Sorry that I have been so inactive! I had my musical and then immediately after that I got cast in another show, but it's spring break right now so I am doing a quick little update. Next week is tech week, and then it calms down a bit. I might get another update sometime in May, but it's very unlikely. Once the second week or so of June comes around, I should have lots of free time. Since I last updated this, I met the one and only Ben Tyler Cook and can say that he is extremely sweet. I saw the Newsies movie and cried my eyes out. Clay Thomson (my Spot when I saw Newsies) followed me on my Twitter account ( bway_bookworm617). I started a Newsies High School AU focusing on Crutchie, which I am in the process of planning and writing, and I joined a Newsies group chat on Instagram. That was a lot of updates, sorry guys. The disclaimer from Chapter 1 still stands and I hope you enjoy this chapter!
The waiting was over.
"So, what was that about?" Jack asked.
"I don't wanna talk 'bout it."
I sat in my bunk. Jack was sitting across from me, on an empty one.
"Fine. I'll leave ya be." He jumped down, his feet hitting the floor with a soft thud.
I rolled onto my side, staring at the wall across from me.
Romeo tapped me on my shoulder. "Race, that pretty goil's back. She's at the front door, sittin' on the stoop."
I groaned before sitting up. I crawled out of bed and walked to the front of the musty building that I called home.
My hand lingered on the door, before I opened it reluctantly.
The redhead looked up at me.
"What're ya doin' Winnie?"
She shrugged. "Sitting here. Dreaming."
"Dreamin' 'bout what?"
I sat down next to her.
"The old days. With Jesse," she whispered softly.
"Oh. Well, you know he never died."
"I know," she said, her voice breaking. "That's what makes it hurt."
I didn't know how to approach this. Yeah, I was a ladies' man, but those girls weren't bawling bags of emotions that I had a secret with. I wanted to pull her into my arms and hold her forever.
Get out of ya head. She's seven years younger than you, dammit!
"Jesse did say to come find him, right?" I asked, making sure I had my facts straight.
"No," she muttered. "He said to stay with him. And to go to the spring. And drink."
"Well, you'se seventeen, right?"
"Yep. The same age as him." Winnie spoke, her voice littered with disappointment.
"Why don't we go?"
"Go where?" my companion asked.
"The spring." I stated.
"No, no, no. I just escaped from Treegap. I can't go back."
"Okay. Um, how about you stay here? In the city."
"Well, I do want an adventure."
I offered her my hand. "Come on."
She grabbed my hand, and I pulled her to a standing position.
We walked away from the Lodging House.
As we walked the crowded streets, she asked "What's it like to live here? In a city that never sleeps? You know Treegap. The only thing that town did was sleep!"
I laughed. "It's amazing. You know, except for the fact that I can barely survive."
She stopped dead in her tracks. "You can barely survive?" Her voice was a broken-hearted whisper.
I nodded. "I'se got it handled. Don't you worry."
She looked at me.
I realized that I was still holding her hand. I gave it a slight squeeze.
"Where exactly are we going, Race?"
She shrugged. I took it as an opportunity to drop her hand.
"Do you by any chance have my cigar?"
"Um, I think." She dug around in her bag, pulling it out about a minute after.
She looked up at the building. I had to admit, it wasn't very pretty lookin'.
But Medda was a friend of ours, and I thought Winnie might like to meet her.
"What is this place?"
"A theater. Miss Medda's, to be exact."
I opened the door. As we walked in, Medda shouted, "Well, if it isn't Racetrack Higgins!"
"Ya know I'se shortened it to Race, Ms. Medda!" I called back. I led Winnie to the stage, where Medda was standing.
When we reached her, I climbed onto the stage, pulling Winnie up after me.
"And who's this beautiful young lady?"
"This is Winnie. Winnie Foster."
"Hi. Nice to meet you Ms. Medda."
"And you, Miss Winnie." She leaned over to me. "She looks like a good one, keep a hold of her and don't break her heart, okay?"
I felt the heat spread through my cheeks. Luckily, Winnie was wandering around the stage, taking it all in.
I stood silently as she ran around, her face holding the same expression as that day at the fair.
And I loved it.
I walked back to Race. He was deep in conversation with Medda.
I noticed that he had some color creeping up his face, but I ignored it. He couldn't like me. Why would he?
"What's goin' on here tonight?" Race asked.
"Well, the Bowery Beauties are doing a little show, after that not much. I think Jack's comin' to do some paintin'."
"Can we watch?" I asked. I kind of wanted to spend more time with Race.
"Of course, honey. You can watch from one of the boxes."
Race led me up to one of the theater's private boxes. I sat down in a seat, my companion plopping down next to me.
We talked as the house filled.
"So, how's that grandmother of yours?"
"Oh. Well did you ever see Jesse after that day?"
I paused. "No. I didn't."
"Sorry, Winnie, I know how much he meant to you."
"It's fine. I would be fine without seeing Jesse again, I mean, I knew I would never be able to be with him. Once I returned, my mother didn't let me out for- well, six years."
"You've been trapped in that house since 1891?"
"Yes. I thought… nevermind, it's stupid."
"You thought Crutchie was Jesse," Race said plainly.
I let my head fall. "Yes."
"Winnie, it's perfectly fine. I thought the same thing."
"But they look exactly the same. It's freaky."
He nodded. "I don't know why. I mean, I've had to teach myself the ways of the spring. There were countless trips to Treegap."
"How come I never saw you? Oh, yeah. I was trapped in the hell I called my home."
The blonde chuckled. "I passed your house more than once, Miss Foster."
"So, you knew I lived there?"
"I always had."
"Yeah, because that's not creepy."
The house lights began to flicker and that was the last sentence I said to him before the show started.
When the lights came up, I glanced at Race. He just sat there, in awe.
It was extremely adorable.
"Race, come on, we have to go."
I pulled him up by the sleeve and dragged him out of the building. As we walked back to the Lodging House, he asked, "Where are you staying?"
I froze. I was supposed to go to a hotel and get a room. But I had forgotten to.
"I don't have anywhere to stay. I forgot." My words were choked.
"I got you. Let's go back to the Lodging House. I'm sure Jack, you, and me can figure somethin' out."
A chill went through my body.
It was the twentieth of July, but the buildings of New York shaded the streets.
We reached the Lodging House and the boy from earlier opened the door.
"Hey, Romeo." Race said.
"Hi, Race. What's going on?"
"Winn needs a place to stay."
"And ya think she's gonna get it here?"
"I was figuring we'd talk to Kloppman."
"Yeah but still."
He walked in and Romeo held me at the door.
"Jus' hold on. He'll come back to get you if Kloppman agrees."
I sat on the stoop. Race appeared at the door.
"Kloppman says that you can stay here."
I walked through the door and was met with the face of at least twenty-five boys.
"Who's the pretty goil?"
Race smiled beside me. "Winnie Foster."
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