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Ripping Wings off of Butterflies
The girl stood with her jet black hair whipping in the wind, leaning over the side of the bridge, gazing down into the crushing water below her. Rushing cars blared from behind, but they were nothing to the sound of her pounding heart. She shivered and, taking a deep breath, climbed over the side until she dangled perilously from the rail. The cold metal bit into her hands as she looked over her shoulder and gulped at the waves that awaited her. “Goodbye, Jamie,” she whispered chokingly, “I will always love you.” And, with those words, she let go of life…and released her hold.
Ivy Rose woke with a start, sweat drenched and shaken. She could still partially feel the wind smacking against her as she fell. It was only a dream, she thought, attempting to calm herself. She closed her eyes and counted slowly to ten. Finding this ineffective, she threw the covers off and stomped to the bathroom where she flung herself into the scalding shower. Despite the time, Ivy went through her morning routine until she was completely ready to walk out the door…two hours early. Glancing at her watch, the seventeen year old sighed and slumped back onto the couch in a huff. So my subconscious now looks to suicide, she thought, laughing humorlessly, Looks like another visit to Dr. Hemplar’s office is in my future. Great. He’ll put me on another antidepressant for sure, or maybe he’s reached his limit and will just give me a jug of happy gas to keep my spirits up. If only if only…
The distinctive sound of her mother’s mechanical toothbrush buzzing to life in the next room interrupted her thoughts. Ivy jumped up in an attempt to hide before she was spotted awake so early. She dashed over to her bedroom door but it was too late. An extremely tired Cecelia Rose walked out of the bathroom, rubbing her eyes with sleep. “Ivy?” she called, yawning, “Ivy, is that you?”
Crap. “Morning,” she said.
“What are you doing up?” Cecelia asked.
“I’m just going back to bed now,” she said, turning to go.
“That’s not answering my question. Did you have another nightmare?”
“No. I just had to go to the bathroom.”
She wasn’t buying it, “Why are you dressed then?”
Ivy sighed in defeat, “Fine. I had a nightmare. What’s the big deal?”Okay, so maybe dreaming about killing yourself is a little significant.
Cecelia crossed her arms, “The big deal is that you’re a fragile child who’s been through some tough times recently, so if you’re still having these nightmares we may need to find you some medical help to get you fixed!”
Ivy’s feature’s darkened, “Fine then, get me ‘fixed’ so you can kid yourself into believing you’re mother of the year. Please disregard that I’m the way I am because of you and Evelyn! You both abandoned me back in Ligonier and you still think there’s no problem here! Dad almost killed me! Do you see this scar on my face? Do you see what I have to live with everyday because you left me to fend for myself with your drunken husband? And now I don’t even have Jamie, the one person that really cares about me, to keep me from going completely insane. Do you realize how sad it is that my boyfriend took better care of me than you did?”
At that point Ivy’s disgruntled sister Evelyn Rose emerged from her bedroom, “What are you two yelling about this time?”
Ivy threw an arctic glare on her older sister and blustered out the front door like a hurricane, slamming it behind her. “Well that was fun. I’m going back to bed,” Evelyn said, yawning indifferently.
Her eyes stinging with tears, Ivy wrenched open the door of her Honda and threw in her backpack before climbing into the driver’s seat. She gunned the engine and drove well over the speed limit regardless of her premature departure, trying desperately to escape the intrusive faces at home.
Naturally, Ivy arrived obscenely early to school so she parked her car in the most coveted spot closest to the front door. She realized with a smirk that the jocks that enjoyed a morning smoke in the athletic department’s storage shed nearby wouldn’t be so happy about her decision.
Preparing for the blissful time of solitude she hoped to soon experience, Ivy leaned back all the way in her seat and clicked on her iPod. But she discovered that she had no hope of relaxation while the memory of her dream still lingered. So, sighing, she pulled out her seldom used diary and opened up to a new page.
