nothing, Matthew.” Zanthus glares at the male who is shaking his head, feigning innocence.
“You think I’m joking?”
“I know you are.”
“Then show me what you got already, what’s taking you so long?”
Folding my arms across my chest, I feel the buckles lining my waist shift slightly so it rode higher up my hip, straining up my shoulders.
Its an uncomfortable feeling, one I brushed aside.
The others had taken theirs off but I didn’t. I never know when danger might come, I’d need to spring to action at any time.
Some call it paranoia, I call it being cautious.
“Give up, Zanthus.” Elios sighs, throwing down his cards facing down whilst running his other hand through his surly brown hair.
The other male had cut a few inches off a few weeks ago so it was easier to distinguish between the Vinyls. Although even if he didn’t cut it, I would’ve been able to tell who is who regardless.
I’m spending too much time with them.
Zanthus clutch at his cards to his chest and glared at the silver haired male who is laying back, relaxing. “I don’t believe him.”
Evan slid into an empty spot by Matthew and pick up a glass of bourbon, lips tilted downwards to a scoff. “If you didn’t, then why aren’t you showing us your cards?”
In response, Zanthus bit his lip and thought quietly to himself before ultimately growling.
“Fine, I fold.”
He puts down his cards and look up to Matthew.
Matthew casually straightens himself, hands out stretch, one finger slipping into his jacket, exposing the cards he hid. “Right then,”
Everyone held their breath as he put them down on the table.
2 of diamonds.
7 of spades.
The worst possible combination in poker.
“WHAT?!” Zanthus swipes at the table furiously, sending cards and peanut shells flying.
Laughter exploded among the group as we watch him implode, ripping at cards and throwing pillows.
Most of the scraps landed on Jared and Victor, leaving them unimpressed.
Jared is the one who picked up Zanthus’s folded cards. He raises an eyebrow at them and sighs, exasperated. “You had a Queen pair, why didn’t you put them down?”
Evan is wheezing on the arm of the couch as he held in his breath. “I saw that coming, I knew he was lying.”
“Shut up.” Zanthus slumps back onto his seat and sulked bitterly in the corner. “This isn’t over, Nelle.”
Matthew simply blew him a kiss. “Get on my level Zanthus, who knows? Maybe Kale will leave you for me.”
“Have you seen yourself?” Zanthus snorted, annoyed by Matthew’s playful threat. “You’re pretty ugly, Matt.”
I find that hard to believe.
Everyone in this room were blessed with holy genes.
I paled compare to ether of them. Which is why it was easy to knock them off their high horse when the time needs it be.
“Alright, that’s enough poker.” Reaching for the empty card deck, I threw it at Victor and strode over to the other side of the room, already reaching for the many empty glasses strewn thereabout.
“Clean up, I’m not doing it for you.”
“Aren’t you the one in charge of this type of thing?” Zanthus pouted to me as the others began to gather up their messes, actually taking the time to tidy up neatly after themselves.
A couple months back and they wouldn’t have done it.
You know what they say, a woman’s touch fixes everything.
“I’m treating you like any other customer.” Flicking Zanthus’s forehead, with a loose peanut shell, it bounce off his head and hit the carpet. “Do as I say or I’ll get you kicked out, Bridgeson.”
"Uh oh, she used your last name." Elios warns lightheartedly.
Zanthus is instantly springing into action, tearing the trash bin from the corner and quickly dumping everything inside with a fearful murmur.
"I'm doing it, I'm doing it-"
“Victor, I need you to check with the security later,” I inform the male as I gather the glasses onto the tray, piling them up. “We might need to hire more bouncers.”
Victor doesn’t say anything, his only response is to nod.
We’ve established a good enough bond to understand each other without a lot of talking.
Something I appreciated as it gets exhausting having to explain myself sometimes.
“Nobody expected Skuro to expand this quickly.” Elios picked up a peanut from the table and threw it into his mouth, chewing haphazardly.
“At this rate, we might have to buy out the buildings next door.”
