The Bootlegger's Daughter

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Father's Plan

Everyone in the room started talking at once. There were shouts of agreement mostly but some were of questions about Father’s plan. It was hard to pinpoint certain people in the crowd but I remember seeing two specific people. The first was Aunt Bertha who looked nervous and somewhat like she wanted to cry. She has always been a benevolent person and hated the idea of hurting the McKays. Although even I wonder now what she would have rather done because I still agree that we needed to take some form of revenge.

The second person I saw was Robert. He looked almost giddy at the plan. I was shocked at the time because I had played it off as extreme loyalty to our grandfather that I never knew Robert had. Yes, my family loved Grandfather but I never thought Robert was exceptionally drawn to him. Robert is much like his father; they just want what can give them the upper hand. I think that might be why Uncle Johnny married Aunt Emma. Well that and love I guess.

I wish I had seen everyone’s face. I want to know how they felt. I wonder if Mary was happy with the news. I wonder if David was nervous with all his new responsibilities. I never did ask them and I wish I did. Although I have a feeling they would not share their true feelings with me. Those few precious seconds right after Father told his plan where the only time I could ever know how everyone truly felt. It’s all buried away now and won’t be dragged up again.

After Father’s news the meeting wasn’t anything special. People went up and asked Father some questions about the business or about Grandfather. I don’t know why he was being so mysterious about his death, I like to think that he couldn’t bear the weight of it so he was keeping all the information to himself. Then again I do like to romanticize things.

“Your father doesn’t look so busy anymore, I am going to go up and thank him for my job.” Sam said to me. He hadn’t left my side. He stuck to me because I was a rare familiar face. I could tell he was a bit nervous to leave me and go around a crowded room to talk to a man he doesn’t know well.

“I’ll come with you.” I said.

“Oh you don’t have to do that. I am a man you know.”

“I know.” I said with a smile. “I want to say goodnight to him regardless so why not kill two birds with one stone.”

We walked through the crowded room and made it to Father. I lightly pushed Sam in front of me so he would talk first.

“Mr. Sweet, I-” Sam said with a slight stutter.

“Sweetie please.” Father interrupted.

“Sweetie, I wanted to thank you for getting me this job. I also wanted to tell you that I am a hard worker and will be loyal to you.” Sam said. His stuttering lessened the more he talked.

“I know, that’s why you have this job. Now why is my daughter hiding behind you?” Father asked. Sam turned around and was genuinely surprised to see me there. I guess he forgot where I was.

“I just wanted to say goodnight, Father.” I said.

“Come with me first, I want to talk to you in private.” Father said. He left the room and I went with him standing close behind. We met in the kitchen which was empty for once and cool compared to the stuffy and now filled with smoke from cigarettes parlor. “Lucy you have a very important job now.” Father said.

“Do you mean to get back at the McKays?”

“Yes. This is war, Lucy. And you have the best part.”

“Well, what is it?” I asked excitedly. I wanted to help in anyway.

“There is this McKay girl there who is a bit slow. According to some scouts they said that she is just the person to be swept off her feet by any man who talks to her. I want to give her a Romeo.”

“Who am I to be?”

“Romeo.”

“But I’m no boy. And besides I am not going to kill myself for any McKay.” I said in a stern voice.

“Listen to me. You will be dressed in men’s clothes. But you mustn’t worry as you will never be in the same room as her, all you have to do is talk to her from the street through her window.”

“You know that I will do anything you ask me to, but wouldn’t David or Robert be better suited for a job like this?” I asked. Both boys were taller than me and would obviously be better fits for a man.

“Well I was thinking that you would sing to her. The more cliched and dreamy the better, I want her to have her full trust in you. David and Robert can’t sing as well as you can.”

“Alright I’ll do it!” I said. I was so excited to do something important in a job like this. I kissed Father on the head and ran up to my room.

I changed into my pajamas happily and laid in my bed. Oh to be the main act in something like this. I was going to serenade her. I’m not dumb and could piece two and two together, I knew that I was going to be the one to tell her to open the door for me. I could do it, that door would be open without any struggle. I was going to be the best Romeo there ever was. The best part being that only Juliet and the Capulets would die. Long live the Montagues and long live the Sweets!

That was what ran through my head that night. That was what ran through my head for weeks, even months. Any free second I was happy and thinking that everything would work out, that nothing bad would happen. Oh how wrong and foolish I was.

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