Emerging from the elevator Electra took in the sight of her mother, home from a weekend trip to St. Barts with her new husband, talking with one of her ‘friends’ on the couch. They were so alike, her mother and her friends. They all wore only the finest designer clothes, were decked out in extravagant jewels, and all hated each other.
“Yes, I simply adore him.” Electra heard Olive say as she headed into the kitchen. She was talking about her new husband, Marcus Van Aston.
“Electra darling, how was your day?” She asked as Electra poked around in the fridge, shooting a quick ‘fine’ over her shoulder.
“Such a darling girl.” Olive’s friend, Nova Citroen, said with a tight smile. Nova could not have cared less about Olive’s daughter, all she could think about was how hungry she was, she hadn’t eaten in three days. She had to look good for her upcoming birthday. She would be 53, maybe it was time for a little more plastic surgery. Grabbing a juice from the fridge Electra padded across the room, still listening in on her mothers conversation.
“So how did you two meet?” Nova asked, another tight smile playing on her lips. She listened with a vacant expression on her face as Olive told her the same story she had told a journalist from the Redcliffe Post who came by the apartment for the exclusive scoop yesterday. Nova thought about her own husband, an 86 year old industrialist with a huge gut and a few strands of grey hair who had plundered the family money on hookers and gambling in Atlantic City. Maybe she should try and find a billionaire like Olive had; some women had all the luck. Still she nodded and smiled in all the right places, Olive was a good woman to count as her friend, she had all the right connections and with the money from all her divorce settlements was fast becoming the richest woman in the city.
Finishing her story the two women then began talking about the latest parties, and the problems of the social season. Electra had no desire to listen any longer. Throwing her juice in the bin she headed for her bedroom and stood by the window, looking out at the city before her. She loved her view.
She didn’t know what to do about tonight. She usually went out every night of the week, but with Olive back it may be more difficult, if her mother ever saw what she looked like when she went out she would throw a fit. But then there was a new band playing at her favorite bar and she really wanted to see them; she also couldn’t bare to stay under the same roof as her mother and step-father, a bad tempered man of Dutch and Spanish descent who she rarely saw. With a sigh she pulled herself away from the window and slid the glass door of her closet across. Not bothering to close the curtains she slipped out of her uniform and stepped into a tiny black leather dress, quickly rolled on her black patterned tights and finished her look off with a pair of snakeskin boots. After adding a large pair of cheap black hoops and a hugely expensive art-deco bracelet she had bought herself for Christmas she was ready.
Stepping into the hallway she peered down and looked for Olive, she couldn’t see anyone. She had heard Nova leave a few minutes earlier, and hoped Olive had gone upstairs to her own private area which contained her study and bedroom, as well as the two guest bedrooms which were never used. She turned and studied her face in the reflection of one of the pictures hanging on the wall, fluffing out her hair with practiced ease. She could feel someone behind her , and knew by the silence that it must be Marcus. Ugh!
“And where are you going?” He asked, leering at her. He made her feel sick, she couldn’t stand him.
“Out.” She replied sharply, spinning around and staring back at him boldly. He wasn’t her father, she wasn’t letting him tell her what to do.
“Dressed like that?” He raised his eyebrow as he spoke, looking her up and down. She felt like he was undressing her with his eyes and cringed, glad for once to see Olive, who strode across the room and stood next to her third husband as they stared at Electra.
“What on earth are you wearing?” Olive asked, looking at her daughters outlandish (for their world) outfit.
“Just out.” She repeated, staring at them both, willing them to get out of her way. “Not that you’d care.” She muttered under her breath as her mother pinched the bridge of her nose between her expensively manicured fingers. Olive could feel a headache coming on and she was not happy. She found herself wishing that Electra was still the little girl that she could see on the photo behind her, she had been so much easier to control then.
“You can go out as soon as you change into something more acceptable. You look like a cheap groupie.” Her mother turned up her nose and stepped forward, mother and daughter looked each other in the eye, neither of them backing down.
“Why should I?” Electra snapped, she wasn’t about to change just because her mother told her too, she was old for goodness sake.
“Do as your mother says!” Marcus chimed in, his deep and commanding voice making her flinch.
