Electra looked up at the ranch with a nervous shudder as she emerged from the limousine her mother had hired for her to drive from the Redcliffe penthouse to Belgrave Ranch. She usually felt waves of happiness when she saw her favourite home, but the summons she had received from Olive made her nervous, clearly she had something to gripe about.
“Anyone home?” Electra shouted as she walked into the main hall.
Looking around the double story room she felt a smile forming on her face as she remembered when she first brought Ryan here, and Olive’s look of horror at seeing such an uncouth boy. Hearing voices in the direction of the kitchen she set off to find her mother, still quailing inside as she thought about what she was going to say.
“Yes Matthew – well transfer 300 million to the secondary account and I’ll have my accountant have a little play around on the stock market. Okay,” She ushered Electra into the breakfast room with a hand gesture as she finished off her call, “thank you. You too, goodnight.”
“There you are.” Olive said as she hung up. Electra stood her ground, looking at her mother as if she hadn’t been sneaking around playing gigs when she was supposed to be at school; as if she hadn’t dyed her hair orange; as if everything was as it always was. “What on earth have you done to your hair?” She came over and twirled a strand of Electra’s hair between her fingers with a sour expression.
“It’s my hair, I can do what I want with it.” Electra slapped her hand away and moved back a few steps. As much as she hated to admit it she was scared of her mother, she had seen what she could be like in a bad mood.
“I saw something very interesting in the paper today.” She paused for effect as Electra continued to stare at her, neither one was willing to drop their eyes first. “It was the most interesting thing. You and a ragtag group of boys, playing a concert.” She spat the words out as if they were poison.
“So what? The ‘so what’ is that you will never see those boys again. We’re going to London to get away, we can stay for a month or two, and by the time you come home this will have all blown over; while we’re there we can go to Nicky Clarke and get that awful orange out of your hair.”
“What?! I don’t think so. You never understand me, why can’t we just talk about it?! I want to be a singer okay, why is that so bad?!” Electra screamed, losing her temper, Olive’s cool demeanor had caught her off guard, she wanted her to scream and shout, it was as if she didn’t even care about her.
“Because that’s not what people like us do. You marry well, you have a few homes, you have children to continue the legacy, and you give generously to charity. You don’t go wild and join a rock band.” Electra was furious, her mother wanted to have the same life as her – but she didn’t want that. Pinching the bridge of her nose in a gesture horribly alike to her mother Electra gave a loud sigh.
“You really don’t understand me at all do you mama?” For a second she felt like a child again, then she snapped. She didn’t want to be here anymore, she realised that however much she loved her mother she couldn’t stand being in her company.
“No I really don’t. Now go and pack, or we can just buy you things in London, god knows you need them.” She looked up and down at Electra’s all black outfit with her favourite cowboy boots and sighed. “What did I do to deserve a daughter like you?” She mumbled to herself.
“I’ll leave then!” Electra screamed, “if I’m such a bad daughter I’ll just go! You’ll never have to see me again!”
“And where would you go? To your little boyfriends, Ryan, isn’t it?” Electra was shocked that she knew about Ryan, as far as Electra knew Olive thought that Ryan was Winthorpe IIII, one of Sebastian’s friends. “Yes, I know all about him, I hired someone to tell me everything I need to know. Apparently he lives in a one bedroom apartment on the wrong side of town. You’re staying right where you are.”
“I am not! I’ll find somewhere to live, anywhere would be better than with you!”
“Be quiet! You don’t know what it’s like out there, you think you’re so different, joining a band and dying your hair orange, you couldn’t begin to imagine what living in poverty is like, how would you survive? I don’t think you could hold down a job.” Olive said, silencing Electra with her hand.
“And how would you know? You’ve lived in mansions since you were born and never worked a day in your life!” Electra screamed back at her, getting angrier by the second that Olive was hardly raising her voice.
“I’ve done more than you know.” Olive replied, looking down as she remembered the years where she lived in the tiny cottage with the newborn Electra after her escape from Miami and Riley; hardly able to pay the bills whilst working in a bar making pennies. She didn’t hear a word Electra said as she felt the memories coming back to her, Riley on top of her, grabbing her, blacking out…
“Mama!” Electra shouted, realising her mother wasn’t listening to a word she was saying. She didn’t even care enough to listen when she was threatening to move out. With tears welling up in her eyes she turned on her heel and ran from the room, she couldn’t let Olive know she cared.
