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Author's note: This all started first as an actual dream.
I stood over her body, wondering, “Why did it have to be this way?” She lay there motionless, pale, lifeless, just a memory. This is what she feared. The secret she couldn’t tell me or Spot. Now all that is left is her baby girl, Ariel; a mirrored image of her motherr. I’ve only known this girl for a year and she had become a huge part of my life. She’s taught me some much about myself and now she’s gone. This can’t be her. No, it’s not. It just can’t be her. Thinking back to the day we met, the day she moved here, this never ran through my mind; seeing her soon to be buried six feet under and never to be seen again. This is her lying motionless in this bed. She wearing the dress she bought to prove she was a girl. A beautiful young woman I’m proud to call my family. For, she was the last of it. Her golden brown hair adorned with petals and her face was faintly smiling. Her big brown eyes lay shut as I looked at her. I feel like crying, but can’t. I have to stay strong no matter what. Yet my heart is breaking as I do and tears are now rolling down my cheek. I can’t take this anymore. This can’t be true.
“Come on, Jack. It’s time to go. She lived a good, last year. For, she knew her time was limited and spending it with you would only make her worry less.” Spot said. He was holding his little girl in his arms. “Say goodbye to mommy, princess.” Spot kissed his baby’s cheek as he tries not to look at the body of the girl he loved and cry. Watching Ariel wave goodbye hurt me; yet she was too young to really understand what was going on. For, she was only three months old. I just stand there looking at the girl who changed me; not ready to say goodbye. “You were right; as long as I loved you, you were going to be okay. I’m sorry. I’m really, truly sorry.” Walking away from the coffin was the hardest thing I had to do in my life. I’m leaving the most important girl in my life. I can’t believe I’m doing this. She didn’t deserve to die like this. But it’s too late to help her. She dead and there’s nothing I can do. The walk home seemed to last forever as the feeling of rage ran through me along with guilt. I’m sorry for not being there. You were the one I really needed.
Back the lodge, Spot set his baby girl down in her crib for her nap. But he didn’t say anything after. “Why is it the good die young?” Racetrack commented. I didn’t say anything as I sorted through the remains: a locket, diary, her wedding dress, and everything else from Santa Fe. “I feel like I’m in a nightmare I can’t escape from. Only because she’s not here anymore; the girl who never backed down from a fight and did everything she could to be happy. She changed the life of all of us,” Kid Blink sighed. Spot lied on his now empty bed; wishing that laying next to him was the girl he loved. A wish everyone wanted to come true. He lied there motionless with his eyes closed as he listened to Ariel breathe as she slept. His heart was the first to break out of all of us and in its place was stone. A stone so heavy with emotion, it made it hard for him to breathe. He loved her so much, losing her was just torture.
The day we got the news that she was dead, he got up from his chair and left the hospital. Denton soon found him outraged and mad in an alley nearby and taking his anger out by punch the wall until his hands bleed. Denton pulled him away and Spot tried to fight back. “Let me go!” he screamed and fought from Denton’s grip. “Spot, look at me. She’s gone and there was nothing we could’ve done to save her.” Spot then broke down in tears as he fell to his knees; begging her to come back. It was like someone just ripped his heart out and left him with pain to suffer with. He didn’t want to believe it. He wanted to escape the nightmare. But he just couldn’t. He lost the girl who gave him a second chance in life and to except what happened in his past. The one person who’s helped him believe that he could be a father when he had no faith in himself. The girl who made the biggest impact in his life; she was his little sweetheart.
Soon coming up the stairs was Denton; with Samantha right behind him. “How are you two holding up?” Denton sighed. He missed her too. She was his godchild and now niece. “Nothing is compared to what I’m feeling now. Like I asked her one time, where did the time go? It’s hard to accept the fact that I can’t see her anymore. She took my heart with her,” Spot said as he stared up at the top bunk. “And a new one will grow; now that you have anotherr lady to love,” Denton laughed. It was the first time he laughed or smiled since he got the news. “No one can replace either of them and I know that for a fact. Still, the one girl that I loved, the reason I have a baby girl, is gone,” Spot sighed. It hurt him to admit that his new beginning in life was to raise his daughter alone. I could tell it did because I’ve known Spot for a long time. He felt the same way as he did about his motherr. But, how come such an innocent girl dies after finding happiness in her life? It just doesn’t make sense.
That night, the gang was celebrating Jack’s decision, on staying in New York, at the lodge. Though crowded and noisy, everyone from Brooklyn, Queens, all over New York, was having the party of a lifetime. Racetrack and Mush were downing soda pop like there was no tomorrow. While Jack, on the other hand, was Spot’s human target. You want to know why? Jack is officially dating David’s sister, Sarah. Who is paying Spot, David is ten cents for every time a shooter hits Jack. Which, in my opinion, is a waste of money? I would’ve paid five cents. But for the most part, everyone was having a great time.
But as the front door opened, no one noticed the girl coming in. Okay, I’m lying. Spot noticed the girl and stopped shooting Jack; as if mesmerized by her beauty. While getting Racetrack’s attention, “Who’s that girl over there?” he said." What girl? Maybe the party is getting to ya," Racetrack replied “Maybe.” But, Spot soon saw the same girl again. This time she was making her way towards Jack. As she struggled to get past to Brooklyn Boys, she shouts, “Move!” Everyone just looks at her as she faces Jack. Finally standing in front of Jack, “You’re Jack Kelly?” she said. “Yes. But why is that important.”
She had brown, wavy hair and big, brown eyes that seem piercing. But suddenly, she then hugged him; as if for dear life. “I’m so glad to finally see you. Daddy told me that I’d find you here. My name is Courtney.” she said. “Why did you need to know if he was here? Are you his cousin?” Kid questioned. “No.” Courtney said as she shook her head; her curly, brown hair whipping her face. “Then who are you?” Mush asked. Hesitating at first, she turned her gaze back to Jack. “My name is Courtney Kelly. I’m the daughter of Jonathan Kelly. Jack, I’m your sister," Courtney said finally. “You’re his what?” David, Les, Racetrack, and Kid said at the same time. “I can explain. Really, I can.” “Go ahead. Explain how you’re my sister,” Jack said confused. He didn’t understand how it was possible that Courtney was his sister. He didn’t even know he had a sister. But somehow, the name she named as their father sounded familiar to him. He couldn’t remember why it was familiar, he just knew it did.
“The man you call your father is really our uncle. As our parents headed west, they left you behind in the care of both him and Emily. As they were getting settled, another uncle wrote to daddy saying that Richard was going to adopt you and lied about how our parents didn’t want you. But really, the reason our parents left you behind is because they thought it would be too dangerous to take you along. I even have your birth certificate to prove it," Courtney explained as she held out a folded piece of paper. With silence in the room, everyone looked at the two with a few murmurs here and there. Suddenly, “How do we know she’s not lying?”
Looking over it, Jack saw his name, birth date, and both the signature of a Jonathan Kelly III and Abigail Sullivan. “I’ve seen these names before. But why did they adopt me?” Jack said puzzled. “I don’t know. Daddy said it was because of our grandmother on our mom’s side. But no one really knows for sure; unless you’re from our mom’s side of the family. But don’t bother with asking them. If they find out I’m here, I might as well shoot myself. They’ve been trying to find me for years,” Courtney shrugged. “Why are they looking for you? Is your grandmother Elizabeth Sullivan, New York’s richest woman alive?” one of the guys laughed. “How did you know? They’ve been trying to steal me from daddy since I was six years old.” Everyone stood in awe as they looked at Courtney. Handing back the paper, which Courtney stuck back in her pocket, the party resumed. But Jack wasn’t in the mood anymore to continue. He just headed outside.
Leaning against a wall outside, Jack tried to remember where he saw the name the first time. Looking back to his childhood, he remembered a letter sent by the courthouse nearby. Richard was being charged with kidnap and fraud when Jack was five. He’d gotten in trouble for asking what the letter was about. “What is this about? Why is dad going to court?” a curious young Jack once asked. “You leave my mail alone and mind your own business,” Richard snapped. He grabbed the letter and hit Jack on the back of the head with it. Okay, more like slapped Jack. Remembering the abuse he had went through growing up and being raised by Richard, it gave Jack the chills. He was glad that part of his life was over. It was the reason he was the way he was and the reason he went to the refuge. The neglect Jack had to face as he had to take care of himself. But knowing that Richard wasn’t his father made him a little happier and small grin spread across his face. But the thought of having a sister to take care of soon erased it. How was he going to take care of her? He was as poor as the next newsie selling papers; with only fifteen cents in his pocket for tomorrow’s papers. There was no way he could take care of her. But he had to. She was all he had of his real family; the one who could answer all his questions.
You must be tired from the trip. Where did you say you were from again?" Racetrack tried to flirt. “If you need anything, anything at all, just asked me. Okay?" Courtney knew what he was trying to do and made a comeback. “Can you do something for me? Can you bring that guy over there with the slingshot? The one who asked who I was when I came in,” Courtney smirked. “You mean Spot? He was only trying to be nice. He doesn’t have a crush on you or anything,” Racetrack lied. “So? He’s better looking than you and isn’t trying to waste his breath by flirting with a girl uninterested in him,” Courtney said and left Racetrack and his damaged ego behind.
Searching through the crowd for awhile, she turned around and collided into someone. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you,” Courtney said as she got up from the floor. “It was my fault. I should be apologizing,” he said. Grabbing her hand and helping Courtney up, Spot then realized who he ran into. “So, I finally come face to face with a guy who’s not trying to flirt with me. My name’s Courtney. What’s yours?” Courtney said. “My name is Spot Conlon. You seem familiar though; like I’ve met you before. I just don’t know where,” Spot said. After talking through most of the party, it was time for everyone to go home. Both Courtney and Spot were saying goodbye with a kiss and plans for tomorrow.