I think I’m really losing it now. The nightmares are getting worse and last night I actually dreamed I committed suicide. And the really scary thing I’ve realize is that, without Jamie, I feel like I have nothing to keep me going anymore, nothing to stop me from letting go of the bridge. I need him and I’m really worried that things could seriously get to that point. Without him, I’m veritably alone in the world. So, I guess, the real problem is not that I want to kill myself, but that I want to know if anyone would even mind. I understand now that I’m never going to be able to just forget about him and move on, but I just wish that I could know whether or not he already has. Things were so much better back in Ligonier, even when Cecelia bailed on me I was happier than I am now, and it’s all because of him. And I get the fact that she couldn’t live with a man she never felt safe around (not that she was the one who really did have to live with him). But she didn’t have to force me into coming to some New York bedroom community with her and cast off any remnants of my happiness along the way. Jamie invited me to stay with him and I was fully ready to. She had no right to step in and take control of my life because, as far as I’m concerned, she lost all motherly power over me when she left. She’s never experienced love before, and so she’ll never appreciate exactly what he means to me.
Ivy read over what she wrote and decided that was quite enough emotional stress for one day, but at least she did feel a bit better about the whole thing. So, with the weight lifted, she was able to finally unwind, and before Ivy knew it, she was fast asleep.
A sudden movement underneath her jostled Ivy awake. There would be a freaking earthquake under my car today. She blinked her eyes open and, fuzzy with sleep; she was able to make out a navy blue wall directly in front of her face. What the…? The upper half of her body bounced rhythmically against the wall and her mind registered the gentle pat of feet on pavement beneath her. Then she put two and two together with a jolt: someone was carrying her, fireman style, through the parking lot to an unknown location. Ivy lifted her body up and fought against the muscular arm holding her down at his shoulder. The hold tightened and her captor whipped his head around, revealing spiky hair and an arrogant face with mocking blue eyes, “Hey look guys! She’s up!” She recognized him as a senior named Gale Rivera.
He hoisted her around to a cradle position, “Morning sleepyhead.” He stuck his face dangerously close to hers and smiled viciously.
She tried to shove him away but one of the guys in the group grabbed her arms and held up a roll of duct tape threateningly. Ivy slackened. “Hope you don’t mind babe, but we re-parked your car,” another boy pointed toward a section of the woods that encircled the school where a lonely Accord sat dejectedly at the farthest possible place from the front door. “You see, we weren’t too happy to have our spot taken.”
The one with the duct tape spoke up, “You should be thanking us. I wanted to wreck it into a tree but Rivera here insisted we just relocate it until you have a chance to get it back.”
“Put me down!” Ivy yelled; losing her control momentarily. Something was telling her she wasn’t getting a piggyback ride just to get to homeroom.
They all laughed heartily at this. Ivy struggled desperately against Gale’s iron grip, but his arms imprisoned her well, not allowing for even the slightest movement. “C’mon cupcake, why don’t you join me someplace where we can be alone for a while, huh?”
She considered screaming, but remembered the roll of duct tape and realized it wouldn’t do any good anyway. You just need to calm down, Ivy. You can’t let them know how scared you are; take control. Accordingly, she snorted loudly and rolled her eyes, “You wish.”
Gale’s expression darkened and he stopped walking, “Oh do I? I can have anything I want, including you. And I will have you.”
The athletics shed stood only a few feet away. They had clearly reached their destination. Hoping he wouldn’t notice the beads of sweat forming on her forehead, she continued the charade, “If only you were so lucky.”
“Oh but I am sweetheart,” he said, leaning in and shoving his lips to hers.
Ivy’s eyes widened with all thoughts of subtlety forgotten. “Get your sleazy hands off me!” She dug her heel into his shin and broke away from his grip at last. With her feet flat on the ground again, Ivy turned and kneed him in the crotch. She didn’t make it two steps away from him before both brutish members of his group grabbed her and threw her into the shed where she crashed face first onto the rough cement floor. There was the unmistakable click of a lock…and blackness consumed her.
Gale Rivera stood outside the athletic department’s storage shed, laughing along with the others at the muffled shouts and cries of the black haired psycho they’d just disposed of. But inside, he was furious at her refusal to accept and return his interest. Ivy had seemed unfazed by the jock’s popularity and muscular body. In fact, he realized, the intimacy truly repulsed her. He saw right through the ridiculous façade she used, of course, but the genuine disgust behind it was what really made him lose his temper. That’s alright, Ivy. I’ll be back, and when I do, you won’t say no. At this thought, a kind of cackle escaped from his mouth and he narrowed his eyes dangerously. “C’mon guys, we’re going to be late. Leave her there for later.”
