Disclaimer: I didn't put one of these in the last chapter, so this disclaimer goes for the former and any proceeding chapters. I (sadly) do not own Newsies. Also, the first part of the narration here should look Familier. Although my OC is the narrator, the first part here is Race's narration in the Prologue of the movie.
Authoress Note: A special thanks to jammer587 who reviewed.
Also, I'm not very proficient in writing the Newsies' New York accents. It should improve as I move on, please bear with me. Finally, this is AU.
Once again, I cannot sleep. The second I close my eyes and begin to drift off, images of that night began racing through my head and I awoke screaming. David and Medda came running, even though they knew what was wrong. After all, I'd done this very thing every night since that night. Maybe insomnia is my eternal punishment for not being there.
There's just something at the edges of my mind, a voice saying 'Keep going Alexandra, you have to tell the story now. Sure, there are others left, but there are things that the world needs to know and only you know those things.' I was told things, I saw things that I wish I had never had to endure, but I know I'm who I am today because of these things. I know things that even David or Race don't know, and it's my duty to tell these secrets. After all, they can do Jack no harm any longer.
I can't tell my story without telling the stories of everyone else involved. That's what a revolution does, you see, bring everyone involved together, bonding them inexplicably closer than a family. So, this story is really the stories of myself, of my father, of Race, of David, Sarah and Les, of Spot, Crutchy and Boots, Snyder, Eleanor, Kloppman and Medda, and of Jack. Most importantly of Jack.
I guess I should start at the only place I know how to:
In 1899, the streets of New York City echoed with the voices of Newsies, peddling the newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other giants of the newspaper world. On every corner you saw them "carrying the banner", bringing you the news for a penny a pape. Poor orphans and runaways, the Newsies were a ragged army without a leader. Until one day when all that changed.
I stepped into the hot June sun, squinting in it's intensity. The sounds of the city whirled around me, fleeting ends of conversation catching my ears, but one voice rose above all the rest.
"You shouldn't be callin' people lousy little shrimps, Oscar, unless you're referrin' to the family resemblance in your brother here."
He had a thick New York accent, and when I looked in the direction of the sound, I saw a group of boys in a nearby alley, some about my age, a few looked a little older, some looked a little younger, some too young, the speaker who's voice had made me turn and stare stood in the center of the group. I was completely surprised at how handsome he was, even then. He had longer dark hair, and eyes to match. Even in the summer New York heat wore a long sleeved blue shirt, black pinstriped vest and a red handkerchief as an ascot. He was tall and towered over the man he was confronting. The ragtag group around him immediately identified him to me a Newsie, probably for my father's paper or The Journal.
"Shut 'cher mouth, Cowboy." The man he was confronting spat. I recognized his voice as that of Oscar Delancy, a "scabber" for The World. 'Aha,' I thought, 'Just more trouble for daddy to have to worry about.' The Delancys had been a constant source of trouble lately, a constant thorn in the side of any newspaper man, especially the boss.
"I'm just sayin' Oscar."
"Not making fun of ya Os. Just pointing' out the truth."
Oscar then proceeded to catch the Newsie in the jaw with a right hook. A fight suddenly erupted and I shrieked for a reason unknown to me, even to this day.
"Nobody beats up Cowboy!" one voice yelled, and I saw Oscar knocked to the ground. He scampered away like a rat, leaving his older brother, Morris, to fend for himself against the small army of Newsies.
Morris, also, promptly ran like a frightened rodent.
"You okay Jack?" One of the younger boys asked.
"I'm fine. I'm fine." I heard the Newsie who'd attracted my attention say, and I could tell that he was trying to catch his breath, even though I couldn't see him. I assumed he was on the ground, and the surrounding gaggle blocked him from view.
"You don't look fine Jack." An older Newsie with sandy brown, curly hair asked.
"I says I'm fine. Go get your papes 'fore there gone."
"You gonna sell today?" Another Newsie asked. This one was blonde and wore an eye patch.
