Disclaimer: This song and it's lyrics are property of the band Mad at Gravity.  The Newsies, as always, belong to Disney.  The "I" of the story, Stress, belongs to me.

Author's Note:  Yeah, I wrote this last night after I got in a huge fight with someone.  If it stinks, it's cause I wrote it real quick when I was steaming.  Let me know, though, if you like it or not.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Find me, I'm falling

and fooling myself that it's flight...

I looked up as I saw the two young men enter through the Bleeker Street Lodging House door.

The taller one, with brown eyes and his trademark black cowboy hat on top of his head, was visibly angry.  "How couldja, Race?  Dat was me last two bits fer da day."

Race, the shorter of the two, flinched at Jack's tone of voice.  "I'se sorry, Jack, but I got a tip on dat horse an' I nevah t'ought it would lose."

Imperfect, I plummet and ponder,

pushed away on principle...

"But it did, didn't it?"

I placed the paper I was reading down and stood from the step I was sitting on.  "Heya fellas."  I walked over to Jack's side and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  When that didn't make him relax, I tried to find out what was wrong.  "What's happenin' heah, boys?"

"Ya wanna know what's happenin', Stress?  Dis lousy scabbah borrowed me last two bits an' blew it on some horse down at da tracks."

Oh boy.  "Is dat true, Race?" I asked, crossing my fingers behind my back that it wasn't.  Ever since Jack had to give back the money Pulitzer gave him, he's been a bit touchy about his loot.

"Kinda.  I asked Jack if he would lend me two bits on account dat I got such a hot tip on dis one horse.  Wouldn't ya know dat da horse placed last."

Walk away and I stare,

would you stand me up again?

Wonder if I've said too much,

and we'll never speak again...

Damn, it's true then.  I absolutely hate being around Jack when he's in a bad mood. He never wants to speak to me, or anyone for that matter.  Maybe I can try to reason with him.  "Jack, why is dat gettin' ya in dat foul o' a mood?  Race is always losin' money down at da track.  Ya should know bettah dan ta give him yer money ta bet wit'."

"Stress, jist stay outta it, wouldja." Jack ignored my comments and faced Race again.  "Why didja hafta pick taday outta awl da days.  Ya saw da headline, it got me barely fifteen cents taday aftah I bought me papes.  I was countin' on dat two bits fer lodgin' an' dinnah tanight."

I tried again.  "I'll pay fer yer lodgin' tanight, Jack.  If not, I'se shoah dat Quipstah an' Tunes'll letcha stay tanight anyways."

Forfeit, my future,

for feelings of few far between...

Then, as if right on cue, three people entered the door to the lodging house: a smiling girl with her long brown hair pulled back, and then a tall, handsome boy with his arms around the waist of a pretty red-head.

The brunette looked over to where Jack was glowering over Race and her grin widened.  "Did I jist heah someone say me name?"

"I did, Quip.  It seems like Jack lent da last o' his money ta Race an', surprise, surprise, he lost it awl at da track taday." I jerked my thumb over at Jack while telling Quipster, Tunes and Skittery about the fight that Jack and Race were having.  "Now, Jack is really mad at Race an' I'se tryin' ta tell him da he shouldn't make it such a big deal.  Bu--"  I stopped mid-sentence when I saw that Jack was no longer making angry monkey faces at Race.  He was making them at me!

Mindless, of merciful measures,

making ends preempt the means...

"What's da mattah, Jack?"  Forgetting for the moment that Race, Quipster, Skittery and Tunes were in the lobby of the Bleeker Street Lodging House as well as Jack and I, I rested my arm on his shoulder and looked straight into his brown eyes.

And I searched your eyes for an answer,

and shuddered at what I found there...

And for the first time in our relationship, whether it was as friends or now, as a couple, I saw hurt in his eyes.  Or at least I think I did.  I was only able to look into his eyes for a brief moment before he tensed up and looked away.

"O' coise you'se gonna take his side, eh, Stress?" he spat out as he moved away from my touch.

Then, after shooting Race one more of his patented "Manhattan Leader" stares, he stormed right out of the lodging house door.

As my skin shrunk away from conclusion,

that you lack the strength to care...

As Klips and , two more lodgers of the Bleeker Street Lodging House, entered the door, passing Jack as he left, they looked at each other.  "Did we jist miss sumting, heah?" Klips asked, a little lost.

