Hello again! I finished writing Just Remy last year but wanted to polish it a bit. If you read it before, you won't see too many changes but I think it's going to be a lot better. If you haven't read it before, I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think! I should be updating this frequently as well as the sequal which I'm working on now.
And let this be the disclaimer for the entire story: I don't own Newsies.
Chapter 1: The Dawn of Something Unwanted
The early sun shined through the worn, wooden window of the Brooklyn lodging house as I tried to savor the last moments of sleep. It was 5 o'clock in the morning on a Monday and in only half an hour I would have to be at the distribution office picking up my papes for the day.
I groaned as I felt a poke in my ribs from my 7 year old bunk mate, Clover.
"Remy, youse had bettah get up soon. Ya promised I could sell wit youse taday, 'membah?" Clover continued prodding.
"Alright, I'm up, I'm up." I half-heartedly waved Clover away with my free hand while burying myself under the pillow. I wanted just a few more delightful seconds to myself before having to hit the streets.
Clover piped up in my ear, "You ain't up. Youse awake but you ain't out of yoah bed yet, silly." I groaned as I rolled out of bed and heard Clover giggle at my expense.
"Look, the dead can walk!" Dreads, another bunk mate, smirked and I glared in her general direction, too groggy to see clearly.
You could hear the boys across the hall yelling at each other as they got ready for the day. They weren't exactly morning people either but they showed it through outbursts where as I usually grumbled and groaned for the first hour. I stumbled into the small washroom that I shared with the other newsgirls where Ace was getting ready and humming one of Medda's tunes we had heard over a month ago. The song was definitely getting old. I tried waking myself up by throwing cold water on my face but this only caused me to loose my breath and get water all down the front of my shirt.
Ace stopped fixing her hair momentarily upon seeing this spectacle. She leaned against the sink with her arms crossed, giving me a thoughtful look.
"Ya know, you aren't a morning person." Ace pointed her hairbrush at me to make her point. "You should really go to bed earlier."
This time I sparred glaring as it would have taken too much effort. I had already glared once since waking up and I tried to limit myself to two a day so I choose to save the second one for a more important occation.
I made my way back into the bunk room and dug a clean shirt out of the bottom drawer of the dresser we all shared. I threw the wet one on the floor and grabbed some cloth to wrap around my chest. All the girls did this as it was easier, not to mention safer, to sell papes as a boy. Thought, as I got older, it became more futile and I more lazy. I grunted as I made sure the cloth was tight enough, not that there was much to hide, then put on my shirt and tucked it into my trousers. Just as I was putting on my shoes there was a pound on their door.
"Common goils! The presses are rollin' lets go!" Spot yelled through the door.
The other girls made their way quickly to the door and down the stairs with me slowly bringing up the rear. I grabbed my hat off the dresser on my way out the door and plopped it on my head not even bothering to tuck my hair under. Again, too much effort.
"Youse seem exceptionally cheery dis mornin." Spot smirked as we went out the front door and into the streets.
I rolled my eyes and irritably responded, "For the past 6 years I've been a newsie, have you ever known me to be a cherry person in the morning?"
Spot twisted his face in thought. "Come ta think of it, I ain't evah known youse ta be a cheery person."
"Why is it necessary to be cherry in the morning anyway? It's overrated and I plan to combat it with my melancholy state."
Spot put up his hands in defense. "Hey, I'm jus makin an observation."
"Yeah well, you're the third person to make this 'observation' this morning. Tell me something I don't know."
Spot chuckled as we walked the rest of the way in comfortable silence. When we reached the distribution office we joined one of the small groups hanging outside the gates waiting for the bell to ring. Spot pulled out a cigarette and lit it as Flash, Spot's second in command, talked about a run in he had with the local gang leader, Jimmy, who was also once a Brooklyn newsie.
"...beforah I knew it da kid was t'roin punches right at my gut. And all o' his boys were just sittin der laughin." He smirked, "I made sure ta git da last laugh though." Flash mimicked his punching. "Jimmy nevah knew what hit him, da scab."
The boys laughed as the bell rang and the gates opened. I managed to stay awake as I waited in line for my papes and slowly made my way to the street where Spot was waiting for me.
"How bout sellin wit me, Bruin?" It was common for Spot to sell by himself but on occasion we would work together, mostly so he could rub in my face how much better at it he was than me. It certainly didn't sound appealing this morning.
I opened my mouth to respond with a comment about how that would be unfair in my condition, when Clover came running up and grabbed my arm. "I got my papes Remy! Ready ta go sell?" The girl bounced on her feet excitedly.
I motioned to Clover as an answer to Spot. He just smirked and ruffled Clover's hair. "You be sure ta have lots a' energy foah Remy heah. She needs someone ta wake her up and show her how it's done."
"Thanks." I gave him a glare as he tipped his hat and set off down the street, whistling to himself.
I turned to the smiling Clover and sighed, "Well kid, where do you want to sell today?"
The small red head screwed up her mouth in thought. "Hows 'bout we go ta da square?"
I nodded in agreement. My usual spot was on Layfayette, not far from there but the square was a good place to pick out women who were spending the day out of the house, showing off their new dress or hair style. They often wanted to buy a pape to feel important and often took pity on newsies saying how 'cute' they look. So we made our way, selling as we walked.