That was starting to be a problem.
The club was becoming much too full, with a line waiting outside leading all the way out onto the street.
Since we were all in one group now, there was no need to go to the Skull or the Oro, a place where the Moore’s and Fell’s once been divided.
We needed a place to meet and plan, going to my apartment wasn’t the best idea as it leaves my place of stay vulnerable should anyone choose to fuck things up.
Going to any of the others homes wasn’t a good idea either.
In the eyes of the world, they were still memorable rich people. If the press found out, it’d be a shit show.
So it had been a joint decision to form Club Skuro, representing two groups formed in one.
It was a place we could gather, a middle ground should things happen.
We didn’t expect the club to gain so much popularity however.
It gets a bit hectic some times since I was charged to take care of the ground work.
The boys placed their investment in this place, my job was to make sure everything ran smoothly.
All the paperwork, all the inventory, nobody does anything in this place without me knowing about it.
After Veronica stole everything, the money I get at the end of the month from this job is a blessing. Mason said he would’ve given me the cash she stole and I didn’t have to work, but I said no.
I needed this.
He didn’t question it any further, knowing the reason ran deeper then that.
If I was kept busy, I wouldn’t have to think about him.
Speaking of Mason...
“Where’s Fell? I didn’t see him leave,” I ask, turning towards the drape doors leading downstairs.
We were situated above one of the VIP balconies, high enough for an advantage and low enough to remain hidden in the shadows.
“He had to take a call from Marlen. That old man’s been blowing up our phones.” Elios responded as he flicked at the device lazily, one hand in his hair.
They didn’t bother picking up?
My glare sharpened at that, the beginnings of anger flooding my system just as rapidly as he said those words.
The suddenness of it nearly knocks me off my feet and for a split second, my vision is tinge in red.
I hitch in a sharp breath, feeling my knuckles crack as the tray I held wobbled dangerously, one glass tipping over, shattering.
“Vanessa?” Jared is the one to quickly react, the male recognizing my abrupt change.
His hand is on my shoulder, squeezing gently.
I can’t look at him and with great difficulty, brought my anger to heel, ignoring how my heart thumped too loudly in my chest.
Its gotten worse.
It wasn't the first time and I doubt it'd be the last.
The littlest things set me off now, the littlest problems, stressed me out.
I don’t know when it started.
I knew I’ve always had a bit of a temper but this was something else, something too intense for myself to handle. I had to keep reminding myself that it isn’t the others fault, it was a consequence I have to live with.
Unfortunately, the others aren’t idiots.
They know what’s happening.
They try their best to help when they can, but there’s only so much you can do.
Mental injuries are harder to heal than physicals.
“I... I’m fine.” Snapping myself out of my trance, I refocus on the Asian american as he leaned down, his dark eyes leveling against mine.
The room has gone quiet, with the others staring at me warily, some on their feet, some stepping forward, all unsure.
I shake my head, slightly disoriented by the buzz in my head as I tried to calm down.
“Just find out what Marlen wants. I’m heading downstairs to the bar.” Side stepping him, I move out the doors and down the stairs, the tray of drinks wobbling unsteadily.
The music is still pounding away when I weave my way forward into the crowd, dodging drunk bodies and dancing fools.
Loud enough that I’m distracted from my thoughts to focus on something else.
“Boss,” The bartender from earlier greets me as I finally reach the counter, my breath coming out in short pants from the journey.
The room is filled with smoke and I have to wrinkle my nose to clear it out.
“Benji, what’s the schedule?”
He wipes down the glass shaker and picks up a martini glass. “I’ve got a reservation for a party tomorrow evening and another one the following night.”
“What they asking for?”
“Booze, lots of it... and a couple girls.”
Its not the first I've heard of it. “Call Jasmine, she’d appreciate the support.”
The Skuro didn’t have rooms for those types of things.
However, sex workers were allowed to work in our club so as long as they brought their clients back to their place.
We don’t hire them, but we allow them free reign.