"Dunno. I just need a minute, ok?"
The gang muttered in compliance and dispersed and left the Newsie who'd caught my attention, Jack, apparently, seated alone in the alley.
I quickly approached. "Are you alright?"
He started at my sudden approach, and sat up straight, wincing. "Just a little banged up 's all." He said, looking up at me.
I knelt down beside him. "Are you sure?"
He nodded, and attempted to stand, his breath catching in his chest. I rose to my feet and extended a hand. As he clambered to his feet, taking a deep breath, I extended a hand again, but this time to introduce myself. "I'm Alexandra. Alexandra Pulitzer."
In lieu of shaking my hand, he kissed it gently, the contact leaving my skin burning and my cheeks the colour of freshly picked apples. "I'm Jack. Jack Kelly, and I do believe I work for yer father."
I smiled. "If you work for The World, you do." And then I was possessed to say something that I was shocked to hear myself saying. "Would you do me the honor of having breakfast with me, Jack?"
"I would love to, Miss."
"Call me Alexandra, please. But, let's get you bandaged up first." I said, casting a look at his knuckles, bloodied from the fight.
He grinned. "If you say so."
If only I had known then what I know now…
Always having maids attending to you can make a girl feel trapped, so without my father's knowledge, I had been renting the top floor of a boarding house in downtown Manhattan, not too far from The World building. I would occasionally spend days there, and sometimes nights too. Half of the time father never realized that I was gone, he as well spent many nights away from home, sleeping on a red velvet couch in his office, and if he did by chance wonder of my whereabouts, I had the cover story that I had spent the night at the home of my best friend, Eleanor. I had felt the need to explain all of this to Jack as he escorted me to the boarding house.
I stepped in first and motioned Jack inside. "Can I get you something to drink?"
His voice was raspy when he answered. "Water, thank you."
I motioned him to sit on a settee nearby and disappeared into the room that I had sequestered into a kitchen that held an icebox, pantry and Franklin stove, and then to the restroom. I returned with a pitcher of water and several rolls of gauze bandaging.
"Alexandra, this isn't necessary, really." He said, pressing a hand to his side with a sharp intake of breath.
I sat on an ottoman in front of him. "Here's your water. And yes, it is." I took his hand and began gently wrapping it in the gauze. "So tell me about yourself, Jack Kelly. Did I hear someone call you 'Cowboy' earlier?"
He chuckled, even though I could tell that it pained him. "Uh, yeah. My folks are out west, Santa Fe. Soon as they can, they're gonna send for me. And it might also have something to do with my hat."
I had noticed a black cowboy hat hanging down his back earlier, and assumed that it was the origin of the nickname. I smiled, but then turned serious. "Are you having trouble breathing?"
"Just a bit, don't worry."
I sighed. "Take off your shirt."
Jack's eyes grew wide. "I'm sorry?"
I sighed again. "Do you remember getting punched in the stomach of side? You could have broken a rib. If you did there would bruising and that would explain the breathing trouble."
He hesitated for a moment and then slipped off his vest first, then unbuttoned his shirt. As I had suspected, his side was the host to deep purple bruises that were coming at a rapid pace. I gently pressed my fingers against it and he gasped. "I'm sorry." I said, rising to my feet. "I'll be right back, don't move."
He smiled and I went back to the restroom, returning with a hand towel dampened in chilled water. I sat back down and looked Jack straight in the eye. "This is going to hurt for a second." I pressed the cool towel against the bruising.
He took a deep breath and I stood. "Now hold that there while I make breakfast, Cowboy."
Authoress Note: So, did you like this chapter?
Also, the one or two, flip a coin thing is still appreciated.
And, I'm having a casting call for female characters. I need friends of Alexandra who will join the Newsies, too. Just tell me a few things in a PM or review:
Brief physical description:
Important Back-story events that you would like included:
And which Newsie you would like to be paired with (Jack, of course, is taken):