The morning went pretty fast considering how tired I was. I passively sold my papes, not really caring if I sold a single one. The headlines were good though, so I didn't have to put as much work in as
usual. Plus, some old guy confusedly gave me a nickel instead of a penny, and while I would normally give it back, I felt I deserved a tip today and pocketed it.
Sure, call me a horrible person but I'm the one surviving on the streets every day.
My mood still hadn't improved when we reached Gideon's for lunch. Clover went off and sat with Ace while I made my way to a table in the back where Dreads, Flash, and Hawk were sitting. I plopped down in a chair and snagged a chip from Hawk's plate as they discussed Teddy Roosevelt. The waiter came over looking harassed but took my order of coleslaw and brought me a water. I didn't listen to the conversation but rather spun my water cup absentmindedly. A couple of minutes later the bell above the door rang signaling someone coming inside and Spot joined our table, smiling.
"Well, I got some good news." He reached forward and grabbed one of Hawks chips.
"What's wit everybody takin my chips?"
Everyone rolled their eyes and listened for Spot to continue. "Medda's lettin us throw a party at her place next weekend. Came by ta tell me herself."
Dreads smiled at Flash while Hawk groaned and I sighed.
"Now I'se gots ta find a date and none a me goils are free," Hawk complained. I gave him a look of disgust and threw Dread's crumpled napkin across the table at him.
"Only you. Do any of these girls know about each other?" I asked not really wanting to know the answer.
Hawk smirked, "A' course not! Ise got Brittany in Queens, Tatyana on 6th st, Mary Beth on da south side...wait!" He hit the table in realization and pointed at Flash. "What's dat dames name dat we met at Wally's da odda night?"
Flash looked to the ceiling in thought. "I think it was Marissa, or maybe Molly."
Dreads furrowed her eyebrows at Flash. "What are you doin meetin goils at Wally's?"
"I think you're right wit Marissa. Dat sounds familiah," Hawk spoke to no one in particular.
Spot meanwhile looked over at me as I continued to play with my glass of water. "What's up wit youse taday?"
"Maybe I'll go by and ask Wally if he knew da goil. She'd go wit me," Hawk continued confidently.
I merely shrugged at Spot.
"I mean it Flash, what were ya doin?" Dreads glared at her boyfriend as he dug at his food.
"He wanted company so I went. What's da big deal? It ain't like I brought any of dem home," Flash responded, annoyed. Dreads crossed her arms preparing herself for an argument while Spot nudged me for a better response.
I took another bite of my coleslaw before answering, "I'm just tired is all."
Hawk looked back at Flash who was now fighting with Dreads, "Now dat I think bout it, I think she had a boy."
I noticed Spot smirk as he directed the conversation else where, "Think Skitts'll ask ya ta da party?"
At this, the table shut up and each looked from Spot to me. Caught completely off guard, I gave Spot a shocked look.
"Wh-what?!" Was all I managed to get out in response. As much as I endeavored to cover up the pink that was steadily growing in my face, I failed miserably.
Knowing he had hit a nerve, Spot continued, "Ya mean he hasn't asked ya ta be his goil yet?" He whistled. "Da boy bettah woik up da noive soon..."
Dreads' jaw dropped, "Remy! Wats dis bout youse an' Skitts? How come ya didn't tell me? I thought we was friends?! You holdin out on me?"
I punched Spot in the shoulder. "See what ya did?" He laughed as I turned to my friend. "I'm not holding out on you! We are friends Dreads. The reason why I didn't say anything is because there's nothing to say! Spot is under the sad impression that Skittery has a thing for me, which he doesn't."
I looked around the table to see four curious faces looking back. "Really guys, there's nothing going on between Skitts and I! We're just friends!"
I got a collection of 'Mmhmm's before I went back to my coleslaw, pushing it around my plate no longer hungry.
Spot smirked, "Well dat sure woke ya up."
I sent Clover with Ace so I could sell the afternoon edition by myself. I couldn't help but be in a worse mood after lunch. Sure, I didn't have a real reason for it, but it was just one of those days where you wake up deciding that its going to be a bad day and everything was going to go wrong. I even managed to glare at a few people that passed me, which was just turning away perfectly good costumers. I sighed in resignation, dumped my leftover papes in the nearest ally, and headed to the docks.
On the way back I couldn't help but think of what Spot had said. Why he had brought Skittery of all people up, was beyond me. We were good friends but that was all.
For the past two years I've been going to Manhattan to sell with Skittery every Tuesday. It had started when Spot and I were dating and Skitts became a newsie. His first day happened to be when we were there, so we sold together while Spot and Jack spoke business. At the time, neither of us knew many of the boys in Manhattan so we hit it off right away. We had been good friends since.
I will admit that Skittery is nice and funny and ok, even good looking, but I wasn't interested. He was like a brother to me.
I came to the conclusion that Spot was just trying to irk my already crummy mood. Typical. I spent the rest of the evening reading and avoiding Spot, but as much as I tried to forget what he said, I couldn't. Maybe going to Manhattan tomorrow was a bad idea.