I'm going to let the leaders handle this one, I thought to myself as I followed my boyfriend out the door.  It was never a good idea to let Jack stew over something for too long.  He sometimes got "good ideas" if he did.

Walk away and I stare,

would you stand me up again?

Wonder if I've said too much,

and we'll never speak again...

I ran from the lodging house and quickly decided to make a left.  If I knew Jack at all, I knew he would head straight towards the Horace Greeley statue.  Ever since the big strike a few weeks before, Jack always went to the statue when he needed an ego-boost.

Now, was I right or was I right?  Sitting right next to the sign that read "Go West, Young Man" was Jack.

"Hey Cowboy!" I called as I approached him, unsure on how this fight would end.  As a couple, we had only had one or two fights -- but they had all had some sort of reason behind them.  This time, I'm not too sure I know why Jack is so angry.

This is the way it has to be,

that you would turn your back on me...

Upon hearing my voice, Jack looked up and scowled.  Then, before I could say another word or take one step closer to the statue, Jack hopped down from the pedestal and began to walk away.

My stomach flip-flopped at his out-right refusal to speak to me.  "Jack, wait."

He stopped in his tracks.  "What do ya want, Stress?"

Man, I hate how he has the power to make me feel so guilty when I didn't do anything wrong!

And you and I should walk away...

"Jack, kin ya tell me why ya jist ran outta da lodgin' house like dat?" I shuffled towards where he stood, a few feet from the statue.

"Ya wouldn't undahstand."

Oh, wouldn't I?  "Jack, how long have we known each uddah?"

"Stress, I--" Jack began before I cut him off.

"Jack, I'll tell ya den.  Four yeahs now.  I t'ink I'd undahstand anyt'ing ya hafta tell me."

Jack knocked his black cowboy hat off of his head and ran his hand through his thick brown hair before he replaced his hand into his pocket.  "Fine den, I'll tell ya.  It's jist dat I don't git why ya like Race bettah dan me, when you'se supposed ta be me goil."

What?!

Walk away and I stare,

would you stand me up again?

Wonder if I've said too much,

and we'll never speak again...

I stared at Jack, open-mouthed, trying to comprehend what he was saying.

Jack, on the other hand, continued.  "Dat's why I gotta git outta heah.  If ya like him bettah, I ain't gonna be heah.  I'se jist gonna walk away."  And he did.  Walk away, that is.  As I stood there, in shock, he turned his back on me and walked away.

And we'll never speak again...

I watched him walk away for a moment before rushing forward and holding onto his arm.  "No, Jack.  Don't walk away from me."

"Why not?" he whispered, his eyes staring blankly ahead, no longer showing the anger they held only a few minutes before.

"Cause I don't like Race bettah dan you'se.  I love you'se Jack, an' I got no clue as ta how ya t'ink dat it's Race I'se aftah.  He's 's guy, anyways."

Never speak again...

"Yeah?  Yeah?  Den how come, back in da lodgin' house, ya stood up fer him an' not me?"

So that's what it's all about.  "Cause I don't see why it's a big deal.  Ya let him borrow two bits an' he lost it.  It don't mean dat you'se'll nevah get it back.  An' it shoah don't mean dat I like him bettah cause I t'ink dat it ain't a huge t'ing dat he owes ya money.  Hell, you'se owe me money, Jack." 

Jack just looked at me as if I grew three heads.  Great, now I just added my name to the list of people he's pissed at.

Never speak again...

Jack's dazed and confused look remained on his face for one moment longer before splitting into a grin.  "Are ya shoah, Stressie?  It's still me an' not Race?"

I swatted him on the arm.  "O' coise, Jack.  I was jist tryin' ta show ya dat a fight wit' one o' yer best pals jist wasn't woith it."

Jack leaned over and gave me a quick kiss.  "T'anks, hun.  I see dat now.  It's jist dat, y'know,  in da mess o' da bad headline an' Race borrowin' da last o' me money, I jist felt like I was fallin' an' I wanted ta walk away from it awl.  Now, I 'membah why I always stay heah." He wrapped his arms around me, tight, and I laughed.

"So, no moah fights an' no moah not speakin' ta me?  Oh, an' no moah walkin' away?"

"No moah walkin' away." he affirmed and, as he grabbed my hand, we walked back to the Bleeker Street Lodging House.  Jack had a friend he needed to apologize to.