Categories > Movies > Newsies > Dream to Dream

To Dream

by Raeghann 0 reviews

I lived my life in a dreamed up world far from the harshness of reality. Where my few virtues were far outweighed by my faults, and the pain of learning the truth about myself was almost more than...

Category: Newsies - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Romance - Characters: Mush, Spot Conlon - Published: 2005-10-14 - Updated: 2005-10-15 - 5766 words

My life was one of privilege; though what was so privileged about it I no longer remember. Then again, back then I didn't know what real privileges were. I didn't realize that there are things in this world vastly more valuable than all the jewels of the world. I didn't realize that to hold someone's heart in your hands is the most valuable privilege in the world. I really didn't know much about love and I knew absolutely nothing about life.

I lived in a bubble, a dream, a world that in truth only exists for the truly naïve and the hopelessly rich. For me love was the newest dress made in the latest Parisian fashion, in the finest silks, and with colors that would most flatter my creamy skin. I never thought beyond me. I was spoiled, for my father gave me what ever caught my fancy and my mother showered me with compliments and adoration. They meant well, truly they did, but they did help create who I was. What I was, was a spoiled child that ruled my parent's home with a tyrannical hand.

I look at my hands as I now write this, hands that are no longer soft from lack of work, hands that have learned lessons that have served me well. The one thing I can say for myself is even when I was at my worst I never had to learn the same lesson twice.

I lived my life in my dreamed up world with doting parents until the ripe age of sixteen. It was to be a magical age, an age where I would attend my debutant ball. I would be introduced to the world, one that I was sure to dazzle. After all, by the age of fourteen I had men offering for my hand; what more does a woman need than beauty? I thought I could get by in life with my smile and my enchanting looks. I could charm the birds from the trees, or I could throw a fit to rival a two year old; ensuring things went my way. Neither of these traits would serve me well in the years to come, they certainly did not serve me well that year.

I can remember the day my life changed, I should after all, it is the day my world came tumbling down about me. It was a day of infinite sadness; the sun shone down upon me mocking the tragedy of the day. I can still feel the heat of the sun on my black dress; I can still feel the tears in my eyes, tears that I do not remember if I shed in sorrow of my parents' death, because I was feeling sorry for myself, or because it was expected. My cousin, Adian Worthington, had taken a ship from England to move into my father's home and take up the role as my guardian. The man was very handsome as I remember, but with a look in his eyes that I did not like. Still, my father had been foolish and had too many debts, for my sake Adian paid them. I thought he was a nice man. I learned nearly too late of his plans.

That was how I found myself on the streets: hungry, disheveled, and dirty. That was how I found myself taken in by the most unlikely of sources; by the newsies.

One particular newsie actually, his name was Mush. An odd sort of name, but when you spend most of your life running from the police, you don't end up too partial as long as it isn't your real name. I never heard the story as to how he had gotten his odd nickname, but at the time I didn't really care. We met quite by accident really; a perchance happening that is one bit of proof in my life that someone was guiding me.

I'm surprised he even found me, for I have never been very tall; my father affectionately called me kitten because of my lack of height, that and insatiable my curiosity, which has almost killed me too many times to count.

So there I was, curled up asleep in an alleyway, half hidden among the rubbish and refuse because the night before I had been too tired to care, too afraid to know where to go, and too naïve to know the dangers of sleeping in an alleyway all by myself.

I was awakened by a young man literally tripping over me. He looked down at me for a moment in surprise while taking in my appearance; my dress, while it was a little torn and smudged, was still that of a lady and my impractical, but beautiful, slippers were already starting to wear holes into the soles. I looked back at him in distaste; his expression toward me was not that different.

Believe me when I tell you, it was hate at first sight. I couldn't help but look down my nose at him, after all he was grubby and his clothing was nothing less that tattered and torn. It looked like many places of his costume, which consisted of pants torn a little below the knees, badly scuffed boots, a pair of suspenders that had seen better days, a shirt that at one point must have been white but now was a dingy gray, and a faded hat, had been clumsily mended. I had never worn a mended garment in my life. He took his hat off for a moment as he turned to go, scratching his head a little as he did.