Upstairs, everyone was getting ready for bed. It was going to be once again a normal day for them. Looking around, Courtney wasn’t sure what to do. Finding the closest empty bunk, she grabbed her bag and sat down. Pulling out some of her things, she then got ready. She was exhausted and a long from home. “How do you like New York so far? Is it what you expected?” Mush said from behind her. Turning to look at him, “I’ve visited New York many times before. This would be my tenth time being here,” Courtney smiled. “So you know your way around?” Kid asked then. “I guess you could say that. By the way, do you know if a man by the name Brian Denton still works for The Sun or a Medda Larkson still hangs around the theatre? I’m going to drop by to say hi to them. I know Denton would be glad to see me,” Courtney said. Then she went on her way and got ready for bed.
The next morning was busy. The guys were up since the crack of dawn and bustling to get washed up. But nobody realized that Courtney was gone. Until, “Please tell me this is true. Do I have a sister who arrived last night unexpectantly?” Jack curiously asked. “Yeah you do. Why?” Mush replied. “Then where is she? I don’t see her anywhere around here,” Jack began to freak. “How are we supposed to know? We were too busy getting ready.” Kid said. Just to set the time of this, it’s 8:45. It was then the front door opened. Courtney climbed the stairs with a big smile on her face. Seeing her brother’s face, it soon disappeared. “Oh, hey Jack. I didn’t realize you had to get up early or I would’ve told you. But you can’t be mad at me for seeing a friend of daddy’s,” Courtney smiled. “Where have you been though? I’ve got papers to sell and, top that, look after you,” Jack sighed. “When did you start taking responsibility? I can take of myself and have for five months now. Besides, I know my way around here. It’s not that hard to get lost,” Courtney smirked.
One the gang arrived to collect their papers; Mr. Brooklyn himself was leaning against a wall and waiting for Courtney. “Why are you here? I thought you’d be in Brooklyn,” Boots couldn’t help but ask. “He’s here for me. We’ve got plans and I need to see Denton. He’s the only friend I haven’t said hello to,” Courtney smiled as she made her way to Spot. “How do you know Denton? He’s lived here his whole life I think,” Jack looked puzzled. “He was best friend with mom and is engaged to one of our aunts. Daddy, Daniel and I helped him move here,” Courtney explained. Still confused, “Just go ahead and go. You can tell me later,” Jack sighed. Taking Spot’s hand, Courtney was off for the day. Unable to see the two, everyone got their papes. But seeing Courtney holding Spot’s hand, Jack and a few others couldn’t help but wonder if they were dating. That was another question Jack wanted to ask.
Forgetting about Denton, Spot and Courtney were laughing as they walked the decks of Brooklyn. “Who knew you could trip on air? That was hilarious just to see him fall head first in the water,” Courtney smiled. But a voice from behind called out. “This must be Spot’s new girlfriend. I didn’t recognize you from behind. How’s your cousin, Courtney?” it said. “Why do you care? I thought you were trying to avoid Kimmy,” Courtney said as she turned around. “You’re cousins with the ditz stocking Andrew?” Spot said surprised. “This is great. I’m not the only one who thinks that. But she is a ditz,” Courtney smiled. “But she is your cousin, right?” Spot asked. “Sadly, yes. But it’s only the girls on that side of the family that are ditzy. Also, being majorly brain-washed by their teachings of hating the Irish and being overly proper by our grandmother. I’d feel sorry, but I won’t. I’ve got better things to feel sorry for,” Courtney sighed. Soon saying goodbye to Andrew, Courtney and Spot kept on walking.
“The scenery is amazing up here. You get great view of the water,” Courtney smiled. Her and Spot were sitting up in his special place on the deck. “It is great and all mine. But I have a quick question. It may sound weird but I have a feeling that I’ve met you before. Have we?” “Actually, I believe we have. Your last name is Conlon, right?” Courtney said as she sat on the edge. “Indeed it is. But what does that have to do with anything?” Spot asked. “Your mom fell in love with me when we first met. You bought me a flower with the eight cents you had in your pocket,” Courtney said. “If that was you back then, Spot.” Spot let out a small laugh as he looked at Courtney. It was him and Spot couldn’t deny it. “I thought I remembered your eyes; both big and bright. How old were we? Five? Six?” Spot continued to laugh. “Your little sweetheart; She’d always call me that and now look where we are,” Courtney said smiling. While never taking her eyes off of Spot as they sat next to each other. Not long after, hoots were being heard from below as the guys saw Spot kissing Courtney.
“You found yourself a baby face; the prettiest of all girls. She doesn’t look more than 12 years old. Where’d find this one,” one the boy said looking at Courtney. Her and Spot were now standing on the deck, “Why? He doesn’t need to tell you and you don’t need to know. Besides, it’s none of your business on how Spot and I met. You’d still be a low-life compared to him,” Courtney smirked. Dumb founded by Courtney’s remark, the guy backed off. “Snippy much, baby face? He only asked a question. You don’t need to be rude,” another guy said. “And you don’t want to get in a fight with me. Call me baby face one more time and your face will meet my fist. I’ve got enough to worry about already. I don’t need a bunch of immature street rats going head over heels for me,” Courtney snapped. “You’re a defensive cutie, aren’t you? What happened? Is daddy’s little girl getting mad because I called her baby face? Take it as a compliment next time, baby face. No need to get overly protective,” the same guy said. Trying to hold back the urge, Courtney failed on doing so. Before anyone could do anything, Courtney was on top of him throwing punches left and right. Spot then pulled her off, by the waist, as fast as he could and didn’t let go of her. “Let me go!” she screamed and tried to break free. Spot’s grip tightened around her and soon caused her to give up. The guy got up with the help of others. No harm was done except for some bruising to his cheek. The couple soon left quickly with Spot still holding Courtney.
“Spot, I’m sorry. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Will you let me go now?” Courtney said as they walked back. They were back in Manhattan after their silent walk back and heading for Tibby’s. He then let her go cautiously; as if she was going to run. She grabbed his hand but, he pulled back. “Spot, I’m sorry. Okay? I’m really, really sorry. Will you at least talk to me? Please?” “Fine, I’ll talk. I can’t believe you did that. That was stupid of you to do. Not only do I have to fix this but, also…” “Please don’t tell Jack. If he finds out about this, I’d lose the only family member I have left. Please don’t tell,” Courtney cried. “Why can’t I? You started the fight. Wait? What do you mean Jack’s the only family you have left?” Spot proclaimed. “Both of my parents are dead, one shot before my eyes, and another brother who left me to be abused by an uncle. You see that’s why I had to come here. I’ve lost everything due to a bullet to the back and can’t ever go back home,” she explained. This is why she was so defensive earlier. She was dealing with the death of a parent and a brother’s betrayal.
Wrapping him arms around her from behind, Spot tried to comfort Courtney. “I’m sorry for yelling at you, Courtney. Just calm down and breathe. I’m not going to tell Jack about the fight. Like you’ve said, you’ve got enough to worry about. I love you,” Spot said turning Courtney to face them. He wiped away a tear from her cheek as she looked up at him with, what seemed to be, pleading eyes. “Are you still mad at me though,” she said timidly. He felt sorry for her than mad at her. "No. But don’t push it. You’re still in trouble. For now let’s just get you back to Jack, "he said wrapping his arm around Courtney. “I’m really sorry though, Spot. That was never supposed to happen,” Courtney said again. “Let’s just let it go for right now. If it ever comes up again, let me just say I’ve got your back. Losing a parent isn’t easy and I just want you to know that I know how it feels,” Spot said. As they continued to walk, Spot could stop holding the key around his neck.
“Jack, they’ll be here. It’s not like they eloped,” Racetrack said as Jack paced. “Ha- ha. That’s so funny. Try to see it in my point of view,” Jack snapped. Everyone was hanging around the table at Tibby’s when the door opened. For a moment, there was a sigh of relief. But it turned out to be Denton coming in the diner. “Hello boys. How does it feel now that the strike is over?” Denton said. “Great, until a surprised visitor came around. We don’t even know who she is. With the stuff she told us, we not sure if she telling the truth either. But, she says she knows you through her parents. Something about being friends with her mother,” Kid said. “If she’s who I think she is, my question is: why is she far from home and where’s her father? There isn’t a good explanation for why she traveled across the country alone,” Denton sighed. “So you do know her?” Mush asked. Puzzled why Courtney was in town, Denton knew there was a reason she was. He’s known her for too long to figure out if she’s lying. She has to have a good explanation.
Before Denton could answer, the door opened again. Walking in was Courtney with Spot right behind her. “Here she is, Jackie Boy. She’s fine and like she was when she left,” Spot said. Denton couldn’t believe his eyes as he looked at Courtney. “What are you doing here? Where in the world is your father anyway?” Denton asked. Turning to look at Denton, Courtney couldn’t help but smile at him. “Not saying hello? Well that rude. Even for you,” she said. “Hello, Courtney. Are you happy now? Still, where’s your father?” Denton smirked. “Where he’ll always be these days when working on his paper: Somewhere around the country and meeting up with other newspaper businesses. But, sadly, not in New York this time and he’ll be missing out on a lot. But I have permission to be here. Thank you very much,” Courtney lied. “Does anyone else know you’re here? Unlike Jack and I while you are on this trip of yours and just visiting, I presume? You’ve have others who care about you.” “Not family wise that is. I’ve only been here since last night anyway.” “That sure explains a lot. What have you been doing since you got up?” “She’s been with Spot, Denton. Just wondering around New York,” Kid blurted out. “All that time and you didn’t drop by to say you’re in town to anyone?” Denton sighed. “Fine and be that way. But I’m only telling Claire, Tristian, Parker, Aaron, Tyler, Katie, Christopher, Devon, Alexander, and Austin. No one else,” Courtney huffed. “Not even Daniel? Fine, suit yourself. But you can’t be mad at him forever.”