Ivy’s energy was draining. It was obvious that no one was around to hear her and she thought she might even have a concussion from her ungraceful landing. She collapsed onto the floor in a heap, the reality of her situation cascading down. How in God’s name am I going to get out of here? She filled with dread, Gale’s most recent unsettling words burned into her memory; and although she tried to suppress the tantalizing thought of what exactly was to happen later, she found it difficult to keep the terror from rising to the surface. She made an effort to close her eyes and concentrate on the problem at hand: escape. If you can just calm down, she thought, then this room could be your greatest advantage. There’s got to be something in here I can use to bust out of this place. And so, with a renewed determination in her heart, Ivy got up and began fumbling around the shed looking for a flashlight. She knew it had been about an hour or two since Gale and his crew had left, so she had no guaranteed time over three hours to break out and put as much distance as possible between them and herself before the end of the school day. Three hours, that’s all you’ve got, don’t waste it feeling sorry for yourself, she thought. Little did she know, however, Ivy had little over an hour before her adversary would return.
Several yards away, inside the walls of Riverdale High School, Gale Rivera sat thinking smugly of his plans for his little prisoner. Before lunch, he intended to go back and retrieve Ivy from the shed for another try at persuasion. But if she refused him again, as she probably would, Well, I have my ways. The thought filled him with anticipation. He checked his watch; only one more period to go.
Ivy Rose breathed heavily as she threw the last of a set of dumbbells at the door. Sadly the objects did nothing but put small dents on the iron surface and she was forced to find other methods of breaking it down.
Well, she thought, I don’t think an elliptical would be of much help…or a punching bag. But then she saw it: a rack full of shiny metal baseball bats. Perfect. Smiling for the first time in hours, she selected what looked like the most deadly one and walked over to the door. With a huff, Ivy pulled back and swung…to no effect.
The bell sounded shrilly over the intercom signaling the start of lunch at last, and Gale bolted out the door like a spooked quarter horse. But, of course, he was not showing this enthusiasm for simply the idea of food. No, the athlete was exercising his strength to greet his caged prey once again. The element of surprise is a beautiful thing. She’ll never see me coming.
Sweating violently, Ivy scrutinized the door in revulsion. She had covered the entire thing with dents and scratches, but it just refused to open. So, lifting the bat that now weighed her down, she backed up for one last try. Ivy charged at the door with the club held high over her head and swung it through the air as hard as she could. But instead of it hitting the intended barrier, the bat came in direct contact with the boy who had just opened it. There was a sickening crunch and a cry of pain, and she looked guiltlessly into Gale’s eyes feeling only relief…especially when she saw the familiar roll of duct tape lying beside him. Ivy left him writhing on the floor, only just resisting the urge to lock him up inside, and ran pell-mell to her car without looking back. She sped home, the whole way thinking about how lucky she was she to have gotten away unscathed.
Her sister’s interrogations greeted her as soon as she walked through the front door, “Ivy? What are you doing home already? Are you ditching? Did you have a breakdown or something?”
Define breakdown. “Umm…It was a half day because of Christmas break tomorrow,” she lied shakily.
“That’s weird. It wasn’t like that at Ligonier Valley, but I guess that’s how they do things here,” Evelyn said, shrugging. Who knew the move would actually come in handy? Ivy thought, stumbling into the kitchen. After all, she was missing lunch.
On Christmas morning, Cecelia rushed into the present laden living room shouting joyfully, “Merry Christmas darlings!” She was, of course, so Ivy thought, aiming this holiday cheer at her eldest daughter. “We’re so happy you’re home!” She then broke into a very off pitch rendition of, “Home for the Holidays” and ran off for the eggnog. It’s going to be a long day, Ivy thought miserably.
Evelyn leaned into her shoulder, “Put on a happy face and don’t ruin Christmas by making mom get all depressed again.”
Ivy narrowed her eyes, “I’ll do my best.”
“Hey I’m serious; it’s really selfish to mess up her holiday just because you don’t want to enjoy yours.”
“Oh don’t act like it’s for her. You just don’t want your boyfriend to see what a freakish family you have when he comes over for dinner,” she said cuttingly. I can’t really blame her. I wanted to hold onto my boyfriend too, but wait, and then I had to leave him. Oh yeah…I guess I can blame her.
“I’m just asking you to play along for once.”
