So sorry it has been so long. I've been super busy with lots of excuses we've probably all heard before. I've had a few recent reviews asking for an update which gave me a kick up the backside to get this going again. Enjoy :)
With her tea cooking on the rusty stove of her pokey kitchen Evelyn sat down to read her handful of post, she needed the distraction with the expectation of a visit from the Shelby's looming. A friend she used to work with, now living in America, sent her a letter worthy of a small novel accounting for her days. Evelyn set it aside for later, reached for another letter from pile and picked up the ornate silver letter opener. Try as she might she couldn't shake the unease that had plagued her ever since her run in with two of the Shelby's that morning. She half expected the Shelby's and the rest of the Peaky Blinders to come barging into her home with some sort of threat. At least she hoped it was just going to be a threat. A high pitched whistle had Evelyn leaping from her chair dropping the letter and letter opener to the flagstone floor with a clatter. She didn't notice as a second envelope tucked behind the first letter tumbled to the floor and slid under her wonky kitchen table. With her heart racing she realised it was the kettle whistling away on the stove. Feeling immensely daft she took a steadying breath and picked up the letter and opener before removing the kettle from the heat. "It's all fine," she repeated to herself. The second letter remained unopened beneath the table.
Her jumpiness continued into the evening and not even a good stiff measure gin could help calm her nerves. It was silly really, she mused. She was skittish to every tiny noise. There was no way she was going to get any sleep later. Evelyn poured herself another strong gin and knocked it back feeling the burn in her throat. She never drunk gin that way but needs must.
Three gins deep Evelyn made the risky decision to confront the Shelby's head on. With conviction she pulled on her coat and slipped her feet into her smart black heeled boots giving her an extra bit of confidence. She swept open her front door swinging it wide and stepped onto the front step. If the Shelby's weren't going to come to her then she would find them, her first port of call would be the dingy pub they frequented.
"Not so fast," a gruff voice startled her as she stepped onto the uneven footpath. In the blink of an eye rough calloused hands manhandled her back inside. Evelyn let out a small yelp and struggled against her intruders. Before she could cry out for help a large clammy palm covered her mouth. Eyes wide in panic she struggled unable to get a view of her intruders in the dark cramped hallway. It took mere seconds for her attackers to push her the length of her short hall into the compact kitchen.
The clammy hand vanished as she was unceremoniously shoved down into one her distressed wooden chairs with a thud. Momentarily stunned she blinked, dazed at the rapid turn of events as her mind struggled to process the turn of events. Her heart thundered and her pulse raced in panic. "Let me go! You need t' leave! Now!" Evelyn all but screamed as she attempted to stand up. It was a futile attempt as hands behind her held her in place.
"You the teacher?" it was a different voice to the one out on the street. This belonged to the second man. In the dull light of the kitchen Evelyn could make out the shadowy outline second man. There was no mistaking the peaked cap, although his perched atop his head at jaunty angle. Without a doubt the two men in her kitchen were the other two Shelby brothers, the two who came looking for Finn. Arthur and John. She'd heard Finn mention them but couldn't say which was which.
Evelyn, fuelled by anger and fear, answered the Shelby brother with conviction, "You already know I am and I know exactly who you are."
" 'ere, she's a bit posh for round 'ere," the brother whose outline she could see stepped nearer. Evelyn could just make out the features of face complete with tooth pick.
"Got ideas above yer station, have yer?" the other added joining his brother. He let go over shoulders and stepped from behind her chair. He was easily a head taller than his brother. Evelyn began to feel more intimidated as they towered over her. These two men were unpredictable, violent and uncouth with a reputation across the whole of Small Heath as key members of the Peaky Blinders.
"I'm doing my job," Evelyn countered, "Giving Finn a future which is more than can be said for you two."
"Now you listen 'ere, Miss. This 'ere is our city and our rules. You do as we tell you," the taller brother with the bristled moustache stepped forward. Evelyn could smell the stench of alcohol on his breath. She caught the glimpse of a blade in his cap and took a sharp intake of breath.
"That's right, getting' it now?" he backed away. Evelyn was torn. Every fibre in her body was telling her to flee and not to challenge the Shelby brothers but part of her, the one that did battle on a daily basis for the future of the younger generation was crying out to fight back.
Evelyn weighed her options and changed tact allowing common sense to get the better of her. Surely they could be made to see sense? "You shouldn't be taking Finn out of school," Evelyn forgot about watching her accent and lapsed into her broad Yorkshire. "What kind of future is he going to have? Do you really want him getting int' trouble on t' streets and getting arrested. Wi' an education he can ger'ra decent job and earn enough t' support himself and a family. Wi'out an educa-"
"Bloody hell!" the taller brother shouted making Evelyn jump.
"Woman, yer don't 'alf go on," the shorter brother added "We ain't-" he was interrupted by the sound of her front door opening.
"Who's that?" the taller brother demanded.
"W-w-who's who?" Evelyn stammered in confusion and looked towards the hall.
Tommy was enjoying the quiet of The Garrison. It was mid-week and getting late, most regulars had already drifted home. Tommy sat in the side room with the door open slightly. He sipped on the warm amber liquid of his Whisky as he mulled over a deal he'd made a few hours earlier. The slam of the heavy doors of The Garrison caught Tommy's attention. It was unusual for there to be someone coming in this late at night in the middle of the week unless there was an emergency. Tommy downed the remainder of his whisky in one swig, slammed his glass down and slid it to the centre of the table. He stayed seated but alert for any potential threat.
"Tommy! Tommy! You 'ave to come! Quick!" a small body skidded to a halt and almost collided with the table. Tommy relaxed slightly at the sight of the familiar child. It was Finn, out of breath and red in the face. "You 'ave to stop them," Finn panted.
"Stop who? Finn?" Tommy leaned forward resting his arms on the table.
"Arthur and John, yer need to come now," Finn began to tug on the sleeve of Tommy's shirt, "They're going to see Miss Trevellick."
"Why would they need to do that, Finn?" Tommy prompted, "What 'ave yer been up to this time."
"I swear I didn't go anything wrong. I've been good. Like yer said," Finn was eager to be believed. He had been good, for the most part so long as you overlooked the incident with the spider and the time he cut Martha's hair. Not to mention the rude word he carved on the door of the outside toilet. He was rather proud of that last one. He hadn't skipped school though and his eyes that counted as good.
"Not what I 'ear," Tommy answered wryly.
Finn ignored him, "Arthur and John came to school today. They had a job for me but I wasn't allowed to. Now they've gone to see her," Finn confessed to his brother, "They can't 'urt 'er."
With a sigh Tommy got to his fee, put on his coat and walked past Finn, "Come on then." Tommy doubted his brothers would actually hurt her they were more likely to scare her. After all she wasn't worth their time. His brothers were likely drunk from evening of drinking in the Garrison before Tommy arrived. They wouldn't have liked someone getting the better of them. Their intentions were probably to scare the teacher into doing what they wanted. It wouldn't be the first time they'd done it. One thing was becoming clear; Evelyn Trevellick was turning out to be trouble.