Well, it's been 2 or 3 years now. I must say I didn't think I was going to go back to this story. I have about 15 pages written from when I first started and 8 ½ posted right now. So keep in mind all of this was written around the time the story was first published. My writing style and skill has changed since then so after a few more chapters you might notice a change.
I want to send out a HUGE thank you too Ealasaid Una. Without them this story would still be dead! I will try to keep updating since it is summer! You are such and angel for not giving up on me! Without further ado here is Chapter 10. :D
Spot sat on the side of the bed and pushed Franki's hair out of her face. He kept smoothing it and whispered, "Shh, shh, it's okay youse gonna be alright. Relax we're here for youse. We'll help you. We'll get you better." She rolled onto her back and started talking nonsense.
"Hat Brat, Franki Brooklyn, Jacqelli Sullivan, Kelly Higgins, Jacki Meyers, Jacqelli Conlon, Jacqelli Sullivan Higgins Meyers Conlon. Who am I? They're all me." Jack stood at the edge of the bed confused. Mush and Race stood by the door shocked.
"Jack, what's she talking about?" Spot asked. Jack shrugged.
"I had a sister named Jacki," Mush said.
"And I had one named Kelly," Race said. Then, Franki started talking again.
"Francis, Anthony, Shawn, Eric. Jack, Race, Mush, Spot, they'll never know. They hafta know. I hafta tell them. Jacob'll kill 'em. Can't tell them, must tell them. Hafta stop Jacob." Each boy stood frozen at what had just been said.
"Their all my brats, my brothers. Wouldn't they laugh. I'se named after dem."
"Did she…" Race started before they all shushed him.
"No, Zack, please I'm sorry. I didn't want to leave you," she started sobbing.
"Please, no, come back, please I love you. He hasn't even met you, he'll love you too. Please don't leave." She started sobbing uncontrollably. Spot ran over and pulled her into a hug rocking her back and forth. The other guys followed him and Mush started rubbing her back. Race wrapped the blankets around her and Jack dipped a rag in the ice water and rubbed it over her face and neck. They heard the other boys come upstairs.
Kid Blink stuck his head in, "You guys alright?" Mush got up and walked over to him.
"We're fine, she's got a fever. Umm, she kinda needs us, can you watch everyone and keep 'em outta here?" Blink wasn't sure why she needed all of them but he knew they all cared about her very much so he just nodded.
"Thanks so much, man," Mush said. Blink left closing the door behind him. Mush went back and sat on the edge of the bed. She had calmed down and Spot was laying her on the bed and pulling the covers around her. Jack dipped the rag in the water, wrung it out a little, and placed it on her forehead. He motioned toward the window and they all climbed the fire escape to the roof.
"Okay, what happens in there and up here no one speaks of to anyone," Spot said. They all took the Newsies Oath.
"What did she mean we're all her brothers?" Race asked.
"Well," Jack started, "It could be true. She was adopted three times. Oh yeah, and she's my blood sister guys, same muddah and fadduh."
"She told me she changed her name sometimes too," Spot said.
"So Mush, Race, ever had a foster sister that resembles Brat?"
"Yeah," They said at the same time.
"Her name was Jacki," Mush said.
"She told us it was Kelly," Race added.
"Well, neither is far off," Jack said. "Her real name's Jacqelli Sullivan, well err I guess Jacqelli Sullivan Higgins Meyers Conlon." Everyone laughed.
"Race, how old was she at your place?" Spot asked.
"She just turned 6 when she left."
"She was 7 when she came to my house and 8 and a half when she left," Mush stated.
"Well my family, minus me, when she was 8 and a half. She stayed til she was ten then she came to Brooklyn. So where was she between 6 and 7?" Everyone thought hard about it.
"Well I don't think it was a good time in her life. She told me everything when I got hoit that time before she left. She was my best friend. I told her all about my life, and when she thought I was unconscious, she told me all about hers. Cept, dat part. She nevioh said a woid about it," Spot told them.
"Wait so you pretended to be unconscious?" Race asked.
"No, well, I didn't mean to. I couldn't move or open my eyes. But I could hear everything going on around me," Spot explained.
"Going back to Brat, maybe we should ask her what happened then when she is feeling better," Mush suggested.
"Yeah and who da hell is Zack, who didn't he get to meet, and whose supposed to love him?" Jack added.
"All good questions, now let's see if tomorrow we can get some answers. But we can't do anything about it right now so let's head in. I'm beat," Race said with a yawn, causing them all to yawn then laugh. They all headed fro the fire escape.
"I can't believe I got a sister," Race exclaimed quietly, climbing in through the window.
"Me, too!" Mush added coming in right behind him.
"Ya think ya worry now, you'll worry a whole lot more now dat she's around," Spot told them, clapping each of them on the shoulder. "Trust me. Take good care of her now boys." Race and Mush nodded, then left to collapse into their beds. Spot and Jack walked over to check on Brat. She was sleeping peacefully and her fever was gone.
"I guess we'll see a whole lot more of you 'round here now Spot," Jack said.
"Yeah, I think you'll see a lot of Brooklyn. Either the boys 'll be here or or Brat will be there. Those boys think of her as a sister. She's touched all dere hearts in one way or another." Jack raised an eyebrow.
"Not in da girlfriend way," Spot added with a laugh. "It was kinda funny; everyone she rejected was still friends with her. Even the ones she beat up for taking it too far." Jack swore he saw sadness and regret behind Spot's usually well held up mask.
"Spot, you okay?" Jack asked. Spot fell into the chair by Brat's bed, "No." Jack sat on the couch nest to the chair. The room was rather small.
"Do you wanna talk about it?" Jack asked cautiously. Spot closed his eyes and sighed.
"I don't know." Spot said honestly. "I'm so confused. I can't believe I was that stupid!" Spot sighed and looked Jack straight in the eyes. This time Jack could clearly see the pain on his friends face.
"Jack, I', gonna tell you something no one else knows. Partially cause you're a good friend and partially cause you're my cousin and I need your help. You can't ever tell anyone. Promise me Jack," Spot begged.
"Of course! I promise Spot," Jack agreed. He felt bad for Spot. He hadn't seen him looking this bad since, well since Franki went missing and Hat Brat showed up.
"Well, here it goes," Spot started hesitantly. "Franki was my best friend. I knew she wasn't exactly fond of boys. I knew she hadn't had a boyfriend yet and wasn't interested in dating anyone. I didn't know she was my sister, or my cousin, and I didn't realize she was such a good fighter. I respected her and wanted what was best for her. That night I got drunk. Way drunk, stupidly, shouldn't-a-been-able-to-walk drunk. The boys started making cracks about how I couldn't even charm Franki. I got mad. I stumbled home and Franki tried to help me to my room when I got there. Somehow we made it up the stairs to my door." Jack was amazed that they made it up too. He had seen Spot drunk, it wasn't pretty. Jack looked closely and thought he was tears in his eyes. Spot looked up from staring at Franki and Jack realized he was right. What had happened between his cousin and his sister?