It was around nine o’ clock when Ivy heard the chime from her computer that night, “You’ve got mail!” Who could that be from? I haven’t gotten an email in months, she mused, walking over to the desk.
1 New Message from email@example.com
She clicked on the link and opened the message, curious.
My Dearest Ivy,
I’ve missed you so much and I can’t stand not seeing you anymore. I know this isn’t even half as good as being with you in person but I finally got my own email account and I thought we could talk like this for a while until I can come visit you. ? I know we decided to move on when you left but I can’t do it no matter how hard I try. If you already did then I’m happy for him because he picked a really great girl.
Oh my God.
It’s been so long I don’t even know what to say. Is it really you? Am I dreaming?
Her IM box popped onto the screen.
Prince Charming- If you’re dreaming then I must be too, not like I could tell the difference, I always dream of you.
Ivy was now on the verge of hyperventilation as she typed in a response.
Cinderella- I’ve missed you more than you can imagine.
Prince Charming- So you don’t have a boyfriend?
Cinderella- I haven’t kissed anyone since we said goodbye.
Prince Charming- Really? Not even once?
Cinderella- Well this creep kissed me the other day without my permission… does that count?
Prince Charming- How did that happen?
Cinderella- I don’t even know really. He stole my car because I stole his parking spot and he was… coming on to me. I don’t want to talk about it.
Prince Charming- Oh my God, are you okay?
Cinderella- Well compared to the other drama I’ve had to deal with, yeah I’m fine.
Prince Charming- It makes me sick just thinking about it.
Cinderella- Imagine how it feels for me!
Prince Charming- I know! I’m sorry! I’m sure I could never imagine…
Cinderella- It’s okay. ?
Prince Charming- So how’ve ya been, apart from today anyway?
Cinderella- Not all that good…I had a dream I jumped off a bridge a couple days ago.
Prince Charming- Oh wow that’s fun.
Cinderella- Wow I expected you to freak out and go on one of your “Don’t you realize how serious this is, Ivy” speeches.
Prince Charming- I guess I kicked the habit.
Cinderella- Oh, trust me, I’m not complaining. So what about you? How are things back in PA?
Prince Charming- Average. It’s snowing.
Cinderella- Yeah it’s coming down here too. Do you ever see any of my old friends anymore? How are they?
Prince Charming- Ha-ha which ones? You had so freaking many!
Cinderella- Oh I don’t know… probably my big whopping TWO bffs!!!!!! I don’t know if you’re trying to charm me or you’re just being an idiot.
Prince Charming- Just trying to live up to my name, princess.
Cinderella- Yeah okay… and by the way that name is absolutely ridiculous you know.
Prince Charming- I might say the same to you darling. ?
Cinderella- …shut up.
Prince Charming- Oh no, don’t get me wrong, I love it.
Cinderella- Of course you do…it’s just cheesy enough for you.
Prince Charming- Ha ha you’re never going to stop bashing me for my one weakness.
Cinderella- Never…but aren’t we supposed to meet at the ball or something? I’m sure this isn’t in tune with the basic laws of fairy tales.
Prince Charming- Whatever, screw the book.
Cinderella- Oh, I see you’ve gotten feistier since I left.
Prince Charming- Well…if it really matters to you, it was supposed to be a surprise…
Cinderella- What was; your new attitude?
Prince Charming- No, I mean, I was going to invite you to a ball…just not the kind you’re talking about. I wanted us to meet again in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Cinderella- Jamie…that’s so romantic…that would mean so much…
Prince Charming- So you’ll come?
Cinderella- Of course!
Prince Charming- Great! I’ll talk to you later! Bye!
And before Ivy could even respond, the box disappeared and Prince Charming was gone.
“Honey, maybe you should get some air. You’ve been staring at the computer for days! I swear all you’ve done over the holidays is eat, sleep, and stare at a blank email page! I mean for God’s sake Ivy you could at least type something,” Cecelia told her daughter anxiously. Ever since her online love had said his goodbyes, Ivy sat rooted in front of her computer screen, unable to find the will to move. At first it was just the prospect of speaking to Jamie again that kept her planted there, but as the days went by without any kind of further communication from him, the joy turned to anxiety. Why hadn’t he talked to her since his sudden disappearance? Why wouldn’t he respond to her continuous stream of messages: Where are you? Are we still on for the 31st? I miss you. However, these seemed to go unnoticed and Ivy remained comatose around the clock, waiting for assurance that their conversation really hadn’t been a dream.