Sitting down, “So you two do know each other?” Mush asked. “Yes, for the last time, we do. I’ve told you guys that before I left,” Courtney groaned. “Are you huffy much, baby face? Sorry that he asked,” Kid said. Courtney’s temper flared again. “What’s up with Courtney?” Kid asked. “No one calls me baby face. The last person who did almost had the snot beaten out of him. Let this be a warning. The next person who calls me that, their face is going in the dirt,” Courtney growled. “That is another thing. As long as you are here, there is no fighting for you. I don’t care who starts it, Courtney. No fighting. You’ve gotten in enough trouble as it is,” Denton proclaimed. “It’s too late to tell her that. One of Brooklyn saw her fighting with Ten- Ten. He was at Sheepshead and told me all about it,” Racetrack said. Everyone, except Spot, Racetrack, and Denton, looked at Courtney in awe. Denton on the other hand, looked at Courtney in anguish. Spot soon came to his girlfriend’s rescue before Denton could do anything. He felt sorry for her still long after Courtney told him her story. Being yelled at for fighting would only make things worse for her. Spot had to tell Denton why Courtney was in New York; the actual reason.
“Could I talk to you for a moment, Denton?” Spot said. Courtney had a sad look on her face as Denton glared. “Sticking up for your girlfriend, Spot? Brooklyn’s gone soft for a girl,” Racetrack hooted. But Denton got up from his seat and went outside with Spot. “I can’t believe her father let her come here alone. What did you need to talk to me about?” Denton sighed. He was trying to stay calm as he talked. “Courtney is going to kill me if I tell you. But you have to know why she’s really here. It might have something to do with why the fight started,” Spot told Denton. “What is the real reason and how do you know?” “She told when we were in Brooklyn. The reason she’s here is because both of her parents are dead,” Spot explained. “How did her father die? Her mother died when Courtney was one years old from a heart problem,” Denton said stunned. “She said she lost everything due to a bullet to the back.”
Back inside, Courtney was gone. “Where did Courtney go?” Denton asked nervously. “She left and is heading for Irving Hall. Kid is following her behind,” Mush said. “You guys didn’t stop her!?” Spot groaned. Denton then noticed that Jack was gone. “Where’s Jack?” “We don’t know. We didn’t know he left too,” Skittery said. “Spot, you go find Jack. I’ll go find Courtney. Now that they’re gone, she’s my responsibility,” Denton ordered. Leaving the rest behind, both left the diner. But within minutes, Jack was found by the back door to the diner. “What are you doing back here, Jack?” “I needed to go out. Everyone, while you and Denton were outside, started making fun of Courtney. She ran out crying as the rest kept laughing. I came out to not get involved,” Jack explained.
“You should’ve stopped them. Courtney is your sister; even if you don’t want to admit it,” Spot argued. “I don’t have to admit anything! Besides, she can take care of herself. I don’t need her and she doesn’t need me.” Spot stood in disbelief as Jack said that. “There is no way I’m going to convince you. I’ll be wasting my breath if I do. When Courtney gets back, give her this address: 648 Callien Drive, apartment number 5,” Spot sighed. That was the address to his apartment. But Spot walked away unsure where to go from there. He couldn’t go to Brooklyn at this time and his date with Courtney was cut short thanks to Racetrack. Still holding on to his key, he got an idea. He felt it was time to pay a visit to his childhood home. This, thanks to his mother, belongs to him now.
Entering Irving Hall, all Denton heard was silence; except for the piano playing near the stage. He remembered the melody perfectly as it was played and kept walking towards the stage. Getting closer and closer, he heard a faint voice singing, “No matter where I go, no matter what I do, I’ll always find my way back to you.” “That was beautiful, Courtney. I can tell you’ve been practicing,” Denton smiled. Startled, Courtney quickly turned around. “Are you going to say something?” “You’ve found me, Denton. Just please don’t be mad at me,” she sighed. “Who’s going to be mad at you?” a voice said backstage. Coming out, Medda appeared from behind. “Hello again, Medda,” Courtney gave a faint smile.
“Hello Medda. How are you?” Denton greeted. “What did you do, Courtney?” Medda sighed. “A fight.” “I blame her father. There is no good reason why she would need to know how to fight,” Medda said. “Unless she needed to defend herself in an attack; like she had to seven years ago,” Denton assured. The look on Medda’s face showed she knew what Denton was talking about. “I’m sorry, Denton. The fight was never supposed to happen in the first place. I just want to go home now. But, I can’t,” Courtney muttered sadly. “Why can’t you go home? Did something happen?” Medda questioned. “Courtney lost the last of her parents. That’s why she can’t go home, Jonathan is dead,” Denton explained as he cradled Courtney’s tear soaked face. “Spot told you, didn’t he? I wouldn’t blame him for doing that. He just wanted me to be okay.”
After telling both of them how her father died, Denton and Medda were appalled. Mr. Kelly died because he shot his late wife’s youngest brother to stop the abuse daughter had to go through. The day she left for New York, the sheriff, shot him for “breaking” the law. Even though Mr. Kelly told him stop the abuse and the sheriff did nothing. Watching her father fall to the ground, she pulled out a gun and shot the sheriff, out of rage, as the train began to move. Medda then gave Courtney a sympathetic hug when she finished telling her story. “You are your father’s daughter. Though you look like your mother, I see his spirit in you and so did he,” Medda smiled. “But looking like my mother is the reason both sides want me. I’m the only one left to remind them of her.” “Sorry to say, that’s the reason of the family feud too. I guess being daddy’s little copy was a blessing for you. He would never leave you behind or let you go,” Denton let out a small laugh. “Yeah, daddy’s little copy with the spirit of an Irish.”
Saying goodbye to Medda, Courtney followed Denton to work as the talked. “You’ll be moving in with me tomorrow. The earlier you leave the better. I’ll make up the guest room tonight when I get home.” “Or, I could grab my stuff after you’re done and then head over to the apartment,” Courtney compromised. Going back and forth between both solutions, Denton gave up and stepped down from the argument. “I give up with this. There is no way I’m going to win this battle. We’ll go with your solution.” Giving him her best “in-your-face” smile, Courtney couldn’t resist rubbing it in. She’s had that same personality since she was little. A youthfully spirited charm that Denton love, and missed, about her. He was the daughter of his best friend. He loved her like a daughter.
“You just grab your things, Courtney. Don’t pay attention to them when you do,” Denton said. Running into the lodge, Courtney quickly climbed the stairs. “Here she is, Jack. She just came in,” Kid sighed. Courtney grabbed her bag when Jack pulled out of her hands. “What the heck are you doing? I have to leave,” Courtney yelled. “Where have you been? I’ve searching all over for you. Besides, where do you have to go? You’ve got nowhere else to live,” Jack growled. Courtney just picked up her bag and headed for the stairs. Only to be pulled back by Jack. Falling hard to the ground, Courtney blew up. “You listen to me, Jackie Boy. You don’t ever want to get in a fight with me. Especially now when there is a lot going on for me. Either leave me alone or end up in the hospital,” Courtney said coldly.
“You think that’s going to scare him? You’re wrong if you do," Racetrack smirked. “Shut the heck up, pipsqueak! This has nothing to do with you,” Courtney shouted violently. Courtney got up from the floor and headed for the stairs when Jack pulled her back another time. There was rage in her eyes as she got up again. “What are you going to do now? Like I’ve said before, you’ve got nowhere else to live,” Jack frowned. Courtney had enough of this. “Fine, I’m not leaving. But to let you know, everyone in our family knows you’re a criminal. Don’t you see? No one wants you in their life except for me. They don’t want anything to do with you,” Courtney roared. But she then grabbed her bag and, before going, kicked Jack in the shin hard. “But that has changed now. Officially, no one wants you.”
“Well, you’re home now. What do you want for dinner?” Denton said as they entered the apartment. “The usual would be fine with me. Since, me not forgetting, you can’t even cook,” Courtney smiled. “And you’ll never let me forget that. So leftovers it is,” Denton replied. Courtney had found her room very easily without guessing and laid her bag inside. The room was blocked off for a reason. Inside there was still the twin size bed from when Courtney last visited eight years ago. The walls were adorn with flowers, which Daniel hated when thay shared the room, and photos of memories. She took a look around, seeing if anything changed. Courtney soon stopped and gazed at one of the frames that gave her an overwhelming feeling. It showed photos of her growing up; one for each year she’s lived and with her father in each of the them. She was daddy’s little girl and she couldn’t hide that. She let out a sigh, not believing this was real, and exited the room; heart being weighed down with sadness.
“That girl can kick hard! Just look at Jack’s leg,” Mush laughed as Jack groaned in pain. There was a huge purple bruise on Jack’s leg where Courtney kicked him for payback. “That’s just funny though. How does it feel to get beat by a girl?” Kid snickered. Eveyone laughed at Kid’s question as Jack laid there; his leg now throbbing. “Shut up, guys. Now that she’s gone, I have less to woory about. She is such a handful with issues. What was her problem?” Jack winced as he sat up. Staring at each other, everyone just shrugged. But the lightbulb went off for Crutchy. “Jack, why don’t you just ask Spot?” “Brooklyn? We can’t do that. If we ask, he’ll probably ask why Courtney isn’t with us,” Racetrack freaked.