I could tell he was struggling with something, though I was more interested in the clumsy cut of his tightly curled hair. It looked like someone had attacked it with gardening shears. I bit my tongue to keep from laughing as I smoothed back my hair. I wonder now what would have happened had I had a mirror in front of me. I certainly wasn't my usually perfectly groomed self.

I watched him haughtily as he got halfway down the alleyway before I turned my attention back to the unaccustomed knowing feeling in my stomach. Part of me longed to just go home, but another much more stubborn part of me refused to. I would not live with that cruel and sadistic man; I just couldn't. Though as my stomach ached painfully, I felt tears well up in my eyes; I had managed two days with only a little food. I hadn't been thinking too clearly as I snuck out the passage in my room after my cousin had locked me in. I shivered as I thought of why he had locked me in, of what he had gone to prepare himself for. I thought of my cousin's angelic face, it had a beauty that took people's breath away; yet the beauty belied what was underneath.

Perhaps it wouldn't be as bad as I thought; perhaps he would be just as kind and sweet as he had been when he first appeared at my doorstep. The tears spilled over and I stifled a sob. I knew in my heart of hearts that to go back to that man would be to sentence me to a life of misery. Still, I would have a hot meal and a warm bed.

"What're ya doin' here?" a voice asked breaking into my inner turmoil. I blinked in the early morning light as I looked back up to find the man that had tripped over me.

"How is that any of your business?" I asked loftily. He stared at me for a moment.

"I don't suppose girls like you have any sense, but what the hell are ya doin' in this alley? Don't ya know what happens to stupid girls like you?" he queried, his voice sharp and full of contempt. Looking at him I knew that he wouldn't leave until I either made him or allowed him to help me. I could see him struggling with it; he didn't want anything to do with me, but still something was making him stay. I weighed my options; I could stay in the cold alleyway, I could go home, or I could allow this man to help. My pride refused to see any as an option, but my mind agreed that the lesser of the evils would be to go with this young man. I didn't realize at the time what a trusting and naïve soul I was. I knew nothing about him, yet I was willing to put my faith in him.

"I did not have much other choice sir." I replied. "One usually does not when forced to make rash decisions to save one's life from misery."

"Not another one of ya girls that think ya can run away and find true love because anything is better than marrying ya fiancé." He sighed. "I'm guessin' he's an old geezer that ain't pretty enough for ya."

"No, I am most certainly not engaged and as for the reason I am here," I snapped "I'd rather keep that to myself as it is of a personal nature."

"Ya get kicked out because ya pregnant?" he sneered.

"No, I most certainly am not." I cried in a scandalized way. "A proper lady wouldn't dream of having the relations you spoke of."

"Proper ladies ain't usually sleepin' in an alley either." He pointed out his face softening for a moment from its scowl. For a moment I saw a sweetness about his face that made him look more angelic than my cousin's face could have. I offered him a tentative smile and hopeful eyes, what more could I give? He looked at me for a moment then shook his head muttering to himself.

"I can't leave her here, it'd be like leavin' a kitten to a rabid dog." I managed to catch.

"You know what the word rabid means?" I asked in shock. He glared at me and I shrunk back against the wall. It would seem that a demonic side countered his angelic side.

"Let's get one thing straight, before I leave ya here to rot in the street." He growled. "Just 'cause I don't speak like you and I don't wear fancy cloths don't mean I don't know how to read and it don't mean I'm stupid."

I nodded fearfully and his face softened again, not as sweet as it had been, but certainly not as fierce as it had been either. My stomach growled again and he shook his head his muttering starting all over again.

"I was lead to believe that the lower class was not educated." I said softly "I never meant to imply that you were stupid."

"How do ya think the best of us sell our papes?" he questioned still angry with me. "Do ya think we stop and ask the distributor what it says? They sure as hell don't care if we sell anythin' just as long as we buy it."

"I cannot say that I've given it much thought." I responded.

"Ya wouldn't, girls like you never think beyond the next party or the next dress." He snapped.