Most of these girls need to work for a living and I’m not one to prevent that. The only condition I have, is that they don’t do drugs or try to pimp out minors.
Only those that truly want to do this work is allowed.
If I caught anyone disobeying these rules... well, I didn’t want a repeat of Esora’s Arts, but I’d gladly do it.
“Second reservation is asking to book out the whole club,”
“The whole club?” I took the martini he made me and pluck out the olive to bite it. “Did you tell them we don’t do specials?”
“They’re pretty adamant boss, said they’ll pay extra.”
“Its a no, Benji. If they want it here, they’ll just have to deal with the extra noise.”
Benji nods and cracks at his knuckles, the tattoos lining his dark skin, giving an eerie glow against the sparkling lights. “You’re in charge boss, whatever you say.”
I smile, appreciating his loyalty.
Benji was one of the few staff people I trust. I gave him the gig when he came knocking, asking for any sort of odd jobs we’d require him to do.
Upon further asking, I found out the man had been sentence 2 years in jail for ′suspicious loitering’.
He had been walking along the park when someone called the cops on him.
They stuck him in jail because a 6 foot, dark male was dubbed; dangerous in public.
What a fucking joke.
He’d just come out of prison when he walked into Skuro.
From that moment on, I gave him the job as a bartender. He was a front against the crowd, so people thought he was the boss. I’d asked him to do this for me so my identity remains hidden.
He hasn’t disappointed me, not once.
I’m glad he’s part of Skuro.
“You dancing tonight, boss?” He raises an eyebrow in question at me, gesturing over to the stage where the next round of dancers are making their rounds.
I shake my head and finished the martini. “Not tonight, I might head home early though.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll check in with Maya later, we’ll close up shop.”
Took the words right out of my mouth. He knew exactly what I needed.
The past few late nights have been catching up to me.
I’d like to go back and rest for a bit. Tonight had been too eventful. What, with Marvin now dead, it wouldn’t take long for Jonas to do something to retaliate.
“See you, Benji.” Twisting on my heel, I exit out to the staff only door and pick up my helmet from the racks backstage.
Maya, waves at me as I past her towards the back door, her red nails clasping onto a clipboard.
The early morning air instantly cools my heated body. Its a gracious feeling, a feeling that becomes better when I spot my Ducati tucked away by the tarp.
I pulled it off and ran my fingers down the handles, appreciating how sweet she is to me.
“Lets say we get out of here,” I speak out loud, slipping the keys into the ignition as I got on, twining my foot around.
My Bike purred alive as I twisted the handle, feeling the engine vibrate beneath my finger tips.
She was still so perfect.
The back door creaking open is what stops me from riding off.
Mason appears, one hand running down the back of his neck while he looks left and right for me. When he spots where I am, he ventures forward, green blue eyes clouded.
“I was going to tell you guys.” I defended, sounding a bit guilty. I didn’t want the others to worry, I thought I could slip away, that hadn’t worked, apparently.
“Where you headed?” He asks gently, already sensing my lie.
“Home...” Letting go off my Bike handle, I slump back and sigh. “Maybe.”
Mason steps forward and reaches for my helmet before pulling it off, allowing my red hair free. I watch him through messy strands and allowed him to brush the edges away.
His touch has always been gentle.
Sometimes it feels like he was handling something precious.
It took a long time for me to realize, I, was precious to him.
“What Marlen want?”
“He’s worried about you, as usual.” He chuckles, releasing his hold so he could clasp my wrist. “But we’ve got a lead. A real one. The guys watching Marvin were careless. We know where they are now.”
I guess taking out Marvin, worked then.
“All that’s left is a plan of attack.” Slipping my hand to his, I squeeze tightly. “For now, we wait. I want to see what Jonas does next.”
“You think that’s a good idea?”
“Better to make him believe he still has a chance.” I raise my arms and hook them around his neck, pulling him close so I rest my head on his collarbone.
He easily accepted my affection, going to wrap his arms around my back and head, mouth nuzzling my hair.
We stay like this for several moments, the cool air gently blowing through our clothing.
