Falling Apart

BY : AsylumWritings
Category: DC Verse Comics > Batman
Dragon prints: 48
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman/DC Comics, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

Gotham City. It was strange to be back after so long. As I drove through the streets, I could see that it hadn’t changed in the ten years since I’d been away. Everything looked the same, if not more weathered than it had previously been.

I drove up to my family home, a manor on the edge of town. It was always too big, especially when I was a child, but it seemed small now. After the death of my parents, it was so empty, and I had to get out. So I ran, all the way to England, just to avoid having to deal with everything.

I hired someone to control my parents’ hotel company, and left. But the house had stayed, waiting for me, and now I needed to deal with it.

Parking my car, I sat there in the driver’s seat for a moment. Most of the staff hadn’t arrived yet, but that was alright, because I wanted time to just have a walk around with Charlotte, my housekeeper. I’d sent her ahead, just to make sure things were alright.

She walked down the stairs to meet me, holding the car door open for me. “It’s good to see you, Miss Eva. Would you like to take a walk around the house? There are some things I think you should know.”

“Yes, let’s do that first. The house has been locked up for so long, I think there might be a lot of work that needs to be done.” I followed her, a little hesitant to be inside again.

“I had a workman come in a few days ago. He says that there’s a lot of maintenance that needs to be done before the house is completely liveable again."

We stopped in the entrance hall, and she turned to me. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but I thought I would ask you if there was anything you wanted to change, since we will be having workmen in here anyway.”

I thought for a moment, trying to decide if there was something I specifically wanted. Walking towards the parlour, I remembered that there was something I’d always wanted, but never been allowed before.

“I’d like this room converted into a theatre room. And the spare bedroom on this floor, definitely needs to be a gym space.” I watched her as she took notes. “But other than that, I would like to keep the house as it is.”

She nodded. “Do you want me to bring someone in to design the two rooms for you, or would you prefer to do it yourself?”

“Bring someone in. I’ll stay in the city apartment until it’s ready, and I have a lot to do now that I’m back. I trust your judgement, you’ve always known exactly what I like.” I led her back to the car, leaning on the bonnet and looking back up at the house. “I have a party to go to tomorrow night, and I’ll need your help to get ready. Can you come by around five?”

“Of course. Let me know if you need anything. I’ll make sure your room is fixed first, so you can come back as soon as possible.”

I thanked her, then got back into the car. As I drove off, I mentally kicked myself. I should have hired a caretaker while I was away, then the house wouldn’t have been in such a state, and I could have been moving in tonight. But if it wasn’t completely safe, then I wasn’t going to stay there. I was just glad that Charlotte’s space was a small cottage nearby, so she wouldn’t be staying in an unsafe space.

The drive to the apartment felt long, as my mind skipped between so many thoughts. There was so much to be done, and I just hoped that I could get a few days of peace before the media came after me. That was the best thing about living in England. I was known there, but I wasn’t as important to them as I was in Gotham. I could hide under the radar much more.

Pushing open the apartment door, I dragged my luggage inside. This was where I lived once I turned eighteen, up until my parents died. It was the place where I learnt to be independent. 

When I decided to move back, I was sure I would feel something more. I thought I would be excited, or maybe anxious. But the truth was, I didn’t really feel anything at all, for the city at least.

I sat on the couch, watching as the sun slowly set over the horizon. It reminded me of when I was younger. Memories of Bruce and I, hiking up the hills behind our homes to watch the sunset. I’d heard he was back in Gotham, but I didn’t know how to approach him after so long.

Stretching my arms above my head, I yawned. It had been a long day, and I was more tired than I’d first thought. With the next day’s party and my reintroduction into Gotham society looming over me, I was going to need a good night’s sleep.

“No, Bruce, this way!” I laughed, running through the trees.

“You said that last time, and we got lost!” He shouted back, going in a slightly different direction. “Let me lead this time.”

I stopped, turning to face him. “Or, I could just do this.” I climbed up a nearby tree, all the way to the top. Looking out, I could just see the house, off in the distance. “It’s that way!”

Climbing back down, I flipped off the last branch, landing beside him. 

“Be careful, Eve. Your mum will kill me if I let you get hurt again.” He leaned against the tree, a little puffed from the running.

“I don’t plan on getting hurt again.” I grabbed his hand, leading him back down the hill towards home. “Besides, I’m old enough to take care of myself. I’ll take full responsibility for my own injuries, thank you.”

We ran through the forest, leaping over logs and dashing around trees. I could see Wayne Manor up ahead, and I pushed on. But I tripped at the last second, tumbling into the grass and pulling Bruce down beside me. We landed on our backs, barely able to breathe from laughing so hard.

“Changed my mind.” I wheezed. “You can take the blame for this one.”

He laughed. “No way, you called it. This one’s on you.”

I propped myself up on my elbows, looking at the sky. The sun was beginning to set, and we needed to get back for dinner.

“Do you ever wonder what life will be like once we’re adults?” I asked. “Will we still be friends in twenty years, or even just ten?”

He reached out, taking my hand. “Of course we will. We’ll always be friends.”

I flipped through the photo album, remembering a lot of things all at once. There was a lot to look through, a lot to remember. 

“Are you excited to see Bruce again?” Charlotte asked, as she lay some dresses out on my bed. “The two of you were so close.”

I hesitated. “I don’t know. I don’t think he would even recognise me anymore. What if he doesn’t like who I am now?”

She took the album from my hands, gently closing it. “I think that you both will need to get to know each other again. It will take some time for you to reconnect.” Helping me up, she stood me in front of the bed. “Which dress do you want to wear tonight?”

I looked at the choices she’d laid out for me. There was a loose fitting black sheath dress, a body hugging red dress, and a two piece gold dress.

“The red one.” I pointed to it. “I think if my hair is up in a bun, and I wear that gold necklace mum loved, I’ll look amazing.”

She nodded, walking me over to the mirror. I sat down in front of it as she did my hair. Even though I’d always been close with my parents, I’d always felt just as close to Charlotte because she never judged and always told me the truth.

“Charlotte…” I began, biting my lip. “Do you think my parents would be proud of me? I worry that because I ran when things got overwhelming they might be disappointed.”

“I think they will be proud that you did the things you needed in order to survive. And they definitely will be proud that you’ve come back, even if you feel out of place.” She placed pins into my hair, making sure my curls would stay in. “Give yourself a little time to get back into things here.”

I sat there in silence as she finished my hair. She was right, and she’d reminded me of something my mother used to say. Any effort, any choice, is better than doing nothing at all. She would tell me that whenever I was worried I’d wasted my time or made the wrong decision.

“There, all finished.” She slid the last pin into my bun. “Do you need any more help? I need to get back and make sure things are alright at the manor.”

“I’ll be fine from here.” I stood up, turning to face her. “Thank you for all your help.”

I hugged her goodbye and watched as she left. She’d taken good care of me for my whole life, but especially since my parents had died. Her advice and her support had gotten me through the worst years, and it was good to know that she still had my back.

I spent the next hour making sure I was completely ready. There was no way I was attending my first party back not looking my absolute best. Only when I was sure I looked great did I head out to the town hall.

You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story