“Then you come up with a plan. Actually, forget I said that. Spot will be at the gate, possibly, in the morning; just waiting for his girlfriend,” Kid said. Mush, for he was standing behind Racetrack, let out a small laugh he tried to hide. “What are you laughing about? With Brooklyn lovesick, his reputation is ruined. They fell for each other fast,” Jack sneered. Mush smiled when all eyes were on him. He let out a brief laugh as he opened his mouth. “Watching Race’s ego getting crushed the other night.” Everyone else immediatly started laughing about that as Race glared at Mush. Once everyone got calm, taking ten minutes to do so, “Still, if we ask Spot what’s wrong with Courtney, we’re risking the chance of him asking where’s Courtney. Where did she have to go?” Kid said.
Coming up the stairs, Skittery was in a pant. “What’s up with you?” Boots asked. “Running from the Delancey Brothers. Is there a reason why Jack’s sister left with Denton? They were heading to his apartment,” Skittery said. “She left with Denton? That’s stranger danger in itself,” Jack went wide eyed. “What she told us, he’s a friend of her… well your parents too, Jack,” Bumlets spoke. They all turned to look at Bumlets with a confused look on their face. “Did you see how he treated her? He was being parental towards Courtney. But before we ask Spot, let’s try to figure out what he meant when he said,‘Now that they’re gone, she’s my responsibility.’” “His responsibility?” David said unexpectantly.
“Where have you been all day?” Kid asked. “I was helping my mom at the hospital. She’s a nurse there But who is Denton’s responsibility?” All heads turned towards Jack as a response to David’s question. “She hasn’t spent a full day and she lives somewhere else now. You must’ve messed up big time, Jack. What is the reason?” “Little Miss Moody got in a fight in Brooklyn. We were just trying to figure out why she changed emotions,” Jack explained. “Well responsibility has to do with custody. Since Denton isn’t her her father, that means he’s Courtney’s godfather and she’d only be living with him if her parents are dead,” David interpreted. “One of my cousins is a social worker.” “A social worker? I don’t know what that is but, Jack, I think we have our answer. what is a social worker anyway?” Skittery sighed. All just laughed at Skittery; though they didn’t know a social worker was either.
Waking up the next morning, Courtney walked sleepily to the kitchen. She knew where she was and didn’t mind it. On the counter was a note from Denton telling her to meet him at the diner around 11:30. “Just great, Denton. Be prepared for another fight between Jack and I at the diner,” she said to herself. Alone in apartment, Courtney felt small among the space containing so many memories. Looking around, “You sure didn’t change much here. Everything is still the same as it did when you moved in,” she sighed. Courtney trailed her fingers against the wall and along the dusty books left unread for years. She then stopped at the door to Denton’s room that stood shut. But Courtney kept it closed for her own sake. On the wall near where the door closes was something he cherished: a four year old’s handprint from none other than her.
“So Jack ’s the blame for this? This is how you repay me for helping you out during the strike?” Spot was irritated. Had just learned that his girlfriend had moved last night; along with another fight breaking out. “If you knew she was irritable already, that should tell you not to fight, Jack I don’t feel sorry for you. Yet, no one should. You’ve messed up my previous chance with a girl. If you don’t want me dating your sister, tell me.” Silence struck for both of them until the door opened. “what’s with the fighting going on? Have any of you seen Courtney?” a voice said. Denton had appeared and shortly after, Courtney did too. “Don’t even mess with me, Jack or, like I’ve said, you’ll end up in the hospital,” Courtney sneered.
“No he’s not, Courtney. Just sit down for a moment as I try to settle things,” Denton sighed. “By the way, Jack, how’s your leg?” Courtney smirked impishly. Jack just glared at her harshly as she continued to smile. “Enough of this stuff. Courtney, either wipe that smile off your face or leave and back to the apartment,” Denton ordered. She took a seat next to Spot, across from David. “So why am I here? Don’t you think I have enough to go through? I’m still not over the fact that Daniel…” “Just sit there and behave. You can talk in a moment. But just sit there,” Denton moaned. It’s only been three minutes and he already had a headache.
“You kicked him because he threw you back last night?” Spot asked surprised. “This whole thing wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t get into that fight. Why did you?” Jack said. “It’s the way I was raised. I was raised to defend myself when daddy couldn’t do anything. With the laws, he had little power in protecting me. I either had to learn to fight or die,” Courtney explained. “What kind of city did you live in? That city is just jacked up,” Kid asked. “It started as a family-oriented city when mine and Jack’s parents moved to escape our grandmother. But when I was around eight years old, it turned into a a city of kidnap and abuse.”
“That’s why everything was quiet for all those years. I didn’t any news from or about you until after Parker’s went for a visit,” Denton said astonished. “What happened there?” Racetrack asked. “Nearly kidnapped by an uncle from mom’s side of the family. But ended up being abused when I refused to leave. Santa Fe is a messed up city right now.” “Santa Fe? You lived in the city I wanted to live in?” Jack asked. “You probably wanted to go there since the court letters began to appearring to Richard. Am I right?” Courtney said slightly laughing. “How did you know that, Courtney?” “It’s what Mom wanted Dad to do since they left you in his care. He’s been trying since then, Jackie-Boy.”
It took awhile for Jack to ask his next question. But he wanted to know if David was right. “So where is our father or our mother?” As Jack said that, tears began to form in Courtney’s eyes. “Never to be seen abain for as long as we live. Mom’s been dead for nearly 15 years and I faced the tragic murder of our father when he got shot. Everyone loved our parents except for the sheriff. He was friends with only our mom’s family. Santa Fe is a place I will never go back to,” Courtney sighed. Spot looked at Courtney, whose eyes were still filled with tears. “So David was right about Denton?” Boots called out. “About what, Boots? What has the Walking Mouth said?” Spot asked. “About Denton being my legal guardian when my parents die. You’re not as annoying as you look. You have a cousin named Chris, right?” Courtney showed a small smile.
“Christopher Jacobs? Yes, he’s my cousin. Why do you ask?” David said. Everyone got quiet as ty turned to Courtney. “Daddy had a court date here and was jobshadowing our lawyer. I think ended up being a social worker,” Courtney smiled. Kid let out a laugh. “What are you smiling about?” Race said. “It’s a small world after all. I think it’s getting smaller as we speak.” Kid smiled.“I believe that too. I believe it’s because I remember a boy with your exact smile.Denton, you took me out to get ice cream once. I sat on t step sharing it with him,” Courtney exclaimed. “Duncan’s Delights! You were the girl in the pigtails. The one girl Jack ran intpo while running.” Kid said cheerfully.
“That’s how I found out you were my brother, Jack. Daddy had told me after the collision,” Courtney said. Speaking of brothers, Courtney’s smile disappeared after someone said her name. Denton looked at Courtney from the corner of his eye as saw who it was. While Courtney had her back towards the entrance, “You’ve met her already, David?” he said. “Daniel, I didn’t know she was your sister. I’ve only gotten to offically meet her today,” David replied. Courtney’s mouth dropped and then closed as she glared at David. “You’re friends with this heartless runaway? He can’t even call himself a brother,” Courtney barked. Denton wasn’t taking this well. Just when he thought it was over, his headache was back a second time.
Courtney got up and left the diner as David offered Daniel a seat. “you must’ve done a lot of hurt to her,” Boots said as he looked at him. Daniel let out a sigh as set his head on the table. “So she’s the one you regret leaving. The girl being your little sister,” David sighed. “I see why she should be upset. Yet, I see why you had to leave and leave her behind. You had to escape the dange there and leave her because she refused to leave your father,” Denton said. Dan iel lifted up his head to reveal tear stung eyes. He regretted leaving his baby sister. “I tried many times to go back for her. He just wouldn’t let me leave,” Daniel spoke finally. Spot had sat there listening through it all. He then raced out to find Courtney.
Spot had looked everywhere. for his girlfriend. He finally found her exiting a store carrying bags. “If you think I’m apologizing, you’re wrong. I’m done dealing with him,” Courtney snapped. She continued to walk down the street and soon entered another store. Spot followed her into a kitchen goods store. “Why not? He’s sorry for what he’s done,” Spot argued as Courtney tested the weight of a pan. “How much is this?” she called out to the owner. “Fourty- two cents, madme. A good choice too when making breakfast,” the man said. Courtney set the pan down and looked through the bakingware. “How sorry, Spot?” Courtney said as she picked up a cake pan. Spot grabbed the pan and put it back. “He tried to go back many times for you. He told us at the diner, Courtney. That’s how sorry he is.”
Courtney hurried back to the diner and thankful everyone was still there; except Denton. “Daniel, I forgive you. I’m sorry for walking out on you. I love you,” she said as she hugged Daniel. He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her too. He felt like never letting go of her. “How did you do it? She left here mad beyond belief,” Jack whispered to Spot. “I told her that he tried to go back for her many times after she how sorry he was. Do you think it’s over now? Her hating him, I mean?” Spot said. “I guess you don’t hate me anymore.” “Forever and always, Daniel. I’m sorry for walking out on you.” “All is forgiven, Sis. For you have forgiven. I love you too, Courtney. I’ll always love my baby sister,” Daniel smiled. He soon stood up and kissed her head brotherly warm.