Its a good feeling.
It brings me peace.
Something I didn’t have for a while lately.
“Are you okay, Vanessa?”
The golden question.
I shrug in his hold, unsure of the answer myself. “As good as I can be,”
“That’s not a yes or a no.”
“I still feel like throwing up if the TV is on.” Looking up at him, I stroke the edges of his cheek and let my gaze fall. “Hell, I can't even own a phone still, should that say something?"
Without a doubt, as we stared at each other, I knew he was probably thinking of what happened that day.
The day at the airport.
The day my world froze and remained that way still.
I’ve always found a way to move on, march through whatever life threw at me, hell I did it with Veronica and Ethan, so what was so different about it now?
Well, maybe because I love him.
That’s what made it different.
Which is why it was worse.
Everything was talking about him, everyone was talking about him, the TV, social media, news, international news, everything...
I couldn’t stand it.
“I’ve been trying to dig into Graymoore. I haven’t found anything-”
“I told you to stop,” Shaking my head, I let him go and viewed at him in an angle. “There’s no point going down that path, Mase, if he wanted to talk to us, he would have.”
“Its been a year, Nessa.” He sighs. “You may not want answers, but the others do, I do.”
“Then tell them, not me.” Swiping at my nose, I sniffled and snatch my helmet from the ground. “I don’t want to know anything about Graymoore, I’d rather be kept in the dark.”
“Pushing away the subject will eventually blow up in your face, I hope you know that.” He warns, frustrated at my lack of cooperation.
I can’t help but laugh. “You’re starting to sound like my therapist, Mase.”
“Vanessa.” He grasp hold of my chin, pulling me close so we’re inches away and our breaths mingle.
I feel the warmth from his palms as his body envelopes me and for a moment, I’m imagining the smell of mint and strong arms, ocean eyes instead of green.
Then the image fades away just as quickly as it appears, making me tighten my hold on Mason’s chest, nails digging into his turtle neck, pain tearing into my chest.
It hurt still.
"You're fading away in front of me," He exhales slowly and held me, a gesture, meant to comfort. “The others see it, I see it, please don’t hide away.”
I wasn’t doing that, I was being as open as I possible could with the others but just how much could they understand?
They’ve never experienced this, they’ve never experience the feeling of gaining something and losing it over and over again, the feeling of being happy and sad next because everything you wanted is always torn away from you.
Could they really understand that?
Mason had struck all the right buttons, all the right feelings, all the right turmoil, because I'm suddenly yelling and it feels like the floor might give way.
“I’m not hiding Mase, I’m trying to take things slow, I’m trying to gather my thoughts, I’m doing everything I can, so I won’t lose control!”
The alley echoed my shout, mixing into the still air and cold atmosphere.
I’m breathing rapidly, my heart thudding too fast for me to comprehend.
“Just give me time, dammit, I’ll come back! I’ll be myself again, just give me time... I need... time.” Stowing away the sob that built up in my chest, I turn away from his hold so I could swipe the tears that brim the edges of my eyes.
That’s all I asked for.
But I was also lying to myself.
I knew deep down inside, no amount of time will heal the wound in my heart. The best I could do was pretend, eventually I won’t be able to tell if its real or fake anymore.
“You’re making this very difficult for me, Nessa.” He says, hands stroking at my shoulders, fingers trembling slightly from withholding himself back. “I can't keep my promise if you cry."
"You and your damn promises, I don't need it-" Hiccuping, I try to stop the tears from slipping but they seem to be getting worse.
The heir of BourneFell tilts his head, decision made. "I'm going to hold you."
"Do it and I'll punch you."
“Alright, that’s it.” Mason gathers me in his arms and did just as he said, holding me tight without letting go.
I don’t push him away, I don’t struggle, I welcome the affection, I welcome him because this was Mason Fell, the one that stayed by my side whilst Thomas was gone, the one who supported me, did everything possible even if he couldn’t understand sometimes.
The others tried.
That’s all that mattered.
Please try to come back to me.