She ran straight through the house and up to her bedroom, as she slammed the heavy wooden door shut she slid to the ground, tears flowing from her eyes. It was a few minutes before she could think straight; picking herself up she headed into her bathroom and locked the door behind her. She had to get out of here. She dialed the one person she knew would care – Ryan.
“Ryan?!” She mumbled, sniffing and wiping away tears as she spoke, “I need you to come and get me from the ranch, I’m leaving but I’m trapped and I can’t drive because mother says that’s what drivers are for – I just need you to come,” She was cut of from her hysterics as Ryan told her he was on his way and to keep calm.
“Get here quick.” She sobbed as she sunk to the ground. Ryan wouldn’t be here for an hour or so, she had to get herself together. She couldn’t let him see her like this; she couldn’t let herself get like this over her mother. Wiping away the tears with the sleeve of her turtleneck she stood up and headed to the mirror, washing her face before applying fresh makeup. She wasn’t going to let Olive see her sweat.
Once she thought she looked ready she settled down on the sofa and waited, checking out of the window for any sign of Ryan’s truck every few minutes as she simultaneously thought what clothes she would need to take with her when she left.
As the minutes ticked by Electra began to panic. How would Ryan get in? If Olive had her way he’d never make it up the drive, it was a good job that the house didn’t have gates, if they were in the house in France he’d never get over the high walls or through the electric gates which were watched at all times by two heavy set french-men with rottweilers. Pulling out her phone she sent him a quick text telling him to just run up, the doors were usually left open – the house was too far from anywhere to be worried about robbers. When he arrived an hour later, out of breath from running through the house with Olive’s shrieks behind him, he locked the door behind him and joined Electra on the sofa, letting her nestle into him; she was safe.
As she finished telling him what had happened with her mother they heard a rap on the door and exasperated sounds as someone tried to open the locked door.
“Electra! Open this door right now!” It was Olive.
“Go away!” Electra screamed back, snuggling further into Ryan. “I have to get out of here, I can’t stay with her any longer.” She told him as they faced each other.
“Lets go then, we can make it work.” Ryan replied, sounding a lot more confident than he felt.
“I love you. Now we just have to get rid of my mother.” Electra gave Ryan a quick kiss and jumped up from the sofa, pacing the bathroom as she thought about what to do. There was a lock on her bedroom door, if she could get rid of Olive they could hole themselves up in there until she left.
“Open the door Electra, I’m not joking!” She heard from the other side as Olive paced up and down her daughters bedroom.
Taking a deep breath she went to the heavy oak door and turned the key, throwing it open with far too much dramatic effect.
“Get out!!” Electra screamed, running at her mother who backed off quickly, her cool exterior shattered for a moment as she was caught off-guard. “Just leave me alone!” Ryan stood in the bathroom doorway as Electra let rip, telling her mother everything that she hated about her; how she never paid her any attention; how she only cared what other people thought; how she had never gave any thought to what she was feeling.
“Electra, calm down!” Olive said, finally realising that her daughter was serious. “We can work this out, come to London and we can spend time together, the jet’s waiting for us.”
“Argh! Stop with your stupid jets and trips, I want to stay here with Ryan and Sebastian, with my friends, where I can play my music!” Olive visibly paled as she spoke about the music; she didn’t want her only daughter wasting her life playing in scum infested bars never getting anywhere.
“Electra please!” Olive threw up her hands in despair, genuinely scared that Electra may lash out and strike her.
“JUST GET OUT OF MY LIFE!” Electra screamed, her face contorting in anger. Looking at the eyes blazing with fury, the mouth twisted in an ugly expression of rage Olive was reminded of Riley, Electra’s father, and the night he had attacked her. She backed away from her daughter, who wasn’t herself anymore, it was Riley all over again and she had to escape.
Turning on her heel she fled from the room, jumping into the waiting limousine which had been meant for her and Electra. An hour later she was on her way to London.
* * *
“I’m so glad you’re here, I’ve missed you.” Sebastian told his girlfriend Liberty as they embraced in front of the ranch. He hadn’t seen her for almost a week as she had been away with her parents, then had to attend her cousins wedding on the day she got back. She had drove through the night to reach the ranch and was looking ridiculously overdressed as she hadn’t had time to change since the wedding.
