Welcome to Newthorpe. An estate of grandiose, home to the finestcitizens this side of Northcove. The pamphlets thrusted around bygiddy politicians and exuberant realtors tell this story, but the reality isfar harsher.Welcome to Newthorpe. An estate of cheating men who drag theirwives and children here from their old homes, only to unravel theirinfidelity in the designated family film time. Home to the finestgangsters this side of Northcove, clad in their tight suits and fancyboots.For a common man strolling through the rain, Newthorpe appears justlike any other English parish, with its terraced houses and wet fields. Ata glimpse, its blood-stained nature can be mistaken for the freshcrimson paint of the old houses. A deeper look reveals the dark truth ofthe town.
But where some people see an empty field, others see potential. In its lengthy green knolls, there is a hope in the heartof every Newthorpe man that a castle can be moulded out of it. A hope that a legacy can be forged.
Some of these men sit solemnly in the field, searching through their scattered minds for hours on end, for reasons eventhey cannot decipher. Maybe they ponder what sort of wood their porch should be constructed out of? Oh, but all theoak furniture fell out as the truck crossed through Coysey?Not every man is as fortunate to have said furniture. With just the money in his back pocket and a dashing pair ofBuddy Holly frames, one man has chosen to make his own fortune.Enter Noel Vega.
"Well, I think thats everything," he exclaims dryly. "Bloody hell, this is the life, eh? I can curl one and ave a cold onewhile Im at it."
In times of hard luck and misfortune, a man may find himself turningtowards the darker road. Vega is one of those. A wall with ashowerhead and a toilet is not enough to live by, let alone the scrappymini-fridge and soccer seat."We want you to make a hit," the voice of Carter Jerome was stern asever."A hit? What, as in you want me to take someone out?" Noel was quickto interrogate."Well, not you specifically. We want you to help our lad Wallace with it.Hes a, er, whizz if yer wish when it comes to this.""Oya boss, whos the youngboy?" yapped a quick-tongued chap in a suit.
"This? This ere is Noel, says he wants to make it big in Newthorpe,"Carter declares.The man leans in to shake the hand of Vega with a slight smirk upon hisface. Vega, however, is more drawn towards the mans face; specificallya glaring bruise smacked across his lips."The names Craig. Man is Londons finest mobster today, packed in thebig city crap for the middle city crap.""What happened to yer lip?" Noel catches Craig off-guard with thequestion."Wha, this lil scratch? Kid was hypin out near the Sweeney, says toeveryone weve got beef cause he caught me chirpsing his missus.Everythin got on top and dem feds were belled.""Not gonna lie, I didnt catch a word of that," Vega retorts.
"Is you the bone they call Noel?" Grammar isnt always a mobstersstrong point."Depends who they are.""They is Carter. He says youre taking a hit with me. You ever done itbefore?" Wallaces tone is firm as he questions Noel."Done what?""You ever killed a man, Noel?"Vega looks somewhat startled at the bluntness of the white-jacketedfellow. "No, Ive uh, Ive never killed a man. I might have indirectlycaused another man to injure himself in a drive-thru, but no, not akiller.""Blast me, a rookie. Alright, whatever, it doesnt matter. You can createa diversion."
"Theres the cokehead Frenchie who lives at the Brambleyard flats. Youknow the one, home to junkies, ex-junkies and old people.""Okay, so hes French. Youre not shooting him just for that are you? Imfairly certain thats a hate crime," Noel quips."Pipe down. Anyway, names Gwenaël Germain, he buys from Carterthen deals out in Coysey and Haverham. Generally never been aproblem until recently.""Whats the issue?""Hes fallen back on some of his payments. Says to Carter Do not makea worry sir, I will make pay to you in due course. Carter doesnt likebeing lied to.""So you want to kill Gwenaël? How is he meant to pay then?""Were not killing him. Hes got a sister."
"The girls name is Maëlle, shes a singer. Gwennie ere is quite fond ofher, shes his only sister after all. Very protective and all."Noel appears uncomfortable, but shrugs."Would be a shame if something were to happen to her pretty little ead,no?" Wallace grins as he explains."You want me to help you kill a cokeheads sister?""You dont have to, but if youre really desperate for the money..."Wallace throws out his hand.Noel glances down at it in hesitation."Bollocks... Yeah, Ill do it," Noel states as he shakes Wallaces hand."Good. Shes singing at the showcase at Newthorpe Hall on Fridaynight. Well pull it off there and send a little snippet to Gwenaël.""Okay... Ill be there."
"One last thing buh..." Wallace growls through a toothy smirk. "If you skip out on this deal, itll be your head splatteredwith Maëlles too. Got it?"He turns away chuckling to himself, leaving Noel uneasy and wary.
At the hall, Wallace finds comfort in a tucked away chair away from thestage. Noel grabs another one on the same table, only to be halted bythe white-jacketed chap."Woah, hold you hard? You cant sit with me.""Huh? Cant I sit here?" Noel stares at Wallace in confusion."We dont want the people knowing were here together. Get anotherbloody chair."Noel obliges with a nod before scanning the surrounding area. "Theresa lot of empty seats.""Were here early. I needed some time to fiddle with the gun. Neverwoulda been able to do that when the crowd cycles in."
