Chapter 29: A New Beginning
"A bit more ta da right." Spot stood directly behind me, holding up my sling shot and trying to teach me how to properly use it. It was late into the night by now, but we were still content to be on the roof and in no hurry to go home.
I smiled at the close proximity, "Now this is teaching." My target was a passed out drunk just across the street. Closing one eye, I was about to shoot when he tickled my side causing me to laugh and lose my concentration. I elbowed him in the ribs before picking up my stance again. "You're messin me up."
"Hey youse gotta loin ta deal wit adverse conditions." He rubbed his stomach and stood directly behind me again to make sure I was doing it right.
"Because people tickling me while I'm aiming my sling shot is a big problem." I answered sarcastically. Taking one last second to double check, I let the marble go and we both watched as it flew through the air, nailing the bum right on the cheek.
"Yes!" I put my fists up in the air in silent victory.
Spot raised his eyebrows, "Not bad."
"I guess under the right conditions, I can actually put this thing to good use."
There was a shuffle down below as the man woke from his sleep so Spot grabbed me around the waist and pulled me down behind the wall, both of us laughing.
After we calmed down a bit, I sighed and flipped the old sling shot around in my hands. "I never properly thanked you for giving this to me."
"Well," Spot allowed my hand to slip into his. "You're makin up foah it now."
As we sat there, I felt my eyes begin to drop and knew I would fall asleep if we stayed much later. Though, I wouldn't have minded sitting there forever on the roof holding hands.
He seemed to read my mind as he said, "It's late. We should probably go back."
I nodded then watched as he stood up and held a hand out to me. However, instead of taking it, I just stared at it smiling. Spot tilted his head. "What?"
My smile widened as I took his hand and let him pull me up. "Nothing."
Hand in hand, we walked back to the lodging house where we knew reality would hit. As we walked up the steps to the front door I pulled Spot to a stop.
"Hey before we go in there I want to clear up one more thing. The next time you want to make a decision concerning us, will you run it past me first? You may make great decisions as a leader but your track record with this," I pointed at the two of us. "…isn't so great."
"And if the two overlap?" Spot asked, humored.
"I know talking isn't exactly your strength but you've gotta work with me on this. I'm not askin you to tell me everything," He laughed. "But I do want to be clear on…us."
Spot rolled his eyes. "Bruin, youse worry too much." But he squeezed my hand, giving me enough confidence to know that he understood. He put his hand on the door handle and looked at me. "You ready?"
I crinkled my nose and asked, "Do we just go in there and tell them?"
He smirked, "I gotta bettah idea."
"Spot wait!" Spot ignored me as he opened the door, pulling me along after him.
The main room was full of newsies who decided it was time to celebrate the fact that the fight was over and Jimmy was gone. They had pulled out all the liquor and were passing it around the room; singing, laughing, and joking. It was old Brooklyn again.
Upon seeing Spot enter the room, a number of them cheered, hardly noticing the fact that I was there and we were holding hands. Well, everyone except Ace of course.
"Hey!" She pointed at us but she couldn't get anything else out so she just kept pointing. "Hey!"
I wanted to hide behind Spot to avoid all the curious eyes but he wouldn't allow it.
"Spill it, Ace." Spot said proudly but she couldn't. It was as if she was in shock which made me laugh.
"Ah HA!" Switch came down the stairs grinning.
Spot looked up at his sister, surprised. "What are you doin heah?"
"Well aftah my brothah didn't botha comin ta see if I was alright, I figured I'd come check on da ass myself. But I see now you was too busy." She stopped halfway and leaned against the railing looking very pleased.
I blushed but Spot just rolled his eyes. "Alright Switch, lets heah it. I know youse just dyin ta say it."
She narrowed her eyes and asked, "It official?"
By now the attention of the entire room was on us but this didn't stop Spot from leaning forward and pecking me lightly on the lips. "Dat answer your question?"
I thought that should have made it pretty obvious but Switch crossed her arms and shook her head. "Dat was da most pittaful-"
Rolling his eyes, Spot pulled me to him for a breathtaking kiss causing laughter and whistles to fill the room. After pulling apart, I put my hand over my mouth and did my best to keep from blushing further but it was impossible after that very public display.
Switch clapped her hands together and smiled the brightest smile. "I told you so!" Then she bounded down the stairs to give Spot a hug. "My work is finally done!"
"Your work?" Spot scoffed as he pushed her away and lead the way through the room while the boys continued their celebrations.
Along the way we passed a melancholy Clover who avoided our gaze. Spot stopped, "Clovah, tomorrah I need youse back in 'Hatten checkin wit Cowboy on Harlem. Youse up ta it?"
Maintaining a serious expression, she nodded but as we continued on through the room, I looked back to see her beaming and her blue eyes sparkling, even from a distance.
We reached the table where our friends sat anxiously and finally separated. Spot sat down and received a clap on the back from Hawk. "About damn time boy."
I, however, went straight to Dreads who was curled up with a blanket wrapped around her. "How you doin?"
She smiled warmly, "Better now. You?"
There was no stopping the laughter that came to my lips as I pulled up a chair next to her. "Never been better!"
The table slowly returned to its' poker game (in which they weren't gambling money) and I watched happily. Before the cards were fully dealt, I made eye contact with Spot across the table and smiled as he winked. For the first time in a very long time, I felt completely at home. I knew I was among family; a dysfunctional one yes, but a family all the same.
The next morning was spent in usual fashion, standing outside the distribution gates and waiting for the circulation bell to ring. We were joined by a few more of the boys but a lot of them were still resting and recovering, including Dreads. Even with only a small amount of sleep, I felt energized.
After getting my papes, I went to Spot who stood waiting at the gates. "So since youse my goil now youse gonna sell wit me?"
I smirked, "That depends…you planning on selling on Lafayette?"
He rolled his eyes. "Always gotta be different. How bout I pick you up for lunch?"
I shouldered my papes in thought then smiled at his impatience. "I guess that would be okay."
"Just make suah dere ain't any wanderin eyes cause I won't be there ta ward 'em off."
"You wanna write your name on my forehead just in case?" I asked mockingly.
Shaking his head, he turned to walk away but it was right towards a group of giggling girls. "Spot," I called after him warningly. It would have spread like wild fire that Spot Conlon was single again and there was no doubt in my mind that girls would seek him out. It was enough to make me just as possessive of him as he probably was of me.
He turned with eyebrows raised but I changed my mind last minute and only smiled. "See you later."
Walking backwards, he placed a hand over his heart and gave me his legendary smirk. "I miss ya already." Then, turning around, he walked off to sell his papes; only pausing momentarily to tip his hat good naturedly to the group of girls.
Feeling content, I whistled my way to Lafayette where I'd spend the morning selling papes until lunch. And then, I didn't know what would come next. Better yet…I didn't care.