Author's Note: The Newsies "Summer Reading List" Fanfiction Awards results are in! We Run the Papes won multiple awards, including Best Narrative and Best Love Story. Also, Alison and David got some great awards too- they got Best Couple, David got Summer's Most Dashing Hero, and Al got second place for Summer's Leading Lady! Thank all of y'all so much for your support and everything. You guys are freaking amazing!
And thanks to mysterygirl, BritishIsBetter639, Rachel, Austra, Ealasaid Una, lovingstories, maxsmilesalot, LucyofNarnia, and Narniafan96 so much for your beautiful reviews!
Chapter 38- More'n Alright
I let it fall
And as it fell, you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me
My hands, they're strong
But my knees were far too weak
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet
~Set Fire to the Rain: Adele~
By the time they had reached the Distribution Center, Al felt like she could barely contain herself. She felt like she would explode at the slightest provocation. She found herself searching for an inkstained shirt and curly brown hair half covered by a brown cap. Her heart pounded against her chest like it was trying to break free and she wondered what she would say to him when she found him. Nothing came to mind.
Jack and Mr. Roosevelt talked the entire way back and none of it was of interest to her. Her brother was talking about all the things he had almost neglected to do and how sure he was that Sarah was the most beautiful girl in existence.
Her attention wasn't drawn back to the carriage until Mr. Roosevelt asked about where they lived. Jack had responded with the simple fact that they didn't live anywhere. No newsboy lodge would accept a girl and Jack wouldn't leave his sister. He said that, with the money Pulitzer had given them, they might be able to rent a room at a boarding house for a month or two. Maybe then they could find something that would work. They would just have to play it by ear.
When Roosevelt told them he could buy them a room that would be theirs for as long as they wanted, Al nearly fainted.
"You're kiddin', right?" she asked, her jaw hanging open.
"No, I couldn't bear to see the two of you separated and you're such fine young people! If you ever need my help, I am more than willing to offer it."
When Jack mentioned that the shop next to the Lodging House had an upstairs that they were actually renting out as a living space, Roosevelt promised he would have the contract ready for them by sundown.
They reached the Distribution Center at that point. It was seconds after the first newsie laid eyes on them that a roar rose up in the courtyard. Suddenly, the carriage was swarmed with newsies, particularly those from the Lodge, who were more than a little excited that their friends had decided to stay with them.
"He's back! She's back! They're back!" Mush cried excitedly, yanking on Kid Blink's sleeve in a manner that was more than likely to tear it if he kept at it.
The three passengers of the carriage stood and Al lurched forward, wrapping her arms around the older gentleman. "Thank you! Thank you so much for everything," she cried. She turned to kiss her brother on the cheek and repeated her thanks before she jumped down.
Runner was the first one to get a hold on her, having taken some sort of a flying leap toward her. She hefted him up, even though he was too big for her to be carrying. She planted a few kisses on his face and told him she was happy to see him. He looked like he had been crying.
Racetrack had his arms around her before she could properly release the boy. Now Al was having trouble keeping herself from crying. She was definitely getting choked up. Her longtime friend planted a kiss on her forehead and laughed.
"I was gonna miss ya, doll," he grinned.
"I'm glad ya don't have to, then."
She was bombarded by Mush, Skittery, Specs, and even Kid Blink (who rarely handed out hugs) before she saw Sarah push through the crowd heading straight for Jack. The moment she reached him, the two engulfed each other in a kiss and Al found herself whooping along with all the other boys who were hooting and calling out to them.
She continued to scan the crowd for David, but she couldn't find him. Surely he was still here? But maybe he had already gone to start selling papers. She elbowed her way to Sarah, stopping only to give Les a quick hug.
"Where's David?" Al asked once she had garnered the older girl's attention.
Sarah's eyes widened and she turned, grabbing Al by the shoulders. "He went after you. He went to the train station to stop you." She looked almost guilty at not having said something sooner.
