Title: Never Enough
Summary: A take on Romeo & Juliet. In 1921 New York, the Manhattan Mob and the Brooklyn Boys ruled the city. After a brief war, there was peace but it was never enough to create trust. All it took was one night – and one gunshot – to shatter that illusion.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the original Newsies characters mentioned in this piece; I do, however, stake claim to Jess Kelly, Frankie Kelly, Reagan Malloy, Johnny Conlon and a whole mess of other characters that will most likely pop up throughout this work.
Author's Note: Okay, everybody. Three chapters left. Woot. And, in case you haven't noticed it, I started to rewrite the beginning (the first few chapters). So far, chapters one and two have been redone to add a bit more detail and whatnot. I should finish chapters three and four some point soon, as well as the next bit to this story. I actually can't wait to finish it, heh. And, I just wanted to note that this is a take on the Romeo & Juliet story. Just remember that - it's not a crossover or an adaptation, if you catch what I mean.
Reagan helped Frankie pin up her long curls. It was quite the task, considering the length of her hair but, with the help of quite a few bobby pins, the Kelly girl was finally satisfied that she looked good enough to be married. Excitedly, Frankie fluffed her hair before twirling around once, the drop-waisted skirt fanning out as she turned. There was a smile on her face that seemed at odds with somber mood that seemed to be attached to the pair. Reagan wondered if she should mention to dangers of the evening but decided to hold her tongue; who was she, after all, to spoil Frankie's wedding night?
Nevertheless, Reagan wore a look of concern that she had a hard time disguising. When Frankie finished in her moment of folly, she dropped the ends of her skirt, her smiling sliding off of her pale face. "Reagan… I want you to know that I really do appreciate all you've done for Johnny and me," she said, keeping her voice low, "but I do understand if you want to stay here and not go to the church."
The blonde girl paused for a moment, uncertain. Should I just stay home? She shook her head. "I'd… I'd like to go with you, Frankie. If only to go to whichever church that Johnny found and pray for Mickey, I'd like to go."
"Yeah…" Frankie said, her green eyes lowered. She took a deep breath. "Is it bad that, in the rush of everything that's happening, I keep forgetting about Mickey?"
"No. I don't think so." For the sake of the other girl, Reagan attempted to smile. "There will be a time to grieve for Mickey Finn but I don't think that's now. Now," she continued, reaching her hand forward and adjusting one of Frankie's curls, "is the time for you to prepare to be married to your Johnny."
Frankie waited until Reagan had lowered her hand before nodding carefully. "Thanks."
"Don't mention it," Reagan said, trying to blink back tears that were threatening to overtake her. This whole scenario – everything that had happened since that gunshot rang out in the Park – was beginning to weigh on her. If she allowed herself to start brewing on the evening's events, she thought she might just break down. "Whistler should be her soon. Maybe we should go wait out front."
As if on cue, there came the sound of a car driving in front of Reagan's apartment building. The two girls shared a quick look before slowly exiting Reagan's bedroom. They tiptoed through the hallway and crept through the front room of the apartment, trying their best not to draw the attention of Sophie Malloy. Reagan felt guilty at deceiving her mother but, she felt, Sophie would understand her actions when she told her about them tomorrow.
Reagan made it to the door first. As softly as she could, she turned the knob and pulled the door inward. There was a slight creak – she remembered vividly her mother saying that it should be oiled one of these days and she cringed – and both girls froze. They waited a moment to see if Sophie would re-enter the front room but, when there came no hint of her arrival, Reagan pulled the door the rest of the way before slipping out into the small hallway.
Frankie followed her, pulling the door shut behind her. The door made a muffled slamming noise as it closed; the girls heard it and, rather than freeze again, they hurried down the dim, narrow corridor. Considering both girls were wearing a new dress for the occasion – after Reagan lent Frankie the white dress, she has swapped her own torn dress for a respectable light blue frock that showed off her eyes – they were careful not to muss the skirt; still, they ran down the stairwell as if they were being followed.
By the time they found themselves, once again, out in the darkness, both Frankie and Reagan were panting slightly. At their appearance in front of the building, a pair of headlights shined on them – Whistler. The sudden influx of light caused Reagan to flinch and her heart rate – already speeding from the mad dash down three flights of stairs – seemed to double. She did not move.
Frankie grabbed Reagan's arm and started to pull her towards the car. After a few steps, Reagan regained the ability to move and hurried after Frankie. The brunette opened the car door and let Reagan slide in first before taking her seat. She pulled the door closed and, once it had, she let out a sigh of relief. She had no idea why that whole run had unnerved her so – perhaps, by running from the real threat of Mrs. Malloy discovering the plot, she was subconsciously running from her own parent's disapproval? – but it had unnerved her all the same.
