“So, this is it,” Yenn smiled at the girl. “Your last day in Newcrest! Any big plans?”
“Not really, I’m all packed already,” Pauline laughed. “Too eager… But I was thinking we could spend the day together, if you want?”
Yenn: “That would be lovely.”
Pauline tried her best to ignore the guilt building up. This was meant to be a good thing.
“I’m sorry, aunt Yenn. For letting you down.”
“Shush. We don’t want to spend the day in agony, do we?” Yenn said brightly. “You should say goodbye to Newcrest in style!”
“I don’t really know Newcrest that well, to be honest,” Pauline muttered. More guilt. Plum it.
“Ah well, there’s our plan for the day then,” Yenn exclaimed. “I’ll give you the grand tour! Everybody should know where they come from.”
“Ruby Perrin Memorial Park is where it all started,” Yenn announced as they reached their first destination.
“I’ve walked past it before,” Pauline nodded. “I didn’t think it was all that important though, it’s not even named after a member of the family anyway.”
Yenn smiled: “Well, this very plot of land was where the founder, Kirk Bloomer, originally game with nothing at all, just vision. He would sleep in a tent, right where the wedding arch is.
“There’s photos to prove it,” Yenn smiled. “Of course, when he got married to his wife Maranda, that’s when the arch came into the picture.”
“You mean that wedding arch has stood there ever since then?”
“That’s right. Several family members had their weddings here since. But Kirk and Maranda’s was the first. Of course, they’ve been through ups and downs here…”
“So what about this Ruby Perrin?”
“That would be one of the downs. She was a friend of Kirk and Maranda’s who died here, when the fire from a weenie roast got out of control. They buried her here and dedicated the park to her.”
“She wasn’t quite gone, though,” Yenn added. “Her ghost would haunt the park ever since.”
“You mean supposedly, right?” Pauline said sceptically. “Like the alleged ghosts at the Von Haunt Estate…”
“I’ve seen the ghosts at the Von Haunt Estate,” Yenn replied. “They were quite lovely.”
Pauline arched an eyebrow.
“You saw me come back to life with your very own eyes not too long ago,” Yenn continued. “Is it that hard to believe that ghosts exist?”
“Good point… so does that mean she still haunts the grounds here?”
Yenn shook her head. “She befriended Kirk and Maranda’s son Isaac, who eventually brought her back to life. A bit like you did me, except he knew what he was doing. You may have seen a photo of Isaac and Ruby over at the old house…”
Pauline’s eyes widened. She had assumed the photo just used special effects. It was real. Just like Yenn’s parents’ story from the book.
“I can’t believe he did that for her,” Pauline managed to say.
“Of course, Isaac wasn’t all perfect,” Yenn said. “No Bloomer ever was. Isaac had quite the mean streak, especially as a teenager, but overall, he was a good man.”
“He even built these affordable starter homes to truly start building a community here in Newcrest…”
“…and of course, it was him who saved the legacy when he arrested Ruby’s granddaughter Cassiel, the leader of the Lollipop Lair gang… but of course you know all about them from the book.”
“But then that means… Cassiel was your mother, wasn’t she?”
Yenn nodded. “That’s right. And that mansion right over there is what used to be known as the Lollipop Lair. I’m told it looked a lot more ominous back in the day though. The things that went down there…”
Pauline starred at the building. “You never did tell me if you met them. Your biological parents, I mean.”
“I sure did,” Yenn answered simply. “But that’s a long story. We should sit down over at the library for that one.”
“Wow.” Pauline shook her head when her aunt finished the story. “You’ve been through so much!”
“Have I? I mainly remember the good things,” Yenn told her. “It’s funny the way the mind works.”
“I had a wonderful childhood, we would spend hours playing here in the backyard with my brother and sister.”
“This was your back garden?”
“That’s right,” Yenn confirmed. ”The library was built and opened by my adoptive father Peter, but before that, it was my childhood home. I have nothing but fond memories of this place. And then of course, we moved to what’s known as the gym; our next stop.”
“You lived here too?” Pauline looked around the gym and spa incredulously when they arrived. “It’s so luxurious!”
“All my brother’s doing,” Yenn smiled. “Booker made all kinds of calls, but this was definitely a good one. I lived here with him and his wife Keiko, and my sister Chell and her husband Knox.”
“And what about you?” Pauline asked carefully. “The book said that you… that you didn’t think love was for you. Did you ever change your mind?”
“Yes,” Yenn looked into the horizon. “Yes I did…”
Pauline’s eyes grew misty. “That’s so sad. But beautiful.”
“Sadness is fleeting,” Yenn told her. “The beautiful memories are yours to keep.”
“Did you ever see Ethan after… when you were… gone… I mean…”
“I wish I knew,” Yenn replied. “I know as little about afterlife as you do. I don’t remember anything about being dead. But I would like to think that I did.”
The two women sat quietly for a moment, lost in thought.
“Time to wrap up and head on over to the bar,” Yenn broke off the silence. “I think we could both use a drink.”
“Well, here we are, back where we started this morning,” Yenn concluded. “This of course, used to by my little Livvie’s bar.”
Pauline looked at the building. She’d been staying in the upstairs apartment for the majority of her time in Newcrest, but it didn’t seem like the same place now.
“Liv wouldn’t be happy with how empty the place is now,” Yenn sighed. “I guess that’s my first order of business once you leave; reopening the bar. In fact, all of the places in town need a bit of sprucing up. Just because the legacy is over doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be maintained.”
“I want to help you,” Pauline blurted out. “To fix up Newcrest. Make it better than ever. And the legacy… it isn’t over.”
“Oh, are you planning to come back here eventually, like your mother did?”
“No,” Pauline said firmly. “I’m not leaving.”
Pauline wouldn’t believe it this very morning, but it seemed like the best decision she’d ever made. It was time to take back what was hers. And to continue building Newcrest.
As for Yenn… well, one could say she was a little relieved.
Sorry for the last minute change of plans. I wish I could explain it, but I don’t really have the words. You’ll need to come see it for yourself…