She didn't need to hear any more. She pushed and shoved through the crowd of newsboys, though most parted for her, until she reached open space. The moment she was out on the street, she started running.
With each pounding footstep, she found her heart racing twice as fast. She hitched a ride on the back of a carriage that, thankfully, didn't have a window to the back so she didn't have to crouch to keep out of sight. All of her fear that David might not have had feelings for her were gone now. He had gone after her. He had gone to keep her from getting on that train and leaving him here. He wouldn't do that if he didn't care for her too.
The very idea made her feel buzzed and she couldn't hide the grin that threatened to jump off her face and go running for the train station on its own. She felt jittery and antsy all at once. She wished she could run with a cigarette, but decided that idea would probably go down in flames. It definitely wouldn't be her brightest idea.
When the carriage turned in a direction that wouldn't lead any closer to the train station, Al jumped off of it and nearly lost her footing when she did. She grasped at the edge of a fruit stand and used it to keep herself from falling flat on her face, ignoring the protests of it's owner.
"'Scuse me, Miss," Al asked, seeing a slightly older teenage girl near her who was inspecting a piece of fruit she seemed intent on buying. "How close is the train station?"
"About a minute's walk away," the other girl answered, confirming Al's suspicions.
"An' which direction would it be in?" She thought she knew, but didn't want to take her chances. She wanted to get to David as soon as humanly possible.
"Just that way." The girl pointed south of them and Al took off in a sprint, calling her thanks over her shoulder.
When she reached the station, she wasted no time looking for her friend, but the hustle and bustle of the station only managed to frustrate her efforts. All around her, hoity-toity types were pushing and shoving, carting around luggage bigger than themselves, and arguing with each other. She puffed out her breath causing the bangs that peeked out from under her cap to blow every which way before settling back onto her forehead.
Yelling for David would get her nowhere except at the receiving end of a couple hundred glares, so Al adjusted her vest before pushing into the crowded area in search of the boy. She plowed her way through the random bystanders having absolutely no idea where she was going, but keeping a steady eye out for a patch of curly brown hair and the most handsome pair of blue eyes she had ever seen.
Finally, she tugged on a seemingly unoccupied man's sleeve, hoping he would assist her.
"Yeah?" he asked gruffly, pulling his arm away and glaring at the shorter girl.
"'Scuse me, Sir, but have ya see a boy 'bout this tall," She raised her hand about six or so inches above her head, where she calculated he might stand. Her nose was generally level with David's chin, so she thought that would be about right. "With brown, curly 'air, blue eyes, an' freckles? Looks like a newsie? Brown cap?" She listed all the details she could think of.
The man made a disapproving noise in the back of his throat and waved a hand at the crowd. "How am I supposed to know? Go bug someone else."
"Thanks for nothin'," Al grumbled. She started to head back into the crowd when she thought of a better question. "Know where the trains headed for Santa Fe are headed?"
On the verge of tears from frustration, Al finally decided that she would never find David at the rate she was going unless she found some direction in this maze of a train station. So she did the only thing she knew to do, which was push her way to the front of the information desk.
Getting by the women in the long line was relatively easy. Al didn't have an imposing stature, not by a long shot, but newsies didn't have the greatest reputations and with her looking like a boy, most merely shuffled out of her way with a disapproving look. The men were a bit harder. They yelled as she pushed by them and some of them made to grab at her. One of them smacked her in the back of the head and another tried to pull her backward by her vest so she wouldn't butt in front of them, yet she managed to pass them all up.
When she reached the desk, she piped up immediately, scared she would get knocked out of the line and have to push her way through a second time. "'Scuse me! Where're the trains to Santa Fe?"
"All the southbound trains are that-a-way," one of the clerks responded.
Al was headed in that direction in seconds. Thankfully, it was at that point that the crowd thinned. There were only three different areas where people could load onto trains and she made quick work of searching them, chancing upon David in the second one.