It was only as the car started to head back towards Manhattan that Frankie started to slow her frantic breathing. Reagan, she could hear, was out of breath as she was.
Whistler, on the other hand, looked quite pleased with himself. Keeping one eye on the road before him, he cast a look at the two girls. "What the hell was that about?"
Frankie snorted. He was a Brooklyn Boy; he would never understand. "Nothing, Whis. Just drive."
The red-headed boy just shrugged. He did not really care, anyway. He was still gloating over his own daring, as it was.
Whistler, after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and making it back into Manhattan, had insisted on parking the car a few blocks away from Match O'Rourke's apartment. He had not said why but Reagan was pretty sure she could figure it out. Rather than park the expensive model in the seedier part of town, he had purposely driven a bit further so that it was residing across that imaginary line she had noticed earlier that night.
Once out of the car, the three of them started to walk back towards the apartment. It had been Johnny's idea that they all met back there to learn the next step of his plan and Reagan – as well as her two companions – was quite eager to see what the Conlon boy had in mind. She could tell, back when he was delegating tasks, that he was making everything up as he went along and, in a way, she applauded him for that.
Reagan noticed something else, too. Whereas she had been intimidated walking around this part of town before, she found that with Whistler in tow, acting as a chaperone almost, no one gave the girls a second glance. Reacting to that, Reagan hurried a bit forward so that she was nearly even with Whistler. The boy gave her a wolfish grin which she ignored – if it was between dealing with Whistler's flirtatious habits or being ogled by bums, she would take Whistler.
Luckily, though, the walk was not that far. Frankie, who was obviously getting quite antsy, led the way into the apartment. However, just as they were stepping inside the front entrance of the rundown building, Match was stepping out. She seemed almost surprised to meet them face to face but that looks of surprise switched into one of purpose. She grabbed Frankie by the shoulders and spun her around. "Let's go, dearie. Your groom is waiting for you."
Frankie let Match guide her back down the road but she did glance over her shoulder. "Do you know where we're going, Match?"
"Yup. Johnny was already back here. He left a note for us… told everyone to meet him down at some old church on Mulberry Street."
"Old Saint Pat's?" Frankie asked.
Whistler and Reagan shared a look this time. Whistler shrugged once before the two of them started to follow Match and Frankie.
Matt Finn was sweating. It was not something that he normally did – it was only done it times of great nervousness – but, after being interrogated by Boss Conlon, he could not help it. The man had glared at him fiercely, demanding that he tell him all about Johnny and his secret rendezvous' with Frankie Kelly. His loyalty was at stake – was he loyal to the Boss or Johnny?
There was no other choice for him. Still reeling from the harsh announcement that his brother had been murdered, Matt was confused and hurt. When the Boss asked him what was going on, he did not have the strength to lie. He told Boss Conlon everything – including Match O'Rourke's involvement.
It was when he heard about the Manhattan girl that the Boss stood up and, rubbing his temples with his fingers, walked away from Matt. There had been a tense moment when his back was to Matt before he whirled back around. He said one word. Where.
Matt gave him the address.
The sweat was slowly dripping down his forehead. He longed to lift his hand and wipe it away but, just then, he did not dare move. Even the Boss's mistress knew better than to interfere when he was in this sort of mood. Almost right after Matt started telling the Boss all about Johnny, Rae had backed away and stood, waiting and watching, in one of the small room's corners.
Boss Conlon was quiet again. His face was still red and his hands were clenched but, at least, he was no longer barking commands or questions at Matt. Instead, the older man was trying to process everything that Matt had just told him.
Finally, he nodded. He kept nodding as he turned around and looked over at the fair-haired woman. "Rae?"
Rae straightened up and met his clear gaze. "Yes, Spot?"
"I'm going for a trip into Manhattan." So very simple yet so very intimidating. It almost sounded as if he planned on just going for a drive and that was all.
The woman narrowed her eyes. "Just for Johnny?"
Even Matt could here the bite behind her words. Though the words were posed as a question, Rae did not seem inquisitive.
Surprisingly, Boss Conlon nodded again. "For now. I need to bring my son home." He took a deep breath. He was obviously trying to get himself under control. "Are you coming with me?"
Rae thought it over for a moment. On the one hand, she was not comfortable with leaving her children home alone when she was over the bridge. Then again, Edwina was fifteen – and there was no way that she was going to allow Spot to head into Manhattan all by himself. If everything that they had heard so far that evening was true, then one of his Boys had been killed by the Manhattan Mob and his own son was seeing Jack Kelly's daughter. She could not trust him to keep his head level once on their land. She nodded. "Yes, Spot."