"And men like you don't understand the importance of finding just the right dress to wear to the next function you are to attend." I sniffed.

"Really, and how is that important?" he looked at me expectantly and I lifted my head, looking him square in the eyes. He was common riffraff, a street rat, with no past, no present and no future. I however, was Bianca Victoria Windsor. I had been the daughter of one of the most affluent and richest men in the city, at least before my father had made some very bad financial choices.

"How is one to find a husband if one does not appear in public well dressed?" I returned his question with one of my own. "You degrade me for thinking of my appearance, yet it is that very appearance that will find me a suitable spouse."

He glanced over me critically; his eyes lingering over my figure in a way that made me want to cover myself even though I was fully clothed.

"Ya could show up in a gunny sack and still look good." He said, though it did not sound like a compliment. "Well, if ya not gonna go home, ya appearance is the last thing ya should worry about in the streets."

"Is that so?"

He sighed and hefted the newspapers he carried on his shoulder to his side. I watched him curiously.

"That's so. Look I don't know why I'm doin' this, but ya got any money?" he asked wearily. I nodded and he waited expectantly. "How much ya got?"

"I do not know." I replied honestly, though it pained me to admit ignorance to him.

"Can I see it?" he continued, I looked at him in horror. First of all, I had been clever enough to attach the little pouch that contained all the money I had been able to take to my garter; second, I wasn't sure I could trust him not to take it and run. He waited for a moment then he glanced around. He seemed to understand my dilemma as he reached out before I could move and grabbed my arm. I protested as he hauled me down the alleyway and around the corner. Fright made my throat feel as if it was closing as he dragged me up a set of stairs and through the door. I glanced around frantically like a terrified animal. I did not know this man, nor did I know what he was capable of. He looked at me in exasperation as he caught the look on my face.

"I ain't gonna rape ya." He snapped. "I like my women willin', and trust me there's plenty that's willin'."

"Well that must be nice." I responded with a little snap of my own. He looked at me for a moment then motioned for me to follow him. Unsurely I admired the way his shirt stretched across his back displaying his muscles, I had no doubt that he held quite a bit of strength in his muscular build. I was fascinated despite myself; I had never really noticed the build of a man. Mostly that was because they were usually dressed in impeccably tailored suites complete with jacket and vest. His shirt was fitted to him as if he had grown out of it and hadn't been able to replace it, which I would have bet money that that was exactly what had happened. I had never seen the muscles of a man's back ripple the way they did, nor did I ever really see the muscles in their arms strain against the sleeves of their shirts. I blushed as he looked back and turned my head away hoping he had not caught the admiration in my gaze. I glanced back and found him smirking at me; I glared at him and flounced past him, through the door he held open.

"Don't be gettin' any ideas girly," He said huskily. "I also like my women to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh without the bonds of marriage."

I felt the color flame in my cheeks; I was too embarrassed by his words to notice the eloquence of them.

"That's nice." I replied the sarcasm dripping from my words as he shut the door and turned around. I glanced around me to find a room lined with bunks, each in various states of chaos. I wrinkled my nose at the obvious disregard for cleanliness of the room.

"It is." he returned, "Now we ain't in the street anymore, ya can get ya money. I'm assumin' that's why ya didn't pull it out."

"If you think I'm about the reach under my skirt with the likes of you watching you're bloody mad." I fumed. He looked at me for a moment; I could see the anger in his face at my words, at my very attitude.

"Look, little girl, ya don't know the first thing about livin' out there. If ya don't show me what ya got, I can't help ya figure out what to do." he growled. I shuddered as that look came back to his face. He waited impatiently for a moment then looked away from my horrified expression, his hands clenched in fists hard enough to make his knuckles white. "It was stupid of me to think ya'd stoop to lettin' a street rat like me help ya. I was stupid to even try to help ya, I should have left ya in the street to make ya're own way around. I'm leavin', ya can find ya're own way out."