A few other families were meandering about on the platform, most of them wiping at their eyes with handkerchiefs and talking about how much they were going to miss "Aaron" or "Peter" as they slowly made their way past her to the exit.
David, however, was sitting alone on a bench. He was hunched over with his head in his hands, looking dejected for all the world to see.
In a last ditch effort to look at least somewhat girly, Al pulled off her newsie cap and brushed her fingers quickly through her hair before going towards him. When she was halfway there, she called out his name.
David's head shot up and his eyes locked with her instantly. They were wet with unshed tears. He looked at her as if she were a ghost and the intensity of his gaze stopped her in her tracks. She twisted her cap awkwardly in her hands.
When she stopped moving, it seemed to spur him into action. Suddenly, David was up and moving toward her, his face a mask of emotions she couldn't even begin to fathom. When he reached her, he grabbed her face. His palms were warm against her cheeks and his fingertips spread over her ears and wove into her hair.
"You're here." It was a statement that had the slight hint of a question. His eyes bored into hers, drilling her with all the questions he never seemed to stop asking.
"Yeah, Jack an' I are-"
Whatever else she was going to say was forgotten when David's lips crashed into hers and Al found herself swept into his kiss. She wrapped her arms around his back as she kissed him back. It was a kiss filled with longing and passion, hope and joy. Happiness bubbled up inside of her and she laughed into his mouth, smiling against his lips.
When they finally pulled away, neither of them let go of their hold on the other. Al's smile was mirrored on David's face and she couldn't help but laugh again as she realized it. She felt like every inch of her being was filled with happiness, like she might burst from the inside because of it. It didn't matter that people were giving them odd or disdainful looks right now. For this moment, it was only the two of them in the entire world.
"You didn't leave." David sounded like he was barely keeping himself from shouting it out. "You didn't leave me."
"How could I?" She wondered now if she would have been able to get on the train at all. She realized there was no going back now. Not after this. There was no leaving David ever again.
He laughed. "I guess I'd better ask Jack for his permission."
"For you to be my girl," David clarified. "That is, if that's alright with you."
Al grinned again. "Oh, it's more'n alright."
A/N: That's the end and I hope it's as good as y'all anticipated.
So here's the news. . . I'm thinking about not just one, but two sequels. I'm just not sure I can leave these characters where they are. So, I want your opinions of course. I've got more plans for the third story than this next one, but I've got enough to go on. I've just started writing chapter six. So do you want a sequel or two? If so, keep an eye out, because it very well might be on it's way.
Here's an exerpt (No title JUST yet, though I have a few ideas, it's saved on my laptop as We Run the Papes 2. Haha)-
"You takin' my sistah out tonight, Davy?" Jack asked as he sauntered in from the washroom. David had assumed that Al had gone straight to him when she walked in the room, but now saw she was sitting next to Race on his bottom bunk involved in a game of cards with Kid Blink and Skittery.
"Yeah, we're goin' to dinner and then dancing." David grinned even as the boys started laughing and calling him 'twinkle toes'.
"Aw, shaddup!" Al yelled from where she sat, not taking her eyes off her cards. "It's fun an' Davy's prolly a bettah dancah than any o' you lot."
That was probably a lie. They had discovered that they both enjoyed going out dancing a few months ago, but David had just learned to stop stepping all over Al's feet when he did. Much to her own surprise, she had taken to it quite naturally. His favorite part was likely the fact that as long as they danced, she couldn't wipe the smile off of her face.
"I wouldn't count on that. The ladies tell me I have quite the fancy footwoik," Mush grinned as he pulled his arm away from David and went over to have the boys deal him in.
"Long as ya have 'er home by ten," Jack winked, earning him an eyeroll from David and likely Al too. "I don't want ya gettin' any ideas."
"Don't worry, David'll be a gentleman or he'll have the whole Lodge to reckon with," Race called over his shoulder while simultaneously elbowing Al, who happened to be looking over his shoulder to see his hand. She scowled and rubbed her side with her free hand.