The gang after lunch went their separate ways. Daniel gave his sister one last hug before going home. “I’ll write and say your in town to everyone. They’ll be glad to know your here,” Daniel said releasing Courtney. Courtney waved goodbye as she ran to finish shopping. Spot followed her trail. “Has she always been that emotional? One minute mad, the next happy?” Jack asked. “She’s just having a rough start. With Dad gone, she’s more emotional due to being clingy. She’s a daddy’s girl and always had been,” Daniel explained. “How did you know he was gone?” Race asked. “Family, friends, that have sent letters to me,” Daniel replied. “Letters arrive faster than a person on a train.”
Courtney went from store to store looking or buying things. She bought a basket for produce shopping, a pair of shoes, and a stationary. “Are you going to write a letter too?” Spot asked. “Article writing or just taking notes. I have a month to hire atleast
fifteen people for jobs. But that’s if they let me run a business,” Courtney said as she looked at dress fabrics. “That one’s pretty and ten cents per yard,” Spot smiled. Calling over the owner, the fabric was cut accordingly. Along with other fabrics needed for the dress. The top layer was an orchid purple with the fabics underneath a lighter shade. “That will be $3.36, please. I hope you enjoy your purchase,” the cashier said. Handing the person the money, Courtney went next door to have the dress made.
When would you like to have this done by?" the seamstress asked. “Before August 16th. I want to look like a princess that day,” Courtney smiled. Spot and a cashier smiled at her. “It’s that special birthday that happens when a girl turns sixteen. Not many girls get that opportunity,” the lady said circling Courtney. “Do you think you can make it? How much will it be”?" “No more that $4.38 and that includes tax. That get me alittle over a month’s time to have it done for you. That’s enough for me to have ready before the date.” Returning from the back of the store, “You’ve got your dress now. Anything else?” Spot said. Courtney shook her head and led him out the door.
It was late when Courtney was finally heading home. With two personal cakes in hand (Spot already ate his), they were passing the lodge. “Can I have one?” Jack said jokingly as he was standing outside. “Get your own cake. I haven’t picked a favorite yet,” Courtney pulled them away. “Favorite sibling? You know you have two older brothers,” Spot laughed. “With me being the oldest. Now hand one over. I’ll make you pay if you don’t,” Jack continued to joke. “I didn’t paid twenty-seven cents for each just to have one be taken. You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow,” Courtney smirked. Jack knew what she meant by tomorrow. Tomorrow was his birthday. an, yet, he still couldn’t wait. With both cake still in her hands, Courtney said goodnight to her brother and headed home again. She sure had a surprise for Jack.
Reaching the door, Spot knocked on the door for Courtney. “Now you finally come home. Along with cake and other things. Has you father taught you how to spend your money?” Denton said as he saw Courtney. “You can come in too, Spot. Maybe you can join us for dinner. I always end up making too much anyway,” she smiled as Spot stood in the doorway. As Spot went to take a seat, “What are you planning to make?” he asked. Courtney placed three steaks on the counter and seasonings she bought. “Steak with rosemary, sage, and a light gravey over it. Along with the basics: salt and pepper,” Courtney said. Spot smiled at the thought. It was his first home meal after many years. Minus the fact she lived with her guardian, it felt like family at the table.
With Courtney being an early bird, she snuck her way to the lodge. “Shut up already. You’re going to wake him,” Courtney whispered. “You can’t wake him up. He’s out like a light,” Kid said. But Courtney climbed to her brother’s bunk. Like most male Kellys, Jack was a heavy sleeper. She just tried to poke his face repeatly but, it didn’t work. She then tried shaking him awake. It still didn’t work. Her next idea was risky and she had to work fast to escape possible chances of him getting mad. Kellys have anger issues too. When she began to collect spit in her mouth, “Don’t you dare do it,” Mush whispered to her. Hoverimg over his ear, she smiled. “Listen to Mush and don’t do it. He’s going to get mad,” Crutchy said. She didn’t listen and it went straight into Jack’s ear.
“You little brat!”Jack shouted as he chased her into a stall and smiled. To his luck though, it was locked once he reached it. “You can’t get me!” Courtney smiled and sang. “Open this door, please? You can’t stay in there forever,” he said. After five minutes of silence, Courtney unlocked the door. When she opened it, she thought he was hiding behind the door. She thought wrong. Jack grabbed ahold of his sister as she shrieked in laughter. After calming herself down, “Can you put me down now?” she asked. Setting her down, she fell to the ground laughing harder along with the rest. “Now you got what you deserved,” Skittery said. Once Jack got dressed, everyone went on with their day. Courtney, with shorts under her dress and being light, rode piggyback on Jack. “Happy Birthday,” she whispered in his other ear.
Courtney’s little ride ended when they saw Spot at the gate. “Just because you’re dating her doesn’t mean you have to see her everyday. Take Jack for example. He’s dating David’s sister and he doesn’t see her everyday,” Race said bravely. “I knew you had it . Being Irish has it’s perks too. When can I meet her?”Courtney smiled as she jumped down. “Just give me some time. I’ve only been dating her since the end of the strike.” Jack sighed. “Still, you don’t need to see each other everyday,” Race complained. “Just shut it, Shrimpy. Like her parents with Jack, Denton trust Spot. You’re just mad because I ditched you and that monster you call your ego. Treat a girl with some respect. While you’re at it, change your ego too. Any girl would love to have a guy who is mature,” Courtney lectured and then left.
“That girl knows how to make a comeback, Jack. Thought it was hurtful, it was clever. Do you get the message?” David laughed. “What message, David?” Boots asked. David told Jack, who cracked up laughing. “Isn’t that alittle hurtful? But she is alittle mature for her age,” David smiled. “What was she trying to say?” Les asked. “She kind of told Race to grow up,” Jack told him. Everyone else was soon laughing as Race glared at them. “What are you laughing about? Yet, Cowboy, why didn’t you introduce us to the girl?” Oscar said walking up to them. Morris soon followed along. “You mean Courtney? Don’t even try to talk to her. She’s not your typical girl,” Mush warned. “She’s not even from a typical family if Jack’s her brother,” Race said. The two just grinned at Jack. “You have a little sister? She’s too pretty to be related,” Morris smirked. “She takes on our mother’s featuresand, yes, she is my sister. But like Mush said. she’s not your typical girl.”his Courtney had come back looking for something. “We finally get to see her up close. She looks to be a baby face,” Oscar said. “I thought you were leaving. Did you drop something?” Jack said. Morris took one step towards her and step on something. “You found it. May I have it please?” she said looking at Morris. It was a silver locket on a black lace chain. He stuck it into pocket and began to walk away. “I wonder how much we’d get for it.” They were on their way to a pawn shop. Courtney ran to catch up to them. " Give it back! It’s not even yours," she growled. They continued to walk until Courtney kicked on of them. That’s when a fight broke out. Their family really did have anger issues and there was a lot of it in Courtney’s eyes.
You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Let Jack fight your fights,” Race called. Both brothers just smiled at her as she glared. “If it’s a fight you want, we don’t fight girls. It’ll make our reputation look bad,’ Morris said. As the two began to walk away, “You rat- faced wimps! You’re nothing but a bunch of cowards,” she barked. Spot had appeared wondering what was taking her so long and was able to catch the last few seconds of the fight. The gang just stood there in awe. He pulled her off before she could throw another punch. “You’re in so much trouble, Jack. Wait until Uncle Weasel hears about this,” Morris said before throwing the locket to the ground. He soon ran off and kept looking back at her with fear. “You better run! Now you have one more to fear.” Courtney tried to pry herself free, but no luck came upon her.
Spot released her once Morris was out of view and took her by the hand. “Would you like to tell me what that was about? New Yorkers don’t normally see a girl beating a guy up and winning,” he smiled. “They tried to take my locket and wouldn’t give it back.” “So you beat them up?” “They were not cooperating. My locket is a family heirloom. That is why it’s so important.” Spot just smiled as they walked back to the awing crowd of guys. Courtney laughed at the expression on her brother’s face as she was putting her locket on. What broke their trance wasn’t the size of the locket, but what Spot was doing with Courtney’s hair. He had her long hair in a braid before Courtney set her hands down and only Jack knew why Spot knew that.
“The true nature of Spot Conlon is revealed. Who knew he was such a gentleman towards the ladies? What’s next? Are you going to take her out to dinner?” Race laughed. “If I do, I’ll be sure to tell her why she made a good choice ditching you. She deserves a guy who’ll not put her second and isn’t afraid to be seen with.” Spot then took Courtney’s hand and led her away from them. Off in the distance, the guys were able to make out the kiss Spot placed on her cheek. “They did fall for each other fast. It’s almost like they’ve known each other for some time,” Kid said. “They have and since they were six. Courtney’s his childhood sweetheart.” “You mean the girl who disappeared nearly seven years ago? Appearing in New York for three summers straight and Spot nonstop talking about her? How can you tell, Jack?” Mush said. “By the way he treats her and the look on his face.”
For as long as they could remember, no one could remember Spot smiling that way in seven years. Not to mention act that way towards a girl in eight months. “You know what I’ve noticed? All the girls Spot dates are from Manhattan,” Skittery said. “He was born in Manhattan. After nine years, he moved to Brooklyn with an uncle to live with. Well, according to Spades. But why did he move?” Race said. Jack didn’t say anything as all eyes went to him. “Why are they silent this time? Are you guys talking about the scrawny thing you’re friends with?” Oscar said from behind. Morris was there too as well as a cop. The gang was there to defending Jack’s every word. “Jack hadn’t even laid a hand on him. The real person is a Courtney Ethan Kelly. The daughter of Jonathan Joseph Kelly III,” David said. “Sorry for disturbing you guys. Have a good day sir.” The cop turned away leaving the Delanceys in awe. “Your father is famous here. Also, thank Elizabeth Sullivan, your grandmother, the most.”