“You’re not my father, don’t tell me what to do!” She shouted.
“Do not speak to Marcus like that! He is your step father, and you will listen to us and go and change out of that ridiculous outfit, or keep it on and stay home!” Olive shouted back, trying to get through to her daughter; did she not realize no respectable boy would want to marry a girl who dressed like a cheap tramp?
“Oh please mother, as if you care. I’ve been going out like this for months but you’re never home to notice.” Electra rolled her eyes and looked at her mother with scorn.
“I can’t believe you actually left the house looking like that, what if someone we know sees you! Now go back to your room and stay there!” Olive was panicked, this was not part of her plan. Electra always looked so lovely in her school uniform and pretty pink party dresses, she was not meant to be in revealing black leather!
“What are you gonna do?! Chain me to the bed and put bars on my windows?! I’m not a little kid anymore mama, you can’t make me do anything.” With those words she fished her phone out of her bra (which elicited a look of horror from Olive and the craning of Marcus’ neck to get a peek) and dialed the number of a limousine service.
“Don’t you dare leave this house Electra.” Olive said warningly, looking to her husband for support, who merely shrugged. This was why he’d never had children, Olive had assured him they were no problem when they married, and how could he have passed up a prize like Olive Belgravia Elphinstone-Stanislopolous?
“Hi, I need a car from the Derrigio Building, going downtown. Thanks.” She hung up with a satisfied smile and, pushing past her mother and step father, got onto the elevator.
“Don’t wait up!” She called out, laughing to herself as the doors slammed shut.
* * *
Sebasian Belgravia was not in the best mood. His day at school had been lousy, although a star at athletics and the captain of both the swim and lacrosse teams he struggled with his academics just like his sister, letters often went home which said that both students had very bright prospects if they just applied themselves, the problem was neither of them cared enough to apply themselves. Today he had gotten a particularly bad tongue lashing from the new English master which had put him in low spirits, then he had been startled at a come on from one of his team mates on the lacrosse team, the very popular jock with the gorgeous girlfriend from a well respected and old-monied family of Senators. He had put his friend down lightly, who had broken into tears and made him more embarrassed than ever, he had nothing against gay people, in fact he found they were usually a lot more fun and much better informed than the rest of the civillised population, and his uncles Tommy and Austin were some of his favourite relatives, but he was going out with Liberty, and had no desire for dalliances with the same sex. Maybe if he wasn’t with Liberty he would have accepted the offer, he had never tried going with a man before and in his world you could afford to play the field. He laughed at the thought of it, a laugh which was quickly extinguished as he saw a girl running across the courtyard towards him.
Penelope Bradford-Moore was a carbon copy of her very American social climbing mother, Melissa Bradford, an oil heiress, with freckles inherited from her very English father, the well respected doctor Simon Moore. A social-climber-in-training she had been following Sebastian around for months trying to snag a date, her mother had informed her that the Belgravia family was the most prestigious in the city and expressed her wishes for her daughter to date the son. After all, Melissa had enrolled Penelope at the same school as Sebastian in order for her daughter to meet an acceptable boy to marry, and who was better than Sebastian Belgravia? His mother had just snagged herself another billionaire, which meant a huge inheritance could be Penelope’s if she played her cards right.
“Sebie-poo!!” Could be heard ringing out through the courtyard as she ran towards him, he cringed and wished he was somewhere else, but before he knew it she was in front of him.
“I’ve heard you have been a very naughty boy!” She said with a high pitched giggle which made him want to strangle her. He had a throbbing headache and couldn’t be bothered to deal with her. “A very silly rumour is going around and I want you to tell me if it’s true.”
“What is it?” He drawled, feigning disinterest to try and make her leave him alone when he was in fact very eager to hear what she had to say, he hoped she hadn’t found out about Brad, who had a very famously homophobic father who had once beaten his brother to a pulp after he kissed his rowing teammate for a dare. He didn’t see how anyone could know, he was sure they had been alone, but then again things always had a way of spreading.
