So I decided to rewrite this story. I didn't like where my first draft was going at all and ended up deciding to rewrite the whole story! Hope you like the rewrite!
As always, I do not own any of the characters except for Emma (Scotts) and Angus (Bear).
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent." -Douglas MacArthurs
I kicked the wooden bed frame hard, immediately regretting as I did so. I cursed out as a tinge of pain traveled up through my foot.
"Stupid bed frame...stupid Angus for being a pain in the ass." I muttered to myself. I loved my brother, I did but some days...I wanted to kick his ass.
I thought it would be hard, living with a bunch of newsboys as the only female in the house. Turns out, they didn't get on my nerves nearly as much as my younger brother did, who always managed to find some way to push my buttons. With everything the two of us went through, you would think we would be as thick as thieves and in most ways, we were but much like any other siblings, we knew exactly how to push each other and sometimes...we pushed each other hard.
Today was no different. Angus, Kid Blink, Mush and Racetrack and I had been hanging around outside the lodging house, waiting for Jack to come meet us. He wanted to talk to us about something and told us to meet him after selling. While we waited, Angus mentioned that he heard the Brooklyn newsies were hosting some kind of get together down by the docks where they hung out and wanted to see if any of us wanted to go. I know Brooklyn. It's rougher over there, Spot's boys weren't one for standing around playing poker all night. I knew that a 'get together' over there usually meant trouble.
"You're not going to Brooklyn, Angus." I started, watching him as he rolled his eyes. "Get together over there only means one thing, trouble and we don't need any of that."
"Aw come on, some Brooklyn boys invited me, it can't be that bad." He explained and I could feel my blood getting hotter. The one thing I asked Jack to do for me was to keep Brooklyn away from my brother. I heard enough about Spot Conlon and his band of newsies to know that they would be nothing but trouble.
"Oh, I have a feeling it could be." I muttered.
A piercing whistle caught all of our attention and we looked up to see the silhouette of two newsies across the cobblestone street. One of the two silhouettes waved over at us while another shouted. "Oi' Angus, ya comin' or what?" The boy asked, his deep voice dripped with a Brooklyn accent.
"Angus.."I warned, watching my brother look between us and the two boys across the street.
'What?" He snapped. "I'll be back in a little."
"Come on man, Jack's gonna be here any minute." Blink tried reasoning with my brother, noticing that my hands had already been clenching together in an attempt to stop me from smacking my brother.
"So, tell him I was busy." Angus said and started over toward the two boys. Before he could get far, I grasped his wrist, causing him to stop suddenly.
"I'm not letting you go with Spot's goons." I hissed, recoiling as his wrist flicked sharply out of my grip. Even for fourteen, he was already pretty strong.
"Oh what are you now, my mother." He sneered, taking a couple of steps back.
"Considering I'm older than you, yes!" I shouted at him.
"Well, you ain't! You can't tell me what to do!" Angus snapped and turned away from us and started crossing towards the boys. Before he could even make it more than two feet, I charged at his, barreling him down into the road.
I never hit my brother, ever. Before my parents had died, my mother had engrained it into both of us that we were never ever to never hit each other.
'Nothing ever gets solved with fist.' She would chide whenever she saw us tussling. 'You're the eldest, you have to set an example for him.' She would tell me as I sat in her bedroom after she would separate me and brother. Every time my brother and I ever fought I would think of her and hear her voice in my head and no matter how many times I would want to smack him for being a pain, I never did.
However...my mother never said anything about tackling and holding him down onto the ground.
"Get off me!" Angus barked, flopping underneath me.
"No, you're not going anywhere and that's final!" I screamed at him. Before either of us could do anything, I felt two arms under my armpits before someone hauled me off my brother. Looking up, I saw Blink pulling me away from my brother while Racetrack and Mush helped my brother up from the ground.
"What's goin' on heah?" I heard Jack asked as he approached us.
"Ask her." Angus spat out and crossed his arms over his chest. Jack looked between my brother and I. I stared at Angus for a long hard minute before turning on my heels and stomping up the steps into the lodging house.
I flopped down on the bed with a huff, trying to punch any more furniture in the room.
"God he's such a pest!" I shrieked in frustration, rubbing my face.
"Ya, know, that's not very nice to say about your brudda."
I looked up to see Jack 'Cowboy' Kelly leaning up against the door frame to my room in the lodging house, an amused grin painted over his face. His arms were crossed over his chest, the infamous red handkerchief peaked out from underneath his arms.
"Did anyone eva' tell ya that ya you'se very protective?" Jack asked, a mocking smile playing at his lip.
"Yes, actually." I replied, matching his smile. "A very annoying newsboy who likes to dress as a cowboy mentioned it to me once."
Jack chuckled and shook his head slightly. He should've known that was coming. Ever since Jack and I met in the refuge three years ago, he always pointed out that I had a very protective nature. He said it was the trait that impressed him when we first met, that I was willing to do anything to protect those I loved.
Jack peered his head back out into the hallway before shuffling into the room fully and closing the door behind him, making sure it was completely shut.
"So." Jack started, running a hand through his hair. "I gotta talk to ya 'bout somethin'."
Jack walked over to the bed and I shuffled on the bed to make room for him as he sat down. For a second we sat in silence, and I watched him look intensely at the red handkerchief that he was wringing nervously in his hands.
"So, ya know I'm gettin' older." Jack stated and I stifled a small laugh.
"Jack, you're nineteen. I wouldn't consider that 'old'."
Jack chuckled and cracked a small smile. "Ya, true." He sighed. "I just meant that, ya know...maybe it's time I..move on. I've been thinkin' maybe it's time to go out west, take Santa Fe."
I gave Jack a soft smile. He had been talking about leaving New York and moving out to Santa Fe for years, since I met him in the refuge, he always talked about moving out there, getting a ranch or some horses and leaving life in New York behind. When I had first learned about his dream of Santa Fe, it explained why his name was Cowboy.
"So, if you're gonna go to Santa Fe, who is gonna lead the newsies, here?" I asked.
Jack smiled and stuck out his hand towards me, the red handkerchief hanging limply in his hand. "I was thinkin' you'se could." Jack admitted.
I looked at Jack astonished and speechless. My thoughts were running wild. I didn't know the first thing about being a leader, what if I'm no good at it?
Seeing my speechless reaction, Jack reached over and placed the handkerchief in my hand. "I've actually been thinkin' 'bout this foah a while now." He admitted. "You'se strong, Emma. Evah since I met ya in the refuge, ya was always strong, a leader needs to be to...well lead."
"Jack...I don't know.." I started. "What if I'm not strong enough to be leader?"
Jack put his hand over mine and closed it, pushing the handkerchief towards me. "Ya are, I know it."
I looked up at Jack, who gave me an encouraging smile. Smiling back, I took the handkerchief and held it close to my chest. "Okay."