After some explaining, Jack understood the officer’s reaction. Elizabeth Sullivan was a powerful millionaire. She had more powerful than Pulitzer and Hearst combined and that gave the gang an idea. Walking up to Pulitzer’s office, “What is this now? I lowered the prices for you to end the strike,” Pulitzer said. Looking on the desk, there was a letter from Grandma Sullivan. “On whose command: Mine or my grandmother’s? What did she have to say?” Jack said toying with the envelope. “Jonathan Joseph Kelly IV is standing in my office. The oldest of the heirs and the one most like his father. Speaking of your father, Are you here in his place?” Jack shook his head before nodding to the letter. Only to find that it was one of the dozens of letters sent to Pulitzer; some of them sent during the strike. “Some are wondering when your father and sister will be in town. Do you know if they are?” Jack just shook his head again and left. Once outside, the gang crowded around. “How did he treat you this time?” David smirked. “Like a king, king of New York.”
: After hours of selling in the scorching sun, and their earnings little due to lousy headlines, Jack and the rest made their way to Tibby’s. Upon entering the diner, Courtney sat with something in front of her. “What is that, Courtney? There has to be a reason to why it’s here,” David said taking a seat. She just smiled at her brother as she got up. Taking the seat across, she pushed the box towards him. “I promised you one and here it is, Jackie-Boy. You deserve it after sixteen rotten birthdays.” Opening the package and lifting the lid, the gang threw a fit at the site of the object. “You got him a cupcake? What about the rest of here.” Kid pouted. Courtney blew a raspberry while swiping excess frosting from the lid. “Order whatever you like then, Blinky. I’m willing to pay for the bill. I have $50 in my pocket right now.” “Willing to pay? Are you hearing this Parker? Daddy’s little girl wants to take care of the bill,” a voice laughed. When the two approached, pain was circulating in their hands.
“Uncle… Uncle! We’re sorry, okay?” Parker yelped. “Geez, Daddy’s little girl grew some muscle.” “Joke all you want, you two. You’re still going to have to listen to me,” Courtney smiled. “Jack, these two are Parker and Aaron. These two monkeys are our cousins.” Soon after, a man stood behind the “monkeys”. “And that would be Erick, the father of the two. How do I know? I’ve learned that from Daniel,” David said. Courtney looked up at the man and pouted. “You two leave her alone. She may be the youngest, but that does not mean to pick on her. I’m surprised she didn’t slap you,” Erick groaned. “Enjoy the fun of being the only daughter on this side of the family,” Aaron whispered into her ear. “I have and always will; every second of every day,” she commented. Everyone else within hearing distance was staring at her. “That meaning Courtney is the only girl ever to be born a Kelly. I'm not fibbing here, guys. It’s one hundred percent true,” David explained. The awing faces grew bigger as if on command. Jack laughed at the faces and smiled at his sister.
It wasn’t until the laughing and awing died down that an awkward silence filled the table. But it was Jack who broke the silence with a question. “But you’re not the one who inherits it. So don’t get too comfortable with the name, Jack. Being King of New York means you have to be able to control large amounts of people, calculate a budget, and understand the lingo that is said. Do you really think you can handle all that?” Courtney shrugged. “Lingo... what lingo is said?” Les asked. “Poppers, gutters, chain starters, pude, and snarps are just a few.” “Translate please. Everyone here has only sold papers, not make them. Especially for Jack,” Erick sighed. “Poppers are attention grabbers and found in mostly headlines only. Gutters and pude are about the same thing. They’re both worthless information but gutters are information that is put in the papes. Chain starters are stuff or information that could get the business in trouble. Yet, that only happens rarely. Like publishing personal information of someone, that person wants no one else to know. Finally ending with what a snarp is. They’re people outside of the business who want the good stuff and will do anything to get it. So mainly spies from other competitors.”
After explaining, Courtney heard the scratching sound from a pen. David was taking notes as she talked. “Do you really think she’ll hire you, David? She’s probably looking for people older to hire. People who have experience or knowledge for this,” Race groaned. She couldn’t help but smile; as well as her uncle and cousins. “The young man shows great potential though. Don’t you think, Courtney?” Erick said. The gang just turned their attention to Courtney with a puzzled look on their faces. Yet, they almost fell out of their chair when she spoke. “He shows great potential indeed, Erick. But, David, how would you feel about making around $13,000 a year?” “Being paid $13,000 a year as a salary!? You’re kidding, right? The things I’d buy with that kind of money,” Race sighed. Jack, on the hand, looked at his sister with a look of his own. As everyone else’s gaze turned off her, Courtney passed an envelope to Jack. It started to make sense to him then. “What is that, Jack? What secret has been revealed now?” After Skittery grabbed the envelope and tore it open, something fell to his lap. To both guys’ amazement, the number was large.
It was a check for 2.85 million dollars. “We have a lot of money to spend, Jack, and it’s only going to get bigger. Daddy has at least 25 million more stashed here in New York and a large amount more on the way,” she whispered to Jack. “How can you be so wealthy though? No one can be that rich off a newspaper business, I don’t think,” Kid whined. “Unless he too was a…” Unless he too was a newsboy and a mischievous one, he was. I must say, you’ve your father’s smarts and his ability to improve the truth a little too much. It was his dream to have a business of his own and once out of school, he did.” “But that isn’t why Daddy’s rich. Daddy beat a guy out of his gold rush earnings in a game of poker. Well, that and the many businesses he co-owns.” David took the empty seat next to Jack after thinking about the offer. He thought of the advantages and disadvantages of working as well as how it would affect his future. “Nearly 13 thousand, right?” She nodded at David with a smile. “Is it a deal?” They both shook on it.
Hours after going their separate ways, Courtney sat in a room unfamiliar to hers. She was back in the apartment Spot showed her before heading to the diner. It had been his childhood home and the apartment above was where Jack grew up. However, her and Spot weren’t the only ones there. “Do they have to be here? Andrew, I don’t mind. However, the rest of them? Have a little respect for yourself, Spot,” she whined. Spot’s apartment was the Brooklyn newsboy hangout. “You really going to let her talk to you like that? I say you teach her a lesson,” Spades said. Spades then tried to grab a hold of her and laughed. Courtney broke away before he could. She was already at the door when Spot had his hand on her shoulder. The place reeked of smoke and alcohol and she wanted out. “You know where to find me, Mattie. Just promise it’ll just be you and me next time. I’ll be with Jack tonight,” she sighed and left after a kiss to his cheek.
She was at the front door of the lodge as Racetrack was going in. It was late and she was both tired and hurt. Not long after finding a seat on a crate outside, the door opened. “Race said you were out here. I thought you’d be home,” Jack said. “Denton’s working late and so I tried to spend the night with Spot. But that didn’t go so well,” she sighed. Jack took her by the hand and led her up the stairs to the rest of the gang. Yet most to all the beds were filled with sleeping newsies. “You can sleep with me tonight; if that is okay with you?” She was tucked under her brother’s arm feeling safe there. “So what happened with Spot?” “Guys everywhere and the room filled with smoke and the smell of alcohol. It felt like a brothel in there.” It wasn’t until someone asked who Jack was talking to that they were being loud. Not long though both fell asleep. Jack was the last one to after kissing his sister’s head. “I love you, Courtney.”
“Jackie-Boy seems to have a girl sleeping with him. Who could it be that he’s guarding her?” Skittery laughed. Both Jack and Courtney were still asleep with still tucked under his arm. “Hey, Cowboy, who do you have there? What girl did you find last...” “Jesus, Blinky, can’t a Kelly get some sleep?” Courtney swatted everyone away before going back to sleep. However, they were not very happy with her being there. “What are she doing here, Jack? You know how Kloppman feels about girls spending the night,” Mush said. Speaking of Kloppman, he was standing in the doorway when that was said. “Wh… wh… what girl is here and who is she with?” Everyone just points to Jack’s bunk. Kloppman took a look at Courtney as she was once again asleep in her brother’s arms. Seeing also the look on Jack’s face, he let it go for them. “For the rest of you, get ready for the day. Leave these two alone though. Her little heart needs the protection of her brother,” he said turning to leave. “Jack’s all she has left to remember their father. She truly needs him.” “You knew their father?” Mush said. “Knew him? Jack was my responsibility when their uncle went got arrested.”
Having been left alone, Jack woke to the feeling of someone with him. Looking at who it was, he smiled at the sight of his sister still sleeping. He also saw the bunks empty of newsies. “Sissy, I think we overslept.” “Just five more minutes, Daddy. Please? Just five more minutes and I’ll be fine.” Jack opened his mouth to say something but closed it before getting up. He was already dressed when he nearly forgot about his sister and was headed towards the door. Returning to his bunk, he couldn’t build the strength to wake her. The look on her face was peaceful. Yet he saw the look of fear, sadness and the loss of hope becoming visible. He managed to place Courtney on his back without completely to the floor. She fell from his grip and once her feet were on the ground, sleepily climbed onto his back. “I love you, Courtney.” She buried her face into his shoulder. “I love you too. As long as you love me, I’ll be okay. Just like you’ve always told me; from the beginning of time.”