Finally, on December 30th at almost eleven o’clock at night, a new message alert flashing on the screen revived her at last.
1 New Message from firstname.lastname@example.org
Ivy almost fell off her chair in her haste to open the anticipated email.
I’m sorry I didn’t respond earlier but I’ve been really busy with my arrangements for the upcoming trip to New York. I can’t wait to see you again! So, yeah I just wanted to check in and let you know that yes, we are definitely still on for New Year’s if you’re interested. Oh and by the way, I’m going to meet you at 1 Times Square directly under the ball, but not until midnight exactly so don’t look for me until then. I’m so excited! See you there!
Do me a favor and don’t wear glass slippers. ?
She didn’t bother responding because, if there was such a thing, this would be classified as a rhetorical email. Instead, she shut down the computer and went to bed immediately. She needed to prepare herself for the journey the following day.
The funny thing was, although she’d lived only forty minutes outside of the city for over a year, Ivy had never in her life actually been to New York. So, when she surfaced from the 42nd Street subway station, the sheer size of the place made her dizzy. The hour was ten pm and the other late arrivals clogged the streets, forcing Ivy to push and shove her way to an open space for breathing room.
When she finally fought through the crowds, Ivy found herself directly below the New York Times building at eleven fifty. She wondered idly why he’d picked that particular location for their reunion; it wasn’t like you could actually see the ball from that angle. But she dismissed it and looked around excitedly for him in the hordes of people surrounding her. She didn’t see any sign of him though and she remembered what her prince had told her: not until midnight exactly…
People counted down excitedly around her… Sixty more seconds…sixty more seconds until I see Jamie again. She craned her neck to the sky and saw the outline of the ball dropping slowly downward. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…0! Cheers erupted all around as Ivy heard a mocking voice cut through the haze like an ice pick, “Happy New Year, princess.”
Ivy whipped her head around and found herself looking directly into the eyes of Gale Rivera. She opened her mouth to scream but he thrust his hand aggressively over it, “I think you’ve forgotten a key element of the story, cupcake. You see, when the clock strikes twelve, the spell is broken,” and with those haunting last words, Gale brought his fist down on her head, knocking her out cold.
When Ivy awoke, the first thing she felt was an intense pain in her head, followed almost immediately by the memories of the previous night. Gale’s deception, the foolish way she’d bought into it without any kind of investigation, and, most agonizing of all, the fact that Jamie had never really been there at all. The sad part was, though, that Ivy wasn’t really all that surprised that things had worked out this way. She realized with grim comprehension that the signs were all there that something was amiss: his vague answers to her questions of home, along with his miscellaneous changes of character. All the happiness and anticipation she’d wasted on him had been for nothing and now she was just back where she’d started with Jamie. Not like it mattered, for she was unlikely to get out of this situation alive in the end anyway.
This thought knocked her back into being, and she assessed her position. Oddly, Ivy was lying on a plush four poster bed adorned with silk in a room that was just as luxurious. A large, plasma screen television hung from the wall opposite her and a hand carved oak wardrobe sat next to the room’s only window, taking up most of the wall.
Ivy got up from the bed gingerly and opened the armoire, revealing the embarrassing contents within. The collection ranged from ridiculously flamboyant ball gowns with gossamer fabric to the most risqué looking nightgowns she’d ever seen. The whole thing was rather silly. Well, you got me, Gale. I was a little uncertain before, but now that you’ve kidnapped me for a second time, I’ve really decided to reconsider. I’d be happy to put on some lingerie for you, she thought sarcastically. The mention of his name brought a new wave of trepidation over her. As of then, her kidnapper had not graced Ivy with his presence, but she knew the solitude wouldn’t last long. She dashed to the door and pulled the handle; as expected, it didn’t budge. Lamenting, she shifted to the lone window, and gasped when she saw the hundred foot drop outside.
Just then, Ivy heard the sound of footsteps approaching and she looked around desperately for a place to hide, frozen with fear. It’s no use, she thought, He knows you’re in here.
“Oh Ivy! I’m glad to see you’re finally up. Fantastic! How are you enjoying my father’s apartment? Nice, isn’t it? And so convenient that he happened to be on a business trip to Europe this week.” He cackled madly, closing the door and facing Ivy with his triumphant gaze.
