Monday, 11 May 2015

Let's get out of here!

I have to apologise to my very good friend Leah. I promised it wouldn't take so long to post the next part to Alistair and Frankie's story and it's been months. But it's here now! Catch up with the start here, continued here and the last installment was here. And the story continues...

Photo by Holmes Palaciosview original here on Flikr 

Leonard twirled Frankie out to the side as the song was coming to an end and pulled her in just in time to dip her backwards on the last note. Frankie’s breathing became deeper as he looked into her eyes. She would have done anything to get away from those eyes; they may be similar to Alistair’s but they made her feel totally different, like he was an insect crawling into her soul. At this little display of Leonard’s there was a round of applause rippling through the room. When he finally righted her she became aware of the number of eyes in their direction and that none of the staff were clapping. Will especially looked like he might grind his teeth down to nothing.

Taking his offered arm Frankie let him escort her back to Alistair, who hadn’t moved an inch since she left his side. If looks could kill Leonard would be six foot under by now, but the way Alistair gripped his folded arms let her know that it wouldn’t be that simple.

“ We are going to have so much more fun my dear. But for now I think you two lovebirds have some things to discuss.” Leonard sniggered as he turned and bowed to the audience of waiting men.

“Time to go.” Alistair said through gritted teeth grabbing hold of Frankie’s hand and pulling her toward the arch. Frankie had no objections at all, except that they didn’t seem to be stopping for her jacket. She liked that jacket too.

But the world didn’t tilt as the shimmer kicked in and walking forward only spat them back out into the club. Twice more Alistair dragged Frankie through, gaining speed with each attempt.

“You know that’s not how it works Alistair.” Trixie’s voice came from the corner. “If he has decided you’re not leaving then the arch will no longer work for you. I’m sorry.”

“Alistair, who is he?” Frankie asked, “Alistair.” She said grabbing his face and forcing him to look at her. His eyes were frantic, unlike anything she had ever seen in him before. “Ok, take a breath for a minute. We obviously aren’t going anywhere fast so let’s just sit down...”

“No! We have to go, now. Trixie, please?” Alistair pleaded, “This has to stop. Let us out.”

“You know I don’t have that kind of power. And before you ask Miss Taylor, no there isn’t an alternative exit. One way in. One way out.” Trixie replied and then disappeared, her position no longer needed at the front of house with the doorway sealed.
“Come on” Frankie said pulling Alistair with her as he looked back at where Trixie had been moments  before. She took them straight to the bar and slid onto two bar stools as far from everyone else as possible.

An uneasy silence hung between them sat there at the gloomy end of the bar, punctuated by the clunk of the ice rolling around in Alistair’s glass as he swirled his whiskey. Frankie was the first to break the impasse. “Ok, are you going to tell me what I’ve gotten into here?”

Alistair rubbed his hands through his perfect hair and pulled them down his face, letting out a long sigh. “I’m sorry, Frankie. If only we had met before.”

“Before what?”

“Before I ever started coming here,” he gestured to the club suddenly looking exhausted.

“Exactly how long have you been coming to the club Alistair?” Frankie asked warily.

Alistair let out a long breath. “Around three centuries.”

Frankie threw back her shot of tequila that had been sitting on the bar since they sat down. She savoured the burn as it slid down her throat and the sticky bitter smell of the alcohol while she composed herself. Three centuries! “Well no offense but I wasn’t around back then, I don’t think meeting would really have been an option.”

Alistair looked up from his down-ward gaze to meet Frankie’s eyes. As he did Frankie burst out laughing, straight delivery of comedic lines wasn’t something she was ever good at. I didn’t take long for her laughter to infect him too.

“ So,” Frankie began, gasping through the remnants of the hysteria, “exactly what is it you bring girls here for?”

“You have to understand Frankie that this started a long time ago when I was very young and very stupid.” He started, “I was from a rich family; thought I was entitled to the world and more . Why do we always want more? Anyway, I’d been coming to this club. Back then I lived in London and that’s where I was introduced. Drunk one night, sat at the bridge table, I stupidly said in front of the wrong person ‘all I want from life is to have a young woman on my arm.’ The next thing I know I am speaking with Leonard and signing my life away.” Alistair stared over toward the gambling tables lost in the memory for a moment.

