Untitled short story pt 1 (unedited)
The night sky was clear, allowing for the stars to shine in all their glory. I look up, sighing as I walk to my car. Wishing I was somewhere else, but instead, here I am in a small town in the middle of the swamp. I need to get out of this life I was given, an escape to live and be free from the pain that seemed to take up residence permanently.
Driving through the deserted back roads, I head to the city, leaving behind the darkness and all the thoughts swirling around in my head. I take a deep breath and push it down safely hidden. With a smile, I don't feel; I drive towards what I hope is to be a fun night of indulgence in every kind of alcohol and dance until my feet fell off.
Pulling up to the bar that looks like an abandoned building with cracked concrete and stained walls. How those walls were stained, I didn't care to analyze, I jumped out and went straight inside bypassing the line wrapped around the corner. Even with the appearance of an abandoned warehouse, this was the hottest bar in the city with a constant stream of lively drunk people releasing all their inhibitions, outside and inside. It was slowly becoming one of my favorite places because whatever genius built the bar, they decided to put a library in it. And it was open during the day which is golden. And not just any library but one filled with the most random stories no one has ever heard of. This is what drew me.
"Hey there, handsome," I said to the well-built muscular man standing outside, glaring at all the desperate people trying to get inside.
"Ah look whose back, Couldn't resist seeing my face again" with a smirk and his golden eyes lighting up he gives me a once over and whistles. "Breaking hearts tonight?"
"Haha," I replied, giving him an easy smile. "You know your the only one in my sights."
Flirting shamelessly with Tucker has become a sport. No romantic interest there as we tried many years ago and decided friends was our destiny. Growing up in a small town you tend to have few options, Tucker seemed like a good fit until it wasn't.
Besides, I am broken and no one needs someone as broken as me.
He opened the door for me, following a few grumbles and jeers from the line still growing.
"Thanks love," blowing a kiss I run inside before a riot ensues.
The Library, so aptly named and original is managed by another favorite human of mine, my dearest friend Emme. Built by an over the top wealthy family, Emme was lucky to be able to take over as manager and runs it as she owns it. Luckily the family never questions her skills and leaves her alone, as long as it's profitable of course.
Walking in gives me the chills every time. Inside the building, it looked like a broadway theatre but instead of seats, books filled the space. The first and second levels were lined with built-in wooden shelves reaching to the ceiling packed with books. An iron spiral staircase runs along the wall, leading to the shelves allowing for people to rummage through the selections. Each floor has little alcoves with couches to curl up with a book or curl up wasted with a hot someone. Giant crystal chandeliers hang from the vaulted ceiling cascading warm light throughout all the different levels of the Library. Down below, a marble-topped bar runs along the entire length of the room on both sides, allowing for less crowding when trying to get a drink. In the middle, on a lower level from the bar, is the most packed dance floor from here to New York.
Worming my way through to the crowd, I make it to the bar spotting Emme talking to her staff.
“Arabella, You came!” She yells over the loud music.
“Of course I did, I wouldn’t miss this. It's your biggest night,” I say leaning in for a hug. Also, I need to drink and dance this week off.”
Giving me a side-eye she directs me down a hallway, “Come let's go to my office, I can’t think and we need to chat.”
Following Emme to the back offices, it gets a hell of a lot quieter. Walking into her office is like walking into a museum of art. Her walls are covered with what I am sure are pretty expensive paintings. Everything is incredibly pristine with minimal furniture. A large desk sits in the middle, with two upholstered chairs in front. A cabinet takes up the back wall with enough bottles of liquor to supply a club half this size. TVs adjourn another wall with security footage showing every inch of the library.
Flopping down in one of the chairs I sigh swinging my legs over an arm. Emme walks behind her desk typing away on her phone. With white-blonde hair tied up in a sleek poney tail, wearing a black pants suit, Emme looks the businesswoman she is meant to be.
“So what brings you here today, usually you don’t do the crowds?” She says while filling up two glasses of bourbon. My bestie knows me too well.
“Well, I wanted to come and celebrate your massive promotion because it's not every day you get to be part-owner of the hottest spot in town. And besides, I miss seeing your face miss busy body, I say giving her my best pouty face.
Emme laughs, handing me my glass, “Can you imagine? Me as a part-owner? I don’t know what they were thinking.”
“Yea they were thinking how brilliant you are”, I take a sip of the bourbon, burning all the way down warming me through.
“So what’s going on, you seem a little off the past few days”
Standing up before she says anything else, I look at my best friend, debating whether to tell her or not. We never keep anything from each other, but I didn’t want to worry her. She already worries too much about me acting like a mother hen which I appreciate, on a good day.
Letting out a sigh, I walk over to one of her framed photos of us when we were in high school, together with Tucker we were inseparable until I met him. I shiver at the thought. The one who left me broken.
Turning around I looked at Emme, “I saw him today”, my voice coming out stronger than I felt.
Arabella, I- I hold my hand up “don’t Emme. I don’t need pity. Emme looks at me with concern but stays silent.
I put the frame down, and finish my glass. “I saw him coming out of Parkers Diner with her. He seemed happy. He looked different.”
Emme walks over to me, putting her arm around my waist and head on my shoulder. She lets me wallow for a few minutes, me deep in thought over everything that my life has become.
“OK well he is back in town doesn’t mean he will cross paths with you. You don’t even know if he is staying here for good.
I let out a sigh, your right. Just seeing him jarred everything right back up, and I don’t want to go down that path again. I let out a little huff, “after all these years, I shake my head trying to dispel the memories welling up.
Emme squeezes me hard, “you went through a lot back then, you aren’t the same person anymore. Don’t let the past dictate who are today.” You know I will always have your back, right?
“yes, I know. I step forward turning to meet her gaze. And I am so thankful for you. But right now can we party in honor of you?
She lets out a laugh easing the tension. While I can’t drink, you my dear can drink for me. The girls are at one of the private balconies, let's go.
Thankfully she didn’t ask any more questions or gave me those pity eyes as we left her office.