She didn’t say a word, though she noticed something off about him, something unstable and alarming.
“Oh c’mon sweetheart,” he persisted, moving closer, “Don’t be like that. I couldn’t just let you get away with refusing me. I mean, not even counting this second gift,” Gale added, pointing to his left arm which was hanging limply in a sling, “Crushed shoulder, and it’s doing fine thanks for asking. But no hard feelings, Ivy you’ll more than repay me in the end.”
“How?” she choked on her words, “How did you do it? Find about Jamie, I mean.”
“Oh Ivy, Ivy, Ivy…you really must learn to keep your diary more well hidden in the future,” Gale enjoyed the satisfaction of watching her eyes widen as the understanding dawned on her, “You see, I couldn’t resist. It was just sitting there wide open in your car…honestly I’m only human.”
He laughed to himself wildly, “Although, I do think you’ll come to forgive me for that. There’s no way it’s worse than the crimes to come later. Ah, but not yet. No. I have some things to do before the fun begins, but you won’t be waiting for long darling so don’t worry.”
She spat at him.
Cecelia and Evelyn Rose waited anxiously at the Riverdale precinct for the officer to get off the phone. Neither of them had seen Ivy since she mysteriously left the house with no further explanation other than she was ‘going out.’ They now sat nervously in Officer Jack Bennett’s office awaiting the verdict on the search party.
He finally hung up after another five minutes of agonizing worry, “I’m terribly sorry, Ms. Rose. We have one of our best officers working on your case, but he’s just not coming up with any evidence to suggest that your daughter is in any immediate danger. We will continue to do our very best in trying to find out where she is, but headquarters is taking another man from the team to help pick up the slack around here from the holidays. I suggest you try calling her again, and talk to some her friends and neighbors to ask if they’ve seen her. I know it may be difficult for you as a mother to understand, but there is a more than valid chance that Ivy has simply run away from home.”
Cecelia was livid, “I’m sorry Officer Bennett, but what exactly qualifies as ‘evidence’ around here, a body!? Because I swear to God, if I lose my daughter because your lazy, uncaring team of ‘experts’ doesn’t have the time to look for her, I will come after you and I will do whatever was done to her to anyone who turned me away!”
Officer Bennett cowed away from her, “Ms. Rose, I am sorry about your case, really I am, but I cannot change the department’s mind. I would be happy to try and find her myself but our office is getting so many calls lately that we’re all working after hours anyway.”
Evelyn sneered, “Oh yeah those twelve year olds enjoying a sip of champagne to celebrate the New Year are a serious risk to public health. A possible kidnapper is nothing compared to their wrath.”
“It’s fine Evelyn, let’s just go. We’ll be back once we get a decent lawyer.”
They both started to walk out just as the officer’s phone started to ring. He waved for them to wait a moment. They watched as his brows furrowed in deep concentration, listening intently to whatever was being said to him over the phone. At some point, he pulled out his case photo of Ivy Rose and nodded his head slightly. “Yes, thank you. Thank you so much,” he said before hanging up. “Ms. Rose, that was the chief of the NYPD in Manhattan. He just got a call in from the front desk at the River Banks Apartment Complex near Times Square. The woman who called said that the son of one of the residents just came in carrying an unconscious girl with black hair and a scar across her face. She says he claimed that she was exhausted from the celebration and had fallen asleep in the cab on the way over. Anyway, she alerted the police and…based on the description, well; I believe we may have found your daughter.”
Back in the hotel, Ivy stood in front of the hotel mirror wearing one of the Walt Disney worthy dresses with a devilish grin spread across her face. Before Gale left the room ten minutes before, he’d instructed her halfheartedly to put on something special. Obviously, she refused but after he was gone she tripped over a dainty little table with a ceramic vase on top. That’s when she got the idea. If I can’t overpower him, I’ll have to distract him. And there’s only one way to do that. Ivy selected a dress with a large enough skirt and changed quickly. And as ludicrous as it was, the vision of her was stunning. The gown was laden with embellishment and exquisite detail that likened her to a fallen angel with her scar and sort of abstruse beauty.