“I heard you’re dating some commoner you met in a bar downtown!” She said with a gasp and a giggle, putting her hand over her mouth. “Can you imagine?! I don’t know who started it but it was Stephanie who told me, who heard it from Cindy who said she heard it from her cousin Andrea’s boyfriend Harry who saw you at a club with some commoner he had never seen on the social circle.” Looking at him intently he knew she was waiting for him to deny it, being seen with someone below what she considered her class was completely unacceptable.
“It’s true. What of it?” He said, looking at her with contempt. He knew she was stuck up, but such blatant snobbery made him angry.
“Oh Sebie-poo you are naughty!” Penelope bit her lip as she grinned up at him, clearly thinking the whole thing was terribly exciting and planning out how to make the story more interesting when she told her friends at her cocktail party later. “I suppose you’re having to make do with the lower classes seen as you’ve sampled every girl in school.” She paused for a moment, waiting for him to ask her out, “Although you know, I’m between dates right now, if you asked really nicely you could take me out.” She batted thin, wispy eyelashes at him.
“Wouldn’t want to cause you any hassle Penny.” Sebastian said, patting her on the shoulder and heading for the main gate. He would have felt bad if she wasn’t such an outrageous snob. Setting off for the park his spirits began to rise, he would be seeing Liberty soon, which always made him feel better. She was such a breath of fresh air, none of this phoney crap he had to deal with every day at school. Entering the park through the west gate he saw her in the distance, stood under one of the bright lights in the darkness of the park, idly he thought about what her body would be like without her clothes on.
“Hey babe.” He said, sliding up behind Liberty and planting a kiss on her lips.
“Hi Sebastian.” She said, smiling at him while simultaneously cringing at the sight of his uniform. She had been quite shocked when she found out he went to a private school, thinking them terribly elitist and upper class, but she didn’t want to lump Sebastian in that category, it wasn’t his fault his parents were rich. Although she hated that he went to a private school the name ‘Belgravia’ hadn’t shocked her too much, she hadn’t heard of them. They may have been famous uptown but downtown no one cared about the society queen and her slew of divorces. She vaguely remembered seeing a very old film with Lily Belgravia or something in it, but she never thought twice about that.
“Listen Liberty, there’s a party coming up at school and I want you to come.” Sebastian said, he hadn’t really given much thought about inviting Liberty to prom, but he was determined to get her to come now that he knew how much it would displease Penelope, and how pissed off his mother would be was another bonus.
“What kind of party?” Liberty said, tilting her head to one side, unsure of whether she wanted to go. Private school kids were usually so stuck up she didn’t know if she’d enjoy herself.
“Just prom.” He said nonchalantly, waiting for the explosion of happiness which he had seen happen to girls all over school when they were asked to prom.
“Maybe, I’ll have to see what I’m doing.” She said with a shrug, giving him a smile to know she wasn’t saying no. He was shocked, prom was meant to be one of the defining moments of a girls life, wasn’t it? “Sorry that I’m not more excited,” Liberty said as she took in his confused face, “it’s just I’ve already been to prom at my own school and it was totally lame.”
“Hey don’t apologise,” Sebastian said with a chuckle, “I’m glad you’re not into all that sort of thing.” He was liking Liberty more and more, but he had to make sure she came with him, it would cause an uproar which would send his mother into hysterics, a commoner at prom! Quelle horror! “Come on, lets go back to my place, my mothers gone to a benefit and my sisters gone to some bar. We’ll have the place all to ourselves.” They smiled at each other and held hands as they set off for Sebastian’s.
* * *
Electra hit the same trendy downtown bar she had taken Sebastian too ready to get totally and completely drunk. She had mixed feelings about the confrontation with Olive and Marcus; as much as she hated her mothers frightful snobbery she was her mother, and it was never nice to argue with your family.
“What can I get you?” The bored barmaid drawled, her eyes barely registering the girl in front of her as she looked for suitable men across the room, she was sick of being a barmaid and was on the lookout for a rich man to look after her. Electra pointed to a bottle of Jack Daniels and the barmaid set about pouring her a shot.
“Just give me the bottle and a glass.” Electra snapped. With a completely disinterested look she dumped the bottle down on the bar and gave her a far too large glass before getting back to mixing drinks distractedly as she tried to asses if the man in the cashmere overcoat had any real money.