I watched him turn for the door my heart in my throat, I had been thrown a lifeline and instead of grasping it, I had batted at it angrily. I realized the folly of my words as he opened the door. Whatever happened, what ever he did, he knew how to survive, I could see that in the scar that ran from his wrist to his elbow in a long line. I had always been taken care of, so I shut my mouth against the retorts that were flooding it, begging to be allowed to run free, and said something that would change my life forever. It would change my very being, forcing me to begin an entirely new way of life.

"Wait." I said softly, my voice small yet still loud enough to stop him. He paused then looked over his shoulder at me. "I apologize, you have been kind and I have not. Please, don't leave me."

He looked at me as if waiting for some sign that I truly meant it. I took a deep breath and raised my skirt bending to untie the ribbon that held the pouch to my garter, I was glad my hair had come loose from its chignon to hide the flaming color in my cheeks. I glanced back up at him and saw his chest rising with each deep breath he took as he tore his eyes away from the leg I displayed. I looked down at my feet as I shyly held out my pouch. I felt his calloused hand brush mine as he took the pouch from me and opened it spilling the silver and gold coins into his hand. I heard his indrawn breath as he stared at what I had. I took from his expression that I must have a lot. I didn't know, all I knew about money was my father had given it to pay for what ever I wanted.

"Is it good?" I asked, placing each of my hands on his one and pulling it down so I could peer into it as well. I noticed his hand dwarfed mine; they made my hands look like children's.

"Well, good enough for a few months if ya watch it." he replied after a moment. "Only a few days at the rate you're accustomed to. Enough anyway to get you some serviceable clothing and shoes, get you a hot meal for a few nights and a bed."

My stomachs choose that moment to growl in a particularly loud way. I grabbed at it looking down in shock, never before had my stomach made such noise.

"You're hungry." He told me. "Ya ain't never been hungry before have you?"

I shook my head feeling slightly embarrassed at my lack of experience; his look was a mixture of envy, pity, and contempt.

"I'm going to take you downstairs to Kloppman, he should be back from his errands by now." he told me. I followed him back down the stairs to find an older man meandering around behind his desk whistling a lively tune.

"Mush, whatta ya doin' here?" he questioned his eyes twinkling kindly, but his expression stern as he caught sight of me. "Ya know I don' t allow no girls here."

"I know, she ain't stayin'." He told the older man smiling in a way that made his whole face light up. I watched in awe at the transformation that seemed to take place as he looked at the old man with affection. "I took her upstairs so she could untie this from under her skirt."

He held out my pouch to the older man who hefted it expertly, and I would bet he could have told me exactly how much money was in it, just by feeling its weight.

"That ain't countin' the bills." Mush said gesturing me to come forward; I did and smiled tentatively at the man who was peering at me appraising everything right down to my shoes. "I found her on the street, as ya can tell she needs a little help."

"Not another one of ya strays." Kloppman sighed. "Between you and Bumlets my charity is overly stretched already. You competin' or somethin'?"

"Nah," Mush responded, to my surprise there was a little color in his cheeks. "I couldn't leave her there, though she would have deserved it. She's spoiled."

Kloppman watched me as my eyes flashed and I raised my head tossing it in a way that had let even the most pernicious suitor know I was not amused. Mush's eyes darted to me twinkling as I turned with a sniff and primly took my skirt in hand to keep from tripping on it.

"Thank you, gentlemen." I said with as much cool aloofness as I could muster. "You have been very kind, but I shall see to things myself."

Kloppman laughed outright as I turned for the door, Mush reached out and grabbed my arm again. I looked back at him my eyes flashing with an anger that had made other men take a step back.

"Unhand me you cur." I hissed. Mush, however, just smiled at me and waved the pouch under my nose. I grabbed for it only to have him pull it just out of my reach. I glared at him and made another grab for it as Kloppman wiped the tears from his eyes.

"I understand you find me ridiculous and irritating." I cried stopping and placing my hands on my hips. "Could you kindly give me my money so that I might find someone who is more interested in helping me?"

"Honey, ain't no one gonna be interested in helping the likes of you." Kloppman said breathing deep as he tried to stifle the laughter. "Ya lucky Mush found ya, ya as helpless as a week old kitten. Someone else probably would have taken advantage of ya in many ways."