“What has she done to you? You treat her like she’s helpless.” “Having an older brother is what she needs, Race. What are all of you upset about?” David said. It was then that Skittery explained about the “No Girls Allowed” policy and how Courtney spent the night. “Ever since she showed up, he’s being given special treatment. Pulitzer is now scared out of his wits of Jack. Listen, baby face, Jack was fine before you showed up. So just go home and get out of his life,” Race sneered. Once Jack realized that his sister wasn’t going to fight back, he stepped in. “I’m not losing my baby sister. You can mad about it all you want. Just leave her alone and mind your own business.” “What are you going to do I don’t?” “What’s he going to do? It’s me you should be afraid of, Shrimpy. You touch or harm my girl in any way, it is war,” a blue eyed newsie groaned. “I’m sorry for last night, princess. I love you though.”
Spot was beaten and sore as he looked towards Courtney. His bangs partly covered his black eye and some dried blood from a cut. She raced over to Spot to check for any other damage to his “pretty boy” face. To her luck, that was it and some bruising. “You faced this for me?” she whispered to him, after he explained what happened. “I faced it for us; alongside Andrew. I can’t have my sweetheart be treated that like that. I owe you more, though, then just an apology. I owe you a night with just you and me.” She kissed his cheek as she helped him walk to the rest of the gang. There, she had him sit down as she got him cleaned up. “So, you’ve apologized to her. You do know what this will do to you reputation,” Jack teased. “As much damage as having your baby sister spending the night with you,” Spot teased back. Before finishing her work, Courtney pulled out a leaf and pressed it against Spot’s cut. “It’s Aloe Vera. It’s an old Native American trick to help heal cuts. Seeing that I lived on a reserve in Santa Fe; practically knowing a natural remedy for everything.” “Long live the women in power,” David laughed.
With the help of his sweetheart, Spot was back on his feet again. “Is anything broken from the fight?” “There is a crack in the window, a cup, and a heart. I let them destroy my home and you said to me made me realize that. I got what I deserve last night and I’m sorry for letting them treat you that way.” “About that, Spot, let’s not forget that I know where you live and the number,” Jack said. Those nearby, from the gang, gave him a questioning look. “So you were able hear everything from above,” Courtney smiled at Spot. “What are you three talking about? What do you know that we don’t know, Jack?” The gang came to a halt when Kid said that. “Just about the secret between Spot Conlon and Jack, Blinky, and how they met. That’s what we’re talking about and that’s what Jack knows,” Courtney explained. As Courtney continued to talk to Kid, Spot looked over to Jack and whispered something. “I guess we’re both lucky older brothers. But what I’d do to see my siblings again,” Spot sighed. “But I’ll treat your sister right, Jack. I promise you that.”
Courtney kissed his cheek again after overhearing his promise. “Spot’s a momma’s boy and mommy’s little gentle…” “I could tell, Jack. But back to Xavier, Spot, I know where he lives. If you want, I could show you. That is if you want to,” she smiled. It was now Spot who gave her a worried and questioning look. He did say he’d do anything to see his brother and did owe Courtney a night with just them. “Are you sure you know where he lives?” Spot sighed. “Know where who lives?” Mush asked. “Supposedly, Courtney knows where my brother, Xavier, lives.” “And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to see his big brother covered in blood. We’re heading to Brooklyn now,” Courtney said pulling on his arm. But Spot pulled her the other way. “Why go to Brooklyn all everything I own is in my apartment?” Creating a hook with his arm, Courtney let him lead the way. As for the rest of the gang, they went on their way to Tibby’s. Boys will be boys when it comes to food.
“I thought you wanted me to clean up, not dress up. Is this really necessary?” Spot said standing shirtless as he picked up one of his “for occasions only” shirts. But to Courtney, it was just a shirt. “Will you just put it on, Matthew? I don’t care if you were planning to wear it to Xavier’s bar mitzvah. Which, by the way, is in two years?” Spot just grinned at her as Courtney stood in the doorway smirking. She knew of his family’s traditions long after losing seven years worth of connection. “Yet you are the only person, besides Jack, who knows why I don’t eat pork. The others think it’s a personal choice,” he sighed. Courtney walked over to him once he got the shirt on and helped button it. If they weren’t the only ones in the room, one could mistake them for a married couple. After fixing his hair to hide his eye and taking a hold of Spot’s hand, out the front door they descended ever so sweetly. “Matthew James Conlon, mommy’s little Jewish boy,” she whispered to him.
“Matthew James Conlon, what on earth took you so long to come!? Seven years and not one visit from you, mister. You had us worried sick to the point where we thought you were dead,” his aunt, Cecilia, said as she kissed his face multiple times. Hugging him, “Michael, come look who’s here.” A tall man came to the door with shaving cream still on his face and a confused look. “Cecilia, let the boy breathe. Xavier has only been gone for twenty minutes,” he said. Releasing her maternal grip on Spot, Michael soon realized he made a mistake. “Its okay, Uncle Michael, She isn’t doing any harm to me. As a matter of fact, I kind of missed it. It’s good to see you’re doing well though,” Spot smiled. It took a short while before his uncle said something and allowed Spot to come in. “It’s good to know you’re safe, Matthew. Now, if you’d like, please come in.” “Is it okay if a friend comes in too? I wouldn’t have known you were her without her,” Spot asked. Courtney stood in a nearby alley waiting. Once leading her inside, “Who is this, Matthew? I think I’ve seen her,” Cecilia asked. “You have, Cecilia. She’s my little sweetheart.”
At the table, after telling his story, Spot’s aunt and uncle now knew what had happened over the last six years and why he never showed. What they didn’t know was where he was staying. “At home mostly, except for some days. Miss Austins doesn’t mind as long as I pay the rent on a monthly basis.” “And where are you getting the money to pay for the rent?” “I became an inn keeper for other newsies born in Manhattan. But thanks to an incident, I had to stop. So now, I guess I have to find another source of money,” Spot explained. “It was just a way to fill the empty apartments,” Spot explained. Courtney placed a hand on his shoulder as she hugged his arm. “I’m guessing the incident involved this young lady next to you, Matthew. I’m not trying to stereotype here though since she is a beautiful young woman,” Michael chimed. “To me she’s more than beautiful. She’s perfect and I love her,” Spot kissed the top of her head. By the way Spot looked at Courtney; his relatives could tell he wasn’t lying.
“Michael, Cecilia, I’m home!” a voice said after another twenty minutes. The door closed and a boy appeared in view with a basket. Spot was surprised about how much his brother had grown. Courtney was surprised too. Once Xavier got a look at the two, his face lit up. Cecilia smiled and nodded as she took sight of the boy’s face. “Do you remember me or has it been too long?” Courtney asked. “Matthew’s lost sweetheart, right? When did you find her again?” he said. Spot held up four fingers as a symbol for four days ago. The boy just laughed at him. Once Xavier walked over, setting the basket on the table, he got a good look at his older brother. “You’re the leader of Brooklyn yet you have a black eye. She’s really that important to you, isn’t she?” Boy was Cecilia in a fit once she moved Spot’s hair from his eye. “I’m fine, Cecilia. Courtney has been taking good care of me,” Spot said as Cecilia compressed a wet towel over his eye. But he couldn’t stop enjoying the relieving feeling it had.
After fussing over Spot’s eye, Cecilia took the basket and went on her way to make lunch. The smell of pork sausage filled the air as the meat sizzled on the stove. But Xavier sat at the table and ate his own lunch: a fried egg on a bagel. He had a clothespin over his nose. “”The smell makes me sick and the taste, I don’t like it very much,” Xavier explained. Courtney smiled at the thought. “If you don’t eat it, how are you going to gain muscles? Take Matthew for example. He doesn’t look like he eats pork. Do you want to look like him?” Cecilia said. “It’s against our religion, Cecilia. It’s not that we don’t want to eat it. It’s because it’s prohibited for us to eat it,” Spot spoke sternly and suddenly. Michael placed a heavy hand on his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Aunt Cecilia.” He then got up to help her cut up the vegetables. But she laid her knife down and pulled him into a hug. “I forgot about your boys’ upbringing by your mother,” she said softly. “But I shouldn’t have gone that far though. I love you, Cecilia.” What had happened next made Spot glad he wasn’t being seen by the guys. He wrapped his arms around his aunt as she kissed his head.
Returning to his seat, “You’re living at home? Michael says you’re still living in the apartment,” Xavier moaned. “If he’s living there, why can’t I?” “There isn’t a reason he should be. Did you pay the past rent that was owed, Matthew?” Michael said. Spot only shook his head. “Then you’re living here. You’re not catching up on the rent and there isn’t a reason why you should be there.” “Michael, we don’t…” “He could bunk with me, Cecilia. I wouldn’t mind,” Xavier butted in. Courtney then leaned into Spot. “How much do you still owe?” she whispered to him. “It’s at least $24 in rent.” As soon as Spot said that, Courtney took out a wad of bills. She places the amount on the table. “There you go, Spot. That apartment is yours in possession and no one can tell you no.” Michael didn’t take it very well and his expression said it all. “You shouldn’t be handing out money like it’s nothing to you. Your father isn’t being paid so you can give it away as an act of charity,” he grumbled.
“Well, my father always said to help others first before helping one’s self. Since you’re not him, I can spend my $800 a month on whatever I want,” she proclaimed. Though she wasn’t trying to sound sarcastic, or rude, Michael thought she was. Before he could speak, “Why don’t you explain who your father is, Courtney? That way he can understand why you’re giving away money,” Spot spoke. “Jonathan Kelly III is my father with Elizabeth Sullivan as my grandmother.” “Your sweetheart is from an upper class family? Not just that upper class, but a descendent of New York’s richest people?” Xavier gawked. All Michael, Cecilia, and Xavier had then caused a moment of silence as they looked at her. But to break the silence, “You get $800 a month? Why do you get that much?” Cecilia asked. “The same reason Matthew and Xavier should be getting some money. What did you father work as?” “He did construction, making 32 cents an hour.” Courtney crunched some numbers in her head before responding. “He would work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. If I’m correct, the two should be getting $673.62 a month each. Unless I misunderstood Daddy’s lawyer completely.”
