The Bootlegger's Daughter

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David and his Secrets

Not much happened at school. Nothing meant against Miss Hayes but she doesn’t always keep me invested. If it wasn’t for my note passing with Ada I most likely still wouldn’t be that interested in the class. We passed a lot of notes that day. They started off with Ada asking how I was. She said, or wrote rather, that she had seen Grandfather’s death in the paper. I told her that I was alright. She then asked about my eye and told me that Lillian was spreading around that I was suspended from school and that was why I hadn’t been there.

Off on a tangent I know but Ada also told me an interesting fact about how she found out about Grandfather’s death. Her parents can’t speak English. Her father works off in some factory while her mother stays at home so they don’t really need it. But so the family still knows what’s going on they have Ada read the full newspaper in their native language. Ada said that when she was reading the obituaries she saw the name Sweet and gasped. Up until then she had believed Lillian.

Soon lunch did come though. Ada and I sat back on the stairs just like we did when Lillian hit me. She didn’t come up to us that day. Although her and her friends did look up at us and give me looks. It was quiet and pretty peaceful honestly. But weren’t left alone completely. David came up to the stairs by himself, which was odd because David has a lot of friends.

“Hello Lucy, and…”David said. He forgot Ada’s name. I never thought to tell him about her until that day.

“My name is Ada.” She said to David. He just nodded his head and continued talking to me.

“Will you come with me? I want to show you something.” David said. I got up and followed David around the side of the school to an alleyway where no one ever goes.

“Well, why are we here?” I asked.

“I found something that I thought you would like.” David said. He fumbled through one of his pockets and took out a folded photograph. He handed it to me and I unfolded it. It was of me when I was a toddler, before David was born. Father was holding me while Mother sat right next to us. It was a happy picture and one that I had never seen before. I turned the picture over where in what I can only assume was my mother’s handwriting was a description saying that it was Easter of 1908. “Isn’t it nice? I thought you would like to see little you with Mother.”

“Yes, it is nice. Where did you find this?” I asked. There is a big photo album in the sitting room in the house. I’ve gone through it tons of times. There are pictures from everyone’s weddings, official family portraits, family gatherings, and some just for fun. I swear I know every picture in that book, even the ones of people I’ve never met, be that long dead or we’ve just lost touch with them. But the point is that I’ve never seen that picture before. So it must have been from Mother’s albums in Father’s room.

“Well… I found it in Father’s room.” David said. He didn’t even try to lie to me, he knew that I would know better.

“Why were you going through his room?” I asked.

“I was looking for a tie.”

“You don’t wear ties, only bowties. Or did you forget what you wear?”

“I meant bowtie.”

“Father doesn’t wear bowties.”

“Well it’s not important why I was in there. I just wanted to show you the picture.” David said. He was getting annoyed at me. After a pause he spoke again in a more calm voice. “Don’t tell Father that I was looking around his room.”

“I didn’t know you were looking around his room, you told me that.”

“Well don’t tell him regardless!” David said then walked back to the school yard. I stood in the empty alleyway for a second or two then walked back to where Ada and I sat.

“What did he want?” Ada asked.

“To tempt me into getting him in trouble. I don’t think I will as I’d rather not have to fight him later.” I said. There was another pause. “Would you like to help me with something?”

“Sure.”

“What is a man’s name that you like?”

“I’ve always liked Fritz. There was a boy back home who used to like me named Fritz.” Ada said after thinking for a second.

“I was thinking of something more English.”

“You just asked for a name.”

“Fine, what is an English man’s name that you like?” I asked with a sigh.

“James is nice. There is a boy who lives next door to me named James. He is very sweet. His family is from Italy.

“James could work. Are you sure his family is Italian because that’s not an Italian name?” I asked. I really liked the name James. I figured you wouldn’t want to hear the rest of our conversation as it was just Ada telling me about her neighbors. If you are curious her neighbors are Italian and they just named that one son James to sound more American. She proved this to me by telling me the name of his oldest sister, a girl named Donatella. Not that any of that is important; I just didn’t want to leave you on an unanswered question.

When school started again I diligently took notes, just not on Miss Hayes’s subject. Instead I was creating a story just like Father told me to. I decided on the name James Wood. I (Mr. James Wood) had seen her out on a walk and was so stricken by her that I just had to follow her home and wish her well. I figured that I just had to win her heart was to sing to her and hope that she would feel the same about me. I (yours truly, Lucy Sweet) know that was a dumb story and any reasonable person wouldn’t believe me or would tell me to go away, but that was the point. This girl was supposed to be willing to buy into it.

Once school ended I almost dragged Robert out of the room because I wanted to get home as quickly as I could. It wasn’t worth rushing him as I still had to wait for what felt like hours from David and John to come out. David can be quite slow and John always waits for him.

“Goodness, can you boys get any slower?” I asked with an agitated voice. No one responded but it was very possible that I didn’t hear them as I had already started walking. Luckily home is not that far away.

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