“Lets go inside.” Liberty said, shivering a little in the autumn breeze.
Sebastian was glad his mother had left for London the night before, he didn’t want to deal with her questioning who Liberty was; although dressed like this she could pass for a Redcliffe socialite any day. Standing in front of the blazing fire to ward off the draft they held each other and caught up on everything that had happened in the past week; they had never not spoke for so long. Sebastian found himself thanking god (even though he didn’t believe in him) that he had persuaded Electra to take him out that night; the night he met Liberty.
“Wanna dance?” She asked, turning on the stereo and beginning to groove around him as he laughed at her spontaneity. These were the moments he loved, just dancing, talking, laughing.
“We should go out.” Sebastian said as he danced to The Rolling Stones. “I think you might be a little overdressed though.” He continued, laughing.
“I’m not going out in this dress, lets just stay in.” Liberty replied, switching to Björk and coming closer to Sebastian.
“I’m sure my sister can lend you something…” He trailed off, not really interested in going out anymore, wanting to spend the day with her all alone.
“I’m not even sure if she’s here.” He said, trying to think if he had seen her last night or this morning. He had arrived at the house just after Olive had left for London, passing her in his car as her limousine flew past him. Electra’s door had been locked when he arrived but she usually locked in when she wasn’t here, he could have sworn she said she was coming to talk to Olive though.
“What are you thinking about?” Liberty asked, noticing the expression on his face.
“Just wondering about my sister. Come upstairs? She’ll give you some clothes while we’re there, I suppose you don’t want to chill around the house in this?” He said, fingering the chiffon material of part of the dress before holding her hands.
The two of them headed upstairs, walking along the wood paneled hallway to Electra’s bedroom. The door was still locked, but he could hear voices inside.
“Hey, sis? Open up!” He shouted, thumping the door with his fist. He heard her shout back and a few seconds later the door was thrown open for him to find Electra staring at them and Ryan in the background furiously packing suitcases.
“What’re you doing?” Sebastian asked as he stepped into the room.
“We’re leaving.” Ryan replied, throwing some of Electra’s jerseys into a suitcase which was full to bursting and zipping it up.
“What do you mean? Where’re you going?” Sebastian asked, confused. He thought they might have been going on a trip, not leaving home forever.
“I’m leaving Sebastian. Me and Ryan are gonna find a place. I’ve had enough of mom.”
“You can’t! I mean I know she’s not the best mother -” Electra gave a snort of laughter as he spoke, “-but she’s still our mama, you can’t just go…” He said, looking down at the floor nervously, he was worried for Electra.
“Me and Ryan were thinking-” Electra gave Ryan a look, who nodded back, “-that you could come with us? I know you love mother and everything but think how fun it would be, you should come too Liberty.” She added, giving Liberty, who had stepped out of her dress totally un-self consciously and was putting on some clothes Electra had given her, a smile. The two girls weren’t best friends but they were getting closer.
“I – I can’t, what about school and um -” Sebastian trailed off as he thought about it. What really was keeping him at home? They were almost 18, maybe it was time to fly the nest.
“Come on, we can all get jobs and with four of us pooling cash we could get a really cool apartment nearby, I don’t think we’re going back to Redcliffe. Too close to mom.” Electra was getting really into the idea now, grabbing Sebastian by the shoulders and throwing her hands around animatedly as she tried to convince him
“Well I guess… yeah… yeah! I mean I can’t speak for Liberty -” He threw her a smile, “- I hope she’ll come though.” He said in an undertone, thinking that if Liberty wasn’t willing to come he probably wouldn’t come either. Now that he was on board he was all for it and ran to his bedroom where Liberty helped him gather a few things into a suitcase and carried his favourite signed football down to his car for him, which they were taking because it had four seats, Ryan would pick his truck up later. They were soon joined by Electra, who looked around as if Olive would spring out from behind the shrubbery and catch them, and Ryan, who struggled to carry all of Electra’s many many bags and trunks. The four of them looked at each other nervously before turning for another look at the house, a place which had given them all so much joy.
The four of them got into the car in silence; they were leaving this life behind, and none of them knew what was going to happen next.
* * *