Matt cleared his throat. "I'd like to go, too, Boss. I want to… I want to get Mickey." The boy's voice had broken in the middle of the sentence. It was one thing to hear from someone that his only brother was killed – it was another to admit out loud to himself. "I can't leave him there, you know."
Spot started to shake his head but, in the middle of the head movement, he stopped. A sad smile came to his face. "Alright, Finn. You can come with us. But don't go getting any ideas, alright? We pick up Johnny and we pick up your brother. That's it. Understand?"
Matt nodded urgently – a little too urgently.
Spot sighed. This was not what he was expecting when he came home from his business meetings. "Let's go. We'll take my car."
Neither Rae nor Matt moved until Spot had already left the room. Matt trudged along behind the man but Rae, who sensed that something was just off with those whole plan, hurried forward until she was walking with Spot. "Spot?" she said, her voice a whisper on the wind, "do you think this is the best idea? Letting him come with us? I mean... his brother just died."
"I know, Rae. His brother died. Do you really think I should tell him to leave the body there for Manhattan to disgrace? And that's even if Jacky-Boy just left Finn there to rot because, I don't know… I just don't know, Rae. Hell, there's a lot of shit I don't know. Johnny? With the Kelly girl? How?"
Rae could see that this was bothering Spot way more than he would ever admit – and the fact that he had made some sort of small admission to her made her all the more nervous. She sighed and, leaning in, gave him a quick kiss on his cheek. "It'll be alright, Spot. I mean, it's not like it's not something you can take care, right?"
There was a jerk of his head – it might have been a nod – and Spot lowered his gaze. "Sure, Rae. Now, get in the car. We have to go."
She did not say anything as she walked around the car. Matt followed her around and, remembering that she was his Boss's lady, opened the door for her. She climbed into the car with only a small grin as thanks – however, the grin slowly transformed into a look of confusion when she saw the note sitting, folded, on her seat. She picked it up quickly and climbed back out of the car, nearly backing into Matt as she did so.
Rae used one of the nearby street lamps to quickly read through the note. Then, when she got to Johnny's signature at the bottom of the note, her grey eyes started at the top again. She could not believe what she had read so she read it again. But, when she had read through the small note three times and her understanding had not changed, Rae grimaced. Spot was not going to like this.
Matt, she could see, was still standing outside of the car with her. There was a confused look on his face – he had watched her read the note over and over again – but he just stood there, waiting.
"Rae? What are you doing? I thought I said get in the car?"
Spot's rough voice brought her back around. Almost as if she was in a trance, Rae slid into the car, the note still clutched in her hand. She did not notice it when Matt followed her into the car, or when the door was shut. She was still trying to figure out just how this could have happened.
The man was just about to start the ignition of his fancy motorcar when he caught a glimpse of Rae's glossed over expression. "Rae, dear," he began, purposely speaking in a softer voice – he noticed how preoccupied she was all of a sudden, "what's the matter?"
She glanced over at Johnny's father. Rae knew that if she kept this from him, he would never forgive her. But, if she told him… she knew that he would probably lose it entirely. "Spot? If I… tell you something, do you promise to keep your temper in check?"
Spot did not like the way that Rae posed her question; she was saying that she knew something that would upset him. His curiosity piqued, he nodded. If it was something that Rae was hesitant to tell him, Spot had to know what it was. "I promise. I'll behave," he answered, with a touch of humor to his voice. Whatever it was, he figured, it could not be worse than finding out that Johnny was dallying with Jack's daughter.
He was wrong.
Rae was not entirely sure how she should tell Spot so she decided that being blunt was probably the best way to go. Waving the note absently, she purposely did not meet his eyes. "Johnny left you a night telling you that he's... well... marrying Frankie. Tonight."
Spot's response, true to his promise, was to stare stonily ahead, without saying a word. His face, however, achieved a new hue of redness and his cheeks seemed to sink in as he took deep breath after deep breath.
She was instantly nervous. Cursing herself for telling Spot what this note had said – it just might have been better to leave him ignorant of the matters – she reached out and laid her hand gently on his arm. He was shaking under her touch… he was furious. "Spot, honey? Are you all right?"
He still did not speak. Instead, he turned on the car and, without any warning, slammed his foot down on the accelerator. Tires squealing as the car lurched forward, both Rae and Matt – entirely unprepared for this jolt of speed – fell back against their seats.