I blushed again so unused to such blunt words. Mush held out my pouch and I snatched it from his grasp. Kloppman looked me over again and shook his head.

"Mush why don't ya take her to Molly." Kloppman told the young man who nodded thoughtfully. "She'll know what to do with her. If nothin' else she can give her a place to stay for tonight before this hoity toity miss realizes her mistake and goes back home."

"I can't go back." I whispered looking from one to the other. They both wore identical looks of disbelief.

"A girl as pretty as you always has some place to go." Kloppman said. "If nothin' else they always have a man twirled around their little finger; if I was you I'd go find that man and marry him."

"I can't allow anyone of my old life to find me, they'll take me back to him..." I trailed off as I realized I had almost told them. Shame filled me as I thought of the reason I could not go back, of the reason that had driven me to the streets. To the desire of the most unholy man I had ever had the chance to meet. Shame filled me for the reasons I was running from him, from the desire that I had made him feel. The desire that had forced him to lock me in my room that night as he prepared to do what I had been taught only my husband should do. It had been my fault, he had told me, and I had believed it. It was my fault I was beautiful, my fault he wanted me, for I was a woman and it was in my very nature to tempt him. I felt the tears that fell from my cheeks streaking the dirt on my face as it cleaned its away in salty tracks.

The hardest part was that I knew that no one of my own class would believe me. He was too handsome, too charming, and too intelligent, the women swooned over him; the men admired and respected him. I was just a silly girl and if he chose to find me and force me as he had intended, then there would be no one to believe me. It would be my fault just as he said; it would be my word against his.

Hastily I brushed at the tears trying to get them to stop as I backed away from the two men before me. They looked at each other for a moment seeming to have a silent conversation. Mush looked back at me warily as I continued to back away almost tripping over the chair that had been left in the middle of the room. He searched my face looking for something; I had the feeling that if I had been lying that he would have known, instead his face set itself in a grim line. I could tell by the look on his face that he knew I was really frightened, that I had not run away on a whim, that I really had been running away for a reason. He did not pry for that was not their way. Instead he strode to the door and opened it gesturing me to for me to precede him out the door.

"I'll take ya to Molly, from there ya on ya own okay." He said as he marched past me and into the street. I didn't have the chance to nod, instead I was trying desperately to match his pace as he wound his way expertly around the street shouting headlines as he went; it wasn't until much later that I would realize the sacrifice he had made in helping me, of the night he would spend hungry because he had taken much of his morning helping me instead of selling papers.

Mush had a soft heart beneath his rough exterior, a heart that felt more than most. Because of that it made him harder than others, but it also made him react to the pain of others. He was not one to leave someone alone, frightened, and naïve. He knew too well what happened to those people, he knew the hardness I would have to develop and the struggle I would have. While he looked at me in contempt, he also looked at me with pity and it was out of that pity alone that he chose to help one spoiled, haughty, little brat such as myself.

I followed him up another set of stairs through another door. We had spanned only a matter of a few blocks, but I was puffing with trying to keep up with him and my ankle ached from the horrid wrenching I had given it trying to run after him. The little delicate heels of my slippers were not made for running after newsboys in the city.

"Molly." He called as I looked around at my surroundings; the common room was shabby, but neat and clean. I could see the attempts to make this room cozy and welcoming. It made me think of a cottage in a fairy tale, perhaps like that of the seven dwarves. A woman with black hair and deep laugh lines around her startling blue eyes entered the room from the back, a towel in her hands.

"Mush, how are ya my boy?" She asked in a thick Irish brogue; she laughed as she finished wiping her hands and gave Mush a hug. She caught sight of me, her eyes narrowing as she appraised my fine, but slightly stained and tattered gown. "What did ya bring me this time?"

"I found her down the street from the Lodgin' House, I was on my way to my spot and tripped over her." Mush told Molly as they ignored me and continued talking about me as if I were not in the room. Unaccustomed to being ignored, I sniffed and put my nose in the air to show them just how little it bothered me. "Ya got an open room, she's got money to pay ya."