At the end of their visit, caused by things getting awkward, Spot had a hold of Courtney’s hand as if worried about something. “If you’re right about the money, I’ve never got any of it. Not one cent since then,” he sighed. “So they owe you a lot of money. I promise, though, that you’ll get it all. I’ll contacted Daddy’s lawyer and get things straightened out for you.” “But you’ve already done so much for me all day today. Take a break until tomorrow. I still owe you a night together anyway.” “Then how about to night? Like you said, the apartments will be empty now.” But they soon changed the subject by asking about each other after she vanished from New York. What she said, though, made Spot skeptic about her mother’s side of the family. “You said Elizabeth sent you presents and money, right? You being her youngest granddaughter,” Spot said. “Yeah, but why?” “You said that side hated your father’s side of the family. You lied, didn’t you?” “Nope. All my aunts and uncles do except Amanda. The rest of the three love us like no other,” she explained. “They hate my father because he grew up a newsboy and never had a proper upbringing. That’s why Grandpa and Grandma Sullivan love him. He had worked for his money.”
“Do they approve of Denton?” “They approve of him very much, actually. Going off to find work to support Amanda and finding a home for them. He wanted to wait until he was sure he had things settled before marrying.” “Why hadn’t they then?” “He was either out of the country a lot or had been ripped off of his money. Now he has to care for me. But I guess now he’s taking note that I can handle being by myself.” Things were quiet as they walked until Spot had an idea. “You said Denton trusts you on taking care of yourself. How about we find her?” “I know where she is. Yet, maybe it’s a little rushed. I’ve only been in town for a few days.” “Help others before helping oneself. It also gives me a chance to meet more of your family,” he smiled. Taking lead, Courtney rushed through a crowd of people and waved at a few of the guys as they passed until they met up with Jack. “So, how’s Xavier?” “Fine and living with my grumpy uncle.” “Which side exactly?” “I only have one and he’s from my father’s side of the family. He is mad, though, about your family’s wealth. But Courtney wasn’t trying to brag. She was just helping me out by lending me some money.” Courtney just smiled at her brother.
“Where are you heading now?” Jack asked. “We’re going to see Aunt Amanda. So we’re going to Grandma’s house.” Judging by the look on Jack’s face, Spot was happy to explain. “Your uncle and aunts and cousins hate your family. So everyone on that side except you grandparents and Amanda.” “They hate Daddy because of his upbringing and not starting out rich. They’re just a bunch of rich snobs. So do you want to come? Amanda would really glad to see how much you’ve grown.” Before Jack could answer, a carriage was already called. “Are you coming?” Jack took a seat across from her when he got in. “Where to, honey?” the driver called. “6412 Penters Road.” “The Sullivan estate; may I ask why?” “Jonathan Joseph Kelly IV and Courtney Ethan Kelly; along with a personal friend,” she said. The driver kept quiet the rest of the ride.
The drive seemed long for Jack, but worth it. He loved the sight of the trees and the small pond beyond the horizon as some of the leaves were preparing for autumn. “Just wait until fall, Jack. It’s beautiful with all the different colors.” With Spot, looking out the other side looked at the same until he saw a house. “Is that the house?” he asked. “That’s the Sampson’s mansion. Grandma is just two more houses down. You’ve been there before once for my birthday. The Sampson’s, I mean. They’re my aunt and uncle.” Both Jack and Spot just grinned at her after she explained. “They’re not on family property though and neither is the next house. Grandma wouldn’t allow them.” “Are they another set of relative too?” Jack asked. “Samuel and Jessica Sullivan, the worst they come as family. They’re Kimmy’s parents too.” “Andrew will be happy to know that. Do they ever go to Grandma’s?” All Jack got was a nodding head. “Kimmy takes voice lessons though she can’t sing. Her parents are jealous of me because I can.” All three sighed as they sat back in their seat.
Entering the gates, the carriage traveled its way down to the entrance. Jack was amazed of how simple the yard looked for a woman of great wealth. There was nothing more than a grass lawn, a bird bath, a tree or two, and a swing set. The carriage came to a jerk and woke him from his trance. The ivory mansion was a lot smaller than what he expected it to look like. “There’s more in the backyard, Jack. That’s where most of their wealth goes.” Taking her brother’s arm, Courtney lead the two boys up a two person wide, ten step stairway. She instantly grabbed for the knob when Spot stopped her. “Shouldn’t we knock first?” “I want them to be surprised. Besides, Grandma doesn’t like family and friends waiting at her door.” She opened the door quietly, allowing Jack to get a look inside. The main entrance was as plain as the outside of the house as he could see. But overhearing a conversation, what would happen next surprised both him and Spot.
“How many times do I have to tell you? She’s not capable of singing and you are wasting your time on this foolishness,” an elderly lady said
“But Mother, this is what Kimmy wants. I’m just trying to make her happy.”
“Samuel, you are ruining your children, as well as the rest of your siblings with their own, by spoiling her. I won’t have any of it from here on out.”
“Don’t waste your breath, Grandmother. The cold- hearted is always the ones who don’t become as talented as me. Wait … am I interrupting something?” Courtney said entering the parlor.
“My dear child, where on earth have been all this time? Edgar, Amanda, come look who is here. Did you come alone?”
With Courtney shaking her head, she drugged Jack and Spot out of the hall to show. “Hello Grandma. You look beautiful today.” Jack said unsure what to say.
“Hello Madame Sullivan. I’m Matthew Conlon and friends with your grandchildren her,” Spot waved. Samuel looked skeptically at him.
Amanda came rushing down the staircase while her father helped her down the last few stairs. Coming into the parlor, they had a great surprise. Jack was smothered by love from their aunt as Courtney experienced a milder version from their grandfather.
“Mother, shouldn’t we be worried about where there father is? If he is in town, shouldn’t he be here?”
“Not unless he died saving me because of your ill- hearted twin brother. The one you told of my location to in order to seek unreasonable revenge against my father. Wait until I get my hand on you. You’ll rue the days you made me lose everything I loved,” Courtney sneered as she turned to face him.
Tears rolled fiercely down her cheeks as she fought from both her brother’s and grandfather’s grip. “You two and that f-ing sheriff.” Her body shook with as rage pulsed through her.
But her uncle kept a straight face, a sneering look, as he exited the room and out the front door. She ran to the door once released and stood on the top step. “My mother and father are gone because of you three. I hope you’re happy about this!”
Courtney wouldn’t let go of Spot as she cried a storm. They were sitting on the couch with her in his lap. Everyone was able to hear her screams after she yelled at Samuel. Everyone heard the cry of a child with a tragic past and filled with pure hatred.
Jumping off the couch, Courtney ran to the kitchen in a coughing fit. All you could hear was the heaving and hard crying from such a tiny thing. “Daddy’s little girl now in a world without him,” Grandpa Sullivan sighed.
Jack had followed Amanda into the kitchen to find his sister lying on the floor all quiet. She was riding on his back when they returned to the rest. “It’s unbelievable what she has gone through. But if Jonathan isn’t her, who is she staying with?” Amanda asked.
“Denton. He’s the reason why she and I are here,” Spot said sadly.
“I’ll go call him out here. His godchild just had a mental fit.” Grandma Sullivan gave a sigh as she picked up the phone. Giving all that she knew to his editor, Denton was on his way.
Courtney was on the couch asleep by the time Denton did show. “What happened to her? Why was I called here?” he rushed through the door. Turning to face Denton, Jack shrugged his shoulders.
“She just blew up with rage when Samuel asked where our father was.” Denton groaned out a sigh now understanding the circumstance. Taking a look a look at her face though, buried into a pillow, her expression broke him. It was a sad puppy look that even broke Jack and Spot. Jack took a seat on the floor in order to stroke his sister’s hair. She stirred and groaned at his touch.
“I love you, Daddy. Please just stay with me for a while,” she muttered.
“Just sleep, honey. I’ll stay as long you want me to,” Jack played along. “As long as I love you, you’ll be okay.”
Everyone of his family gasped at what he said and Jack knew why. “You found out she was your sister four days ago and you already love her?” Spot smiled. “Which kicked in first: your sudden maturity or your love for a long lost sister?”
“Maturity, I guess. My wanting to be the older brother looking out for the baby in the family and only sister. How old is she anyway? She doesn’t look more than 12.”
“She turns 16 next month on the 16th. Why? You just turned 18 yesterday,” Denton smiled.
With that, Grandma Sullivan ran to the hall for something and came back with an envelope. “Lizzie, let the boy enjoy his newly found manhood for another day. He doesn’t need that now,” Grandpa said. Handing him over the envelope, Jack quickly opened it.
“I never knew they would give you that much. Now you have more to brag about.” Courtney wrapped her arms around Jack as she peered over his shoulder.
“Are you okay now, Sissy? You gave us a scare for a while,” Jack said kissing her head when he turned around. A sleepy nod was all he got as she rubbed her eyes. But it wasn’t until she finished when she saw Denton.
“I guess it was worth getting me out of work. But let me ask why you are here.” Courtney didn’t respond in fear of ruining the plan. So Spot explained for her and the look in her eyes was ridden of hope.
”I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry for causing all of you trouble,” she said sadly. Tears crept their way down her cheeks; that were hidden her legs pulled up to her chest.