With Noel having found himself a comfortable seat at the opposite endof the hall to Wallace, Maëlle nervously strolls onto the stage. By now,the hall is packed out and ready for her performance. From behind her,the sound of strings bellow out from hidden speakers.Noels eyes flutter at the sight of her, investigating her from the bottomof her dress to the top."I heard there was a secret chord,That David played and it pleased the Lord,But youuuu dont really care for music... Do you?"Her gentle French accent caresses the Leonard Cohen piece, receiving amild clap from the attendees in the Newthorpe Hall."It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth,The minor fall, the major lift,The baffled king composing Hallelujah..."
Noel ogles at the lady mightily chirping ahead of him. How can heparticipate in her murder? He squirms in his seat, catching the eye ofMaëlle. She glimpses towards him and beams widely before continuingher singing."Baby I have been here before,I know this room, Ive walked this floor,I used to live alone before I knew youuu...Ive seen your flag on the marble arch,Love is not a victory march,Its a cold and its a broken hallelujaaahhhh..."Noel departs hastily from his seat and rushes towards the adjacentcorridor; the corridor which leads straight towards the stage. Wallacewatches as he leave and the two share a glance. Seemingly, Wallace isof the belief that Noel is prepared to create the diversion.
The corridor is empty, leading only towards the lone step to the stage.Maëlles singing can still be heard through the walls, still earning theoccasional round of applause for particular passionate moments.Vega paces back and forth. His life is very well at risk, but he inside heknows the value of a life is far greater than the value of money. Heleans up against the wall, waiting uneasily for Maëlle to leave the stage.As the song nears its finale, Noel slithers his head around the corner ofthe stage, eyeballing the crowd. He notices Wallace propped againstthe far wall, hand in his jacket pocket likely where the handgun issmuggled. He gulps and shudders back into the corridor as Maëlle hitsthe final line.
Maëlle is blessed with a rousing applause, bringing a tear to her eye.She picks the microphone up again to address the crowd. "Many thankyous. I have, uh, I have enjoyed singing for you tonight. I, uh, I foundstruggles in my home in France. It was hard to find job to sing, but, uh,being in Newthorpe is so different. Thank you."She skips off the stage out to the corridor, where Noel lightly grabs herby the shoulder."You need to leave," he says with an apologetic side to his voice. "Itsnot safe here. You need to get out."Maëlle looks puzzled at Noels words. "What do you mean? Is there aproblem?""Your brother Gwenaël owes a certain Carter Jerome a lot of money..."Noel pauses. "Thats not my business though. But Mister Jerome hassent one of his men to this very showcase to... kill you."
"What? Why would they kill me?" Maëlle is clearly taken aback by thisrevelation."Gwenaël has not paid Jerome despite repeated threats. He feels theonly way he will listen is if you..." Noel stops himself, shivering gently.Only a short time in Newthorpe and already hes involved himself inmassive trouble."What do I do? He is here, yes? I cannot, uh, I cannot just walk out. Hemight see me. Has he got a gun?""Hes armed with a handgun, I dont think he has anything else.""I cannot walk out though. I cannot..." Maëlle starts to frustrate herself."Im afraid youre going to have to. Come, quick.""I cannot...""Now!" He yells, much more worried than stern.
As they flee the building, Maëlle puts on the brakes before they escapeany further. "Mister, wait. What am I doing?""What do you mean?" Noel presses her, still with a fretful inflection."I do not even know you. You might be lying... You must be lying! Whyshould I trust you?""If you dont trust me, Newthorpe Hall will be given a brand new redcoat. You understand?""No sir. I must go back. I have my things."Yet before she can turn, a blustering bang resonates throughout thebuilding, followed by a massive reaction of screaming."Crap! Oh bollo- Do you trust me now?!" He barks at her with a lump inhis throat, and she responds with a panicked nod. "Come with me, to myplace.""Cant I be at my apartment?"
"No, Im sorry but you cant go back to your apartment. They will be looking for you there.""Wont they look for you too?""They dont know where I live."
"What is all this?" Maëlle stares astounded at the insanely basic lay-outof Noels living? "You only have this stuff? One tiny wall?""Hey, watch it. I didnt even have a bed until yesterday.""How did you sleep before?"Noel looks into her eyes with an expression mocking melodrama. "Withgreat difficulty."Maëlle wanders around the house investigating it from up and down."You keep it clean, yes?""Oh yeah, of course. Only because sponges were on sale, mind."She continues her search, trotting around trying not to get her dresscaught in the grass. "What about private, uh, privacy? A man or womanmay just... voyeur into your home.""Its a non-issue."
"Okay. This house is not good, non. But I have to, uh, prioritise no? Icould go to apartment where there are walls... but I will die if I do.""So, does this mean youre staying here?""I have to. Tell me though, what is your name? I never learnt it at theshow.""Noel. My names Noel Vega.""Nice to meet you mister Noel," Maëlle says with a giggle. "Shall we goindoors?""Sure, it is awfully chilly."The pair take two steps forward back into the middle of the furnitureand chuckle amongst each other.
"You know, Maëlle... Its quite late. Do you want to catch some rest?"Maëlle gazes at him before proceeding to speak up. "Where would we sleep?""You can sleep in the bed with me.""Is it warm enough?"