Title: Sealed with a Kiss

Author: Stress

Summary: Layna Kotliar is a girl with a secret so big that she doesn't even know it herself. Will she be able to trust David with it or will she continue to rely on the only friend she's ever known, a simple leather-bound journal?

The translations: As you will see as the fiction begins (and continues), Layna is a French immigrant. Therefore, much of what she says is in French. When the dialogue called for it I tried to include a translation but not always. However, I will include translations at the bottom. Hopefully it will add to the experience of the story.

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VIII. MORRIS

Gotta find myself everytime you go away

26 August 1899

Mon journal,

Un autre beau jour à Manhattan. The sun is just about ready to rise and I can feel the cool breeze of a jour doux. I know that it is quite early in the morning to be righting in you, mon journal – it can't be past five in the morning – but I just awoke from the strangest dream. Bien, il a ressemblé plus à un cauchemar. It started out with me walking about downtown…

It was late, at least four hours past Sunset. Secrets crept down the deserted, dirt-filled streets, kicking garbage out of her path as she went along. But it wasn't Secrets. At least, not quite. The girl, with her long raven hair and crystal blue eyes, looked exactly like Secrets. But it just was not her.

The girl was laughing to herself as she continued in her brisk walk. It was an eerie sound, low and kept under her breath. However, it was, unmistakably, the sound of a little girl's laughter. "I'm coming for you, Cowboy. Then my Layna will be with her David. You will not interfere any longer. Je vais vous recevoir." Just like the laugh, her voice was reminiscent of a young child; it was clipped with a faint French accent but still retained a hint of a lisp.

As she, the one who resembled Secrets so, slunk around the back ways and alleys to avoid coming in contact with anyone that might question her actions, she reached into the worn and faded leather pouch slung over her right shoulder. " Je viens, je viens," she said solemnly as she drew out a knife from the bag; the knife's steel blade was about three inches long with an ornate wooden handle connected at the base. She ran a finger across the length of the blade; without any pressure, the blade did not pierce her skin. But that was alright. The blade was already stained, caked over with a liberal amount of dried blood.

The feel of the smooth steel against her hand filled the girl with unexplained giddiness. She was smiling wildly; her feet, rather than walk normally, were performing an intricate skip. She was only a few blocks away from the Lodging House of Duane Street. She would be there before she knew it. And she was glad.

That's when, despite her excited anticipation, she heard faint steps behind her. She paused; the steps stopped. She was being followed.

The girl positioned the knife in a manner that the person following her could not see it before spinning around. She was prepared to use the knife if she needed to. She had it hidden so that the person behind her would never suspect an attack. "Qui est là? Who's there?

It was a boy. She squinted her eyes so that she could make him out. He was a head taller than her, with shaggy dark hair hidden under a bowler cap. He had a thick mustache that made him just look evil. If it was not for the knife she was clutching, she might be afraid.

He obviously had not expected her to turn around and confront him. His hands were thrown up in defense. "Hey…Secrets, right? Hold on. I just wanted to have a couple of words with you."

She almost confessed that her name was not Secrets but held her tongue. He did not need to know that. Instead, she brushed her long black hair out of her face as she spoke to him, quietly. "Je suis désolémonsieur, but I'm very busy and I don't have the time to have a talk with you."

The boy looked confused. He removed his dark hat and scratched his head. "Again with that strange talk. Don't you remember me? Morris Delancey, you know. I was the one who found you sleeping on the streets before Cowboy and the Mouth took you over." He paused and placed his hat back on his head, a wicked smile stretching his face. "I've been meaning to talk to you but I always see you with those newsies. But I guess, now, I don't have to worry about that, heh?" He was almost laughing to himself now as he remembered about Stress's death and Cowboy's upset. There was nothing like seeing someone you do not like feeling pain – unless, of course, you were the person to cause that pain, he thought. In his own way, he applauded the work of Stress's murderer. He never liked the girl.

"I guess not," she replied testily. Something about the way he casually mentioned Jack and David made her peeved. She bowed her head slightly. "Now, if you don't mind, I really must be on my way." Then, without even giving him the opportunity to respond, she turned around again and began to walk forward. She was just passing an alleyway that was separating adjoining street blocks when she heard him speak.

His voice was almost whining now. "Oh, come on, Secrets. You know that you'd like to get to know me better."

"Actually, I'd rather not," she replied without even turning around. However, because she was still facing forward, she did not see him reach out for her; it was a surprise when she felt his touch, his hand grabbing her shoulder.

"Secrets, wait. I just want to talk to you."

She tensed under the slight pressure of his hand. Il veut me parler ? Bien, il peut dire son adieu final, she thought. Slowly, she spun around to face him. "Morris?"

He dropped his hand at once. Secrets' left hand was kept behind her back, he noticed, but her right hand was lifted, her pointer finger beckoning him to step forward. Meanwhile, she was take deliberate steps backward. "Mmm," he said, watching as she went.

Her lips quirked upwards, sending a seductive smile in his direction. She continued to talk backwards, stepping into the darkness of the alley. "You want to talk to me, Morris? I would really like that," she purred.

Morris licked his lips eagerly and rubbed his hands together. If she was inviting him into a dark alleyway, there was probably only one thing on her mind – the same thing that made up his perverted psyche; it was not conversation. Without thinking twice, he followed her.

