Italics are directly from the proposal scene, don't own them. I don't own Jo, Laurie, any of those characters, except OC.
Jo was lost to the world on a day like today. She swept through the leftover winter leaves, reveling in the sunshine, occasionally taking a moment to scribble a thought down before dashing off after a wayward rabbit. Jo considered this to be an endeavour deserving her full attention, so when she smashed into a random stranger, it wasn't that unusual. Just a quick apology and she'd be gone.
"Teddy! Oh, Teddy. Hail the conquering graduate! Is his grandfather exceedingly proud?"
Laurie beamed down at Jo from his great height.
"Yes, and extremely bent in locking me up in one of his offices. Why is it you can randomly scribble away, while I must manfully set my...interests aside?"
"Why must you?"
"I can't go against the old man. When I imagine myself...in that life...I can think of only one thing that would make me happy."
Laurie's face glowed. Jo knew that look; most mistook it for boyish innocence. It was the look of a man who knew what he stood for, knew what he wanted. The look of a man who always got what he wanted.
"I have loved you, since the moment I laid eyes of you. What would be more reasonable than to marry you!"
"We'd KILL each other! Neither one of us can control our tempers."
"But I would!"
Without waiting for a response Laurie pulled her flush against his chest, holding her face and ravishing her with a desperate kiss. Jo couldn't help herself. She gave in, tangling his soft locks in her hands and pulling him even tighter. Hearing Laurie's harsh panting, however, shocked her out of her stupor. She bent her head between her knees, taking deep breaths as she tried to gain composure. Before she could utter a word against him, he yanked her up and took her head in his hands.
"I'd take care of you Jo. You would be given every luxury you were ever denied. You wouldn't have to write, unless you wanted too."
Getting desperate, Jo fumbled.
"Teddy, I'm not fashionable enough for you. You need someone elegant, refined...someone who bathes on the daily would be good, too."
"Stupid Jo, you silly girl."
Jo smiled at Laurie sadly.
"Oh Teddy. You know as well as I do that this would never work. Your parents would never..."
Anger flared in Laurie's eyes.
"Don't you dare use my parents as an excuse Jo. You know well enough they loved you as much as I do."
"That may be. But oh Teddy, you don't love me. You love us, all of us! You said it yourself, all you wanted was to feel a part of something, to be in a family that felt warm."
"Jo. Ever since I went away to college...so, so much has changed. I realize that I already have a place within your family. All I need now is a place with you."
"Teddy, no. You know I can't. I can't..."
Laurie looked all over Jo's face, searching for a flicker of acceptance. Seeing none, his face turned cold, muttering something intelligible. Without another word, he pulled his coat around him and stalked off, leaving Jo to collapse onto the nearest bench, sobs wracking her body as she attempted to calm herself.
Shit. Jo. No. Don't you dare.
Leaving her sketchbook, she stood and walked frantically in the direction Laurie had gone in. From a distance, she could see him stalking up to his grandfather's car, the old man in the passenger seat with the window rolled down. Laurie nodded briskly at him, turned on his heel, and walked away, leaving his grandfather behind.
Two seconds later a shot rang out.
Before Jo could make a sound, the old man was slumped against the door, his blood trickling down to pool along the pavement. She saw Laurie turn around, and rush toward his grandfather, tearing open the door in his urgency. A few more moments passed, and Laurie's sudden cry of grief confirmed her fear, the old man was dead, leaving Laurie trembling like a scared, small child. Unlike their childhood, when little servant Jo had gathered Laurie up in her arms to cry, Laurie was all alone, screaming at the sky. Jo began to run toward him, but before she could take ten steps Laurie stood, pulled a gun out of his breast-pocket, and pointed it in the direction of the man who had murdered his only living family.
Jo knew that after killing that man, the sweet boy she had played with as a child would be lost forever, turned into a killer in the midst of his grief. She couldn't let that happen. She had one chance.
Jo woke in a cold sweat, shaking from the horrible nightmare. In the past month it had visited her night after night, and every morning she would wake in tears, replaying that horrible day nine years ago when she had lost her best friend forever. Before Jo had been able to reach him Laurie vanished, lost to the world.
Nine years. Nine whole years. He could be dead by now, or worse. He could be homeless, freezing, starving, ten feet underground. The hole that had formed in her heart when he vanished grew larger by the day, and Jo sometimes wondered when her heart would would finally just give up in total despair.
But until that day happened, there was always her work to turn too.
To her family, she was Jo; tomboy, caretaker, and free spirit. To the world, she was Josephine March, former starving artist and current semi-successful culture critic. After suffering through a quick fling with tabloid reporting, Jo worked her way up to a job that not only allowed her to do something tolerable, but also paid for something more than a weak cup of tea.
Not that she had any time for tea.
Unfortunately, her primary employer was about to go bankrupt. With crime levels sky-rocketing to unheard of heights, people had stopped looking for deep literary meaning and had started looking for a fanciful escape. With circulation numbers at an all time low, Jo was forced to return to the grind journalism, in search of a job which, hopefully, did not involve asking celebrities what brand of shoes they were wearing.
15 minutes later, after a hurried brushing of teeth and a flurry of clothing, Jo was sitting in the office of a small, but reliable newspaper known for revealing political scandals and covering stories most paper's would not take.
Would it have killed them to have snacks...
"Oh! Sorry, yes, spaced out for a bit. You were saying?"
"Only inquiring on what stories you think you could bring to this paper."
"Well... um...well, I've been writing freelance for the last few years. I have a strong work ethic, long hours mean nothing to me, and I always, always do what I can to best uncover the truth."
The editor adjusted his glasses and glanced again at her resume.
"Worked for the Laurence's, hmm? That family, huge fortune if I recall?"
"Yes sir. My mother was their housekeeper, and I worked a bit as their maid when I was old enough."
"Hmm...would you know of the son then? Theodore Laurence?"
"Were you at all acquainted with the boy?"
"Barely. May I ask why it matters, though? He's been missing for what, nine years or so? Presumed dead is what is generally assumed."
The old man cracked a grin.
"Why miss, haven't you heard? The young man's back, and quite the scoundrel too, if the stories are true than."
"Yes, he's been back for about a week, but already the rumors are pouring in. Parties, trips, naked picnics...all that sort of thing. You did say you know him, correct?"
Jo managed to bite out a quick, "Yes."
That jerk! Back at last and he couldn't find the time to tell me.
"Lovely. Well, here's a story for ya. Could you get us an interview with the man himself?"
At this point Jo lost it.
"BLAST IT ALL...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Just, is it possible I could start with, I don't know...uncovering some mob hijinks? Spend some time in the city's asylums? Getting first hand accounts of serial killers? I will do it, do it all, anything at all, other than this!"
The man quickly frowned. "Reader's want to be spoon fed. Who are we to deny them? And why not? I'd assume you'd want a glimpse of the man you used to work for."
Jo, at this point, was ready to pass out. But she needed this job. With Marmee ill...yes, she really did need this.
The man extended his hand, ready to seal the deal.