Ivy wasn’t left waiting for much longer, and when Gale stepped into the room she was already on the bed. To her dark satisfaction, his mouth unceremoniously dropped open at the sight of her, proving that the plan should go flawlessly. Ivy curled her lips seductively; pulling him over to join her with the door still agape. She reached out and dragged his more than willing body down to her lips, caressing him gently around the mouth before going in for the kill. Gale’s eyes widened in shock at the passion of her final kiss before responding enthusiastically. This was the moment she’d been praying for, with his concentration completely focused on her lips, she didn’t waste her chance. Ivy wrenched the ceramic vase swiftly from under her skirt and swung it fiercely at the back of his head. Gale fell to the floor clutching his wound, but Ivy recognized only one thing… he wasn’t unconscious.
She sprinted out of the room, slamming the door behind her, not that that would hold him off for long, and raced through the hall and down thirty flights of stairs in an adrenaline-fueled blur. When she reached the lobby at last, Ivy pushed through the front door and onto the street. It became apparent that they were still in New York from the endless field of cement surrounding her, complicating Ivy’s situation even farther since the city was completely alien to her. So, knowing he couldn’t be far behind, she slipped down a side street and ran blindly ahead.
Gale was fast approaching, using every ounce of his fully developed musculature to his advantage. He was far beyond his previous desires, having sent them to the winds after Ivy had hit him with the vase. Now he knew that when he caught her, and he would catch her, he would kill her. The knife felt heavy in his pocket. She would be a sad prize to lose, he thought; that soft, tender alabaster skin, not to mention the flowing black hair and absolute mystery behind that scar of hers. But he was left with no choice, she had gone too far.
Ivy darted ahead, praying her former track career wouldn’t betray her in this time of need. She could hear his impending footsteps behind her, so she took a chance and veered a sharp right into a narrow alleyway. Ivy knew it was over before she even saw the brick wall at the end of it. Gale was too fast for her and she was soon herded against the wall.
Gale pulled out the knife, “You shouldn’t have run.”
Ivy was panting, on the verge of tears, “Like you wouldn’t have killed me anyway. I’m just glad you didn’t get what you were really after.”
“Ah, yes, it is quite a loss, but I think I can live through it. It’s a shame you can’t.”
She snarled, “You think that anyone given the chance would take you in an instant. Well, you’re not anything worth getting; you’re a coward. You didn’t lure me here with the promise of winning you, Gale. You brought me here under the illusion that you were someone else. And just remember that even if we were still in that apartment right now, you would’ve had to tie me down and force me to give you what you want, and there was never a chance that you would’ve convinced me otherwise.”
He closed in the remaining distance between them, bringing the knife to her throat, “Goodbye, Ivy, I’m done with this.”
“Drop the weapon and step away from the girl. You’re under arrest for kidnapping, fraud, and attempted murder.” The sharp voice of Officer Bennett rang out as he stepped into view, followed closely by the terrified faces of Cecelia and Evelyn Rose.
Gale did not drop it. Instead, he pressed it harder into Ivy’s neck. “Leave now.”
“This is your last warning, boy.” When Gale remained where he was, drawing blood from Ivy’s throat, Bennett cried out to his team and the entire Riverdale branch of the NYPD came down on Gale, wrenching the knife from his hands and wrestling him into handcuffs before leading him off.
Ivy stayed where she was, frozen in time. She barely noticed when Cecelia and Evelyn nearly ran over her in their attempts to push through the medical teams tending to her. “Ivy, Ivy are you alright?!?” It was just like Cecelia to ask such a ridiculous question and the stupidity of it broke Ivy from her daze momentarily.
“Oh, Ivy, I’m so...oh my God,” Cecelia broke into heaving sobs, examining every part of her youngest daughter, trying to make sure it was really her.
Ivy was thoroughly taken aback, and wasn’t exactly sure how to respond. She reached out delicately and patted her mother’s head, attempting to calm her down, “It’s okay, mom. I’m fine…I’m fine…” Suddenly, she exploded in joyful tears at the realization. I’m fine.
“Well it’s alright now, everything is going to be okay,” Evelyn said kindly, leaning in for a hug for the first time in ten years. And then, with a calm sort of understanding, Ivy discovered that she was not, after all, entirely alone in the world, and so, maybe it was indeed time to let Jamie go and accept new love to fill his space.
“Goodbye Jamie. I will always love you.” she whispered, feeling at peace, at least for the time being.