"Come here," she commanded, pointing him towards a corner in the depths of the alley. She gestured for him to take a seat, using the moonlight to guide him to the spot. He did so but with a doubtful expression on his face. No matter who she was or what she was willing to do with him, nobody told one of the Delancey brothers what to do.

She caught the look on his face and laughed at him; the loud seemed almost cruel and entirely at odds with her demeanor. "What's the matter, Morris? Est quelque chose qui ne vas pas?" He was looking at her strangely and opened his mouth to answer her question. And promptly shut it when he saw, through the glint of the moonlight, that she had withdrawn an old, rusty knife and was fingering the blade as she smiled down on him.

He swallowed, nervously. In the silence that followed, you could almost hear the saliva traveling down his throat. It took him a few moments before he was able to gather enough nerve to question her intent. "Hey, Secrets? What are you doing with that there knife?"

"Silencieux, Morris," she commanded as she, while still carefully holding her knife out, climbed over him and straddled his lap. "My name ain't Secrets."

Morris visibly relaxed once he felt her slight weight settle on his lap. Oh, she wants me. He wiggled below her, making himself more comfortable before lifted his head up to look her in the eye. "Well, then, what should I call you, not-Secrets?" Her eyes were trained upon, staring and unblinking. The intensity in which she looked at him scared him; he lowered his eyes, focusing on her chest instead. "You look like you need a good man, not that twerp Jacobs. And I'm sure that I'm all the man you need," he added, leering at her.

He might have escaped his predicament if it not were the careless way he defamed David. She could not have that. Slowly she lifted the knife upwards, trying to remain discreet so as not to draw his attention from her chest to her hand. "My name is Kisses, vous imbécile. And I don't need any one but my Layna," she hissed. Before Morris had the chance to move, scream, dodge her strike – anything – she brought the knife downward, plunging it straight into his heart. She continued to do so, sharply jerking the knife up and down.

She continued to stab him repeatedly until she reached her seventh blow – a stab no more necessary than the second due to the fatal positioning of her first hit. Once she had finished, she climbed off of his lap and placed the knife – the warm, bloody knife – to her puckered lips. Like her name, she kissed the firm steel. When she drew the knife away, her lips were covered in Morris Delancey's spilt blood.

She bent down and knelt beside his body, eerily still now that the life had been stolen from it. She placed her blade against his shirt and used the material to wipe away the rest of the blood. His face, she saw up close, was frozen in a permanently surprised expression. It made her smile.

Her blue eyes were twinkling madly as she leaned in and placed a chaste kiss against his cool forehead. When she pulled away, there was a bloody kiss mark in the center of the flesh. "Et ce, vous l'idiot, est pourquoi on m'appelle 'Kisses'," she whispered into his unhearing ear before backing away from him.

Once she was out of the alley, she looked briefly to her right and then her left. She made her decision then and began to head back to the Bottle Alley Home for Girls. "You've received une remise de peine, Cowboy. But tomorrow, we shall meet," she murmured before she raised her knife – no longer warm or bloody – to her lips. She pressed her lips against the steel again and then placed it back into her leather bag.

One it was safely tucked away, she placed her right hand against her temple. One of her excruciatingly painful headaches was approaching and she knew she would never finish her night's business. She would have to wait.

Tomorrow she would make her Layna happy.

And then I woke up. Étrange, non?

Thank goodness that was a only a dream. It just seemed so real to me, especially since the murderous girl in my dream called herself 'Kisses'. I think I still have Stress's brutal murder on my brain. The boy in my dream seemed to have been killed in the same manner.

Que pensez-vous?

I just needed to write that down. I haven't had one of those cauchemars de couteau since I was twelve years old. It really made me nervous.

I just hope that it is the last of them.

Le vôtre,
Secrets.

She signed her name to the entry with a flourish, drawing out the second 's' so that it was curled under the length of her adopted nickname. With a sigh, she stuck her fountain pen inside the binding of her journal before sliding it inside her pillowcase.

Her action accidentally knocked over a worn and faded pouch that was resting at the head of her bunk. She was too tired to notice it, however; instead, she laid her head upon her pillow and decided to fall back asleep. After all, she still had an hour or so before having to get up for the day.

Just as she fell back asleep, she murmured to herself. "It was only just a dream…"

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Translations:

Un autre beau jour à Manhattan – Another beautiful day in Manhattan
Jour doux –
Sweet day
Bien, il a ressemblé plus à un cauchemar – Well, it was more like a nightmare
Je vais vous recevoir - I'm going to get you
Je viens, je viens - I'm coming, I'm coming
Qui est là?
– Who's there?
Je suis désolé, monsieur – I'm sorry, sir
Il veut me parler ? Bien, il peut dire son adieu final - He wants to talk to me? Well, he can say his final goodbyes
Est quelque chose qui ne vas pas? – Is something wrong?
Silencieux, Morris – Quiet, Morris
Vous imbecile – You fool
Et ce, vous l'idiot, est pourquoi on m'appelle 'Kisses' - And that, you idiot, is why I am called 'Kisses'
Une remise de peine – Reprieve
Étrange, non? – Strange, no?
Que pensez-vous? – What do you think?
Cauchemars de couteau – Knife nightmares
Le vôtre - Yours