Electra set out drinking with a vengeance. She would never have usually drank alone, most likely calling up one of her friends from school who thought it was terribly naughty sneaking to a downtown bar, or one of the guys who wanted to take her out or had enjoyed the pleasure of her company for a night, but she couldn’t be bothered with her usual crowd. She wanted something else. With a sigh she realised she was sounding like Sebastian, idly she wondered if he was still seeing that redhead he’d met at the bar a few weeks ago, she’d have to ask. An hour later she was well on her way to being drunk and she knew she had better slow down. From her position at the bar she smiled lazily at anyone who came her way, her eyes wide, a silly half smile on her lips. She must have looked like a lunatic.
“You goin’ to watch the band?” The barmaid drawled in her heavy Southern accent as three guys began setting up their instruments in the far corner of the room. Slowly Electra remembered that was the entire reason she’d wanted to come out in the first place, so she had better watch. Requesting a pint of water and downing it to try and relieve her from her almost-drunken state she got up and headed to the front of the crowd which had gathered in front of the boys. The lights of the bar dimmed and were replaced by the crude makeshift stage lights as a muscular boy with a badly dyed blonde mohawk began strumming away on his electric guitar. He was soon joined by a thin boy with deeply sunken cheeks who played the acoustic guitar with more talent than she’d heard in a while, and a black drummer with a mane of hair longer and more beautiful than any girls brought the band together, bashing his drums wildly as the two boys began to sing.
She found herself captivated. It wasn’t something that she could put her finger on, they were just so good; obviously they were very raw and needed a lot of work, but instinctively she knew they were going places. The blonde one wasn’t bad looking either, although she could’t help herself from laughing at the contrast of his thick black eyebrows and small beard under his lip with his white blonde hair. It wasn’t long before he caught her eye; she didn’t break the look, staring back with a smile playing on the corners of her lips.
The blonde boy in question, Ryan, had noticed Electra as soon as he walked in the bar ready for his show. He had a thing for leggy blondes, and this was the leggiest blondest girl he’d seen in a while. The only problem was she’d looked lonely, sat at the bar nursing a bottle of JD and feeling no pain as she took shot after shot. He had no desire to take advantage of her while she was sad, probably looking for some guy to make her boyfriend jealous. But the signals she was giving off were clear, she wanted him. Who was he to resist?
After they had finished their last song to muted applause and a few grumblings about their non-interaction with the crowd the group who had gathered to watch dispensed, most of them headed straight for the bar, while Electra went in the other direction, towards Ryan. His bandmates, Dylan, the master of the acoustic guitar with the emaciated face and thin body, had pushed straight off to the bar along with Rasta, the owner of the enviable hair, who was busy eyeing up a tall girl with white pixie hair and amazing legs on show in a skintight white catsuit.
“That was a great show.” Electra said as she went over to Ryan with a smile on her face.
“You think? Thanks.” Ryan smiled back at her, both of them not needing to say much to know they were interested in each other.
“Yeah, I loved that second song the most – really something. You guys are going places.” She informed him with all the skill of someone who knew exactly nothing about the music industry.
“You bet we are. We’re the best damn band around, you should come to some more of our shows, we do loads in the area.” He scratched idly at his head as he spoke, wondering if she’d be willing to come back to his seedy one room apartment on the wrong side of town.
“Cocky aren’t we?” Electra mocked, raising an eyebrow.
“Confident.” He replied, smiling at her and laughing at her ballsy remark. The band had a few fans, but none of them would dare call him cocky, they all sucked up to the guys. He liked this girl.
“You having a good night?” Ryan asked, stepping closer to her.
“I am now.” She replied, stepping closer herself and looking into his eyes. With her heeled boots on she about the same height as him. Unspoken words passed between them as they stood in the corner of the bar, which was quickly filling up as the troops of students on bar crawls from their Universities piled inside.
“What’s your name?” He shouted over the din, which had quickly gotten extremely loud.
“Weird name.” He smiled.
“What’s yours?” She shouted back.
“Boring name.” She smiled. And as if it was the most natural thing in the world they fell into a passionate kiss, neither of them knowing who initiated it, and neither of them caring.