"What are ya getting me into now?" she asked in protest. "I can't be helping her, well look at her, she's hopeless."

I blinked away the tears, my heart heavy from the secrets it held, and weary from the looks and welcoming I had received thus far. I had thought perhaps I had found a way free of my cousin, but looking at the closed look on the face of the woman before me I felt a sense of hopelessness fill me. She was right, I had been a fool to think I could escape.

"She ain't got no where to go Molly." Mush was saying. "She ain't another one of those stupid girls that's run away because she's unhappy, she's in real trouble, I can tell. "

His words seemed to soften her and though it pricked my pride, I smiled hesitantly. I didn't have another choice, but here. I didn't, I would die in the streets before I went back. With that vow I met her eyes levelly and she nodded.

"Alright Mush, but it's a favor for ya." She sighed. "First things first we gotta get her into somethin' other than that dress. It screams that she's rich."

He smiled and kissed her cheek winking charmingly and making Molly giggle. He gave me a little smile and nodded in acknowledgment before starting for the door.

"Molly here's gonna help ya now." He said to me stopping at the door. "Listen to her, do what she says and ya should do just fine."

I couldn't do much else than give him an uncertain look as he turned the knob on the handle and opened the door stepping into the sunlight. I turned to Molly offering her a smile.

"Ya can't get by on that smile and ya big eyes anymore." Molly told me "We're gonna get ya cleaned up, then I'm takin ya to a friend of mine to find ya somethin' to wear. Ya might want ta give me ya money, I doubt ya know much else to do with it. I'll keep it for ya. I'll take enough for ya lodgin', ya food and any other expenses, that's the first step to teachin' ya to live here. Ya gotta learn that money ain't here for ya to use when ever ya get an itch ta buy somethin'."

Reluctantly, I handed over my pouch for the second time that day, this time I knew I wouldn't see it again. I hoped she would be honest and fair about it. If there was anything Molly Sullivan was though, it was honest and fair. My guardian angel had to have been keeping an eye on me, for I had been delivered into the hands of two people that out of the goodness of their hearts had agreed to help me. I followed her upstairs as she motioned me to do; she stopped in a small room hardly bigger than a closet.

"This will be your room." She told me as she motioned me to follow her the rest of the way up a small set of stairs to a wide-open room that must have been the attic. There were a few wash tubs set up at one end of the room and lying on the counter next to it was a washing board and some soap. At the other end of the room was, surprisingly, a porcelain tub. It seemed to have seen better days, but still it was a luxury that I was sure she had paid dearly for.

"I got it from a whore house down the way; the Madame was sellin' everythin' and movin' out west." Molly said proudly. "I bought it for five dollars; she was tryin' to get out of town real fast."

My emotions toward the tub went from longing to disgust. Molly caught both my look of disgust and the red in my cheeks.

"Ya gonna have to get used to some things girl, and that is just the beginin' of it." she said somewhat gently. She smiled at me then, I don't know if it was the painful way in which I blushed at her talk of whore houses, or the fear that haunted my eyes, but she decided at that point to at least try to befriend me. I would test her limits time and time again, I would push her away and anger her beyond belief, but she would be there for me.

I suppose she saw something in me that I didn't. I believe she saw a lonely girl beneath all my haughtiness and snobbery. I believe she saw someone that had never known the meaning of the word love, that despite all my parents' adoration, they had failed to teach me what love was. Their love for each other was all encompassing, and the affection for their daughter had paled in comparison. They had cared in their own way, but they had still left me lacking; too wrapped up in each other, yet they attempted to make up for it in the toys and dresses they bought me. However, it taught me nothing of how to deal with people, of how to handle my emotions. Odd that I would learn these things at the hands of two people that had no relation to me, nor did they really have any interest in my life. In this I was blessed, and for it, I will be eternally grateful.

Okay the main character is a brat and rather whiney, but she is supposed to be. I am trying to actually portray this particular plot in a way that is realistic. I hope that I achieve it. Let me know what you think!

Sign up to rate and review this story