“The deal was I would always have exactly what I wished for; never again would I grow old and I would always find young beautiful women attracted to me.”

“I’m sensing a ‘but’ here.” Frankie encouraged when he seemed unwilling to go on.

Alistair sighed, “Yes the but; there’s a catch that I didn’t care about back then. Every five years Leonard gets a young lady for the club.” His head in his hands, “God Frankie I used to justify it that they would get to live forever. Seriously I was condemning them to this hell-hole and they get to stay here forever, what a peachy life huh? I just couldn’t see a way out.”

“Really? Not one single way?” Frankie asked raising her left eyebrow for effect.

 “Yes I tried that and a few other ways too.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

Alistair sat up and finally downed his whiskey; he’d give Will this one the guy knew his patron’s poisons. “I’ve been at this for three centuries Frankie. Once I finally grew up and realised what the Hell I’d gotten myself into, do you not think I tried every which way to break this or cheat it. It doesn’t work. He finds me every time, drags me back or revives me and then takes what is owed any way he can.”

“And I’m your five year payment?” Frankie said bluntly.

“Shit Frankie, I don’t want this. I love you. I wish you had never met me.” Alistair shouted throwing his empty glass at the wall.

Frankie smiled; watching him come apart was just a little bit satisfying. “Alistair,” Frankie said calmly composing herself, “tell me how it works.”

“What? How what works?”

“How Leonard gets me. How the club takes me. Tell me exactly how it happens.”

In hushed tones at the end of the bar Alistair told Frankie how the process starts when she puts the ring on but isn’t complete until vows are exchanged in a ceremony. He explained how the vows are the key, seemingly innocuous wedding vows but vows are a contract and a contract with Hell at that.

“So if I do this I’m what another waitress? I grow horns and a tail and wander round in my underwear?” Frankie spat the words at Alistair, the disgust now showing plainly on her face.

“If you are lucky.” Alistair replied, not bothering to hide the disgust from his voice.

The bar stool tumbled over when Frankie stood grabbing her purse to leave. Alistair grabbed her wrist.

“Please don’t. We’ll figure this out...I lo”

“Don’t.”  She cut him off before he could finish the word. “I will not be another Trixie in your world, watching you bring women into this club.”

Will appeared at the end of the bar, “Do you need anything down here? Is he bothering you Frankie?”

“No, I was just leaving.” Frankie yanked her arm free and for good measure slapped Alistair across the face with a satisfying crack.

Walking away from him and no longer having to pretend to like him felt good but this was far from over, she hadn’t gotten out of the place yet. And she still hadn’t found Mum. She was nearly to the end of the bar, though where exactly she thought she was going was a mystery. Leonard stepped into her path forcing her to stop just before colliding with him. Slowly having to adjust the angle of her head to look him in the eye, the smell of his colongne almost overpowering.

“Well my dear that chat didn’t seem to go at all as Alistair would have hoped, or I for that matter.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint.” Frankie replied belligerently.

“Come sit with me Frankie.” Leonard offered his arm, once again to take her away from Alistair and once again she could feel him seething behind her.

He guided Frankie across the club to his own private booth, set just away from the rest of the booths it offered the best view of the stage as well as the rest of the club. It was also more spacious with added velour throw cushions and a seat that you could sink into. There was no waiting for drinks a waitress was right behind them with glasses and a bottle of blood red wine.

“Tell me Frankie, what do you make of the entertainment here? What brings the young people into a club like this?” Leonard asked handing Frankie a rather large glass of Argentinean Malbec.

Frankie took a slow sip trying to work out how to answer this question, “To be honest I’m probably not the best person to ask. I think I live in the past sometimes.”

“Ahhhh, but life is ahead of you my dear. A very beautiful life”

Hope you are still enjoying this, the few of you that are still reading ;-) What has everyone been upto lately?